Monday, February 22, 2010

Welcome Back Trotter

Hidden amongst the alleys of North Beach 15 Romolo is hands down the neighborhood’s least chaotic bar. Its obscure alley location, and modest sign- unique given its close proximity to the mega wattage that defines Broadway St., make Romolo easy to miss. Most prefer its mellow atmosphere to the police monitored, stripper-filled streets of North Beach. But, if you’re looking for a relatively mellow night out, that may or may not end in arrest and/or getting pimp smacked, (depends on how long you stand on Broadway at 2 am) you now know where to go, just don’t tell anyone. Duck into the narrow alleyway, and just below the Basque Hotel you’ll find this simple bar. Its decor is vaguely reminiscent of a speakeasy, but the cocktail and food menus are completely post-modern. Chef Jake Kwan’s menu emphasizes fresh, local ingredients and is becoming what some might call adventurous. Its newest addition, crispy pork trotters are made from pig feet meat. Blanched and braised the meat is the minced and formed into a log. Made to order, like everything else on the menu Kwan slices two patties from the ol’ log, and pan fries these little piggies to crispy, golden brown perfection. The pickled vegetable garnish, made of carrots, celery, radish and red cabbage provide some much needed acid and fiber to this high fat, and likely fatal dish. Just try and ignore the chest pains after eating two plates of these. Survey says DELICIOUS. (415) 398-1359, 15 Romolo Pl.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Heart De-livers

It makes perfect sense that a wine bar named Heart serves liver. You might need an extra hanging around the newly-opened Mission District wine bar. This minimally decorated, but charming bar features bottles to boot, food done by Dogpatch geniuses, (and probably millionaires by now) Kitchenette and communal tables. The decor consists of whatever art is currently being showcased, and a wall of strategically placed wine bottles that lead the eye into the bar to a counter with a cash register where you order before sitting down. We order the Chopped Liver, chopped beef liver in chicken liver mousse served with schmaltz toasts and a tasty little egg salad made with parsley, olive oil and shallots. What arrives is a nicely plated loaf of what looks like påté, covered in aforementioned egg salsa. I also order a glass of the 2008 Muscato D’Asti, that is best described as a riesling soda. Fresh and fruity, it is listed as a desert wine but bartender Robbie, suggested it and if I know one thing its trust the man with a wine key. So the liver is palatable, virtually no “organ meat” taste. The crispy toast counters the mush that is all liver dishes. If kids grew up eating this well-spiced dish, liver and onions might not have such a bad rap. But, order it to share. I do not recommend trying to eat this plate alone, it is very rich. And, FYI, Heart serves their wine in mason jars. Stemware is available, but if you ask you’re totally “that guy” and no one likes him. <3