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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

SF Weekly's Seven-Day Dish

Posted By on Wed, Apr 9, 2008 at 2:05 PM

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Around Town:

Magnolia Pub & Brewery (1398 Haight at Masonic) has brought in a new chef, Brandon Jew, and plans a revamp of its menu to push the boundaries of gastropub fare. Magnolia is going whole hog — literally — and plans to include more offal and charcuterie dishes, possibly including a fried headcheese sandwich. But don’t call it upscale, insists owner Dave McLean: “I hate to saddle the menu with a loaded word like ‘upscale.’ It all fits into a gastropub menu,” he says. “The word ‘pub’ comes from ‘public house,’ and I think that all these things — sustainability, using all the parts of the animal — it all goes back to kind of blue-collar comfort food. This is the original beer food. That’s the compelling vision behind this move.”

With a sophisticated, ambitious menu covering all the bases of traditional Japanese fare, O Izakaya (1625 Post at Laguna) in the Hotel Kabuki represents the latest flagship in the burgeoning San Francisco trend — along with fellow izakaya spot Oyaji — for small plates with very big flavors. SF Weekly’s Robert Lauriston is putting his money on the yakimono (grilled) portion of the menu, singling out the grilled pork belly ($4), the slightly sweet, crunchy-outside-creamy-inside golden-brown rice balls known as omochi ($3), and soba with mizuna and poached egg ($9). Check out his full review in this week’s issue, on newsstands today.

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Brian Bernbaum

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