Saturday, May 1, 2010

Perbacco - old world

I fell..hook line and sinker for this old world charm. Perbacco isn't a new kid on the block. She's been seasoned, had her share of fluctuating barren days and glorious days. Yet, she's still around. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing beat up or run down when it comes to Perbacco. Its decor is just as chic and posh as any trendy, hip newbie. Although you'll find the clientele slightly more reserved, with the hairline just starting to recede, and conversing of the most recent "litigations", as the table juxtaposed aside me was. This is the Financial District after all.

The man behind this? Chef/Owner Staffan Terje. Terje? Not very Italian sounding you're thinking. That's because he's 100%  born and bred in Sweden. But the chap isn't concocting Swedish meatballs and sauerkrat. His traveling-chef days to Italy have inspired him to create dishes indigenous to the Piemonte region.

Perbacco houses its own curing room for salumi, ergo I found it a must to try their Salumi Misti. There was an array of salumi's ranging from lardo to the Italian version of rilletes (which I must say, the French have effortlessly prevailed) to your standard salumi with a name I can barely enunciate. Surprisingly, the cured meats didn't feel heavy and laden with sodium as I was expecting. There wasn't even a need for the bread sticks. The garnish of pickled veggies countered the meats nicely.

 Tajarin - handcut tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and 5 hour pork sugo. I was blown away by this prosaic looking quasi-ramen dish. How can those queer looking strands be so tender, yet al dente? What really gave me a food-gasm was the umami flavor of the 5 hour pork sauce that it so willingly soaked up. 

 Paparadelle - braised short rib ragu and roasted chanterelle. There's papardelle, and then there's parparadelle. I can say, honest to God, that I've never had a better parparadelle. Although not being very well versed on pastas or Italian cuisine, I've nothing to compare with besides Osteria Mozza and Acquerello. But who cares?  Another handmade pasta cooked to perfection with a fusing of al dente and tenderness, slipping and sliding everywhere. I don't recall the ragu. The star is obviously the parparadelle, and the ragu was there to enhance its sexiness. 

Perbacco has got its pasta making down to a science. Each dish was perfectly executed, flawless, and not your typical "Batali lard-y" construction of heavy sauces and fatty cuts of meat. I actually felt good after this meal. There was no need to consult my stash of antacids. To Staffan Terje; the Swedish-born, Stockholm-raised, Europe-traipsing, Piemonte-inspired chef, I give you my obsequious bow.

230 California St
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 955-0663

Perbacco Ristorante in San Francisco on Fooddigger

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