Peking duck skin at Eight Tables by George Chen (Photo: Patricia Chang)

 

Kimchi and Fontina Danish at NOON All Day (photo: Marcia Gagliardi)

Eat This Now San Francisco: The Winter Edition

By Marcia Gagliardi

It’s a new year—diners, start your engines, because there’s no shortage of delicious and new things to eat in San Francisco. Here are seven dishes from recently opened places you should definitely add to your hit list. Vroom vroom.

Kimchi and Fontina Danish at NOON All Day
This new all-day offshoot from the Piccino team has a lot of things going for it—a varied and enticing menu from chef Carlo Espinas, outdoor seating, chic style, fried Scotch olives—but they also hired a talented pastry chef in Sarah Hipwell, who is making some very special and creative pastries and baked goods, as well as elegant desserts. If you like a savory breakfast—or are a little peckish in the afternoon and there happens to be one left in the case, lucky you—you’ll want to try the kimchi and Fontina Danish, pictured above. The filling is tangy and lightly spicy and cheesy, and each end of the pastry features a twist of flaky, buttery, laminated dough that will assuredly reveal you’ve been eating something decadent with the crumbs left on your shirt. Just be sure to have them warm it up for optimal enjoyment.
Neighborhood: Dogpatch MAP

Crispy hen of the woods mushrooms at True Laurel
This newly opened bar from the Lazy Bear team features a robust menu of bites built to share over some finely executed cocktails, plus a few more-substantial plates too, like a chicken cutlet and ramen noodle soup. The perfect bar bite (and really, you’re supposed to share) is the crispy hen of the woods mushrooms, battered and lacy little fronds with a dreamy fluffy-crisp texture that you dip into a fancified spin on sour cream and onion dip, here a cloud-like affair made with alliums. Move over French fries, these mushrooms are taking your place.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

East Coast Pie at Casey’s Pizza

East Coast Pie at Casey’s Pizza
Fans of Casey Crynes’s East Coast-meets-Neapolitan pizzas now have an actual brick-and-mortar location they can visit. It’s true: You can sit down and even have a glass of wine or a well-chosen craft beer with your pizza. Crynes offers a variety of specials that will catch your eye, but anyone who has nostalgia for the East Coast (well, except for the weather!) should get the East Coast Pie. It comes with his bright red sauce, a combination of fresh and aged mozzarella, little cups of pepperoni with crisp edges (which he tracked down from Ezzo Sausage Company), a hit of garlic, and fresh basil at the end. It’s a beaut.
Neighborhood: Mission Bay MAP

Bone marrow flan at Gibson
This newcomer in the Hotel Bijou is far from your usual hotel restaurant. Chef Robin Song has crafted an elegant and sophisticated—but still approachable, and mightily tasty—menu, and first-timers should definitely opt for the $85 tasting menu, one of the city’s best deals right now. One of the stars of the lineup is the warm bone marrow flan, as creamy and custardy as a chawanmushi custard, with a grassy note from the tender little leaves of wild nettle, and decadently topped with lobster. There’s also the option to add Périgord truffle to this flavor party.
Neighborhood: Union Square MAP

Coda alla vaccinara at Roma Antica
This casual—but still stylish!—newcomer in the Marina features all kinds of classic Roman dishes (cacio e pepe, amatriciana, saltimbocca), but when it’s wintertime, the one you really want is coda alla vaccinara. This hearty and satisfying dish features oxtails that have been slowly simmered into a luscious and aromatic ragù that clings to the silky house-made pappardelle noodles. Go ahead and mop up every last bite of sauce with some bread—it’s a compliment. Enjoy some grated pecorino on top for a salty hit of umami, and complete this picture of heaven with a glass of Barbera d’alba served by one of the charming owners.
Neighborhood: Marina MAP

Tamales at Over Proof

Chestnut tamal at Over Proof
The fourth and final installment of this quarterly rotating pop-up bar above ABV is in its home stretch: Lágrimas. The concept is an homage to Mexico, and the space feels like a moody and mystic mash-up between a candlelit old church and a mezcaleria. The set menu is structured around multiple courses of cocktails and bites, and the chestnut tamal from chef Collin Hilton is a highlight. This tamal not only has a fun, seasonal flavor that’s earthy and a bit unexpected, but it’s also perfectly executed (moist, tender, light) and steamed just right. And belly warming. Be sure to book your seat before it goes away forever on February 24, 2018.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Peking duck skin at Eight Tables by George Chen
Nestled above China Live is George Chen’s high-end and secluded dining experience, offering a tasting menu ($225) at just eight tables. You’ll experience many courses of si fang cai, or “private chateau cuisine,” but one of the more decadent tastes is a bite of crisp yet delicate, paper-thin Peking duck skin, topped with kaluga caviar and presented over a shrimp chip. The combination of fatty, briny, and crispy, along with a sip of 2011 Louis Roederer rosé Champagne, makes for a pairing you’re sure to remember—and crave.
Neighborhood: Chinatown/North Beach MAP

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