Last Sunday I attended a preview of the Commissary, Traci des Jardins’ new restaurant in the Presidio. A myriad of hors d’oeuvres were passed around, and while every single one of them induced the un-neighborly impulse to highjack the trays that bore them, it was a one-bite union of grilled squid, garbanzo beans, fennel shavings, and aioli that truly tempted me to jump over the kitchen counter and beg, plead, and grovel for more. It was like the world’s best seafood salad, impaled by a toothpick and presented as proof that when it comes to restaurant food—and most other things in life—simplicity sits cheek by jowl with godliness. —R.F.M.
Apparently, when it rains high-falutin barbecue it pours. It was just last week that I dined at 4505 Meat's new barbecue joint. Then last night I made my way to Smokestack, the new meat-by-the-pound restaurant opened by Dave McClean of Magnolia Brewery (with Dennis Lee of Namu Gaji behind the food). What a scene! The crowd there was straight of central casting about dot-com San Francisco. Falling right in line, there's brisket for $30 a pound. The good news is that I'd say it's (almost) worth it. Rather than some rustic cut of meat, I'd liken it to the chinchilla of barbecue—silken, glistening, rich. Then there are the creamed green beans—another don't miss. The cafeteria-like set up leaves you feeling a bit like you're in middle school, searching desperately for a spot to sit amongst the cool kids. There's also no table service (forget easily getting a cocktail). But Smokestack is worth a visit. There's nothing in the city quite like it. —S.D.
Earlier this week, I biked to the Outer Sunset to check out lunch at the newly-reopened Outerlands. The restaurant, as you have likely heard, is bigger and even more beautiful than it was in its previous incarnation, though few things remain nicer than just sitting outside, watching life waft by along Judah Street like so much sea breeze. I ordered the grilled cheese sandwich. As it was at Outerlands 1.0, it’s given a primer coat of garlic oil, loaded with approximately eight pounds of cheese, and griddled in a cast-iron pan until said cheese oozes out from between the (thickly sliced, crusty) bread in great rubbery blobs. It’s gorgeous, joyous, and borderline obscene. Taking a 10-mile bike ride afterwards is helpful. —R.F.M.
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