Pesce at 2223 Market Street [San Francisco]
Pesce's move to 2223 Market Street works for us; great space, location, parking. We liked the intimate Polk Street restaurant but the new space is like a party in da mouth. Venetian Cichéti style is delightful. Great bar.
Christina is the best server ever - charming, cheerful, knowledgeable, professional.
Maiale al latte
my personal faves: Budino/bread pudding with apricots; Sardines, Polpo
Very nice that our small plates were changed three times during our dinner... very attentive/friendly service
We went for a disappointing brunch on Sunday. Not sure if the place is still finding its sea legs in the morning, but the dishes we ordered were undersized and underdelicious, while the back-up in the kitchen meant that we waited almost an hour for our food to arrive.
I got the broccolini and cranberry ragu with fried eggs. Pale yellow yolks, not particularly flavorful, would not rank in Melanie's Farm Fresh Egg count. Across the board, portion sizes triggered a laugh--probably I got about 1/3 cup of beans and a few pieces of chopped broccolini stalk for $13. There wasn't enough broccolini in the mix to lend a vegetal note, so the most pronounced flavor was salt from the beans.
DCs both got crispy polenta cakes, which were even tinier, and $15. They're both big eaters, and when they saw the situation they ordered two supplementary sides of the shallot-potato hash ($3 each) that arrived after we had paid the bill.
Had a slice of cherry-pistachio cake that was baked to death; left about a third on the plate.
Overall, I got the impression that they weren't ready to serve during the always crowded Castro brunch scene. May be worth trying in a few months when they've worked the kinks out, but I probably won't be first in line.
Okay, my review.
In a word: mixed.
First off, cocktails were excellent.
We tried the "Focolare", the "Vida Rosa" and a Sidecar.
All were perfectly made and delicious.
Second, the 'cichetti':
They were out of arancini and we had the subsituted salt cod fritter. Excellent.
The smoked salmon was also delicious.
The oyster shooter was okay.
Third, the appetizers:
"barbabietole" (beet salad) and "sardine" both suffered from the same problem. Each had a big pile of really un-special greens that was used to fill out the dish.
But the featured ingredients were skimpy especially the sardine. When the menu uses a plural "sardines", one presumes there will be more than one sardine. But it was two half-pieces of (totally delicious) grilled sardine on a big pile of boring salad greens. Ditch the salad and give me 2 or 3 sardines please. Ditto with the beets. The beets and cheese were tasty but hard to find under the greens. Ditch the greens and double the beets. (Or have a tastefully small pile of greens that are different from the ones I can grab from the bin at Golden Produce across the street).
Next, the main courses:
I asked about the cioppino and the waiter said it was one of the best in the city but it was far from it. I'll never order this again here. My husband called it 'campbell's cioppino'. I think that's all I need to say.
In contrast, the special fish, a whole grilled branzino, was festive and special. It was stuffed with rosemary and I think basil, maybe some bay, was accomanied by some chic potatoes jumpled in there. It really felt like someone had made you a special fish on a fall holiday or something.
Desserts also disappointed.
I had really been looking forward to the Sgroppino becaue I'd heard about it and lemon sorbet is my favorite. But all I took away from this was that I should try making it at home. I think perhaps it suffered from not being served the second it was done -- it was already kind of melty. Texture is really important with things like this.
And the chocolate cake was deemed 'meh' by my husband.
The service was good. Attentive and cheerful.
Although they did do one of my pet peeves : the espresso came soon enough that I'd finished by the time dessert arrived. To be (mildly) fair, I did not take pains to request that they come at the same time.
I will probably not return on my own steam, but if I'm with others who want to go I will give it another chance and avoid the trouble spots in the menu.