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Sunday, December 25, 2011

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By Emma Krasov, photography by Yuri Krasov

When was the last time your “to go” food contained watercress, rapini, nettles, and other fashionable greens associated with fine dining?
The American Eatery, open less than two weeks ago in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, packs its elegant takeout containers with gourmet staples like Waldorf Salad and Herb Roasted Leg of Lamb at wonderfully reasonable prices.
An offspring of the Prather Ranch Meat Co., the American Eatery is understandably meat-centered.
However, Executive Chef Erica Holland-Toll creates enough vegetarian dishes and adds enough leeks, sprouts, and house-pickled onions to her beefy sandwiches and porky sausages to satisfy the most discriminating tastes.

Winter chills are easily dispelled by hot soups, stews, and chili from her lunch-dinner menu. Braised Beef & Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Sage is light, aromatic, and very satisfactory.

Slow Cooked Pork Stew with Pumpkin, Leeks, & Nettles – a definite winner – is richly flavorful and more substantial an option for a freezing afternoon by the Bay.

Among the cold sandwiches, Rare Roast Beef is a stand-out, spiced up with onion sprouts, pickled red onions, and caper sauce.

Munich Style White Bockwurst takes applause (and usually sells out first) in the sausage category. Mustard sauce and sauerkraut balance it out nicely, especially with a side of Hand-Cut Crispy French Fries.

The American Eatery is the only dining establishment in San Francisco to serve intriguingly flavored Boylan’s gourmet sodas from a fountain.

On the day I stopped by the counter, decorated with locally produced Heath tiles, reclaimed wood from the 1880s barn, and “diamond point” barbed wire from the original Prather Ranch, I ran into Keith J. Morris, the architect of the American Eatery, who also stopped by with some friends and a bunch of kids to pick up Chef Erica’s goodies after skating on the Embarcadero Holiday Rink.
According to the General Manager Harlan Joseph, the takeout restaurant will soon add prepackaged dinners to its menu so the worker bees running to the ferry terminals would be able to pick up a healthy evening meal literally on the go.
Currently, the American Eatery provides breakfast, lunch and dinner to go – Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The American Eatery is located at 1 Ferry Building, shop #33, in San Francisco. Call (415) 391-0420 or visit


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