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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Early Bird Special: Starbelly

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 9:56 AM

An early nibble from the Weekly's Wednesday food review.

click to enlarge JEN SISKA
  • Jen Siska
It's merely the latest eatery to embody the übercasual, thin-crust pie, salumi sandwich, and beer ethos of the moment, the way Beretta, its restaurant sib, embodied the artisanal cocktail spirit of mid-2008. Crown the ownership duo geniuses, then, and not just for getting Starbelly's menu right. They're also gastro pioneers in a neighborhood better known for restaurants that lay down post-party calorie bombs or gently tweaked diner fare than a roster of carefully wrought -- if approachable -- dishes oozing style. Tomorrow in SF Weekly, restaurant critic Meredith Brody makes a confession about the meals she had at Starbelly: She can't shake the memory of them. From split-pea soup to warm pear crumble, Brody was smitten with nearly every bite she tasted. Feel the love later today at SFWeekly.com. Can't wait? Get a preview in SFoodie's table-setting excerpt (after the jump).

Starbelly is the second restaurant from Deborah Blum and Adriano Paganini, after their extremely popular Beretta in the Mission, which features pizza and cocktails. The restaurants feel very different, and not just because Starbelly has a wider menu with only a subspecialty in pizza and a liquor license limited to wine and beer. Beretta, on a street lined with eateries, is a dinner house during the week, while Starbelly is open daily from 11:30 a.m. in a neighborhood that isn't dotted with lots of alluring alternatives.... At lunch, when we sat on a banquette near the entrance, conversation was easy. At night, tucked away in the back, it was noticeably noisier, especially as the evening wore on, the place grew darker, and the alcohol kicked in.

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