Cocktail, food on the side: What to eat when you're sipping around town
Brasserie S&P Mandarin Oriental, 222 Sansome, (415) 986-2020, www.mandarinoriental.com
CILANTRO DAIQUIRIS AND CIDER SOURS
Rock-star cool and sexy describe Chambers' record-lined dining room, one of the most striking in the city. Cocktails ($11) are improved from early days when it opened in 2011. Straightforward and unfussy, the drinks are well-made and thirst-quenching. Playing off one of the greats, a whiskey sour, the Whiskey Cider Sour combines house-made cider, whiskey, egg, and fresh-grated nutmeg. A garden-fresh cilantro daiquiri blends silver rum, Cointreau, and lime with plenty of muddled cilantro.
Eat: Appreciating executive chef Trevor Ogden's unique presentation of smoked fish (salmon) in the past, now it's tea-smoked tombo tuna ($15), slowly smoking over a grate tableside. Despite pork belly burnout years ago, I hadn't tried smoking pork belly ($13) until recently, soft fat releasing its aromas as it burns before you, accompanied by Early Girl tomato kimchee. How could I resist? But salads unexpectedly steal the show. Winter is exemplified in an artistic display of fuyu persimmons ($10) happily partnered with burrata and toasted oat toffee, dotted with Angostura bitters (you heard right), olive oil, sea salt, and garam masala spices. Salade Lyonnaise ($12) is artfully deconstructed: grapefruit wedges, pork biscotti, lardons (thin strips of pork fat), and candied pomelo splay out spoke-like from a sous vide egg resting atop a mound of frisée in the center.
Chambers 601 Eddy St., (415) 829-2316, www.chambers-sf.com
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