Academy Bar & Kitchen is well into their soft opening since Florio ex-chef Nick Pallone took over the former Pizza Inferno space.
I checked it out on Halloween and enjoyed what I ate and saw. The many beer taps remain from the former pizzeria, which gives it a casual aura. The TVs played the Warriors and the World Series at the bar, but were easily avoided in the main dining space. The place started to fill up around 7:30 with many patrons citing the New Fillmore's article as a reason they stopped by.
The menu is chock-full of seasonal ingredients with a.q. wild mushrooms and greens. We started with the Carolina red rice with a slow cooked egg--clearly sous vide with a just set yolk but barely gelled white. The rice dish was tomato-y sweet with crispy bits from the cast iron cooking and perfectly fried matchstick bacon. An interesting dish to put as a small plate, and a tad expensive at $9, but it hit all the right notes. The pumpkin harissa soup ($8) was creamy, yet light with a good heat from the harissa and other spices.
The neopolitan "inspired" pizzas will likely be a draw here. I tried the pie with andouille sausage, slow cooked kale, summer pepper jelly, and Asiago ($17). The kale resembled braised collard greens in their flavor--I imagined they produced a nice pot liquor from cooking. The crust was excellent in texture--bubbly and slightly blackened at the edges, although crispy the bottom was not as dark as I expected. The dough could have used another hit of salt, but I like my salt and they provided individual finger pinch bowls of large crystal salt for every patron. Overall a very tasty pizza with a familiar but exciting flavor combination.
Chef Pallone mentioned a number of larger plates that sounded intriguing such as the 40+ hour sous vide short ribs and a pork belly dish. These mains were mostly around $25.
This is a nice addition to this area and helps to tether the Upper and Lower Fillmore areas a bit more.
Academy Bar & Kitchen
1800 Fillmore Street
SF, CA 94115