A 16 Restaurant Review - April 14, 2006 - Joanne

Outside view of A16 restaurant in San Francisco
(Photo courtesy of Melissa Schneider)

A16

2355 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA
(415) 771-2216
Visited March 1, 2006

This was our first visit to A16. We shared all the dishes that we ordered family-style with our dining companions – which makes eating more fun – and seems to be encouraged at this restaurant. There were no bad choices. We had high expectations for what seems a hot ticket restaurant and we left with the overall feeling of wanting to return soon. I really didn’t expect to like the food – and I did – a lot.

The food is savory and appetizing - it seems to be made with well-sourced ingredients. The surprises are good ones, like the olives and the salumi and the Jota special dish. If you are looking for presentation and over-the-top food this restaurant is not for you. Instead, it dishes up hearty and attractive fare with a fun wine list and a fun crowd. Make sure you have a reservation – even on a Monday the restaurant was packed to the doors.

Our motivation for this first dining experience was the visit of Aleš Kristančič from Movia winery in Brda and Bruno De Conciliis from De Conciliis Winery in Prignano Cilento. They were present during the evening and their wines – 7 Movia and 8 De Conciliis – were featured at the restaurant.

The Food:
House marinated taggiasia & castelvetrano olives $3
The Taggiasia was awesome and memorable. Hints of rosemary but salty. A meaty green olive I would seek out – not bitter. Green olive for a non-green olive fan. The other a smaller red/black olive was good.

Mozzarella Burrata
Mozzarella burrata with Olive oil and sea sealt and Crostini $10
Not that exciting. Solid.

Asparagus
Roasted asparagus with walnut crema and pecorino tartufo $11
Really good walnuts were awesome with the asparagus. Yum!

Salumi
Fennel Salumi $9
Delicious. Well made. The salumi is soft and melts in your mouth with a great fennel and slightly spicy finish. Great charcuterie!

Margherita Pizza
Margherita Pizza with tomato, olive oil and basil $12
Tomato sauce too salty IMHO. Good.

Funghi Pizza
Funghi – mushrooms with grana pandano and garlic, oregano, parsley and olive oil $15
Lots and lots of mushrooms. Good. Neither of the pizzas won me over.

Maccaronara
Maccaronara with tomato ragu and ricotta salata $8/$14
We chose the larger portion to share. A solid pasta dish. Well crafted and with good ingredients.

Pork Shoulder braised
Pork shoulder braised with white wine, chestnuts and herbs – with cannelini beans garlic and oregano $21
Pork was beautifully cooked. Beans were delicious on their own. Great.
Ales from Movia
Aleš Kristančič from Movia (standing)

Movia & DeConciliis

The Wines:

2002 Movia Chardonnay Brda
Minerally. Very pure. Crystal like. 2

2002 Movia Pinot Grigio Brda
Lots of minerals. Slightly round soft finish. Very young. Very clean. Balanced. 2+

2001 Movia Veliko Bianco Brda
Honey and chestnuts on nose. Deep golden color. Smells like a dessert wine but very dry with bright integrated notes of lemon. Every vintage seems to be a great value! 3-5

1998 Movia Veliko Rosso Brda
Chocolate and dark berries. Almost artisan red wine vinegar on nose. ? (Too young, not enough opening time to judge.)

1988 Movia Pinot Nero Brda
From magnum. Nose of antique roses. Lots of fruit with eucalyptus on the edges. Finish of rose petals. Showing no age. Joanne loved this wine. 6+ (Each table was given a complimentry pour.)

1959 Movia Ribolla Rebula
(Photo courtesy of Melissa Schneider)

1959 Movia Ribolla Gialla Brda
This wine was made by Ales’ grandfather. Nose of fresh cut squash. Clean broiled grapefruit center. Tart finish. (Each table was given a complimentry pour. Thanks, Ales!)

NV De Conciliis “Selim” Vino Spumante Paestum
A Fiano/Aglianco blend. Dry and elegant but not distinctive. We thought it was slightly corked. 1

2003 De Conciliis Antece Fiano Paestum
Fantastic nose of green chanterais melon with vanilla. Slightly creamy. Great acids. Wildflowers. Very balanced. Not sweet but nose suggest sweetness. 6-12

2003 De Conciliis Naima Prignano Cilento Paestum Aglianico
Brighter style. Young - hard to judge. 2-3+

2003 De Conciliis ‘Zero’ Agropoli Paestum Aglianico
Concentrated. Deep. Good. Very young. 4

Special Dishes to pair with the Wines:

Braised artichoke
Braised artichoke salad with carrots, celery and marjoram
Jack loved this dish.

Jota with gigante beans
Jota with cabbage, gigante beans, potato and sausage. (A special addition to the menu)
Absolutely fantastic. Wow. Sausage was wonderful with bites of coriander. A hearty mixture of complementary flavors. Tastes like an Alsatian dish – hearty but elegant.

Montasio Cheese frico
Montasio cheese frico with Treviso salad.
Fried cheese crispy“patty” with cabbage salad on top. Good with the white wines but not a notable dish.

Dessert:

Cheese
A Selection of 3 Italian cheeses to share

Dessert
Pistachio Cake


Summation: We really enjoyed overselves and will return eagerly. This service was excellent (and how often do we say that?). We were a bit overly focused on the wines, especially as Movia is one of our favorite producers.


A side note: Both winemakers chatted at many of the tables - each sat at ours for 10 minutes or so. We were treated very well!

Photography note: It was brighter in the restaurant (due to overhead outside light) for the appetizers, and darker for the later courses. We don't use a flash so as not to disturb other diners.


August 2007 Note: The Wine List has really improved and now rocks. - Jack



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