There are a number of good reasons to try A16 for lunch, including a three-course option for $20 and a calmer, quieter experience than the popular Italian restaurant's dinner scene. You can also get a free meat show.
Now, this isn't for the squeamish, but if you sit at the counter for lunch on Wednesdays, you'll see newly-appointed chef Chris Thompson and crew engaged in a fascinating tangle of choreography as they break down whole pigs for a number of uses. They work together like a machine. Each cook has a precise duty, whether removing delicate silver skin or parsing out bones. Even the cleanup is swift and impressive.
We are very squeamish but couldn't help but watch, transfixed -- we had to tell ourselves the pig's heads being split were props in order to keep calm.
Wednesdays is the big pig show, but you may encounter smaller animals such as rabbits (Mondays), goats (biweekly Tuesdays), chicken (Thursdays), or duck (Fridays) being worked on during other lunch days. It's an education that's not easily accessible outside of butcher-centric events, and a process that will put you closer to an understanding of where your meat comes from. It's reassuring to see Thompson and crew minimize waste and maximize efficiency.