Hoss Zaré's New Fly Trap Looks Back To Move Forward

By Tamara Palmer  |  February 10, 2014
Credit: The Fly Trap

If you pass by the intersection of Second and Folsom Streets on the regular, you may have noticed the awning in front of Zaré at Fly Trap has changed from bright vermilion to black. The color swap indicates several shifts inside the restaurant as well. Hoss Zaré has dropped the Zaré, returning the restaurant to its original name, The Fly Trap, complete with this brand new website. Although the moniker has been around in San Francisco since 1909, the roots of the original business actually go back to 1883, when Louis Besozzi opened Louis' Fashion Restaurant on Market and Sutter streets. The place was colloquially called The Fly Trap due to the reams of sticky, insect-baiting paper that Besozzi hung from the walls and ceiling, a functional rather than stylish choice for the so-called Fashion Restaurant.

Zaré at Fly Trap has often been described as a Mediterranean restaurant with Persian influences and this is still the heart of chef/owner Hoss Zaré's food. Although the managers have studied restaurant artifacts to re-style the new menu as an old-school "Bill of Fare," the current offerings are very much in step with current dining trends. The menu leads with a "Garden" section and the entrees include grain-forward dishes like vegetarian freekeh with wild mushrooms, brassicas, English peas, almonds, fennel and spring garlic; and black cardamom braised short rib with quince and quinoa stew, citrus, turmeric, fennel and pomegranate. Long-time Zaré followers can rest assured that menu favorites like the pistachio meatballs and roasted bone marrow are staying put.

Zaré, who is from Iran, got his first job in America as a line cook at The Fly Trap in 1988 and bought the restaurant in 2008, so you could say this step truly brings his American dream full circle. He's providing a similar dream to his longtime bar manager, Valen West, who has joined as his partner in The Fly Trap. Take a look at some of the new dishes at the new old Fly Trap in the slideshow below.

  • Credit: Carolyn Alburger

    A salad of blood orange and arugula gets body from red walnuts and crumbles of manouri cheese while fresh sprigs of mint and cilantro provide lightness. 

  • Credit: Carolyn Alburger

    Some rendition of this appetizer has lived on the menu since day one. The current version stacks a silky bisected baby eggplant atop a large crostini with sun-dried yogurt drizzled on top. 

  • Credit: Carolyn Alburger

    A mound of toasted freekeh is studded with wild mushrooms, brassicas, english peas, almonds, fennel and spring garlic purée.

  • Credit: Carolyn Alburger

    The pan-roasted black cod is one of the menu's best sellers. The fish sits on a pillow of toasted quinoa, cranberry beans, black-eyed peas, corn puree and salsa verde. 

  • Credit: Carolyn Alburger

    Two juicy roulades of lamb sirloin are grilled and served over farro with tamarind chimichurri and spiced yogurt. Zaré's mother's recipe for Persian pickled grapes is the perfect finishing touch.