West Coast Ingredients with East Coast Finish

By Jarrod Shappell

There are strong points of connection between New York and San Francisco. Our beautiful parks, walkable streets, and love for the arts to name a few. One thing that we do not have in common is our style of food. A new Hayes Valley restaurant is trying to change that.

The new Dobbs Ferry Restaurant, located on Hayes and Gough, is making a self-described attempt at “West Coast food and East Coast style with an ‘old world’ feel.” This description brings to mind the Beach Boys sipping martinis while eating at Katz’s Deli. Suffice it to say that Dobbs Ferry is doing a much better job at bringing these two worlds together.

Upon entering the building the lounge greets you with exposed brick and candle lit, dark wood tables. Just a few steps past the lounge reveals an entire dining room with seating flexible enough to seat your next large reservation. Settling down in the lounge, I found the cocktail list to be unpretentious and straightforward. I ordered the Humdinger and enjoyed the easy to drink cardamom taste.

Being quite hungry we began with the pizza frites. The crunchy flat bread was served on top of a marinara sauce that reminded me of my childhood. Conversely we ordered the fried pumpkin dish consisting of gourd, battered and fried, stacked on top of a bed of frisèe, goat cheese, and cinnamon honey.  These appetizers showed the commitment to seasonal Bay Area ingredients as well as the nostalgic flavors of the East Coast.

For entrees we ordered the pizza and the flank steak (which can be ordered “family style”). The pepper and sausage pizza’s thin crust was perfectly charred on the bottom and gave my pallet quite a kick. The steak was perfectly cooked, sliced thin and was served with a potato gratin. This gratin is more than a side dish! Its rich flavor and delicate texture made me want to order an entire plate of it during my next visit. I will also be sure to visit again so that I can try the East Coast inspired veal marsala and sturgeon.

Dobbs Ferry is a great team effort. Executive Chef Mike Yakura has accomplished the difficult task of creating a menu that is both accessible and refined. Owners Scott Broccoli and Danny Sterling (who hail from the town of Dobbs Ferry located in Westchester County, NY) have done an excellent job with the space and with the staff. Our server was attentive throughout the evening and made a wonderful suggestion that we end with a beignet dessert. The pillowy dough is served with caramelized apples and house made soft serve ice cream. I am not sure which Coast this dessert belongs to, but I hope it doesn’t leave ours.