The San Francisco dining scene can be described as trend-setting or status-quo, traditional or modern, yet there is one inarguable common thread in the city's go-to favorite restaurants and hidden gems: seasonality. It's time for bright spring flavors to call our palates out of hibernation. Let's take a look at the Seasonal Dish from restaurants who are getting it right.
The first seasonal dish to savor? Dark Horse Inn's seasonal menu starter, asparagus with burrata and house-made pickled shallots ($7). With a locally-sourced, house made whenever possible, and seasonal approach to food, Dark Horse Inn is a go-to neighborhood favorite in the Excelsior -- and it's easy to see why with this aparagus dish, which captures the freshness of the early shoots just coming into season.
Charred asparagus mingling with warmed burrata turns simply-dressed produce into something rich and decadent. A simple peppered olive oil dressing with a tangy bite from the house-made shallot pickles creates a depth of contrasting flavors. Pair this starter with FiftyFifty Farmhouse Ale ($6, 10 oz.), just one of many craft brews Dark Horse Inn rotates on tap. This farmhouse ale has a dry, slight acidity which plays well with the astringent and sweet qualities of asparagus.
Over in the outer Richmond, Pizzetta 211's simple asparagus spring menu starter ($10.50) is also worth a seasonal mention. Asparagus lightly dressed in a blend of parsley, chive, mint, lemon zest, boiled egg with a peppercress garnish and toasted almonds. The light dressing adds a citrus flavor and complementing garnishes lend a not-at-all overpowering peppery bite and a bit of texture. This spring at Pizetta 211, expect seasonal pizzas featuring flavor combinations like asparagus, pea tendrils, Fontina and almond picada ($15.50).
For a sweet seasonal finish, Bi-Rite Creamery's brought back the must-have Meyer Lemon Ice Cream ($3.50, single scoop). Only once a year can you count on this sweeter variety of lemon to brighten a frozen concoction. Try it ice cream sandwich-style with the salted lavender cookies for a sticky, sweet-sour-salty combo.