DATE NIGHT: 02.24.12 @ 3:30 PM
I am not sure if our meal counted as late lunch or early dinner at Cotogna yesterday afternoon. Let's just call it European Lunch.
Cotogna is so popular I dare you to try to get a 7 pm reservation on Opentable ANY DAY of the week up to 3 weeks from now. When I scored a 3:30 PM reservation, I took it. Not only I hardly dine in SF without reservations, Enrique and I also need to start getting out of the house early on Saturdays instead of living in our pjs until 5 in the afternoon.
Aside from the personal reasons I stated above, 3:30 PM is a great time to have a relaxing delightful meal with a glass of nice cocktail that makes you close your eyes in ecstacy while taking in the view of SF's rare brick archictecture in the historic Jackson Square District.
Cotogna is a cozy place to be in SF: brick walls, open kitchen with roaring fire in the brick oven, a classy casual bar right next to the open kitchen, stacks and stacks of firewood against the walls on your way to the bathroom. The place is attractive but not stuffy. Hence, a great place to sip your cocktail at 3:30 in the afternoon. And Cotogna is L O U D!
MIMOSA $11: There were only 3 cocktails on our mid-afternoon menu and I chose the Mimosa. The mimosa was okay and pricey for the tiny glass. But anything for mid-afternoon cocktail for me!
BUBBLY WATER $6/BOTTLE: Cotogna makes their own bubbly H20. Unlike many restaurants in SF who serve their bubbly water as complimentary, Cotogna charges $6 per bottle. Enrique ordered 2! Yikes! He does not drink so its okay but charge $6, really?!
Cotogna's bread should belong to a new food group. It should come with a warning "Contains crack." The bread was loaf-style and generously seasoned with seasalt and spices. The bottom was soaking in EVOO but not greasy. It was focaccia that was melt in your mouth. I honestly have been good not touching restaurant bread but between me and Enrique, we had 2 loaves. Unlike their bubbly water, Cotogna was very generous with their bread.
Enrique hinted that I loved the bread so much our server packed us a box to go without charging us. Very nice!
*TRIPE: Tender, spicy and very flavorful trip tripe in chili oil. We really enjoyed this simple dish. I used the bread to soak up the juices. I have no shame when it comes to dining.
*#18 7 x 7 Big Eats: $24 PRIX FIXE @ COTOGNA
1. SALAD: Citrus salad with grapefruit nicely seasoned with seasalt. Generous portions for 2.
3. PINK LADY APPLE AND ALMOND CROSTATA: Dry and heavy with olive oil taste. For being part of the prix fixe this was okay. The ice cream was a nice accompaniment.
*CORNISH GAME HEN WITH GRILLED POLENTA AND OLIVES $22: Whole juicy succulent hen. The breast was perfectly cooked but the drumsticks were bloody. Still good according to Enrique but he did not like the heavy EVOO taste. I ate the grilled polenta which was really good cooked crispy but still tender on the inside.
CHECK: $118 including tax, Healthy SF and generous tip for the nice gesture of giving us extra bread and very friendly service.
I agree with 7 x7 that Cotogna's $24 Prix Fixe is one of the best deals in town. It was not the best taste in dining but the whole experience was delightful. Cotogna is a true SF gem.
GOOD TO KNOW:
*Cotogna is the sister restaurant of the finer dining "Quince" next door.
*Chef Michael Tusk was recenty the recipient of the James Beard Foundation 2011 Beard award for "Best Chef - Pacific!" www.jbfawards.com
*Once again the BUBBLY WATER IS NOT FREE! $6 per bottle
*GO BETWEEN 4:30 PM AND BEFORE 5:30 PM. Last Saturday, Cotogna was still packed at 3:30 PM, By 4:30, crowd was thinning out. By 5:15, the place was practically empty. Cotogna is open all day
Mon - Thurs 11:30 AM - 11 PM
Fri-Sat 11:30 AM - 12 AM
Sun 5PM - 9PM