LMS correspondent Michael Seibel wraps up this year's SF Chefs event coverage with a carnivorous roar. Lamb Ribs, BBQ Pulled Pork sammies, a Salami-Prosciutto-Lardo threesome, and Porchetta...Michael, I'm guessing you enjoyed the meat.
SF Chefs 2011 opening celebration and grand tasting featured dishes from 34Â restaurants and over 24 featured wines, beers, and spirits. Â Of all the bites, theÂ Lamb Rib with pickled red onion and yogurt fromÂ Foreign CinemaÂ was hands down the best. Â Serving small plates to hundreds of people for 4.5 hours is hard work, and sometimes chefs prefer to take the easy route (soups, cold items, etc.). Â John Clark, chef atÂ Foreign Cinema, served a challenging dish at a consistently high level of quality all night long. Â The rib was warm, well crusted, meaty, and tender. Â The onions andÂ yogurtÂ cooled off the dish slightly and lent creamy, crunchy, and tart notes which cut through the fat on the well marbled piece of meat. Â Only the large number of other food/drink distractions kept me from coming back to this dish over and over again; however, I did end up eating three servings by the end of night.
The second major hit was not a 3 Michelin star plate of food, but what it lacked in refinement, it more than made up for in satisfaction. Jim Modesitt of Big Jim's BBQ served a simple but perfectly executed BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich. Â The pork was moist and full of flavor, the sauce was sweet and smokey, and the bread was hearty enough to not fall apart mid-bite. Â Unfortunately, I had this item at the very end of the night (so I only ate one) but I can't wait for the next time I have the opportunity to try Big Jim's BBQ. Keeping with our theme of simplicity, it doesn't get anyÂ simplerÂ than piles of freshly sliced Salami, Prosciutto, and Lardo served with crispy homemade bread sticks. Â Chef Bob Helstrom of Bar NorciniÂ made me feel like a kid as I wrapped multiple slices of meat around a bread stick and quickly shoveled it into my mouth before the untidy package came undone. Â The stand out item was the lardo which unfortunately didn't make the picture. Â I don't understand how Helstrom packs so much meaty salty porky flavor into each thin silky slice. Â Every bite was a couple seconds of food heaven. Whenever I see porchetta my mouth starts to water. Â With this Porchetta Sandwich, Delfina's Craig Stoll was effectively cheating. There isn't much to say other than it was excellent. Â MagicallyÂ hiddenÂ in each sandwich was a little square of crispy salty skin that took this experience to the next level. Overall the grand tasting was the most fun dining I've done all year. Â With so many different offerings in such a small place you can condense months of eating out into one fun filled night. Â I look forward to next year!