Today I picked up my car from the shop and was headed home via the Mission when a parking space opened up before my eyes right across the street from Delfina. At 6pm, I wasn't really ready to eat dinner yet, but why not take the opportunity.
I had a seat at the bar, where I could watch the action in the kitchen's salad station. Each crust accompanying a cold plate was toasted to order, then lovingly rubbed with garlic and tomato. Hearts of romaine were tossed in a big stainless steel bowl, individually inspected and then massaged with more dressing where needed to groom them completely for plating. All of this at break-neck speed.
I had the grilled calamari and white bean antipasto, $8.75, and the florentine tripe, $8. This was the sort of meal where you have a fork in your right hand and a piece of bread in your left to swab up the lovely juices. The calamari is deservedly one of Delfina's signature dishes. In the vino department, the 2002 Malvira Roero Arneis, $9, was my pick, as I order Arneis whenever its a glass pour. The first pour was brassy gold in color and stale smelling. I asked my server if this was the typical condition, and she readily opened a fresh bottle that was much, much better. For dessert, the Bellwether ricotta gelato with fragole pazze, $7.75, was lacking in character. The sliced strawberries tinged with a bit of salt were fine, but the ice cream didn't have much intensity, with a milder flavor more akin to yogurt or buttermilk. Consuming three courses, a few olives, four pieces of bread, and a glass of wine, I was out the door and on my way in less than an hour. The fastest "slow" food I've had in ages.
3621 - 18th St.
San Francisco 94110