Sunday, January 3, 2010


Yesterday afternoon I went to a late matinee of A Single Man at the Kabuki with my friend L0. Why do not all theaters have reserved seating? And cocktails? Anyway, after the show we wandered up Fillmore in search of food debating SPQR, Out the Door or Pizzeria Delfina. Walking in the door at SPQR we were told to expect a half hour wait. Then, while we debated and perused the menu were told that we could be seated right away. Sold!

We decided to order a few items and share. First up was chopped chicken liver, balsamic vinegar, apple jam & crostino. This was served in a jar with the crostino on the side. It was very smooth and I really liked the apple jam in this dish. I think on my next chicken liver pate experiment I will incorporate homemade jam.

As Lo always has to have a salad, our next course was the baby lettuce, beets, walnuts, pickled red onion & gorgonzola salad. As a beet lover I would have been happy to have a few more beets, but overall the flavors worked well together. We have all had variations on this salad before, but this was quite well done.

We then had two pastas: Stinging nettle torchio, garlic crema, pancetta & parmesan and Beef cheek pyramids, burro & parmesan. I thought both were excellent. I've been a fan of beef cheeks ever since first encountering them at Bizou and then Coco500 years ago. The plate featured 5 pyramids, kind of like large tortellini. I thought the dish was great, but a little small for the price. The nettle torchio was my favorite of the night. It was an almost perfect dish that combined the nettle pasta with a rich, very comforting sauce.

For dessert we Chocolate baci & mascarpone cream, which was almost like a plate of miniature brownies with white chocolate chips. Our second dessert was the Chocolate Panna Cotta served in a glass. More pudding than panna cotta, more cocoa than chocolate, it was also comfort food.

I did not write down wine details as I expected they would be on the website. I will say that for a restaurant that has such a good wine selection, this was the one place where the service let us down a bit. My first glass of wine, name unremembered, came filled with cork. The Nebbiolo that followed was great with the food. Lo started with a white and then ordered a half glass of red after we finished our appetizers. However, it did not arrive for at least 20 minutes, at which point we had finished our entrees. I was surprised there was no apology for the delay.

In all, I enjoyed the "new" SPQR. The menu seemed less casual than it had been, but still accessible. The fact that they take reservations will make me a lot likely to go back, probably after another movie at the Kabuki.

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