564 Fourth Street • San Francisco, CA 94107
Truth be told, I shouldn’t be eating at Cockscomb. My doctor recently told me an angiogram is in order to see if I have any arterial blockages worth a stent or two. But any damage I may have done over several decades won’t be augmented by a few meals in a hastily planned vacation before I get back to New York for a procedure I’m not looking forward to.
Otherwise, I’ve been on somewhat good behavior. Taking my meds, my vitamins, eating better the week leading up to this vacation. If I live through the angiogram, I’ll modify my behavior appropriately – with decadent meals and cocktails the exception rather than a weekly rule. So this little trip to California may be my last hurrah. Or my last something, anyway.
Cut to Cockscomb, Chef Chris Cossentino’s ode to whole animal cookery, where the menu is replete with ginormous sharing plates that may include a hundred and twenty five buck Pin Bone Steak with a bone marrow dipping sauce. Depending on how adventurous you are, you can even order Wood Oven Roasted Pig’s Head. Both these options, tempting as they might be, are better suited to large groups – or smaller groups for whom such leftovers are sanctioned by a cardiologist. (Insert smiley face emoticon here, but only half mean it.)
Kim and I reeled it in a bit, but still felt like we had thankfully overdone it. A night of salt infused fitful sleep, while not on the bill, was a cost we gladly paid for a foray into debauched butchery. We started light, with the Tombo Crudo – citrus cured fish with Vietnamese herbs and chili beneath a wide-rimmed rice cracker. It had all the acid that was missing from the Beef Heart Tartare, so we dipped our bread in it before slathering on the aforementioned ticker.
Any attempt to keep it light was soon thwarted by the Hot Mess – an aptly named combination of seared foie gras and pork trotter on gravy soaked toast. Some pickled pink rhubarb could only hope to cut the richness of this most devilish and delectable dish. If you’re out drinking with friends, this is a must.
Our waiter steered us in the right direction and we ordered the Bacon Chop after he suggested it was the most flavorful thing on the menu. I was skeptical. How could a pork chop live up to that? Well, for one, this piece includes the pork belly in the cut – and is served on a tasty bed of mint salsa, chicharron and citrus panzanella that adds some much needed acid. It’s one decadent chop – nothing like you’re imagining right now, so don’t even bother. If you can get over to Cockscomb, this porky delectation needs to be experienced to be believed. Wood fired and perfectly rendered – its pure bliss for carnivores of every ilk. We got it with a side of beautifully garlicky Baby Bok Choy.
If I live to tell the tale, I’ll be back to Cockscomb one day – perhaps to feed my bionic body-parts with everything else on the menu.
Maybe I’ll even come back for the lunch-only Impossible Burger, the closest vegan replica of that American staple which got so much good press recently.
As for me, it’s time for my high blood pressure meds and a leisurely walk along Half Moon Bay where, perhaps, I’ll mull over my life choices and the future of writing about eating.