I've never left a meal at Kronnerburger without feeling like I've gotten in touch with my primal side. Chris Kronner's food is heavy on meat; it's all about bones and marrow and juices; it's food you eat with your hands and gnaw off the bone. When he was at Bruno's in the Mission, he cooked rare, salty burgers that often came with the side of bone marrow. Since he left that and is working on finding his own space in Oakland, he's been focusing more on French bistro fare.
Tonight he wraps up a three-day stint popping up at Mission cocktail bar Trick Dog while the bar is between chefs. Last night, the bar's balcony dining room was still lively on Monday at 11 p.m., mostly with industry folks enjoying Kronner's "bistronomic odyssey" complete with wine pairings from Bradford Taylor and specially created cocktails. (Here's the full food menu.)
The meal started off with some appetizers that showed Kronner's range as a chef, a reminder that he was exec chef at Bar Tartine before he switched to burgers. Chicken liver pate that had a sharp bite of liver, even when tempered with marinated mushrooms, and a smoked halibut terrine was more or less smoky fish paste. There was an elegant salad of pole beans and sungold tomatoes, and some beautifully cooked spot prawns that came with heads still attached.
But the real star of the meal was the meat, Kronner's specialty. Cured and grilled goat meat was fork-tender and subtly smoky; the goat's muskiness had been tamed to a whisper. It was more savory than pork, more interesting than beef. It would have been great on tacos.
Then there was the showpiece: a two-pound(ish), 30-day aged steak entrecôte for $98. That particular cut is the most prized (also known as rib-eye or Delmonico) and Kronner's version was a beautiful thing. It came on a wooden cutting board, complete with marrow, a meaty bone, thick-cut french fries, and sauteed greens. The steak was already cut up, with salty ends, center bits that were rare and bloody, lean slices and slices with more fat. Of course the meat was great, velvety and savory, but the best part was dredging the fries in the drippings. The whole thing easily served the five people at our table.
Taylor's wine recommendation, a zesty, salty Sandlands California Carignane, complemented the beef perfectly.
Kronner's stint at Trick Dog doesn't take reservations and I recommend getting there early (things get going at 5:30 p.m., though he's serving until 1 a.m.) if you plan on showing up to embrace your inner caveman.