Thursday Ferry Bldg Shootout - Il Cane Rosso vs. Roli Roti?
Since my office overlooks the Ferry Building, I always plan my weekly dining around what to try on Farmer's Market days. But no matter how early I try to get there (well, at 11:30 today), there is always a ridiculously long line at Roli Roti. I'm talking 30-40 people at 11:30, which by my calculation means a 20-30 minute wait to place your order. What am I missing here?
Instead, I always see the lines there (and at Tacolicious, and Namu, and...), panic, and just head inside to the relative calm of Il Cane Rosso and get something that never fails to please me.
If it's a brisket day, that sandwich is always full of deep rich flavor, usually a tasty sauce, and presented on a good quality roll. Or maybe the broccoli rabe sandwich, or as I did today, the "piatto del giorno" which was "black pepper beef stew with polenta" - at $12.50 I consider it an expensive splurge, but it didn't disappoint with lots of tender braised chunks of beef, with kale and potatoes in the mix, all in a deep rich peppery gravy. It came with a good-sized portion of their coarse-ground polenta topped with good quality freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
So what am I missing? I've had Roli Roti a couple of times, before they got overloaded, and while good, I don't see much point waiting in line for that, compared to what I can get any day of the week at Cane Rosso. I think from a quality point of view, there's nothing that either gives away to the other, and that Cane Rosso has many more choices depending on what you're in the mood for.
I've had the porchetta at both, and Roli Roti definitely takes the crown. The pork is just richer in flavor, and I like the roasted pieces of skin versus Il Cane Rosso's fried pieces. Il Cane Rosso's is different though, served with mustard and cabbage. I wouldn't be disappointed if I had to eat it, especially with the long wait at Roli Roti.
How's that egg sandwich?