Hayes Street Grill [San Francisco, Hayes Valley]

The venerable Hayes Street Grill, a restaurant specializing in seafood in Hayes Valley opened by onetime SF Chronicle food critic Patricia Unterman back in 1979, reopened recently for indoor dining. I went here for dinner for the first time last Saturday.

Started with
Bill’s Tomatoes, Pennyroyal Sheep Ricotta, Grilled Bread, XVOO, Basil ($16)
Bill’s tomatoes were good but not great. A large amount, with cherry tomatoes and larger tomatoes. They were not terribly flavorful though. The grilled bread (I think from Acme) and dense ricotta with both very good.

For a main I had the
Half Moon Bay Sand Dabs (on the bone) Meuniere, Watercress, French Fries ($28)
which was very good. The sand dabs (a locally caught fish a bit like a small flounder) were sweet and nicely cooked and tender. Not a lot of work to separate from the bone. In a nice buttery lemony Meunière sauce on top of some watercress. The fries that came with the fish were excellent, medium cut and perfectly fried with a bit of a crust. I used a little of the sauce from the fish as a dip.

And for dessert I had the
Creme Brulee ($14)
which was also very good, a nicely executed crème brûlée with a shattering caramel topping.

An enjoyable meal. They have a fairly mediocre (3 star) Yelp rating for some reason, which was a bit baffling from my one visit, but I will be back.


3 star Yelp likely due to generational differences of reviewers and based on “dining experience” and not food. I like Hayes Street Grill. They handle fish and seafood well but the vibe is very different from the usual SF places. The green carpet, good acoustics and quiet service remind me of a convent or nunnery. You can actually have a conversation without yelling but it can be sedate.


Nice report - I love sand dabs!


I can definitely see that, it is not a high energy place I guess and perhaps a bit of a throwback.

Thanks, me too, always nice to see them on a menu.