By Kelly Carter
W Hotels are known so much their style, hip factor and cool lounges that it’s a pleasant surprise when the food stars as well as it did during my recent visit to TRACE, the new restaurant inside the W Hotel San Francisco. Then again, the bar is high for cuisine in the City by the Bay so TRACE had to deliver.
Located in the ultra-cool SoMA district, the hotel draws artsy San Franciscans, techies and hipsters as well as those from the finance and fashion worlds. They can dine in style at TRACE, where Executive Chef Paul Piscopo has created an innovative and seasonal menu from locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. Before sitting down in the beautiful dining room, Chef Paul escorted me to the hotel rooftop to proudly show me his beehives. Honey made from the rooftop can be found on some of the dishes, including the chestnut agnolotti and pickled beets.
The menu is divided into Share, Taste, Savor and Sides. I could have stopped at Share with the Pizza Bianca, made with fior di latte mozzarella, lamb sausage and Castelvetrano olives, and the chicken meatballs, highlighted with a tikka masala sauce.
But I carried on, devouring East Coast sea scallops, crispy Berkshire pork belly, brussels sprouts with toasted walnuts and guanciale and slivers of yellowtail, as tasty a dish as it is pretty with kumquat, blood orange and toasted almonds.
You can dine responsibly at TRACE, which also features 200 organic or biodynamic wines from around the world and 100% organic coffee. It doesn’t stop there. The local and sustainable focus is also seen in tabletop vases by Heath Ceramics of Sausalito. The menus were fashioned from repurposed wood by Bay Area-based artisan Luke Bartels, who works primarily with locally salvaged and sustainably harvested hardwoods. Even TRACE’s water tumblers, made by BottleHood, were created from recycled glassware made from wine bottles. The hotel itself is flaunts Silver LEED certification as well.