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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Comstock Saloon: A Remembrance of Things Larded and Pickled

Posted By on Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Abandon your iPhone all ye who enter here. - THISYUPPIELIFE/FLICKR
San Francisco's mustache-waxing love of the old-timey reaches critical mass amid the tweed and mahogany confines of Comstock Saloon in North Beach. In today's edition of SF Weekly, food critic Jonathan Kauffman descends into the Barbary Coast as re-imagined by ex-Absinthe barmen Jonny Raglin and Jeff Hollinger, aided back of house by chef Carlo Espinas. Espinas has fashioned Comstock's menu as a serious homage to turn-of-the-20th-century San Francisco victualizing, without dressing it up in the smothering costumes of Masterpiece-style throwbacks. Kauffman:
Even when a dish like "Crock of beans, braised salt pork, biscuit" reads like it was abstracted from a Herman Melville novel, none of the food Espinas puts out comes off as culinary gimmickry. Part of the reason is that he spends so much time on the backstory of each dish. He cures pork bellies himself, braises Rancho Gordo beans until their centers are creamy and the fat in the salt pork turns gelatinous, and sets two warm, oven-puffed biscuits on the side.
Loosen your four-in-hand, pop off your cuffs, and read Kauffman's entire review at Sipping a Pisco Punch as you read? Entirely optional, my good man. And in today's "Eat Extra," Jeff Hollinger talks with Kauffman about the process of making old stuff new again.

Comstock Saloon 155 Columbus (at Pacific), 617-0071.

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