Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jul 14, 2009 12:56 PM

Cane Rosso - Open in Ferry Building

Today on my usual wander down to the Ferry Building, I stopped by the new Cane Rosso location to see how they were progressing. I was surprised to see it open, and when I got to the cashier, she informed me today is their first day. The bonus was that everything was FREE. They are (wisely) not charging people as they work out the kinks in their new operation.

Given that it was the first day, and that the pork shoulder sandwich I ordered was free, I would not mark them down on service, but it's important to note that it took more than 30 minutes to get that sandwich! I presume they'll get that dialed in, but you might want to consider how much time you have for the next few weeks as they get swarmed and work out their service kinks. Everyone there seemed to be working very hard, and really focused on customer service, but there were perhaps 50-60 people waiting (from around noon till 12:30) while I awaited my sandwich.

So, on to the food - the pork sandwich was very good - it's on a nice roll (not sure, maybe Acme?) that is properly hollowed out, with a good size portion of very tender and flavorful pork shoulder, along with some baby mustard greens, and a couple of spoonfuls of jus. Nice sandwich, though not terribly large, especially considering their $9 price tag.

If you're familiar with the size of the Acme Bakery sandwiches (which are $5) in the Ferry Building, this is about the same size, but costs 80% more. Very tasty, but not a great value.

There was also a peach/gorgonzola sandwich, a beef brisket with tomato conserva sandwich, and some other sides and salads. There was a porchetta plate for $12.50 (I think) and a rotisserie chicken plate as well.

It feels WAY too early to comment on how they'll do here, but my instinct is they will be successful - the food quality (sample of one) is there, the prices are higher than I think is worth it, but given that Boulette's Larder and Frog Hollow seem to survive on what I consider "luxury" pricing, I think people will go for this.

I'm sure others will report on their impressions over the next few days. I'll go back in August once the newness wears off and see how things are then...

Il Cane Rosso
1 Ferry Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94105

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. They're still working out the opening kinks, so if you have an inflexible lunch break you may want to wait a few weeks. The food came out fast, it just took a long time for them to take my order.

      That said, the kinks seem to be limited to wait times, because the sandwich I had today was fabulous. Tender, flavorful beef brisket with a tangy and sweet tomato conserva and dandelion greens for a nice bitter edge. The size of the sanwich and portion of beef made for a very satisfying lunch. I didn't blink at the price tag - most of my preferred lunch options in the area (Mixt Greens, Out the Door, Boccalone, The Sentinel) run about $10. I'll be back soon to try out more of the menu - very curious about the Marin Sun Farms rotisserie chicken. I do think it would be nice if the sides served with the rotisserie meat included a veggie option instead of just starch.

      I tried to order the vanilla soft serve, but someone had turned off the machine. I'm hoping this may help me cope with the severe depression I've developed after learning Sketch was closing.

      I've attached a copy of today's menu. They say it changes daily, but there was little change between yesterday and today (I was there yesterday, but they were out of food - something they didn't inform us until after 20 minutes of waiting in line. Like I said, kinks). They should start posting the day's menu on-line soon, and will eventually start taking phone orders.

      I'm a little curious about the $5 bottles of soda they're selling, but not curious enough to actually purchase one. But if someone does, please report back.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Morton the Mousse

        I've been looking forward to going to Cane Rosso, miss Mistral, & hope to go
        someday to Coi. That said, I find it hard to be curious about $5 soda when a Gibralter from Blue Bottle is just several feet away. I think a Gibralter could also serve as a temporary antidote for Sketch-withdrawal. Other partial antidotes might be (1) being able to order Sketch online, & (2) knowing that as a little baby Sketch is entering the world, his or her parents will probably have to continue making ice cream. It just goes with childhood. By the way, an alternative yummy beef sandwich is available on Thursdays from Thomas at Roli Roti. The maker of the incredible porchetta sandwich at the Ferry Building on Saturdays is serving a very delicious beef sandwich at the new Thursday FB market.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I was there on a Saturday afternoon two weeks ago, and the wait was pretty long then, about a half-hour for a sandwich even though there weren't that many people in front of me.

          But the porchetta sandwich was quite good, a worthy rival to the other one at the Roli Roti cart around the corner, which often takes even longer than that to get.

          Someone in line next to me summed it up...."this place has that Food Network food-porn appeal".

          1. re: Agent 510

            I was there for the first time last Saturday at exactly noon and there were maybe 8 people in front of me in line. A few others came after me. But it never felt like a long wait. Once I ordered and paid, I think I waited maybe 5 to 10 minutes for my sandwich. So seemed to run pretty smoothly.

            I got the porchetta sandwich that had a plum mostarda and it was fantastic. I was hesistant paying $9 for it, but when I ate it, I felt it was so worth the money.

            Here are my photos of the place:

        2. I've worked through a good amount of the menu at this point. Porchetta and brisket sandwiches are great. Rotisserie is good but a bit too much food for lunch.

          My favorite dishes are consistently the plate of the day. Had a bowl of chopped chicken livers and pickled eggs a couple weeks ago that blew my mind. Brisket sugo with polenta was heavenly and comforting.

          The bacon caramel corn is awesome.

          During peak lunch hour on a weekday I rarely wait more that 10 minutes between arriving in line and getting food.

          To my taste, Cane Rosso is the best casual lunch option in Financial District. At $9 for a filling sandwich, the pricing is comparable to other gourmet-casual places in the area.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            Better than Sentinel? How do you compare their sandwiches?

          2. Overall, unimpressed.

            I want to like this place but the jury is still out and time is running out. I have been there twice in the last 10 days and here is my report.

            Visit #1: I arrived at 11:45 am on a Sunday and it was still closed (website said open at 10am). They finally opened about 12:15pm. We ordered the Marin Sun Farms rare beef sandwiches. Unfortunately, 1/4 of the the meat on each sandwich was unchewable it was a big fat knot. The flavors and roll were good but meat was swiney. It was very unpleasant.

            Visit#2: I gave the place a 2nd chance last week about 4pm on a weekday---wanted to take home a rotisserie chicken--but they had NONE available or on the rotisserie. They quickly added some to the spit but we could not wait the time it would take to cook those up. Instead, ordered the porchetta slices...meh. A few (4-6) pieces of fatty pork that was all-and-all unimpressive and, expensive.

            I am not sure if chefs just don't know how to run businesses or if the "retail" thing is too much of a push for them. I will stay away for a while, but I will try to get the chicken again. They need to organize the front of the house and the oven (open as stated; put chickens on the rotisserie). I will give it a few months and try it one last time. I like the concept but my patience is waring thin.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SFguy

              The brisket sandwich is worth trying before you dismiss this place entirely. I wasn't very impressed by the rotisserie porchetta plate, and never tried the rare beef sandwich. But the brisket is consistently excellent.