First Bite: Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen

The old Ponzu Restaurant was ousted on the corner of O’Farrell and Taylor Streets, and fittingly Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen has taken it’s place. With a complete remodel and redesign, the new Kimpton Restaurant opening today aims to take on hungry guests (and locals alike) with their “gastro-pub” theme. A little bit of some good ‘ole San Francisco history: Jasper’s Corner got its name from Jasper O’Farrell, who was the first surveyor in San Francisco and designed the layout of today’s Market Street. He was instrumental in naming streets (naturally “O’Farrell”) and even improved the 1839 street map. Way to go Jasper!

On to the restaurant. I never realized how big the space was when it was Ponzu, but boy do they have a nice, long bar to work with now! And by “they” I mean Bar Director and Bar Star Kevin Diedrich and his crew, formerly of The Burritt Room, are bringin’ the proper cocktail-expertise over to this watering hole. Right as you pass through the front door, you are greeted by a portrait of Jasper O”Farrell himself. As you explore the restaurant further, you’ll find some top-notch artwork.

On to the food. Executive Chef Adam Carpenter helms the kitchen, dishing out tavern-inspired fare. The back of the beer-centric menu features a full selection of beers on draught, which you can order in 1/2 or full serving sizes, as well as canned and bottled beers. Espelette was used to kick up the chick peas ($4) and the spicy nuts ($4) from the “Snacks” section. We also tried the warm olives ($5) in garlic, oil and lemon zest, ham and cheese fritters ($6), and the rillette of pork confit ($6). All of these dishes would be great enjoyed at the bar with a nice cold one!

There was a large array of “First Bites” which sound mighty tasty, including salt & pepper calamari ($9), warm soft pretzel with smoked gouda and cheddar fondue ($4/$8), mussels with chorizo ($11) and a local catch crudo ($13). On this particular night, our table skipped this section moved on to the “Sandwiches”. We shared the pork sandwich made with kurobuta pork roast, spicy coppa, pickles, mustard and swiss cheese ($13), the grilled cheese with tomato and onion relish, whole wheat sourdough, roasted garlic and a cow’s cheese ($7; you can add pork belly for an additional $4), and the J Burger with griddled Wagyu beef, English blue cheese, bacon onion marmalade and a frisee salad on a baguette bun ($15). All sandwiches come with slaw and pickles and you have the option to add fries or a mixed green salad for an additional $2. If you are in for a full dinner, check out the “Hot Plates”, which include fish n’ chips ($13/$21), bangers n’ mash ($16), shepherd’s pie ($16), grilled salmon ($20), pressed 1/2 chicken ($17) and steak frites ($18).

As you can tell, all prices are pretty reasonable and the food was absolutely delicious — and some much needed comfort food. The service was extra attentive, and our server was very friendly and happy to answer any (and all) questions we had. I loved that the staff each wore their own style of plaid shirts; it was a nice flair and nicely matched the theme of the restaurant.

And without further adieu…food photos below:

Rillette of Pork Confit

Ham and Cheese Fritters

Espelette Chick Peas

Warm Olives w/Citrus

Pork Sandwich

The J Burger..mmmhmmm

Grilled Cheese

Table-wise, there were 3 big banquettes right next to the window — so if you have the opportunity to nab one of those for dinner, you should. Also, they’ve got a nice semi-private table in back which would be perfect for larger groups. To me, this seemed like it would be a great restaurant for an after-work beer at the bar, snacks with friends or even a casual dinner with co-workers!

Sometimes you  just need a face-lift to breathe new life into a restaurant space — and this one was seamless. Enjoy!

Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen. 401 Taylor Street. 415.775.7979

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