The last time I was in ~FARALLON~, it was for a big vendor lunch, back in my advertising days. Three hours, icy conical towers laden with fruits de mer, magnums of Veuve, yeah, it was a good time. Blurry. Ahhh, the nineties.
Farallon has installed a new oyster bar in the front of the restaurant, and I have to say, it was fun to return to the "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Goes Glam" theatrical vibe of the place. $37 entrées are one thing (and not necessarily my thing), but sitting at the bar, you will find dishes that are more in the $15 range, so your bill won't make you totally seasick.
Tried a sparkling fresh Nantucket Bay scallop ceviche ($15) served charmingly on the scallop's deep purple shell--although the lobster claws were also tempting ($16). The bread service includes cheesy breadsticks and butter topped with Hawaiian sea salt, thankyouverymuch. Oh, and let's just talk about the super-cute shuckers, shall we? Basically, the oyster bar is relatively easy on the eyes, and the pocketbook.
Oysters are $2.50 each, and include some harder-to-find little buggers, like the rare Olympias (I've only seen them at Foreign Cinema before), plus some Chesapeake Bay Yorks and Stingrays (from the Rappahannock River bottom in Virginia, the oldest oyster bed in the U.S.)--sometimes it's good to take a break from my treasured Hog Island Sweetwaters. Difficult, but necessary.
I'm not a fan of Tabasco on my bivalves (that is not meant to sound dirty but oh my god that is just wrong) but anyway, they have some tangy homemade hot sauce that Jan Birnbaum and Douglas Bernstein (a sous from Texas) whipped up as a Christmas gift from the kitchen a few years back. Personally, what I thought paired perfectly with the oysters was the refreshing Mariner martini ($10) with black peppercorn-infused vodka, Manzanilla dry sherry, and a cucumber slice. Nice work. A couple of those and you can become a drunk and most likely surly sailor.
It would be a fun spot to meet up with a friend after work or a day of shopping--you can debate how much drawn butter is appropriate to pour on the luxe Maine lobster roll ($18) that actually comes on a round of brioche, or take patient turns dunking your frites in the piping hot Staub cocotte filled with huge plump mussels and smoky house-made chorizo ($15).
Would also be an easy "getting to know you" initial date spot. (Points for the flattering lighting and swanky vibe.) Although I wouldn't come here to pick someone up--unless tourists are your thing. Note that the oyster bar opens half an hour before dinner service, so you can slip in there early, and you can actually order off the dinner menu at the bar if you so desire (or if your date is going that well).
Farallon (Oyster Bar)
450 Post St.
Cross: Powell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102