Spork (The Mission, San Francisco, CA)

(Update: Spork unfortunately wrapped up operations in late 2011)
My college roommate Steve lives in San Francisco in the Mission District. Just down the way from his house is a cool restaurant called Spork, made out of a renovated former Kentucky Fried Chicken (get the joke?). Both Steve and his wife Emily have said good things about Spork, so I was happy that I finally had a chance to try them out as part of the activities for Steve’s bachelor party.

The basic idea at Spork seems to be creating good, quirky high-quality versions of standard dishes.

We started out with a variety of shared appetizers at the table, including a strawberry and goat cheese dish (which was quite good), a small portion of bolognese (which was nicely done, but nothing special), and a nice and firely sashimi dish.

My main course was the “inside out burger”, which was just like it’s named: it was a nicely toasted piece of bread between two free-range beef patties, topped with cheese and bacon, and a side of smashed fried red potatoes (I make these a lot, in Cuban cuisine they are called papas pelayo). While obviously not something you can pick up and eat, but have to use a knife and fork, this was still quite a good dish: the beef was top-notch and juicy (and, since you don’t have to worry about the juices making the burger soggy, this worked out well), the bacon nicely crisped but not overcooked, and the little piece of bread in the middle soaked up all the flavors nicely. The “special sauce” and caramelized onions round it out nicely. Definitely one of those novelty dishes, but well done nonetheless.

My dessert was the “pot brownie”, which was literally a brownie in a pot. But it was a very nicely done brownie, with just the right amount of chocolate and sugar, with a nice texture halfway between a pudding and a cake. And it was also one of the dishes served with an actual spork (some of the other dishes, such as the mussels, are also served with sporks). Steve’s friend LJ was also at the table, and I really liked his dessert, which was a peanut, chocolate, banana, and caramel dish called “Elvis Has Left The Building,” which resulted in a good mix of flavors.

Overall, a very good dinner, and a nice place if what you are looking for is “comfort food with a twist.”

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