Monday, March 22, 2010

SPQR - The Best Italian in SF

My Urban Daddy editor friend has yet to steer me wrong when it comes to food recs. I told her I'd been to SPQR within months of its opening and didn't like it—the pasta had been less than adequate; memories of limp noodles and a general blandness came to mind, I told her. She insisted I give it a second chance as the chef had changed and the quality of the food had improved tremendously.

She was right. Cousin MC2 and I adored absolutely everything that came out of the kitchen. Really well-flavored, nothing overpowering or overseasoned. Just the perfect balance and blend of flavors, colors and textures in every dish. We'll be back to try some more of the dishes on SPQR's extensive menu.

I'm a sucker for a good deviled egg. These were especially tasty—eggs ‘al diavolo’ with dill and white anchovy.

These little potato croquettes came out super crispy and piping hot—pork belly ‘croccante,’ sundried tomato, olives and gremolata.

Tender and moist, these local sardines came dressed in breadcrumbs, a fuji apple puree and a drizzle of chili oil.

MC2 favored the fragrant meyer lemon risotto with pea shoots and fried lemon, while I couldn't get enough of the light, little puffs of semolina gnocchi with wilted wild arugula, truffle butter and lotsa castelmagno cheese.

Both desserts were really well-done: passion fruit panna cotta, coconut spuma with 2 tiny coconut macaroons along with a springy brown butter torta, fluffy meyer lemon curd and sprinkling of Sicilian pistachio.

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