Spork in San Francisco: Report
Recently I visited Spork with a fellow diner who selected it. I've walked past this place maybe once a day since it's been open, and for whatever reason felt not a drop of curiosity about it, so this was my first go.
Spork is built inside the shell of an old Kentucky Fried Chicken on Valencia, near many hipster outposts you know and love (or don't). In the design, the architects playfully highlighted some aspects of the old tenant--remains of the fry hood are now a great warm light in the center of the room. Otherwise, the design is steely, open and modern.
Can't remember the wines by the glass we tried, but I liked them. We split the griddled calamari appetizer and then ordered mussels and pork (served with a spork) and the in-side-out burger, two menu mainstays our server recommended.
The calamari was nice--chewy without being rubbery, pulled in locally from Monterey Bay. The brussel sprouts served alongside were not crispy enough for me--I don't love the taste of sprouts, so it's texture or nothing (which reminds me of the exceptional sprouts at The Front Porch...).
From the seconds menu, my mussels were good, hearty and filling, if a bit less complex than I expected. The hunk of pork served alongside was huge. This could easily be split between two people with a couple of apps and serve as a non-diet meal.
My companion tried the burger, which looked to be served without a bun (or was the bun in the middle? too dark to tell). I'm not sure if it wasn't cooked to her taste or she disliked the flavor, but she didn't eat much (this was a work thing, so I couldn't quiz her on every bite.)
Almost forgot--we did ask for the pull-apart rolls, which I loved. Tender, flavorful dinner rolls of the sort your mom would make if your mom were a good cook.
All in all, a decent place, and crowded. At this price point in the neighborhood, I prefer Range and Maverick, so I can't say I'll rush back, though Spork looks to have its admirers and regulars.
1058 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
I can't remember what I ate there, but I never felt like going back. I don't remember it being lousy, but I do remember the same problem with the prices. Range and Maverick I have gone back to, so better value for the food. I happen to love the chicken at Range, which is very obviously brined, it's wonderful if you can eat the salt.