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another early take on zuppa

Laurie | Jun 28, 200505:41 PM

on 4th/ brannan. You enter thru a side st. vs. 4th. Cute cute space but I imagine it can be v. loud when full due to concrete and steel floors, finishings, etc.

They have both a food bar and a regular bar. Right now, there is a single table upstairs that overlooks the small dining room in a circular alcove! They said they will seat more upstairs as they gain their footing.

They have been open a week today and I was there last night, not expecting much and really pleasantly surprised! Service was very competant given 6 days under their belt and also incredibly friendly and professional.

We tried:

3 from the Afettati section of the menu ($15): prosciutto cotto (cured tuscan ham), salami milanese (coarsley ground lean pork) and mortadela (lean pork w/pistachios). I am not a fan of mortadela but at the waitresses urging, got this and found it the best of the 3. The very thin slicing really helps. Not a huge portion (note that not unusual for a restaurant, portioning seems to vary-sometimes a bit more than you expect and sometimes a bit less- and will likely be adjusted over the next few weeks).

Radicchio and Hearts of Romaine salad ($7) - very very decadent; heavily dressed. A bad for you good salad I would love to have again. Large portion.

Grilled Octopus ($7) - I love this dish in general but I found the otopus pieces a bit too small and buried in potato, caper, olive, and olive oil. I think I like a cleaner presentation.

Mushroom pizza ($9) - I didn't get to taste this. It looked ok - must have tasted better b/c it went FAST (even after we chowed down on 2 plates of the spongy, very buttery bread).

Pork Ragu w/Buccatini pasta and caciocavallo cheese ($16) - fantastic sauce. OK pasta. Can't help the comparison to A16 since the menu/vibe is not dissimilar (although the wine list is nowhere near A16) and in pasta, this one fell short. I just concentrated on the sauce and loved the dish anyway.

Bone in Ribeye w/pizziaola oreganato sauce ($19) - a huge huge piece of meat smothered in a tomato'ey sauce. Meat was really flavorful and tender. Gotta be on of the meat deals in the city.

Grilled Pork Chop, costeletta di miale conserva di arancia ($18) - this was definitely well brined; the flavor was outstanding and it was perfectly grilled.

We also had 2 sides since a la steakhouse/jack falstaff, the entrees come naked. This is fine w/me given the pricing. We had the roasted beets in olive oil ($6) and the pan roasted summry baby carrots ($6). A sum of $12 seemed steep but taken w/the entrees overall, fine. The veggies were not overcooked and were nicely seasoned.

We could not think about dessert. We had a bottle of tocai white and a bottle of gaja's 2nd label, ca macarandi (slaughtering that) - le prometis? both delicious

I was really happy with this experience and really wish these people well.

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