Specialty Food Magazine

JAN-FEB 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 110 of 159

New and Notable AQ Seasonal Restaurant & Bar AQ, which translates to As Quoted in res- taurant lingo, is without a doubt the hotspot du jour. Chef-partner Mark Liberman has created an intriguing seasonal menu. Recent offerings included monkfish roasted with hops; lamb tongue with fresh lentils, smoked dates and hibiscus onions; and charred avo- cado, Monterey squid, parsnips, sesame and grapefruit. Cocktails are equally compel- ling with the restaurant's signature mimo- sa featuring fresh-pressed pear and spiced pear nectar. A squash flip includes carpano antica (vermouth), butternut squash and whipped egg. Interestingly, just as the menu will change with the seasons, so too will the décor with tree installations that have changing colored foliage. 1085 Mission St. (between 6th and 7th ); 415.341.9000. $$$ Boxing Room Cajun-Creole is on the menu at the Boxing Room, brought to you from the folks behind Absinthe in Hayes Valley. The chic, high- ceiling room that used to be home to Citizen Cake now offers authentic Bayou dishes pre- pared by Louisiana native Justin Simoneaux. Comfy booths and the sleek zinc bar are equally inviting spots to enjoy fried chicken, etoufee and po' boys. Spicy boiled peanuts and a cold beer from the impressive on-tap offerings are reason enough to visit this hip newcomer. 399 Grove St. (at Gough St.); 415.430.6590. $$$ Cotogna Heath Ceramics tableware, enthusiastic servers and a convivial 50-seat dining room perfectly complement the superb rustic Italian menu at Cotogna. Chef Michael Tusk has expanded his exquisite Quince restaurant with this corner spot (cotogna is quince in Italian), allowing for a more casual experience that won't break the bank. Warm ricotta with pumpkin and sage; sea urchin, jalapeño and cauliflower wood-fired pizza; and quince and pear bread pudding with cardamom crème anglaise are just a few of the mouthwatering offerings at this hotspot. Reservations are tough to get, so call in advance—way in advance. 490 Pacific Ave. (at Montgomery St.); 415.775.8508. $$$ Locanda Craig and Annie Stoll have expanded their empire with their latest venture Locanda (Italian for guesthouse), which celebrates Roman-style fare. An open kitchen allows diners to view the very capable chef Anthony Strong as he and his crew serve up housemade pastas that include such inventive preparations as fusilli with sardines, fennel pollen and cur- rants, rabbit sugo fettucini, and for offal lovers, plenty of intriguing tripe, brains and oxtail options. The wine list offers ample selections from Rome and beyond. 557 Valencia St. (between 16th and 17th Sts.); 415.863.6800. $$$ Nojo American born chef-owner Greg Dunmore (previously at Terra and Ame Restaurant) combines his passion for Japanese cooking and love of local ingredients at his neighbor- hood Nojo (Japanese for farm). His decep- tively simple Izakaya menu is divided into two sections: On a Stick and Not on a Stick. Numerous chicken preparations include breast, shiso and umeboshi, and thigh with green onions, sea salt and lemon. Pork and duck options are available on a stick, while vegetable tempura and a salad of Tokyo turnips and a walnut dressing are served in elegant earthenware (sans sticks). Nojo has as many as 10 different sakes and a number of hearty beers by the glass and bottle. 231 Franklin St. (at Linden St.); 415.896.4587. $$ San Francisco Favorites Delfina It's the straightforward, simply prepared Italian food that continues to draw crowds to this Mission District restaurant. Fresh, seasonal ingredients take center stage in Craig Stoll's soulful dishes, such as ravioli filled with spinach and locally made ricotta, or the grilled calamari served over frisee and warm white beans. If it's pizza you're craving, try Stoll's exceptional thin-crust pies with seasonal toppings. Prices are reasonable for this quality fare. 3621 18th (at Guerrero St.); 415.552.4055. $$ St. Chef Michael Tusk has expanded his exquisite Quince restaurant with the rustic Cotogna. PHOTO COURTESY OF COTOGNA

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