Executive chefs Mitchell Rosenthal and Steven Rosenthal bring their east coast upbringing to California in the form of traditional American dishes like Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Johnston Family Country Ham. They opened Town Hall on November 6, 2003.
Mitchell Rosenthal discovered his love for cooking while working at Jack Cooper Celebrity Deli in New Jersey. He experimented on the deli’s sandwiches with recipes he found in Paul Prudhomme’s ‘Louisiana Kitchen’ cookbook and received such favorable feedback from customers that he abandoned his career as a photojournalist and became an intern at K. Paul’s. It wasn’t easy however: Mitchell had to call Paul Prudhomme every Friday for six months to receive the position.
In 1994, Mitchell and his brother Steven moved to San Francisco to become executive chefs at Postrio where they met Town Hall’s third owner, Doug Washington. Mitchell has an intense love for classic dishes and may be given credit for keeping Town Hall’s menu familiar. He doesn’t like to stick to one dish however, and enjoys constantly experimenting with many staple dishes. His background in photojournalism aids him in producing eye-catching presentations.
Steven Rosenthal focuses on the precision of each plate and is quick to remind diners that every component of the dish can be eaten together. For example, the red wine ham hock jus that comes with the Sautéed Dayboat Scallops is perfected to be eaten with each component of the meal, from the scallops to the napa cabbage, brussel sprouts and sweet potato puree.
While Mitchell is responsible for many of the dishes overall concepts, Steven takes the restaurant’s budget and operations. He enjoys training new chefs and making the Town Hall kitchen run like a well oiled machine.
The Rosenthal brothers have opened two other San Francisco restaurants since Town Hall: Anchor & Hope and Salt House. Anchor & Hope is a self-described fish house located on 83 Minna Street and Salt House is a self-described tavern located on 545 Mission Street that serves contemporary American cuisine.