I’ve been putting off a visit to Perbacco for numerous reasons for almost a year. But J.Low and I wanted to celebrate a special occassion, and we finally decided to pay them a visit.
We got there early, but the place filled up fast. The decor was sleek, modern, and full of brick walls, light hardwoods, white accents, and expansive spaces. It was all very clean and sophisticated, but not stuffy.
Perbacco is known for their housemade cured meats, so we ordered the Salumi Misti. It was a plate full of some of the Chef’s favorite preparations including some pork pate and five different kinds of cured meats. Some had the sweetness of a rich red wine, some had a saltier bite, and others a buttery flavor and texture. Just heaven and not to be missed.
We also ordered the Organic Peach and Arugula Salad with shaved ricotta salata and toasted marcona almonds, which were more buttery and lighter in taste and texture than a regular almond. The peaches were the most beautiful shades of bright yellow and deep pinks and reds. The colors showed how wonderfully juicy, sweet, and vibrant the fruit was. As J.Low stated, the peppery fresh arugula was the perfect foil for the sweet sunny peaches. And the almonds and light sprinkling of ricotta cheese added to the dish’s textural complexity. It was the simplest dish, but also the best of the whole night because of the quality of ingredients and excellent execution.
For my entree I ordered the Shortrib Pappardelle with a light sprinkling of melted parmigiano reggiano. The pasta had the wonderful flavor and texture of housemade pasta. And like J.Low said, it was cooked perfectly al dente. And the shortrib sauce was full of meat that was buttery, earthy, and delicious. I could’ve had another plate!
J.Low ordered the Shortrib Straccato with chanterelle mushrooms, fresh peas, and mashed potatoes. Earthy, woodsy, and perfectly cooked is how we described the dish. All the flavors on the plate married together so well.
We finished the meal with a Peach and Berry Tortino, which I didn’t think I would have room for. But once I took one bite of the accompanying Peach Caramel gelato, I MADE room! The tortino looked as if it would be dry, but my first bite proved how perfectly prepared it was. It was moist yet crumbly, and the outer crust was almost crisp. Another textural and taste winner. It was almost like a sweeter cornbread (which makes sense since it was of course cornmeal) with berries on the bottom and a sprinkling of those sweet organic peaches on top. And that gelato was truly yummy.
The service here was some of the best I’ve ever experienced in San Francisco. Everything was paced well (not too slow, not too fast), the busboys cleared our plates promptly and always politely with a smile, and the waiter was very friendly but never intruded in on our conversation. The service made an already wonderful dinner over the top excellent. My experience here made me believe that a great meal and truly excellent service can still co-exist.
Some “celebrity” restaurants could definitely learn a thing or two from the folks here ;-).
Perbacco – 230 California St. (near Front St.) – San Francisco – 415.955.0663