On the last night of Hanukkah, a friend and I met for a holiday cocktail at newly opened The Snug. We were greeted warmly. Though open less four weeks, the place was already packed at 5:45pm. The neighborhood has definitely discovered this spot. The hostess managed to find us two seats together at the counter on the mezzanine level.
This was a great vantage point for a bird's eye view of the place. Tucked on a pair of stools at the end of the counter put us in a cozier space above the din of the happy crowd.
We ordered what are fast becoming the two signature drinks here. For me, The Sour, $14, with "TS&" signed on the egg white spuma, an off-dry concoction of bourbon, Chinese plum and citrus. JD had a Prickly Pear, $14, mezcal, amaro, prickly pear, habanero, lime, but missing the skewer of nopales. We pronounced both of them well-balanced, complex and just mighty fine for attitude adjustment.
From the bar snacks menu, we noshed on housemade pickles, $3, perhaps the bargain on the menu. Crisp and refreshing, these had a slight residual sugar in the balance.
Digging into the small plates side of the menu, lobster chips, $12, turned out to be orange-hued bubbly crisps served with a mayonnaise-y, Old Bay-seasoned lobster salad for dipping. The light-as-air chips were made of tapioca flour. Snipped chives were a nice flourish on the tender lobster meat. Loved this dish.
Korean fried chicken wings, $10, seasoned with garlic, ginger and soy sauce, were fine if some of the umami bomb mince of garlic-scallion-sesame seeds managed to be in the same mouthful. The skin was soft and soggy from the marinade. This one was not as inventive as the other dishes and I would have liked some spicy heat.
Sesame naan and shiitake hummus, $10, was a cracker-like flatbread. Now the third time I've been served crunchy naan, and I hope this is not a trend because I don't like it all. Call it a cracker so the customer knows what to expect. The accompaniment turned out to be a mild chickpea hummus with a layer of shiitake duxelles on top.
With a cocktail-forward ambiance and snacks from a kitchen helmed by an In Situ and Benu alum, The Snug has a winning formula to join the ranks of the City's brestaurants.
Service by Jasmine was top-notch and the runners bringing dishes out from the kitchen were able to answer our questions about food prep. Pretty tight ship for a place open for less than a month.
With the 4% SF mandate surcharge, tax and tip, our tab came to $83 for the two of us. More than I care to spend for a drink night but The Snug delivered and we left happy.
2301 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA