Kuleto, who has designed more than 100 restaurants - including San Francisco's Boulevard, Farallon and Jardiniere - focuses on every detail, such as the massive pipes that looked chipped but were specially manufactured for the restaurant, and the huge rusted-metal fireplace that completes the industrial feel of this 120-seat interior. The restaurant also includes a handsome 35-seat lounge on the mezzanine, an outdoor space overlooking the waterfront for 65 and a private room for 60.
At Epic, Kuleto is trying to echo the past and form a relationship between it and Waterbar a few yards south. (Waterbar opened at the same time; I'll review it next week.) It's his interpretation of how the water pump station might have helped save the city during the 1906 earthquake, while Waterbar, with its two circular 1,500-gallon floor-to-ceiling fish tanks, would have been the "distribution center."
The staff can explain all this, but it might have been nicer to have a cleaner look and let the scenic attributes carry the design. To see the moon ascend over the Bay Bridge while sitting at one of the crystal-set tables with comfortable leather chairs makes everything else seem like distracting window dressing.