Zuni is a huge place on two levels with tons of different seating areas, a kitchen in the middle of the downstairs with wood burning ovens and a large copper bar area with seating. There is also a small area with several types of oysters waiting to be shucked and eaten. Table clothes are covered with paper but still a nice cloth napkin. There are lots of windows to the busy streets outside that pass by two sides of the pie shaped restaurant. Brick walls and exposed steel give the place a casual feel. It still attracts a lot of people even thought it’s been around for 30+ years and the chef who brought it fame, Judy Rodgers having passed away in 2013. We’ve been there a couple previous times in years past and I think it’s as good as ever. Service is friendly, helpful and makes your dining experience fun. The food is simple yet made with great ingredients and prepared well for a wonderful outcome. I would give the place a hearty recommendation.
They serve a house bread that is crusty and doughy with a slab of tasty butter. It is hard not to fill up on this moist lovely product.
We sampled a number of items while we waited for our roast chicken (more about that in a minute). The pizza with Wagon Wheel cheese, Treviso chicory, Gorgonzola, walnuts and saba was from the wood-fired brick oven. The crust is fairly thin but with a good puff on the edge. An amazing sauce and good cheese combined for a wonderful tasty pizza. The crust is thin, yet thick enough to support the ingredients and never get soggy.
Shoestring potatoes are ultra thin and crispy fries. Not a bit greasy we were delighted to find that you could get just a half order which is plenty for 2. They were served with an aioli and a ketchup that were both nice but the fries really didn’t need any enhancement.
Our main dish was the chicken for two roasted in the brick oven served with warm bread salad with scallions, garlic, frilly mustard greens, dried currants and pine nuts. This is definitely the thing to get here but order as soon as you can as it does take an hour to prepare. With a couple snacks the time goes by quickly but I’d advise you to get your order in when you place your drink order. The chicken is divine – moist, roasty and filled with flavor. The bread salad is heavily coated with chicken drippings and you’ll find totally moist chunks of it or my favorite the crispy edge pieces. All bursting with savory chicken and herbs flavors. This would even be good to take home any leftover – it there were any!
For dessert we had the “Gâteau Victoire with whipped cream, flourless chocolate cake which the waitress encouraged us to also add vanilla ice cream to. The cake is surprisingly light, not so dense as many flourless cakes. The chocolate flavor was also on the light side as was the whipped cream that seemed unsweetened. Thus the ice cream was a good addition but overall I’d fill up on the chicken and bread.
2 thoughts on “Zuni Café, San Francisco, 12/29/17”
My first few years out here living in SF, Zuni was the go-to hip happy hour spot and we had way too many dinners there. I haven’t been in ages. Made a big difference when your friends were on the staff LOL. I friend of mine plays piano there every Thursday I believe. He’s on the board for the Chez Panisse Foundation. Glad to hear the standards are still high. Still one of modern SF’s favorites.
Bert, I have to admit I was surprised at how good it still is. Way popular still too. That chicken and bread stuffing are to die for! I’ll go back but who knows when – you all have so many wonderful restaurants to chose from.