SF Eat This Now

Amy Sherman

Oven-roasted baby carrots at Fog City
The star power of vegetables continues, this time with carrots. Fog City uses a wood-fired oven to bring out the sweetness in this dish, which is then served with a rich and creamy black garlic mole, and accented by just a sprinkling of almonds and briny cotija cheese.

Anchovy crostino at La Nebbia
Ready to embrace the weird? How about a crostino topped with truffle butter, anchovy, and 77 percent bitter chocolate microplaned all over the plate? It sounds utterly bizarre and borderline awful, but it’s quite amazing—a fun experiment in flavor (and fats). It goes to show you never know how something will come together.

Mushroom porridge at Alta CA
Porridge? For dinner? Yes indeed. This savory cracked wheat number is very risotto-like, with tremendous depth of flavor (thanks, Pecorino), and topped with tender hen of the woods mushrooms and sliced baby turnips. Gruel it is not. An absolutely fantastic and homey dish—that it is.

Slice of Frankie’s pizza at Presidio Pizza
This new pizza shop in the space of the former Frankie’s Bohemian Café (hence the “Frankie’s” moniker, although the owner’s name is Frank too) is rocking some great New York-style pies and slices. The Frankie’s slice tends to sell out quickly, and comes with sausage, rapini, garlic, mozz, onions, and a little kick from cherry peppers. The crust is golden and crisp-chewy, a slice of badassery for only $4.

Fried chicken and waffles at Victory Hall & Parlor
Lovers of fried chicken will be blown away with the version here (thanks to fry bosses Little Skillet, who run the kitchen), served all day during weekend brunch. Go for the three-piece option with fluffy waffles—the chicken comes out piping hot and juicy, its mahogany coating perfectly seasoned. The trinity o’ flava with the waffles and syrup make it all a glorious thing.

Crispy short rib at Fang
At Fang the tender braised short rib, lightly fried so it’s crisp on the surface yet still meltingly tender inside, is a classic. Right now it’s served with a perfectly fresh salad of bok choy that positively tingles. It’s bright and crunchy yet mellowed with just a hint of sesame oil.

Pork belly and crispy pig’s ear at Stones Throw
Pork belly has not jumped the shark—witness this inventive presentation, with thin slivers of pig ear, avocado, citrus, Moresque spice, and kale. It’s a little bit of everything, a satisfying combination of succulent, creamy, crunchy, tangy, and earthy. This dish shows a chef who cooks with skill and confidence.

Formanova beet salad at Radius
If beet salad makes you think, “been there, done that,” then you need to try the version at Radius. Small Scandinavian beets are composed with a thin crackle of homemade rye knäckebröd, house-made goat’s yogurt, walnuts, vinaigrette, dill, and sorrel. It’s like a bracing trip to Norway for your mouth.

We doubled up on two dishes at the same restaurant because we couldn't help ourselves…

Artichoke, pickled green tomato, garlic, and pine nut at Verbena
From the chef who dazzled at Gather comes a vegetable dish that steals the show. Tender herbal baby artichokes are served with lightly pickled green tomato and pine nuts, along with a swipe of a sweet black garlic sauce. It’s destined to become a classic.

Koji quail at Verbena
You’ve never had quail quite like this: Two plump little birds come stacked (almost inappropriately) after a buttermilk bath of over 12 hours and a shio-koji marinade (umami city). Grilled over robata, their smoky flavor is enhanced from a bed of dirty rice (made with Sonoma grains) that’s studded with chicken livers and mushrooms. You’ll be picking up and nibbling every last morsel off those little leg bones in no time.
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