SPQR Restaurant Review, San Francisco
Posted by Foodnut.com
SPQR is an Italian osteria, located in Pacific Heights, that serves wine and more casual food than their popular sister restaurant A16 in the Marina district. According to Wikipedia, “SPQR is an initialism from a Latin phrase, Senatus Populusque Romanus (“The Senate and the People of Rome” or “The Senate and Roman People”), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic”. Executive Chef, Matthew Accarrino, prepares “sophisticated, yet soulful, Italian cuisine using the best local ingredients, traditional and modern cooking techniques delivered in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.” Our last visit was at the end of 2010.
Decor, Vibe – The place is small with no a lot of space between tables. It is located in the trendy Fillmore street shopping district. SPQR has counter seating for those without reservations. Diners included many couples, small groups, small families, with most people in their 30′s and 40′s.
The menu changes every couple days and features a big selection of appetizers, pasta, and six entrée’s. Diners can eat family style or individually. Many folks dined tapas style with lots of shared small plates.
Crispy pig’s ears tomatillo, dandelion, anaheim peppers & chili oil ($8) was an interesting appetizer with freshly fried tender and chewy cartilage on a bed of greens. Not exactly a challenging dish to devour given its quality.
Slow roasted carrot salad umbrian lentil, medjool date & our lardo ($14) is a popular starter that the waitress recommended. Nice tender roasted vegetables and variety to make this more interesting. A sure fire hit for vegetarians. Meat eaters should look elsewhere.
Local quail Swiss chard, farro roast stuffing, fuyu persimmon ($20) featured one large quail that was cooked to a perfect tender and pinkish medium rare. The barley like stuffing was pretty neutral, making it a nice balance dish.
Fusilli ($14) with pork and tomato ragu was a very good curly pasta with ample quantities of pork. Good solid dish
Beef Tongue with salsa verde ($8) was very tasty but very greasy. It had a green salsa verde on top that was not spicy.
Des Honey Granita with poached quince and almond crema ($7.50) was a very good lighter dessert. The granita had subtle honey flavor and was accented with the quince below. The Creama was like sweeten condensed milk. Sweet and good.
Caramel panna cotta apple, cinnamon & florentine ($8) was a velvety smooth dessert that is highly recommended. Not too sweet, very fluffy, with a thin crunchy cookie to the side.
Veal breast & sweetbread leek, cranberry kumquat relish; black garlic sauce ($25) had a circular helping of veal that was dry and ineventful. The sweetbreads were deep fried balls of goodness to the side.
La Quercia Americano Prosciutto ($8) with melon and basil is a classic dish and executed just fine. The quality of the meat was good, slice thickness was pretty thin. Melon was a cantaloupe.
Lamb burger ($14) with pecorino (Aioli), and house made pickles had a real greasy lamb patty. It tasted fair and the lamb was not gamey, but the burger was too greasy.
Chantrelle Mushrooms with wilted spinach, lardo, lemon ($8) was too greasy and salty. Flavor of the mushrooms was average but the saltiness was overwhelming. Not much spinach to the dish.
Service was very good and professional considering how small and hectic SPQR was. No worries about refills or checking how the food was.
SPQR is a good place for a quick bite albeit not at an inexpensive price, if you want heavy duty Italian, their sister restaurant A16 or Perbacco is a better. Prices used to be more moderate and the restaurants earlier days.
A very nice wine selection with three-ounce tastings, glasses, half carafes and full bottles from $19. They have lots of different glasses of wine from $8 and even 3oz tastes from $5.50.
Be sure to check out the A16 Food and Wine Book
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