Don’t you just hate when you go to a restaurant and there’s only one thing on the menu that interests you? Well, we seriously doubt you’ll have that issue at Cockscomb, Chef Chris Cosentino’s and partner Oliver Wharton’s haute new restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission district. In fact, there were too many dishes on the menu we wanted to order—and it didn’t help that our waiter went into great detail as he described everything with such zest that we even contemplated foods we usually avoid. Here’s are some of our fave dishes from the menu designed for carnivores. Cosentino is, after all, the king of offal cuisine. But vegetarians, there are a few tasty treats for you too.
We suggest you reserve one of the 15 seats at the counter, with the best ones being those that flank the opening where chefs place the finished dishes on the counter for the servers to deliver. There’s also a cool mezzanine area with a second bar that allows you to overlook the action in this kitschy-designed eatery with farm animals on the walls and an upstairs dining room as well.
Speaking of the bar, Cockscomb places a high priority on cocktails. We had the Pisco Punch but the Chef’s Gin Jams, made with Hendrick’s gin, house made jam, lemon and tonic or ginger ale, is quite popular. There’s also a raw bar that we hope to try next time.
Starters & Salads
Celery Victor: Cosentino puts his own spin on this historical American marinated celery salad dish which was invented in 1910 by Victor Hirtzler, head chef at San Francisco’s St. Francis Hotel. Cosentino’s cleverly mixes celery marinated in meat stock and vinegar with fresh celery leaves, cilantro and crispy chicken skin.
Eggs, Eggs, Eggs: One duck egg, one chicken egg and one quail egg add up to a delightful dish, especially when salmon roe and herb aioli are added.
“Ham” Burger: Now this is a real hamburger! It’s made with ham that has been brined for six days and served with a side of crispy potatoes fried in tallow (beef fat). Simply scrumptious. We can’t remember tasting better potatoes. You can always work out the next day.
Wood Oven Roasted Pig’s Head: Yes folks, this is exactly what the name implies. It’s prepared with chicories, capers, parsley and lemon—if that helps you forget about what you’re eating. There are only so many pig’s heads in the house per night and they routinely sell out—so plan on arriving early to make sure you’re not left out.
Offal & Butcher’s Cuts
Butcher’s Choice: The daily “fall offs” the night we dined was the Hot Mess and boy was it haute! It’s a mixture of sourdough toast, seared foie gras, California dates and braised trotter. The waiter wisely recommended pairing it with a glass of sémillon and we’re glad we followed his suggestion.
Grilled Cheese: Once again we took the waiter’s suggestion and ordered the grilled cheese with taleggio cheese, truffles and buckwheat honey, which is listed as a starter, as our dessert. No matter whether you start or end with it, you’ll be incredibly satisfied.
You’ll find Cockscomb at 564 Fourth Street, 415-974-0700
Photos by Kelly E. Carter