March 22, 2011

San Francisco Eats: Contagna

Contagna came highly recommended to us by one of Graybeard's coworkers, so we had great expectations. The decor was brown. As it turned out, every single restaurant we went to for dinner in San Fran was in shades of brown. Granted, two had the same owners, so presumably the same designers. At Contogna it worked though. There are huge windows, simple decor, and great lighting, all of which somehow made people the decorations, which was kind of a cool effect. We could only get reservations on a Thursday night for 10:30pm (expectations mounting... ).

Our hotel was on Nobb Hill and, not knowing how to get around in SF without a car, we decided that Contagna was close enough to walk to, and would give us a peek at Chinatown. The trek was uphill both ways in the rain (literally). Holy geez, those hills are steep.

As for the food, we were not impressed. Service wasn't that great. The food was actually kind of not good. However, Graybeard was mesmerized by the wood-burning oven. So there was that.

This was my unmemorable dish:


It was some kind of pork, which was recommended by a Yelper, but, while pretty, it was a little tough and dried out.

Graybeard fared a little better with his fish, but not too much:


The carrots "roasted with rooftop honey & anise" were kind of soggy, and too sweet.


If you want a good recipe combining veggies with honey, check out this recipe for Caramelized Cauliflower with Honey and Smoked Paprika on The Bored Vegetarian's blog. I'm always hesitant about mixing sweets into my dinner, but this somehow is a surprisingly delicious combination, and even Graybeard, who is not a fan of cauliflower, loved it. This, I think, is my new go-to cauliflower recipe. (My old go-to cauliflower recipe, for you Milk Eaters out there, was to steam an entire head of cauliflower until just tender, spread a mixture of half yellow mustard and half mayonnaise on top, then lay slices of cheddar cheese on top and broil until the cheese is melted and just turning golden. SO good. If you you like cheese, anyway. However, this new cauliflower recipe is as good as that, and is probably much healthier.)

After the hype, our first dinner in SF made us wonder whether there is just no comparison to NYC restaurants. Thoughts? In my next post, our tour of San Francisco restaurants continues.

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