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First Look: Belcampo Meat Co. San Francisco

By Virginia Miller
June 17, 2014
Photo by: Virginia Miller

Belcampo Meat Co. has finally brought its enviable butchery program and meat-forward menu to Polk Street in San Francisco. Compared to the California chainlet's other storefronts in Larkspur Landing and at markets in Downtown LA and Santa Barbara, the Russian Hill outpost is definitely on the more elegant side. The front butcher shop sells beautiful meats and eggs, direct from Belcampo Farms in Gazelle, Calif., while the narrow, wood-lined restaurant is sunny under giant windows. Both the vivid periwinkle blue booths and the brown menus are made with leather from Belcampo's own cow hides.

Helmed by Belcampo CEO Anya Fernald and Chef Chris Gerwig (A16, NYC's defunct Pulino's), the San Francsico menu is minimal with its seasonings, allowing the pure flavor of its meat to shine through. On that note, Belcampo raises free-range, heritage-breed cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, rabbits, ducks, geese, etc. — any of which may make an appearance on the menu at any given moment. For now it's dinner only but brunch and lunch will eventually kick in, and beer and wine offerings should be available in the next two months. In the meantime, check out some early decor and menu highlights based on our visit just after Friday's grand opening. 1998 Polk St.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    You can taste the freshness in beef tartare ($12). Supple and tender, the meat is accented by pickled fennel, caper salt and mustard seeds, with a Belcampo egg yolk perched in the middle. A hint of lemon rind brightens everything up. 

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Belcampo's signature steer head sculpture, from SF artist Lawrence LaBianca, welcomes diners and shoppers to its butcher shop and restaurant at Polk and Pacific, right across the street from The Jug Shop

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Why fry chicken when you can fry half of a guinea hen ($24)? This dish comes with cabbage-radish slaw and a cooling roasted serrano chile-basil aioli on the side. We found ourselves especially drawn to the juicy chunks of dark meat contrasted by crispy skin.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    This big hunk of provolone and taleggio cheese ($7) is cooked, pancake-style right on the griddle. The warm, soothing cheese gets a seasoning boost from both fresh and dried oregano.
     

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    While some bites bordered on a tad dry, this hefty pork chop ($26) mostly had just the right amount of fat and tenderness. The accompanying salsa Criolla and pickled red onions provided a needed contrast. It sits on a creamy, comforting pool of savory corn pudding.

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Our favorite of the initial desserts, subtly aromatic arborio rice pudding ($7) is topped with slivers of impeccable peaches and fresh basil. Stone fruit takes this classic chilly day comfort food right into summer territory with ease. 

  • Photo by: Virginia Miller

    Chocolate and peanut butter lovers, take note: this creamy chocolate budino ($9) is marked by a sigh-inducing peanut butter mousse. Contrasting crumbles of peanuts and pretzels make it salty, crunchy and addictive. 

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Places Mentioned

Belcampo Meat Co.

American • Larkspur

Food22 Decor15 Service16 Cost$32
 
 
 
 
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