SR24

27 Apr

SR24 is the newest addition to the Temescal restaurant scene. Located on Telegraph, but behind other storefronts, and in between 51st and 52nd, you’re unlikely to stumble upon it unless you’re looking for it. And based on my two visits on a Friday and Saturday night over the past few weeks, it seems like most people have yet to discover it.

A part of me wants to keep it a secret because I absolutely love having a restaurant nearby that doesn’t have a two-hour wait on the weekend. I’m not so good with planning ahead to eat out so I only make it to places like Dona Tomas on weeknights and I’ve still never been to Pizzaiolo. But, for now at least, you can just walk into SR24 and grab a table any day of the week at anytime they’re open.

SR24 was a casual burger joint up until just a few months ago, so it’s fun to see how it’s been transformed. Dark wood tables, pillows, red walls, dim lighting, and glassware are some of the hints that this is no longer a place to grab a burger and fries to go. But the ambiance is still laid back and the wait staff are upbeat and very friendly. The restaurant still gets as loud (or maybe even louder) than it did before, as groups of people laugh and talk loudly or gather at the bar and watch the movie of the night (our waiter on Saturday told us that the room got very rowdy when they showed Airplane recently).

The food overall is quite delicious, though at times it’s clear that this is a new restaurant and they’re still working on perfecting their menu. On our first visit, my fiance and I ordered the green goddess salad, fries, pizza, and tomato soup with grilled cheese:

My favorite dish by far that evening was the green goddess salad, which I ordered again this Saturday and probably will order again and again and again. It’s reason enough to go to SR24. What’s so great about this salad is that it’s a salad I’ve never seen before. I eat a lot of salads, and though there’s often variations in salads, most are similar to others I’ve had (like a salad featuring cheese, fruit, and nuts), but this salad was entirely different. The dressing is yogurt based, and the vegetables included broccoli, snap peas, turnips, asparagus, and potatoes. Yes, cooked but cold potatoes in a salad, which was strange but delicious.

The fries and tomato soup with grilled cheese were tasty, but not memorable. I prefer Mua’s version of the tomato soup with grilled cheese, though I was taken by the presentation at SR24. The pizza was tasty too but odd. It actually tasted better as leftovers the next day.

This Saturday, we brought my fiance’s parents and ordered a ridiculous amount of food, paired with two bottles of wine and quite a bit of laughter. Some of the highlights of our meal were the artichoke toasts, mussel chowder, raviolo, and, of course, the green goddess salad:

The artichoke toasts are another dish worth going back for again and again. The bread was perfectly toasted, soft enough to chew but still a bit crispy, and the artichoke hearts and peas on the top were incredible. Though I didn’t taste the mussel chowder, it smelled delicious and apparently tasted delicious as well, as every last drop was eaten. The raviolo had a shallot filling, which was very interesting, and was topped with peas and browned butter. And then there was dessert. Unfortunately, it looked so tasty that we devoured it before I was able to get a good shot. This is the aftermath:

My favorite of the three deserts was the rhubarb pie, served with whipped cream and strawberries. I love rhubarb and it was great to taste it on its own, since often there’s strawberry in rhubarb pies and the rhubarb doesn’t shine quite as much. The donuts with coffee sauce, which reminded us more of beignets than donuts, were also a hit, as was the trio of mini pies (banana, key lime, and lemon meringue).

Despite the overall deliciousness of our meal, there were a couple of low points. The potato leek soup was inedible. I made it past the first sip, but not much further. It was incredibly sour, as if a whole lemon had been squeezed into it, and it had few other flavors. Potato leek soup is a very easy soup to make so I’m not sure what went wrong in the kitchen, but until they figure it out, whatever you do, don’t order it!

The other problem with the menu is that it is deceptive for vegetarians. At the very bottom of the menu in tiny lettering, it says to ask the waiter about options if you’re a vegetarian. I saw this and asked, thinking, that as this usually means, there would be a vegetarian special that wasn’t listed on the menu.

Wrong.

What it meant was that many of the items on the menu that appeared vegetarian really weren’t. And since the menu opts for no descriptions, just titles, there’s no way to determine which ones actually are vegetarian unless you ask about every single item. I tried ordering a side dish that featured mushrooms – sorry, can’t remember anything else – but unfortunately, it was not vegetarian. The mac & cheese isn’t vegetarian either, since it’s made with chicken broth, which seems bizarre to me. And the inedible potato leek soup generally isn’t vegetarian, since it has caviar on top (maybe the caviar makes it edible?). So if you’re a vegetarian, you should ask about every item you order. Hopefully at some point they’ll figure out a way to mark vegetarian items so vegetarians won’t have to go through this ordeal every time.

My last complaint about SR24 is that they don’t have a website – they only have a Facebook page! I’m not sure why they think a Facebook page is a replacement, but it’s not. Websites aren’t expensive and don’t need to be fancy, but they’re important and worth the small amount of trouble.

Complaints aside, SR24 has already made it into my regular restaurant rotation and is sure to stay there, at least as long as I’m able to get a table without planning ahead. And I’m hopeful that as the restaurant ages, they’ll work out their menu kinks and it will become another Temescal culinary destination.

4 Responses to “SR24”

  1. The Inadvertent Gardener April 27, 2010 at 11:08 am #

    Penelope has the same stupid Facebook-page-only thing going on — it drives me inordinate amounts of crazy. Come on, restaurants…it’s not hard to just throw up even a WordPress site these days!

    And bummer about the tricky going for vegetarians — that’s really bizarre. I cannot imagine how one would use chicken broth in mac and cheese, unless they’re using it in the cheese sauce instead of milk? But I can’t figure out why they would do that…

    Odd. Anyway, thanks for the write-up, and good to know about this place.

  2. Farrah April 27, 2010 at 11:11 am #

    I’m annoyed to hear that once again, a nice restaurant that has obviously given a lot of thought to details is treating vegetarians as an afterthought. Although we aren’t going to be the majority of a restaurant’s patrons, we do like to feel welcome and considered. And unless absolutely forced to, I will not return to a restaurant where the only option is a measly side dish or one item that may not be what I feel like eating while my friends dine on a variety of delicious, yet meaty, dishes.

    Sorry about the rant Becks. The restaurant sounds lovely and the food looks yummy. This is just a pet peeve of mine. And we’re in the Bay, there are so many vegetarian or semi-veg people here. I just don’t get this. Thanks for commenting on the veg issue with the menu.

    • Becks April 27, 2010 at 11:34 am #

      Yeah, it’s annoying, but I’ve gotten used to it. SR24 actually does have quite a few truly vegetarian items on its menu so that’s not the problem. They just should label the non-veg but seemingly veg items in some way.

  3. Jame-Ane Ervin May 3, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    I went a few weeks ago. We has some really yummy halibut, churros, crab cakes and the chocolate cake. All very tasty. My friend also picked up take out spaghetti and meatballs. It was crappy ..small portions and little taste. All in all a cute spot and I hope they work out the kinks soon.🙂

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