Five Serious Meat Joints to Celebrate Summer
Summer is here, and even though in San Francisco that often means fog and wind, we still celebrate like good, red-blooded Americans: with meat. Recently, a crop of restaurants has opened offering superlative barbecue, burgers, and other meaty dishes that totally rock. Check it out.
4505 Burgers & BBQ (705 Divisadero St.)
No one knows meat quite like local butcher (and Kansas City native) Ryan Farr. Head to his 4505 Burgers & BBQ for a major celebration of carnivorous pleasures, whether you order his Best Damn Cheeseburger (yeah, it’s really that good), the ribs, or the brisket. And yes, they even have vegetarian choices! The setting is great, with an expansive outdoor patio, a protected shipping container with heated seating for when things get chilly, and plenty of beer. And if you develop a late-night hankering, check out their burger window, open Fridays and Saturdays from 11pm–1am.
Brenda's Meat and Three (919 Divisadero St.)
For true straightforward Southern comfort cooking, do not miss Brenda’s Meat and Three in the Western Addition. There are plenty of opportunities to hit it up: they do breakfast daily, followed by lunch and dinner (there’s brunch on weekends too). The daytime menu morphs into a classic Southern diner format at 5pm, with your choice of a meat entrée and three sides (hence “Meat and Three”). Lunch has a nice buzz, with folks chowing down on po’boys, fried bologna sandwiches with pimento cheese, shrimp hush puppies (you should do that too), and fried oyster salads with bacon and buttermilk dressing. At dinner, choose from your favorite of the daily list of meats and sides, and enjoy a beverage from the very reasonably priced beer and wine list. This is actually a good place for a vegetarian, too, with plenty of exciting vegetable sides (you can order four for $15).
EPIC Steak (369 Embarcadero)
Nothing says meat quite like a name like EPIC Steak, and chef Parke Ulrich has recently launched a new menu at this high-end Embarcadero restaurant, built around an open-fire grill. Dishes include an A5 Miyazaki Wagyu steak, or the “EPIC meal for two,” which is pretty much guaranteed to give you meat sweats: it includes a 32-ounce tomahawk rib steak and a two-pound lobster. In addition to the menu changes, sommelier Petra Polakovicova, who originally developed the restaurant’s wine list, has returned to create an all-new list to pair with the new menu. Plus, the bay views can’t be beat. www.epicsteak.com
Belcampo Meat Co. (1998 Polk St.)
If you’re looking to check out a unique California experience, head to Belcampo Meat Co., where this company has taken complete control of their supply chain. Their organic meats are humanely raised (and free range) on their farm in Mount Shasta; they also have their own state-of-the-art slaughterhouse facility, one of the few USDA-certified, multispecies meat-processing facilities to open in California in the past two decades. More importantly, they have a restaurant full of their delicious meaty wares, with a menu that includes some new and pretty major sandwiches at lunchtime; highlights include the tartare tartine, roast pork Cubano, eggs and ham, and a sloppy joe made with mutton.
Smokestack at Magnolia Brewery (2505 3rd St.)
Perhaps the most American thing about Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing, in the Dogpatch neighborhood, is that the barbecue is “nondenominational,” meaning not exclusive to any particular region of the Americas or elsewhere. There’s influence from Kansas City, the Carolinas, Texas, along with Asian and international styles. Plus, local brewer Magnolia is on hand with the suds, and they even have a full bar. You order your meat at the glass case by weight, and then get to pick your sides. Have fun. The space is festive and a little industrial, a good fit for the up-and-coming neighborhood.
Dana Eastland is the associate editor for tablehopper.com. Marcia Gagliardi is the creator of www.tablehopper.com, a popular insider weekly e-column about the SF dining scene; subscribe for more news, tips, and updates. Follow her on Twitter: @tablehopper.
Photo by 4505 Burgers & BBQ.