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May 24, 2009 07:51 AM

S.P.Q.R. [San Francisco]

10+ course lunch there yesterday with Ulterior Epicure and A Life Worth Eating -- I'm hoping they will chime in on all the courses, but this is just a quick recap:

1. Beat salad with fresh ricotta. Damn fine fresh ricotta.
2. Fried brussels sprouts. They are still over-salting this dish.
3. Tuna conserva, puntarelle, garlic, anchovy and mojama; they have added garbanzo beans to this dish and I seem to prefer it the older way it was presented.
4. Beef tongue with pickled horseradish crema. Fabulously tender and rich.
5. Zuppa with porcini mushroom bread dumplings, chives, and pecorino. WAY too salty. Inedibly so for me.
6. Bay scallops with agreeti, preserved lemon and chilies. Couldn't taste the chilies, but I didn't care. Perfectly prepared morsels of goodnes.
7. Sweet potatoes with pancetta, fried chilies, and pecorino. Easily my favorite dish of the day (well, 'cept maybe dessert).
8. Tripe with fennel, chilies, pickled onions, mint and parsley. I could taste these chilies -- almost too spicy for me.
9. Jones Farm rabbit with frisée, carrots, pancetta and mustard. Still a great dish.
10. Ricotta fritters with orange marmalade and crema fresca. OH.MY.GOD. 'Nuff said.

We were seated early and tended to well in the beginning, but as the restaurant filled up, there were LONG spans of abandonment which was surprising considering there were people waiting for tables. If you have customers waiting, it would seem to me you want to get the tables turned. The busboy was amazing though. He must have filled my water a dozen times and was on top of cleaning our table and getting left-overs boxed.

1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

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  1. I forgot a service snafu -- We had to ask for the bill after we had been sitting for some time (ten minutes or so?). As we were perusing the numbers and putting in our cash, the waitress dashed over with a second bill; seems she had forgotten to charge us for my latté. Just seem like bad for to me. Your guests HAVE the bill and are obviously ready to pay. Once the mistake is realized, swallow the extra $2.50 instead of interrupting and drawing attention to the fact that a mere cup of coffee hasn't been included.

    1. Reviving this thread as we had an excellent dinner there last week. We usually try a number of items in a place we haven't been and also we had been told that portions were on the smaller side. We did order several dishes but the portions were not small :), not IMHO.

      Fritto Misto, squid and its ink, pesce, romano beans, Meyer lemon with Calabrian chili. Tasty and a nice presentation.

      Bacon avocado, caperberry, goats cheese, country bread, fried ham. Great flavors and textures.

      Short rib stuffed morel mushrooms, corn pudding, summer truffle and lambs quarter. More please!

      On to a pasta: Saffron rotini, veal bolognese, golden squash, garden rosemary and kohlrabi leaf. My favorite dish of the evening.

      Entrees: Sea scallops, sweet potato, abalone mushroom, cavalo nero and chamomile. Delicious combination of ingredients.

      Sucking pork "cinque modi" swiss chard, crushed potato, caper and green peppercorn sauce. Weakest dish of all but still quite good.

      Way too full for dessert, maybe next time. Drank a great bottle of Damiano Ciolli, Cesanese, 'Silene', Lazio 2010, tasted like a cross between pinot noir and nebbiolo.
      Service from start to finish was excellent, very informative and helpful without being a bit overbearing.

      We look forward to returning and exploring more of the extensive and creative menu.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tom246

        we've enjoyed all our meals at SPQR. the menu changes constantly to the ingredients most in season. we've found enough variety in the smaller courses, salads, and pastas that we usually don't get a main course. service is as pleasant and efficient as any we've encountered in SF or oaktown for a place in this price range.