perks for your palate.


The Burger du Nord at Cafe du Nord


Deviled Egg at Octavia (Photo credit: Marcia Gagliardi)

Eat This Now: 7 must-try dishes in SF right now

No matter the season, San Francisco’s booming food scene guarantees you can always find new combinations of flavors from the around the world coming together under one roof, or even in one dish. Speaking of dishes, here are some of our current faves—from spicy deviled eggs to hearty beef chili—that you’ll want to get your hands on right now.

Octavia introduces you to the devil you don’t know
No, this isn’t your typical deviled egg with a piped-in mustardy yolk; chef-owner Melissa Perello has created something much more diabolical. A lightly brined and poached egg is topped with a hearty flurry of their devil spice blend (which contains earthy Marash pepper), and rests on top of a base of piquant Fresno chile relish. Release the lava of creamy yellow-orange Eatwell egg yolk from within, and make sure you have a piece of Josey Baker’s country bread at the ready.

Secretly sophisticated salmon at Lord Stanley
This seemingly simple salmon dish is actually anything but. At this chic newcomer to Polk Street, chefs Carrie and Rupert Blease marinate the salmon with lemon and dill, lightly cold smoke it, and then confit it (ditto the potatoes). It’s served with silky beurre blanc and sorrel, for a lemony and quite perfect counterpoint. The texture of the salmon is almost custardy, with a simultaneous depth and purity of flavor, making it a very sensual—not to mention beautiful—dish.

B on the Go serves a Cubano worth going out of your way for
It’s tough to find a good Cubano in SF, but leave it to B. Patisserie’s Belinda Leong and Michel Suas to engineer an excellent one for us at their latest casual lunchtime outpost. The house-made torta roll is stuffed with juicy roasted pork, ham, and Swiss cheese. The mayo brings it all together, while plenty of bright mustard and pickles cut the richness. And now for the crucial part: They’re sure to let it sit in the sandwich press long enough to get it all gooey and melty.

Hold the beans—here’s the beef: chili at Old Bus Tavern
High on flavor, this is one meaty chili—with no pesky beans to get in the way. Slow-cooked, dry-aged chuck from Marin Sun Farms marries a variety of dried and fresh chiles, with notes of cumin, coriander, and garlic. The flavor is deep and satisfying, like a dream stew. It comes garnished with fresh poblano, dry oregano, cotija cheese, red onion, lime juice, and ginger oil for extra layers of flavor. Break off pieces of the accompanying tostada to add a little crunch.

The Burger du Nord rises above the competition
Sure, everyone has a burger on the menu these days, but one bite of chef Thomas McNaughton’s Burger du Nord at the newly renovated Cafe du Nord and you realize this one stands out in the fray. The flavorful and juicy patty comes out a beautiful medium rare, seasoned perfectly, with melty, sharp cheddar cheese. Lettuce, pickles, yes. Secret sauce, check. And you can order it until 1:15 a.m.

Get the last Laffa at Middle’terranea/MINA Test Kitchen, before time runs out
You only have until October 24 to hustle over to the MINA Test Kitchen and experience the pop-up’s inspired Middle Eastern-Mediterranean menu before it switches to another concept. One of the best courses Adam Sobel and Michael Mina have dreamt up this round is the warm laffa (flatbread) that you hold like a taco. At one time it was served with za’atar-cured salmon, red onion lebneh, shaved Chioggia beet, and zucchini chips inside; now it’s topped with Berbere-spiced ahi tuna, baba ghannoush, crispy spring onions, and pickled hot peppers. Expect extreme deliciousness.

Cheesy and proud of it—Petit Crenn’s grilled cauliflower gratin
The multi-course prix-fixe meal at Dominique Crenn’s new Hayes Valley restaurant is full of surprises. Among the appealing family-style dishes, an undeniable crowd pleaser is the grilled cauliflower gratin with Mornay sauce, a blistered bonanza topped with Espelette and smoked breadcrumbs. Make sure you have some bread on your table to sop up the cheesy remnants in the bowl.

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