For years, San Franciscans have flocked to Outerlands for California comfort food that comes in the form of Dutch pancakes, gooey cast-iron grilled cheese sandwiches, and that real neighborhood San Francisco vibe. Originally opened by Dave Muller and his wife Lana Porcello, the duo recently passed the baton to new owner Riley Bartlett in October.
Bartlett is born and raised in San Francisco, and prior to coming to Outerlands, he worked front-of-house at places like Piccino, Spruce, and the Delfina Restaurant Group. He’s largely kept the restaurant the same since taking over, but also reintroduced dinner service, for which you now reserve on Resy.
Here’s what you should know about the stellar dinner menu.
Pain Au Levain
“The bread and the butter are essential. It’s the backbone,” says Bartlett. “I still think it’s one of the best breads in the city — it’s so good.”
The bread was developed by Dave Muller, who was surf buddies with Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery. When Robertson was doing the Tartine book, he asked Muller to be a test baker, and Muller developed his own bread based off it. “It’s tangier and more acidic, and has gone its own way,” says Bartlett. The butter recipe was developed by the talented chef Brett Michael Cooper, an Outerlands alum. It’s light and sweet and goes perfectly with the sourdough.
Chicken Bone Broth
Warm soup in the Outer Sunset on a chilly night? Doesn’t get much better than that. There’s always a bone broth of some sorts on the menu. Right now, there’s a chicken ginger lemon version that’s a savory riff on the warm lemon ginger apple cider served during brunch. It’s garnished with chives and finished with a touch of chile oil and served in a mug. “It’s meant to be an Outerlands hug to get you going and ready for the meal,” says Bartlett.
The burger is only available Thursday and Friday night.They’re sourcing high quality beef from Stemple Creek out of Tomales, and are doing 1/3-pound patties, cooked medium rare. It’s served on a housemade potato bun (made fresh daily), which is then seared on the plancha until toasted. The bun is slathered with housemade aioli and Dijon mustard, topped with caramelized onions, a melty slice of gruyere, and shredded lettuce for that fresh crunch. Crispy bacon, creamy Brokaw avocados, and a fried egg are all optional toppings.
The burger comes with a side of housemade pickles and crispy French fries, like all great burgers should.
The roast chicken is served with levain croutons tossed in chicken fat along with a chicory fennel salad and is finished with a fried caper shallot vinaigrette.
“It’s our riff on Zuni,” says Bartlett. “We’re trying to showcase the bread.” Organic chicken is wet-brined for 48 hour in herbs and a touch of honey, which helps with the color. The chicory blend comes from Coney Line Harvest in Sonoma, and the vinaigrette’s acid helps balance the dish’s richness. The dish has been on the menu since they reopened dinner service, and doesn’t appear to be coming off the menu anytime soon, according to Bartlett.
Chocolate Sourdough Cake
Save room for dessert. The chocolate sourdough cake was developed by former pastry chef Marisa Williams, who worked at Tartine and Mister Jiu’s. The cake marries 72% dark chocolate from Valrhona and Outerlands’s sourdough levain, which makes it moist and spongey. A round slice of cake is topped with whipped crème fraiche and caramel sauce, but that component changes seasonally. “You’ll probably see rhubarb soon,” says Bartlett. “Moving into the summer you’ll sees stone fruit on there.” The cake is finished with a black sesame oat crumble for a crunchy textural contrast to the bouncy chocolate cake.
Omar Mamoon is a San Francisco-based writer & cookie dough professional. Find him at @ommmar.