Categories
cheese restaurant

Presidio Social Club

If you have ever won­dered where, in this city of hip­sters and hip­pies, are the WASPs, look no fur­ther. They're at the Pre­sidio Social Club, a new(ish) restau­rant in the beau­ti­ful­ly ren­o­vat­ed for­mer offi­cers' club in the Pre­sidio. Enter the din­ing room and behold! You're at the coun­try club. Men in blue but­ton downs neat­ly tucked into pressed khakis, women wear­ing pearl ear­rings and head­bands, blonde chil­dren still dressed in their school uni­forms. Nev­er in San Fran­cis­co have I seen so many East Coast-style WASPs in one place. It comes as no sur­prise that gin is fea­tured promi­nent­ly on the cock­tail menu. While their affin­i­ty for gin is well doc­u­ment­ed (see Cheev­er, John), WASPs are not known for their culi­nary sense of adven­ture, and the din­ner menu focus­es on updat­ed com­fort food—a slop­py joe made from Kobe beef brisket, white ched­dar mac and cheese, chick­en pot pie on Tues­days. The food at Pre­sidio Social Club isn't bad. It's not espe­cial­ly great, either. The fried okra, a hard dish to pull off above the Mason-Dixon line, is per­fect, but it feels a lit­tle exot­ic on a menu so fix­at­ed on Amer­i­can clas­sics. The night I went we were run­ning late for an event at the Palace of Fine Arts and so didn't get to try what looked like the best thing on the menu: cup­cakes made to order, brought to your table with a side of frost­ing for you to apply your­self. The next time I feel the need to observe the endan­gered WASP in its restored native habi­tat, I'll go back to Pre­sidio Social Club and try the cup­cakes.

Categories
cheese restaurant

Piccino

The T‑line may have brought Muni to a crash­ing halt, but it's done a lot for Dog­patch, and not just its real estate val­ues. Restau­rants, cafes, and gar­den stores have popped up along the Third Street cor­ri­dor in antic­i­pa­tion of Muni-enabled con­sumers flock­ing to the neigh­bor­hood. Bas­ing one's busi­ness plan on the via­bil­i­ty of Muni mov­ing any­one any­where seems unwise. Bas­ing one's busi­ness plan on serv­ing thin crust piz­za in a tiny space on an unlike­ly street cor­ner, how­ev­er, is a tried-and-true for­mu­la in San Fran­cis­co (see: Pizzetta 211). The apt­ly-named Pic­ci­no occu­pies such a cor­ner at 22nd Street and Ten­nessee. Pic­ci­no is lit­tle. It has a small menu. It serves small plates of nib­bles between lunch and din­ner. In the morn­ing you can find Blue Bot­tle cof­fee and fresh-baked pas­tries; at lunch piz­za and pani­ni take prece­dence; din­ner (only on select nights) builds on the lunch menu. I haven't expe­ri­enced break­fast and lunch, but at din­ner recent­ly I sam­pled three of the five piz­zas on offer, plus dessert. By sam­pled I mean split with one oth­er per­son. Like every­thing else at Pic­ci­no, the piz­zas aren't big. Which isn't bad, because it means you can eas­i­ly order three for two peo­ple and not feel too glut­ton­ish or stuffed. The crust is right-on—a per­fect com­bi­na­tion of crisp and chewy. The top­pings are a lit­tle less excit­ing. The night I was there, they had a margheri­ta, napo­le­tano, pep­per­one, bian­co, and a spe­cial involv­ing lemon zest and pine nuts. The toma­to sauce on the pep­per­one was a lit­tle too acidic for me, and the bian­co was a lit­tle bland. The real stand-out fla­vors were on the spe­cial, par­tic­u­lar­ly the lemon zest. The piz­za is good; we didn't leave any left­overs. Pic­ci­no is a great neigh­bor­hood restau­rant. If I lived in Dog­patch, I would be their most loy­al cus­tomer. Too bad I live in Cole Val­ley. This is the Gold­en Age of Piz­za in the Bay Area. With the likes of Pizzette, Pizze­ria Del­fi­na, Lit­tle Star, and Piz­zaio­lo around, it's not enough to be good if you want to pull peo­ple in from out of the neigh­bor­hood. While I'm will­ing to brave the Bay Bridge for Piz­zaio­lo, or the Rich­mond fog for Pizzette, Pic­ci­no isn't quite com­pelling enough for the trek to Dog­patch.

Categories
cheese restaurant

Maverick

Iceman's going for the hard-deck. Let's nail him, Goose! Atten­tion: Every­one should turn, burn and check out Mav­er­ick, the lit­tle restau­rant near the cor­ner of 17th and Mis­sion. Sure, it seems like it might be below your per­son­al hard-deck; it looks a lit­tle too Blondie's, maybe a lit­tle too Limon. But believe me, any place that serves fresh pep­pers with a gar­nish of ancho chiles is a dan­ger zone well worth tak­ing a high­way to, even if that high­way isn't real­ly a high­way. Seri­ous­ly: Call the ball. Order the steak. And the ribs. The stone fruit sal­ad will be a bogey on your tail for days after­ward. Where's MiG one? He's at Mav­er­ick. Affir­ma­tive, Ghost Rid­er, the pat­tern is full. Because the pat­tern just ate at Mav­er­ick.