What to Eat at the Twitter Building's Fancy New Food Hall
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Yesterday was the grand opening of The Market (1355 Market St.), a huge food emporium on the ground floor of the Twitter building. It’s open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and attempting to cover all the food and beverage cravings that crop up during those hours.
Based on a few hours of tasting around The Market on its first day, there’s one stop here that’s already particularly worthwhile as a destination, which is the sushi and oyster bar. Don’t look for Americanized rolls here at this Tokyo-style bar; you can find spicy tuna rolls, California rolls and bento boxes in the refrigerated case across the way starting at $8. But it is a pretty exquisite stop for sashimi à la carte or in combos that run $24-28 for nine pieces and up.
I had a very fresh sashimi nigiri combo and enjoyed a taste of kenchin-jiru, a beautiful vegetarian soup with tofu, carrot, taro root, purple yam, radish, burdock and mushrooms. A sweet Kumamoto oyster from Washington also hit the spot, but at $3.50 each this isn’t going to become your happy hour oyster shooter joint. That’s okay; fine sushi enthusiasts will likely be quite interested in what they’re doing here.
Most of the business here outside of the sushi bar is not set up for you to stay there and eat, but there is some seating in the front in the cafe, which serves coffee and pastries. I dragged a margherita pizza ($13) over there and was underwhelmed with the first slice; it improved markedly after taking it home and eating it cold, which is kind of funny. I expect they’ll improve in the coming days — some other pies I saw coming out of the oven looked much better than mine.
Nuubia, a confectioner out of Pleasanton, has a nice little shop inside for chocolates, ice cream, macarons and specialty drinks. They didn’t have their full capabilities to make all the drinks yesterday, but a hot dulce de leche drink with cinnamon sounds like something to try in the future, as does their line of offbeat Nutella-style spreads including pineapple hazelnut. For now, check out the cashew chocolate candy, which has a roasted cashew praline inside, and the basil calamansi bon bon, fragrant with the orangey-limey citrus from the Philippines.
For some reason, they didn’t have the salad bar ready in time for opening day, but there are a few islands set up so hopefully it’ll be decent. There isn’t much in the way of pre-packaged salads on the shelves as of yet, so this is sorely needed. The shelves have lots of great local products in pretty much every food category, including quite a few that don’t have a lot of retail partners around town. This can be murder if you like to impulse buy things that are new to you; I ended up with a jar of “hella hot” sauce from Daly City and some carrot cake butter from the Castro. Necessities, you understand.
Overall, it’s expensive, which will naturally be a barrier and/or a turn-off for a lot of people; it takes a robust budget to consistently eat $12 sandwiches. But it’s also bringing some quality choices to an area that doesn’t have a lot of healthy food, let alone organic options. And it’s great to see so many fledgling local brands get premium placement here.
There are some highlights still to come at The Market. Azalina’s Malaysian will open inside on Feb.2 — if you haven’t tried her food at Off The Grid, you’re in for a treat — and a Blue Bottle Coffee should be in place by March. Two more outposts of The Market are planned in Nob Hill and Rincon Hill later this year.