Doc Ricketts Restaurant Review

November 3, 2014

Doc Ricketts Restaurant Review by Culinary Guide Corinne Sykes

Doc Ricketts restaurant in North Beach offers masterfully prepared dishes highlighting the freshest Northern California flavors while still evoking an old-world, classic feel.  Chef Justin Deering hits the mark with a beautiful and satisfying menu, paired with a carefully curated bar program.

The Place: Doc Ricketts restaurant sits at the edge of the Jackson square historic district and evokes the nostalgic Barbary Coast era, while still evoking a sleek, modern flare.  Paintings of jellyfish, anatomical diagrams, and a portrait of the Doc himself adorn the walls of the newly refurbished historic building (1911).

Crudo appetizer at Doc Ricketts restaurant
Panzanella Salad at Doc Ricketts restaurant in San Francisco

The Dishes:  It’s difficult to choose among the tantalizing appetizers, but the Wild Mushroom Panzanella is a hearty stand-out.  The bacon and shallot vinaigrette balances the earthiness of the mushrooms with the light refreshment of the tossed greens.  A lighter complement to the Panzanella is the Crudo appetizer, lightly dressed with Asian flavors of shiso, pomegranate, and cucumber.  These two would surely have sufficed, but I couldn’t pass up the Buratta appetizer with persimmon, prosciutto, and levain, given my ravenous love of persimmons!  The trio of appetizer were the perfect opening act for the Roasted Chicken entree.  Brazed for over 2 days, this chicken is juicy and delectable, with a mildly bitter broccoli rabe and fingerlings to back it up.   The house-made chicken liver mousse was the cherry on top.

Key ingredients:  Crudo, burrata, persimmon, trumpet mushroom, chicken liver mousse.

Other Menu Musts:  Albacore Tuna Confit appetizer

Little Known Facts:  Ed Ricketts was a well known marine biologist in Monterey early-mid century and hosted writers, artists, musicians, and philosophers evenings at his Lab.  Friend John Steinbeck modeled the character “Doc” in Cannery Row after Ed Ricketts.

Insider Secrets:  Hidden downstairs below Doc Ricketts Restaurant is Doc’s Lab – a performance venue (and bar, small plates) for music, comedy, and literary events.  The basement venue was formerly the legendary The Purple Onion, which hosted and launched such celebrities as Phyllis Diler, Robin Williams, Lenny Bruce, and Richard Pryor.

The Details:  Crudo, Pomegranate, Cucumber, Shiso $13
Burrata, Persimmon, Prosciutto, Levain $14
Wild Mushroom Panzanella, Bacon & Shallot Vinaigrette, Creme Fraiche $12
Roasted Chicken, Liver Toast, Sherry, Fingerlings, Rabe $22

Restaurant Name: Doc Ricketts
Address: 124 Columbus Ave, Sf
Phone:  415-649-6191
Hours:  Sun-Wed 5:30pm-10pm, Thurs-Sat 5:30pm-12:00am