When the Vault opened in the spring of 2019, it was a potent lunch and cocktail scene at the foot of California’s 555 skyscraper in the FiDi (or the old Bank building of America, as this writer’s old man still calls him). Open for less than a year when the pandemic hit, it has gone into crisis with one of the city’s most ambitious outdoor dining setups, surfacing above ground and taking over the whole place for launch the Vault Garden in the summer of 2020. Now the restaurant that started underground, then scratched above the ground, plunges once more and reopens under a different concept. Descend into the Vault Steakhouse, which features a meaty new menu, featuring tomahawk steaks and caviar toddlers.
When it came time to reopen for indoor dining, owner Ryan Cole said the team had to deal with cold hard times that their old crowd of office workers and conventioneers were not coming back, at least not in force, and maybe not anytime soon. âWhat future for the city center? Cole posed for his team. “And the more we thought about it, reopening the safe as it was before just didn’t make sense.”
But diners still crave comfort and night-time hangout destinations, and there’s a noticeable dearth of steakhouses in downtown FiDi. When Alfred’s, SF’s oldest steakhouse, closed for good in 2020, it left a doorman-shaped hole in the neighborhood. Plus, the luxurious space of the Vault, which is already complete with leather benches and private liquor racks, was the perfect setting. âThe space looks like a steakhouse,â says Cole. âIt’s sexy, dark and underground, and literally in a bank safe. And it’s a heartwarming dining experience. You know what you are getting.
The all-new menu, courtesy of chef Ryan Cerizo, features half a dozen different cuts of Kansas Black Angus steak, drowned in bÃ©arnaise or bordelaise. There will be carts rolling around the dining room tossing Caesar salads to the table and other steakhouse classics, such as Parker House rolls and creamed spinach, crab cakes and truffle macaroni and cheese. But that’s not too traditional: the beef fat fried rice arrives sizzling in a stone pot, with an egg yolk nestled in the center, ready to pop and stir. And the âPatato Pave ‘Tots’â are like a fancy tater tot garnished with caviar, crÃ¨me fraÃ®che and chives. Bar vet Nicky Beyries, formerly of Foreign Cinema, shakes up the martinis. Check out this full menu below.
The Vault Garden isn’t going anywhere, so with the Vault Garden upstairs and the Vault Steakhouse downstairs, diners now have two restaurants in a skyscraper. And they’re both part of the Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group, which also includes Trestle and Corridor in San Francisco and the new Mama’s in Oakland. Trestle was in residence in the Vault for six months, but it reopens at his original home in Jackson Square on September 28, bringing back the affordable fix price of $ 39. Mama’s is already in action, similarly doing a fixed price of $ 35, and just received an overwhelming review from the restaurant reviewer at SF Chronicle.
After the steakhouse, the second biggest change for the group will be that Corridor is retiring. Cole says they plan to return this place and reopen it as Madrigal, coming later this winter. Sounds like an apt name for a restaurant so close to the Opera and Symphony, but beyond the name it wouldn’t sing about the details. Stay tuned for updates.
The Vault Steakhouse opens Friday, October 1. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.