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Jan 31, 2010 11:27 PM

Perbacco Dinner

I'm going to call for reservation for a birthday celebration. I guess I should ask for upstairs where it's quieter?

Have you been lately? What should we order?

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  1. I was there last night. 4th time in the past 6 months. I do absolutely love the place. One thing I will say, I think they are *slightly* better weekday nights than on Saturday nights. Just food for thought.

    In terms of ordering, I would recommend starting with a half order of a pasta, then either getting a salad then a main course, or else going straight to a main course but splitting a green salad as well. The pastas are too good not to try, but I'm not certain I'd want one as a main.

    Everything is good, but the chef is particularly good with mushrooms. If the herb ricotta gnocchi with mushrooms is on the pasta menu that is definitely a good idea, as is the pasta with the porcini-pork sugo. Last night the sea bass was excellent, but fish changes nearly nightly. Also excellent is the braised short ribs. The one caveat to recommending the short ribs is that it is a pretty standard preparation -- while excellent, you've probably had a very similar preparation before. The duck is excellent as well. (Quack.)

    The burnt caramel gelato is the just about the best ice cream I've ever had.

    I don't know if she works upstairs, (or if she'll be working the day you are there) but for what it is worth, I find Alexandria to be the best server in SF.

    1 Reply
    1. re: whiner

      Whiner's points are all good. I had a delicious mid-week meal there very recently, here's my post which may have some specific pasta and entree (the rabbit!) recommendations that are still on the menu:

      The chanterelle appetizer was the best prep of that mushroom I have had in my life, so yes, definitely order things with mushrooms.

      In my review, I said, "the salted caramel gelato was everything it should be." Another way to say that is, to my taste, it might be the platonic ideal of slightly salted burnt caramel gelato, and all others are poor imitations.

    2. Pretty much anything on the menu is good. I dine there every 1-2 weeks and my favorites are two pasta dishes, agnolotti dal plin and tajarin. However, this is not one of those places where you really have to know what to order.

      1. I recently was seated at one of the booths in front. I'll request this location the next time since it was a bit quieter than where I've been seated in back.


        1. I hadn't been for a while, went the other night. The angnolotti dal plin were amazing, basically vitellone (older veal, grass-fed) braised with cabbage turned into filled pasta and sauced with the juices--worth a special trip. Rabatòn (ricotta gnocci) in mushroom sauce were the best I've ever had, incredibly light and unctuous. Anolot al tacchino (turkey ravoili) in liver sauce were good but paled a bit by comparison.

          Also had a salumi platter, definitely first-rate. For dessert had a cheese plate, they take excellent care of their cheeses. One was wrapped in tobacco leaves, never tasted a flavor like that before.

          I thought they were good when they opened but they've improved, particularly the pastas.

          10 Replies
          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            It was all excellent last night; I wrote an account on Greyelf's thread to encourage "G" choosing Perbacco. A must try is that raviolo with egg and truffle!! Also, salad of roasted pear with arugula, gorgonzola, hazelnuts. We had the 3 pasta plate with agnolotti dal plin, tajarin with pork sugo and, our favorite, pappardelle with short rib meat.

            It's a place you want to return to.

            1. re: walker

              Oh yeah, we had that raviolo (raviolone, really), it was good. We didn't order the three-pasta plate because, oddly, it would have cost more than ordering the three pastas a la carte.

              Those agnolotti dal plin are haunting me. Must return soon.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Just thought of something else; my friends ordered a bottle of red wine and I ordered a glass of white. I thought the pour was stingy, not even half the wine glass. I would have liked it more if they'd charged more for the glass and poured a decent amount.

                I've now found out that those are not "special" ice cream spoons -- they are the same spoons they serve for the soup. The restaurant designed their own silverware!! I'd just never seen tablespoons narrow and elongated like that so I thought they were especially for ice cream.

                1. re: walker

                  In portugal, there's a law about wine pours, and (like english pints) a "glass of wine" is a proscribed amount served in a glass with an etched mark and the exact quantity (0.2 cl, as I remember). Thus you never feel cheated.

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Now I'm thinking they do this so you'll just order 2 glasses. I don't even drink much so it's not a sacrifice to me to have dinner w/out wine.

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      20 cl would be 6-3/4 oz., a very generous pour, slightly more than a quarter of a standard 750ml bottle.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          So, what you do think the oz amount for wine by the glass at Perbacco is?

                          1. re: walker

                            I would think that most restaurants would strive for at least 5 pours from a bottle. That would be at most 5 oz. There are factors that might be clouding the picture.

                            1. If you dine at the bar (like I typically do at Perbacco), the size of your pour may be depend on the kind of rapport you have with the bartenders. Hence, even though I go to Perbacco a lot, I have no idea what the standard pour really is supposed to be.

                            2. The size of the glass. Some places have huge wine glasses that will make even a generous pour seem stingy just because it takes up such a small percentage of the glass.

                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Certainly. Yet that's the number I remember. The glasses weren't large, but the line was very high up.

                            Mostly, I liked the theory of the whole thing. No worries the heavy or light of the pour.

                2. It says right on Perbacco's wine menu that a glass is 6 oz.( Flight and some dessert wine pours are 3 oz.)

                  If you were poured less, it might have been just a complimentary sample to see if you liked it. Check your bill.

                  I'd be surprised to get a short pour there. They seem pretty solid at training their servers.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    The server was really excellent. At first, she rec a $12 white and let me sample it. When I was not crazy about it, she let me sample the $8 one (this is the other one she thought I might like) and I preferred this one. I guess I believe a bottle should be 4 glasses, not five. Maybe times (and size of pours) have changed.

                    1. re: walker

                      As someone in the biz, I use 4 pours per still, 5 for sparkling wines to calculate yeild and therefore pricing. As someone mentioned before, over sized glasses are misleading and can make even generous pours seem small. For big reds, a nice deep, wide bowl is great but many whites (and almost no house) do not benefit from the space. Unless a restaurant is committed to the wine and offers glassware to match the wine, an all purpose glass should be sized so that a 1/4 bottle fills glass to within an inch or two from the rim. Just my opinion and preference when a diner.

                      1. re: tomatoaday

                        Perbacco pours 6 oz. for sparkling wines, which I think is pretty unusual. They must have some big flutes.