Best Thing We Ate

Trick Dog: What to Eat (and Drink) From the New Chef

By Virginia Miller  |  September 9, 2014
Credit: Virginia Miller

Trick Dog's ​new chef, Michael Logan — formerly of The Battery, South at SFJAZZ, NYC's Maialino — has just completely rolled over to his menu as of this week. Irresistible Trick Dog classics are still there, like the mountainous kale salad and the thrice-cooked fries, but there's a number of new additions. We just went in to try Logan's new dishes and here are some initial food — and cocktail — standouts from the new menus.

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  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    A couple already iconic dishes remain, namely The Trick Dog ($10), or essentially, a burger in a sesame hot dog bun. The blissfully messy house-ground blend of brisket, chuck and sirloin meat is formed to fit the bun, falling apart and radically slathered in lettuce, onion, pickles, cheddar cheese and house sauce. Despite its unconventional form, it's arguably one of the great burgers in town.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Trick Dog's biannual cocktail menu change ($12 each) brings a whole new set of drinks and the much-discussed, artistic menus, widely different each time. This time it's the tri-fold "Tourist Menu" named after key SF landmarks and historic spots like Sutro Baths or Lombard Street. Pictured here is one of the more interesting newcomers, Dragon Gate, a floral-savory-bright blend of Campo de Encanto acholado pisco (its owners based locally), muscat (an often sweet, floral grape), Sichuan pepper, ginger and lemon, frothy with egg white. It's slightly savory, sweet, floral and refreshing.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    We were delighted to find Nashville-style "hot" chicken ($23) on Logan's new menu, trying the dish on its inaugural day last week. A fried leg and thigh, partnered with a skewer of tender liver and hearts, are all appropriately juicy. Though not as spicy as some Nashville versions, the hot chicken lives up to its name with plenty of cayenne kick dusted over its crunchy buttermilk crust. The only thing missing is the white bread and pickles (although there is a pickled mustard seed slaw).

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Chickpea falafel ($9) in piping-hot strips is an unexpected menu highlight. Marked by coriander, parsley and golden raisins, the soft, gratifying sticks are dipped in a yogurt sauce enlivened with a splash of guajillo chile harissa. A vegetarian's dream bar snack — but the rest of us will take it too.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    A drink standout on the new menu is City Lights. Ford's gin, Dolin blanc vermouth and Linie aquavit mingle clean and crisp in a martini-esque cocktail that is given distinction with subtle strawberry and shortbread made into house bitters, imparting a rosé-winelike glow.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    White bass ceviche ($14) is one of Logan's clean, bright additions, offering a welcome contrast to thrice-fried fries and The Trick Dog. Cubes of silky white bass are scooped up with taro chips in a yuzu citrus-laced ceviche including heart of palm, watermelon radish, mint and Thai chile.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Thrice-cooked fries ($5) is the other classic that remains — but the simultaneously crispy-soft fries are even better done "manimal-style" (another $2), decadently laden with cheddar cheese and creamy rémoulade sauce.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Alcatraz works as a whiskey cocktail over one single, giant ice cube, mixing Four Roses small-batch bourbon and apple with almost too-subtle lavender, kombu (edible kelp) and fresh horseradish, though the latter unfolds ever-so-slightly as the ice slowly melts.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    It may "just" be guacamole ($7), but Logan's version is worth ordering with cocktails. As fresh as a Mission guac should be, it is roasted corn kernels shaved off the cob on top and house-fried Mission tortilla chips that make it sing.

  • Credit: Virginia Miller

    Though Logan's fig tartine ($10) is on the regular menu, it works beautifully as dessert (and would make a dream breakfast). Plump kadota figs and pine-nut brittle are piled over house ricotta smeared on rustic toast, drizzled in lime vinaigrette. It's simultaneously sweet, acidic and nurturing.