The much-anticipated opening of TBD, from the team behind AQ Restaurant, is finally here. Located just a stone's throw from its sister restaurant, TBD brings a fresh approach to the mid-Market neighborhood on Mission Street: Everything is cooked exclusively with fire.
The dishes, prepared by Chef Mark Liberman, are meat-heavy, emphasizing the open-fire and grilling techniques, arranged into categories like "Raw," "Smoked," and "Plancha." Favorites include the Hunter's Stew with rabbit oloroso and whey from the "Hearth and Embers" section, and the aged beef sirloin with Brussels kraut and pastrami from the "Grill." The "Sweet" group offers a weekly flavor of soft-serve ice cream and s'mores with house-made marshmallows, chicory, and chocolate. For drinks, the bar offers more than twenty beers on tap, a choice variety of wines and sherry and low-alcohol cocktails called loopholes, until the bar gets its liquor license.
Using no gas or electric heating, TBD's centerpiece is a custom-built hearth and wood-fire grill, alive with fiery logs and the smell of a great barbeque. All fifty-some seats of the restaurant, including bar seating, a communal table and a chef's counter, allow views of the open kitchen and hearth, as if diners are ensconced around a campfire. The woodsy feel of the restaurant is enhanced by the camping gear fixtures, including bright red collections of Dietz Lanterns hanging from the ceiling, vintage ice chests, and plaid thermoses. The décor includes outdoorsy ornaments like antlers, taxidermy and raw wood furniture. Owner of both AQ and TBD Matt Semmelhack says, "Since the menu focuses on primal means of cooking, we wanted the interior to bring together some of the elements we associate with camping and outdoor sport, creating a sense of gathering and community in a place that is both warm and sophisticated."
The up-and-coming mid-Market neighborhood welcomes another restaurant to celebrate the chilly weather this season. Will S.F. warm up to this homey but refined take on fire-cooked food? It's TBD.
1077 Mission St. SF, 94105