By Tamara Palmer
San Francisco is in the midst of a huge boom of new restaurants opening this month — and many come bearing delicious meat. Here’s where to start your carnivore’s tour:
Fried lamb belly buns at Dirty Habit
Hotel Palomar in Union Square unveiled a brand new concept for the former Fifth Floor restaurant on May 1. There is a fresh film noir-inspired interior and an amazing new outdoor patio with firepit and seats for 50 that’s going to be the place to be this summer, even if it’s not actually warm outside. Dirty Habit retains Fifth Floor’s top-notch culinary and bar team, who have imagineered more playful and casual food and drink menus. Simple steamed Chinese bao buns filled with crispy fried lamb belly and crushed peanuts are the perfect foil to drinks with names like Spritz & Giggles. (See photo above)
Beef brisket at Smokestack
The new Dogpatch BBQ joint and brewery from the team behind Magnolia Gastropub, has been so long in the making it was starting to feel like Detox, the legendarily mythical Dr. Dre album that is never coming out. But the Led Zeppelin-referencing Smokestack is finally here and it was totally worth the wait, especially since chef Dennis Lee of Namu Gaji has nerded out and created an amazing food program of smoked and rotisserie meat sold by the pound. Dunk his tender brisket in his incredibly clever kimchee-based BBQ sauce and you’ll wonder why no one ever thought of that combo before.
Bacon-wrapped meatloaf sandwich at Fearless Coffee
The two-week-old grab-and-go Fearless Coffee cafe from Lauren Kiino, owner of Il Cane Rosso and the forthcoming Red Dog restaurant, has instantly brightened up the lunchtime offerings of SoMa office workers. There are a number of very polite and relatively dainty hot and cold sandwiches, but YOLO, so go for the big daddy of hot pork and beef meatloaf wrapped in soft strips of bacon, doused in spicy tomato BBQ sauce and pillowed with melted mozzarella.
Lard-fried potatoes with hot Nduja at Porcellino
Chef Chris Cosentino’s Noe Valley restaurant Incanto was recently reborn as a more casual all-day Italian restaurant and meat market. A side dish of creamy yellow potatoes are smashed and fried in lard until super crispy and then doused with Nduja, the spicy and spreadable Calabrian salami that is a specialty of Cosentino’s Boccalone Salumeria. Do be careful when trying Porcellino's potatoes because you won’t be able to stop thinking about them for a while. A good while.
Dry-aged cheeseburger at Schroeder’s
The 19th century German beer hall reopened this week with a refreshed interior and new chef Manfred Wrembel, who was Chris Cosentino’s sous chef at Incanto for many years and was seen most recently at Plum in Oakland. Wrembel is crafting a light and beautiful Californian remix of traditionally meat-heavy German fare. Schroeder’s cheeseburger, piled high with sauerkraut and caramelized onions and served on a rye bun with kartoffel (potato dumpling) tots, looks intimidating. But once your animal instincts start kicking in, the burger will be quick history.