As a long-time fan of "Top Chef," I was really excited to try Tom Colicchio's fast-casual restaurant. Sadly, I came away with the impression that I could have walked one block in any direction and had a better lunch.
We should have suspected something when we noticed that the restaurant was mostly empty...an empty restaurant at noon in trendy SOMA on a sunny Saturday is definitely a red flag (and, in fact, when we left, we noticed that other eateries in the area were overflowing with customers).
As a vegetarian, I'm accustomed to not having a lot of choices on restaurant menus, but 'wichcraft's vegetarian selections are even sparser than most: basically, we had a choice of three sandwiches (two of which were PB&J and grilled cheese), one salad, and one soup. My husband and I decided to go for the most interesting-sounding sandwich choice: chopped chickpeas with roasted red peppers and arugula (rocket). We also got a bowl of the cheddar-potato soup to share. Our 19-year-old daughter, still a kid at heart, got the PB&J.
My husband and I both found our sandwiches to be extremely disappointing. For one thing, the bread was very dry, and was cut way too thick for the amount of filling on the sandwich. As someone accustomed to eating sandwiches on San Francisco's wonderfully assertive sourdough bread, we also found the bread a bit on the bland side.
The primary flavors detectable in the sandwich filling were salt and lemon. In fact, mine was so salty, I couldn't finish the sandwich (and I'm usually the person who ADDS salt to everything!). I really couldn't detect the roasted peppers or arugula unless I pulled them out and ate them alone, after sucking most of the salty/sour dressing off of them.
My husband also found the filling to be too oily for his tastes. It almost seemed that they were trying to compensate for not knowing how to deal with vegetarian ingredients by using a heavy hand with the oil and salt...very sad, when you consider just how flavorful these ingredients can be!
The soup was OK. It also had a slightly sour edge (I think it was made with sour cream), which I didn't mind, but my husband found off-putting. I also found it odd that, even though it was served in a meal-sized bowl (there was no option of just getting a cup of soup), it really wasn't a "meal" soup...there were no chunks of potato or other vegetables in it at all. I don't mind a bisque for an appetizer, but I'd have been terribly disappointed if I'd ordered the soup expecting to make a meal of it.
Our daughter did enjoy her PB&J. I had a taste of it, and again, the best I could say was "it's OK." As with our sandwiches, there was way more bread than the amount of filling called for (in fact, this sandwich had an extra slice of bread between the peanut butter and the jam...kind of like the third bun on a Big Mac!).
Another disappointment was the drinks selection. There are no fountain drinks at all. If you want a soft drink, you have to choose from a refrigerated case of juices, iced teas, and bottled waters (I ended up with a very overpriced bottle of Arrowhead sparkling water, which I could have gotten much more cheaply at a nearby Walgreen's). Looking at the counter, it would seem that wine was available, but there was no one staffing that part of the counter, and the menu didn't mention wine as an option.
In sum, in a city overflowing with outstanding restaurant choices, ranging from tiny ethnic "finds" to five-star cuisine, 'wichcraft is a real disappointment. If you're looking for a good sandwich in the city, you'd do better to go to one of the many Boudin's or La Boulanger locations. We won't be back.