Barbacco (next door to Perbacco) is having their soft opening for "friends and neighbors" yesterday and today (and maybe tomorrow too). Several folks from the office have been, for both dine-in and take-out.
Of course, it is unfair to judge a place by the soft opening, especially when they are comping the food. Normally, I wouldn't have posted on this. But since it is already very good, and my early read is that this place is going to be great, people should know.
First of all, the space is lovely. It's hard to imagine it was ever Rado's. The exposed brick, mirrors, lighting, etc. make for an energetic but comfortable setting. They do takeout and eat in, but it definitely feels like a real restaurant, not a take-out joint with seats.
The menu (which may change) is well priced, around a $9-10 price point for sandwiches and pastas and topping out at $12 for mains (spazzatino and rock cod). Perhaps a little pricy for a takeout sandwich (although the $10 FiDi sandwich is becoming common), but quite cheap for a real restaurant. I had a porchetta sandwich with grape agro-dolce and radicchio for take-out, and it was great. The porchetta had a nice fennel seed crust and the grapes added sweetness and acid to balance the pork fat. Bread was nicely toasted with the perfect amount of char. Didn't taste much radicchio.
While there, a colleague was eating in and offered a taste of the panna cotta with candied kumquats ($4). It was unbelievable -- perfect texture and great contrast of flavors. Other colleagues who ate there recommended:
- burrata app (recommended by a guy from Naples)
- seared Spanish mackerel sandwich with tomato condimento and arugula
- apple tart
- we didn't taste the bruschetta but it looked fantastic going by (and it looks like you can choose 3 good sized pieces with different toppings for $8)
We did the soft opening for Perbacco as well, and I would say the execution (FOH and BOH) is ahead of where Perbacco was during the Perbacco soft open.
Eating the minestra with a side of polenta for lunch right now. The soup is rich, porky, tomato-y and quite salty (which I like, but would be too much for some). Pasta is perrfectly al dente. I see celery, carrot, parsley, but no greens. Didn't come with bread, which would have been nice. The polenta was delicious topped with a bit of olive oil, but a bit small for a $3 side.
Last week, tried the paccheri bolognese, which was great.
It's nice working right above this place. With a call ahead, it is faster than McD's around the corner!
230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111