Prospect’s main dining room: booths and banquette seating. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
The bar area (with unique light fixtures).
Black cod with shiso shrimp fritter.
Last week I had a chance to attend a friends and family dinner at the brand-new ~PROSPECT~, the much-awaited project from the Boulevard team (Nancy Oakes, Pam Mazzola, and Kathy King) that opens tonight for dinner in The Infinity building in SoMa. The executive chef is Ravi Kapur, who has been the chef de cuisine at Boulevard, working with Oakes and Mazzola for the past eight years.
Walking into the spacious location, there’s a small lounge/waiting area to the left, and a square bar with seats all around (there are more seats along the window overlooking Folsom Street). Brooke Arthur’s cocktail menu includes 12 drinks, ranging from the lighter to the more spiritous (like The Stallion). The bar is made of a beautiful poured concrete with an antiquated copper finish from Concreteworks, who also did the opposing wall of ribbed concrete tiles that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen—you gotta touch it to believe it’s concrete and not wood. Lovely reclaimed wood floors as well (although the main dining room is carpeted, modulating the noise to a pleasant volume—people are going to love that they can hear their tablemates). There is some communal seating at a taller table, and then the 120-seat dining room extends beyond, with spacious six-person booths, a long banquette that faces the street, custom wrought-iron light fixtures from Augustine Martinez (Kathy King’s husband) of Jefferson Mack Metal, and a contemporary art program. The feeling is clean and modern and chic, while still maintaining warm tones. I liked the space in between the tables, which will make it good for business dining (although I imagine in time more tables will be added). There is also a large half-moon booth near the kitchen that is sure to become the most-requested power table, plus there’s a private dining room in the back of the restaurant. The floor-to-ceiling windows are huge, letting in a lot of light—the evening atmosphere gets cozier as the light dims outside. Brand + Allen Architects designed the space (they specialize in high-end retail clients, like Prada).
The menu is designed to be flexible—you could just stop by the bar for a drink and some smaller “for the table” dishes, like deviled eggs ($7) or the decadent pig trotters ($9) with a lobster salad. There are 10 starters to choose from that can be shared, like my personal fave so far, the black cod ($13) with a shiso-wrapped shrimp fritter, shiitakes, small bites of snap peas, and a snappy red curry. Mains range from $19 for whole wheat crêpes with ricotta, nettles, and roasted toybox mushrooms to $28 for the Wagyu beef with chard, mustard seed jus, smoked king trumpets, and creamed potatoes. They are all beautifully presented, featuring top-notch seasonal ingredients. (You can take a look at this Grub Street slideshow of the menu here.) Desserts from pastry chef Elise Fineberg clock in at $9 and under, or you can opt for to-be-shared items, like ice cream sandwiches, crimson popcorn, and s’mores. We requested but didn’t get a chance to look at wine director Amy Currens’s wine list (she was previously at Luce).
No tablecloths here—but you are going to note some rather large and dramatic plates as your dishes come out; the flatware and smoked glass water glasses feel modern and very choice. While I wouldn’t call the experience casual, it’s definitely meant to be easygoing—a bit like RN74 in its approachable but stylish vibe. Think business casual. Hours are Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm, bar 4pm-close.