I was indeed a vegan for a little under a year. My animal anti-sobriety is in part impossible because of restaurants like Cockscomb and food heroes like Chef Chris Cosentino – yes, food hero and lord ruler of tripe and foie gras. Thank God it’s legal again in California. Cockscomb is a carnivore’s culinary delight. Whether it’s bovine stomach parts that tickle your fancy or a pork shoulder burger, you’re in good hands – the very capable hands of renown San Francisco Chef, Chris Cosentino. A humble man who works his tail feathers off, but is never too shy to smile at an obnoxious millennial food blogger and her parents.
Let’s talk atmo. The night began at 5pm. 5pm on a Friday night in the industrial yet very hip SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco. The occasion? Dinner and an ACDC concert at the ballpark with the rents – our occasion and 75% of the other fellow diners’. The kind folk at Cockscomb were hip to the crowd’s intentions and inspired our classic rock appetite with the album Back in Black on the restaurant stereo. Chef Chris Cosentino reveals charming dimples as he leans over the counter in a “Tripe” graphic tee, greeting patrons while also prepping a bright eyed and bushy tailed kitchen staff – future rockstar chefs in the making. We HAD to order a tripe dish and a few other things. Let’s talk food and drink:
1. Chef’s Gin Jams: Bulldog Gin, House Jam, Lemon, Fever-Tree Tonic
This drink is my jam! #punintended We were lucky enough to try this one with pluot house-made jam! My favorite fruit hybrid of all the times. The gin first hits your pallet with an herbal bouquet, then you get soft morsels of loving jam, finished with the gum quenching tonic. I would order this drink 100 times. I look forward to the next seasonal jam!
2. Trolley Car: Light rum, Gold Rum, Passion Fruit, Cinnamon
A nod to the Tonga room I hope? And possibly everything that’s right about the world. Apart from my go-to gin, tropical drinks are my everything. This drink does the hula in your mouth, but with that unexpected spectacular sweet cinnamon rim – baby I am yours.
3. Boothby: Pomegranate Infused Bourbon, Sweet Vermouth, Bitters, Sparkling Wine
I am not usually a brown spirits fan (sorry Don Draper), so I tend to avoid these types of drinks. This sipper though, I like! It’s tart, very fruity but balanced with a dryness from the sparkling wine. Very sophisticated and refreshing.
4. Sweet November: Gin, Honey, Citrus
This drink must be doing laps down people’s alleys because it’s a crowd pleaser. The botanical gin is coupled by citrus magic and finishes with silky honey on the mouth. Reminds me of eating honey sticks at the farmer’s market, but better because gin was invited.
Note: Cockscomb is constantly reinventing their menu! Some of these staples may be available with different spirits or flavors – more reason to go back!
1. Little Gems: Green Goddess, Radish, Crispy Pig Ears
All croutons should be replaced with crispy pig ears – all of them. I am such a fan of green goddess and this house-made blend does not disappoint. A perfect salad.
2. “The Hot Mess:” Foie Gras and Strawberries
Imagine the world’s greatest (that’s better than #1) stuffing – imagine it. That is the hot mess. The slow cooked strawberries are sweet and tart and perfectly balanced by the salt and exquisite rich fat of the foie gras. I would say one of the best things I’ve ever ate.
1. “Ham”Burger: Grilled Onions, Gruyere Cheese, Dijon & Chips (add sizzled egg)
There’s quotes around this “Ham” for a reason. This burger is pork shoulder and it’s kind of a big deal. It is also philosophical. Why are hamburgers called hamburgers. They’re beef, not pig! And do yourself a favor, when you order this non-burger-burger, please add the egg. Always add egg. I am kind of fumbling for words to describe this masterpiece. The pork is tender and lovely, the egg over easy – silky yolk but not too runny as to disrupt your hands from cradling the perfection that is this burger. And don’t forget the crispy spuds! Sidekick, I think not. I may or may not be making a reservation for tomorrow night to revisit this beauty. Sigh.
2. Grandma Rosalie’s Tripe – Tripe, Chili, Tomato, Mint
Smokey, spicy, savory, meaty. When the Chef wears a “TRIPE” graphic tee, you order tripe dammit! Is tripe sweeping the nation? Because it’s sweeping me off my feet. There is a very animalistic character tripe has, and not in an unapetizing feral way, but in the way a professionally prepared lining of a cow should taste – scrumptious. This was my mother’s entree and it reminded her of her Croatian grandma’s tripe supper. Mad props, Chef Cosentino. Mad props.
DESSERT: A.K.A. 2nd stomach – always make room for it.
1. Duck Fat Tart with Irish cheddar, Apple Cider Caramel
Yes, that’s right – duck fat. Flakey, savory, and autumnal with a festive apple cider caramel ribboned over a very happy tart and then inside a very happy tummy.
2. Pluot Upside Down Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream
I love pluots! This cake reminded me of cornbread – dense with fruit and neighbored by possibly the best whipped cream I have ever had.
Did we finish everything? Heck yes. Our bellies were full and ready to rock out to Dirty Deeds and marvel at Angus’ nimble body and wicked backspins on the stage! There is something very exciting about dinner and a show. It’s a pastime I cherish. Cockscomb was well aware the ACDC crew had other dinner options in SOMA, and they were very appreciative of our business. That’s something I look for in a restaurant – a joint that genuinely appreciates its patrons and might I say, loyal fans. If you’re a Bay dweller or catching a Giants game, I highly recommend Cockscomb – it’s only a 5 minute walk from AT&T Park.
Convinced? Any vegans rethinking life decisions? 😉 Book your next meal at Cockscomb. I look forward to your rave review in the comments below or what dishes you’d like to try! Enjoy.