According to SPQR’s webpage, “SPQR” is an acronym for Senatus Populesque Romanus, SPQR translates to “The People and Senate of Rome” and was the emblem of the Roman Empire.”
Good to know because G and I were pronouncing it like “SPORK”. LOL.
We seem to have really good luck with hidden gems lately because this is another wonderful find and can be counted among one of our more special meals this year…
Under the direction of Executive Chef Matthew Accarrino, this restaurant’s menu is quite different from any others we have been to thus far, and it’s definitely a gem located in the Pacific Heights neighborhood.
While G did not order any wine, I got a taste of the Belisario Rosso. Immediately upon looking at the wine list, I knew I was in for a treat. Not too many restaurants have a section for wine taste, you either get a glass or a bottle, but this place is quite special because it offers the diner three choices making it one of my favorite place already.
For starters, we tried their fava beans which was done like fritto misto (lightly fried) and provided enough crunch for the exterior of the bean while maintaining the integrity of the actual beans inside. Flavorful and not overly complicated. A great balance.
Next, we sampled the bone marrow sformatino which consisted of a gelatin mold of the marrow, with sweet carmelized spring onions wrapped with smoked bacon. While this is quite different and tasted pretty good, this is perhaps one of our least favorite due to the consistency of the marrow. We were expecting the bone marrow to be like the traditional dish where you scrape it off the bone and spread it on bread. Not so here. But to the chef’s credit, the balance of the flavor of the carmelized onions and bacon more than make up for the almost non-flavor of the marrow.
G thought it would be a good idea to try the country pork terrina which came with beer mustard & two grilled costini. This is perhaps my favorite Spuntini due to the pretty arrangement and the wonderful balance of the beer mustard with the pork terrina. What really impressed me is that Executive Chef Accarrino used miner lettuce and some edible flowers to decorate this plate making a palatable assemble of fine food and joy. Also on the plate is some strings of young onions which is really flavorful by itself and absolutely brilliant when combined with the pork terrina. Wow!
Maybe because we were a bit vocal about the wonderful food because our server kept coming by to check on us to see how we were doing. And each time offered us a bit of a culinary education on our choices because she’s the one who told us to eat the miner lettuce. Otherwise, I would have just left it alone because I usually don’t eat dish decorations. Thank you Kristin, you are awesome!
Because we stuffed ourselves with enough Spuntini, we ordered one Primi to share and that was my pick. I wanted to try the Stinging nettle torchio with garlic crema, pancetta & parmesan and I picked this dish because I normally do not see this on other restaurant’s menu. Don’t let the stinging nettle fool you. It’s not stinging at all in the way you think, but it definitely has enough taste to explode in your mouth. You experience the subtle after taste a few seconds after your start chewing and it just gets better and better.
While we definitely do not need to eat anymore food, we again ordered panna cotta to end this wonderful meal. This panna cotta is different from others I had. It’s consisted of buttermilk and has a jello layer which I am not particularly fond of, but does give the panna cotta a more textured flavor. The chopped strawberries was a great touch.
To sum this up, this is a wonderful restaurant with excellent Italian-inspired California cuisine, excellent service from all the staff from the front of the house to the kitchen staff. Exceptional and truly memorable.