It was in Fort Bragg that I first heard about Scoma’s. A couple from even farther north was raving about this San Francisco seafood house.
A year passed before I tried it; I went there for lunch.
I was underwhelmed. The food was San Francisco-okay but nothing more. Since Scoma’s is in the middle of Fisherman’s Wharf, a.k.a. the Tourist Rez, despite those raves from the Mendocino County couple, it was pretty much what I expected.
That was probably 2015. Then, in mid-2019, I had my second Scoma’s lunch. This one blew me away. The homemade clam chowder ($9/12) was filled with fresh clams, rich in milk, heavy with potatoes. The Louis Salad ($28) mixed Dungeness crab and tiny bay shrimp with crunchy-fresh lettuce, ripe tomatoes, a perfectly boiled egg, two colors of beets and more. As for the Torta Setteveli cake ($9), the combination of chocolate cake, hazelnut cream, chocolate mousse and praline crunch tasted as sublime as it sounds. Not a crumb was left on the plate.
Did I remember my 2015 lunch wrong? Had my taste buds morphed? I asked a staffer. “No,” she said, “you got it right. About three-and-a-half years ago, we made major upgrades in our menu, our produce, pretty much our everything.”
“Our everything? Examples, please.”
“Sure. Scoma’s seafood is so fresh because we have our own fishing boat — look out the window, she’s coming in now. The rest of the seafood’s so good because we pay other fishermen top dollar, and they give us first choice. When you first ate here, we got our lettuce from Sysco; today it’s raised by organic farmers. And, we’re now fully compliant with Seafood Watch. And, we keep winning Wine Spectator awards.”
“Okay, I get it. I can taste the difference. And my taste buds thank you.”
Scoma’s Restaurant. 1965 Al Scoma Way, Pier 47, San Francisco; 415 771-4383
Monday-Thursday: 12-9; Friday-Saturday: 11:30-9:30; Sunday: 11:30-9; https://scomas.com