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My SF Bites: Italian With a Twist at SPQR

April 28, 2014

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Matthew Accarrino of SPQR in San Francisco’s Lower Pacific Heights was just named Food and Wine’s best new chef so I felt pretty lucky to be able to snatch a table the week of for lunch.  Even though I had already sampled my way through the Ferry Building before the lunch, the second I walked into the little cozy spot and saw the prosciutto slicer and breathed in deeply.

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The lunch menu included a three pasta tasting menu as well as a select list of antipasti, primi, and secondi.  While the thought of having a pasta tasting was extremely tempting, we opted to embrace the rest of the menu and create our own little tasting at SPQR.

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We started the meal with a plate of warm mini flaky biscuits with soft butter and strawberry preserve.  The strawberry preserve was a little savory and not too sweet, perfect with the herbed butter.

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The first appetizer to arrive was the suckling pork “testa”, medjool dates, radish, salsa verde, and fried pasta.  This plate had a little bit of everything from varying textures to flavors.  Beautifully constructed, this was one of my favorite plates and if there had to be one tiny complaint, it would be that there was just a few too many components to make sure that you had a little of each every time.

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Next up was a little pot of chicken liver mousse with red wine apple marmellata and balsamic gelatina.  The liver was whipped into smooth light air and the sweetness of the red wine apple marmellata balanced the earthiness of the liver.

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For a little something green and healthy, we wrapped up appetizers with a salad of fava leaves, fried white anchovies, frico and six minute egg.  Lightly dressed, the slightly sweet leaves were refreshing and when has a perfectly cooked six minute egg ever made anything taste bad?

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We started the pasta course with a chestnut fusilli.  Tossed with a veal bolognese, sweet potato puree and swiss chard, the crevices of the pasta captured every delicious bite of the sauce.  A pillowy layer of toma cheese  covers the pile of pasta like snow capped mountains.  The flavors were bold with sweetness from the sweet potato and richness from the bolognese.

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Our next pasta was a tagliatelle, this time made with buckwheat.  The toothsome strands were tossed with cider and bacon braised suckling pig with rapini.  Another hit with us.

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The last dish to grace our table was a risotto made with gulf prawn, carrots, fava and shellfish emulsion.  Again, SPQR has put a twist to the typical dish that we all know and love.  The fava and shellfish emulsion added a lightness to the typically creamy risotto and a lovely saffron flavor peaked its head through the sweetness of the carrot risotto.

Even though dessert would have been a great way to wrap up the meal, the generous portions here rendered us rather useless to explore the menu further.  The beautiful presentations and delicious flavors gave us a sneak peek at the creative California cuisine with an Italian touch of chef Accarrino as he holds the helm at the relaxed and casual setting of SPQR.  This is definitely a spot worth revisiting on my next trip to San Francisco.

SPQR 1911 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115 | http://www.spqrsf.com/

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