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SF eat this now

Virginia Miller

Call it an occupational hazard, but every now and then we come across a few dishes so amazingly off the charts, that we can't help but share. This is not about hot new spots. We don't care if the place and the dish has been around "forever" or if it's the new kid on the block. All we're talking about here is food you should eat now...

Sourdough bread pudding at Rich Table
Sourdough bread pudding steals the show here. Swipe a few chunks of milky sourdough through tart pomelo curd, then scoop up fresh pomelo wedges and basil with crispy pistachio tuile. It’s garden fresh, creamy satisfaction in one bowl.

Sake-braised pork belly at Hi Lo BBQ
It’s hard to go wrong with Chef Ryan Ostler’s appropriately fatty brisket and barbecue goodness at brand new ‘que temple, Hi Lo. The big score here is the smoked pork belly. This isn’t your typical pork belly—rolled up roulade-like, each belly cut is braised in sake for intense tenderness and glazed in sweet-salty Japanese tare sauce, and is best washed down with a refreshing, spicy Jerk Mary.

Kimchi yuba with smoked egg "bottarga" at State Bird Provisions
Talk about a flavor explosion. You ready for this dish? It comes with silky and rich ribbons of yuba—a perfect foil for the house-made kimchi—and is topped with a shaving of smoked egg. Boom.

Casoncelli at Ristobar
The house-made, stuffed casoncelli is not to be missed. This style of plumped, pinched pillows of pastas, from chef de cuisine Michele Bilotti’s hometown region of Lombardy, are stuffed with a meaty medley of veal, prosciutto crudo, and pork tenderloin, and then anointed with sage butter and cheese, and have meaty little bits of pancetta on the side. Decadent and crazy delicious.

Cubano sandwich at Cana
You may have had the classic Cuban sandwich before, but the Cubano in Cana’s sunny new Mission space is an exceptional version, layered with slow-roasted pork, Black Forest ham, dill pickles, Swiss cheese, and mustard on pressed Cuban bread. Recommended with a rum flight and a shot of fresh sugar cane juice pressed on premises.

Puntarelle at SPQR
Think Caesar salad 2.0, made with chopped puntarelle, marinated anchovy, thinly sliced radish, quarters of hard-boiled egg, and—here’s where the salad gets molecular—showered with a crumble made from fried guinea hen skin (and dextrose). Insanely good.

Peking Duck scones at Delise
Chinese New Year ushers in many local treats, not the least of which is the return of the Leungs’ signature, dreamy Peking duck scones: biscuit-like, buttery, laced with green onions, hoison sauce, and meaty duck notes.

Salade Lyonnaise at Chambers
This Lyonnaise salad is the bomb: grapefruit wedges, pork biscotti, lardons (thin strips of pork fat), and candied pomelo surround a sous-vide egg atop frisée. The dish is as visually striking as it is good, with all of the tastes perfectly weaving deliciously together.
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