Saturday, August 20, 2011

Green Light for Gator

Alligators, so fierce in the water, but not so feisty in a deep fryer. Which is where it comes from as far as any folk from the city by the bay are concerned. Eating a plate full of it sitting at the oyster bar in Hayes Valley's Boxing Room, we are struck by its crispy exterior, flaky interior and can't help but exclaim "tastes like chicken!" Seriously battered, the alligator is chopped into bite-sized pieces, dredged in well-seasoned flour, deep fried and placed atop a lemony creole-rémoulade. Yum.

Named after the part in the Standard Shirts shirt-making factory it once was, Boxing Room--in true San Francisco style--pays homage to the history of the building before it became a restaurant. The newest venture from the same people who gave us Absinthe, Boxing Room does French-Creole cuisine, California style. Read: fresh, seasonal produce, local oysters, and California brews to boot. A welcome addition to a city that seriously lacks good soul food. Probably because there aren't many black people in the city, but that's a topic for another post.

Slightly new-aged the menu does not leave out any old favorites: hush puppies, gumbo, dirty rice, Po' boy and boiled peanuts bring authentic New Orleans flair to the Golden Gate. And hats off to executive chef Justin Simoneaux, for tinkering very little with dishes that aren't broken and require no fancy fixing. The alligator and everything else was delicious. 399 Grove St. at Gough, (415) 430-6590. $$

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