Friday, January 19, 2007
San Francisco has every kind of restaurant imaginable – the food from every country and culture, no matter how small or obscure, is represented in this town. But, if I had to pick one specific type of restaurant in which this city really excels, it would have to be Italian. For some reason, maybe because there are so many transplanted Italians living here, the City by the Bay has a plethora of Italian places that are, in my opinion, head and shoulders above anything you’ll ever find in any other city in this country, with maybe the exception of New York. One of these gems is a place named Café Tiramisu, a Northern Italian specialty restaurant. Tiramisu looks and tastes delicious in every way – from the fresco murals of Pompeii that adorn the walls, all the way to the outdoor café seating area that looks like something straight out of Italy. Located on a restaurant row, Tiramisu stands out as the best on the block. It’s authentic, painstakingly prepared and family-inspired food featuring recipes that have been handed down through many generations. Pino Spinoso is the head chef, and he creates food that is from the heart. We have been to Café Tiramisu on several occasions, and I’ve never had a bad or even a mediocre experience there. I usually start off my meal at Tiramisu with a salad. All of the offerings are fresh and inventive. The Autumn Roasted Chiogga Salad with Pecans, Fresh Herbs and Gorgonzola ($9); the Shrimp and Crab Tower with a Sherry Vinaigrette ($13); or the Romaine Caesar Salad with Fresh Dungeness with Saffron Sauce and Arugola Salad ($12) are all outstanding. For some memorable appetizers, try the Foie Gras Pan Seared with Whipped Extra Virgin Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes and Summer Truffle Sauce ($16). It’s one of Tiramisu’s signature dishes and you won’t soon forget it. The Smith Ranch Meat Tartar with Celery, Parmesan and Truffle Vinaigrette ($11), and the Blank Ink Scallops with your choice of Three Sauces ($12) is heaven on earth. For entrees, I would suggest the Monk Fish “Ossobuco” with Slow Roasted Tomatoes, Cauliflower, and Sardinian Couscous ($19); the Braised Short Ribs with Caramelized Shallots over Horse Radish Mashed Potatoes ($18) and the Crispy Chicken al Mattone, “Cooked Under a Brick” with Roasted Potatoes and Spicy Broccoli ($17). They’re all beyond imagination with flavor. The desserts at Tiramisu are also amazing – I would recommend the Apple Torte with Raisins and Pine Nuts, Vanilla Ice Cream, Calvados and Zabaglione ($7.50) and the Tiramisu ($8 per person for a tasting for two or more), are not just noteworthy, they’re monumentally fantastic. If I’m running out of adjectives trying to tell you how great Tiramisu is, I apologize. Let’s just say there’s a word for this place that hasn’t been invented yet. Go there and come up with your own! Tiramisu is located at 28 Belden Place, between Bush and Pine in SF. Their number is: (415) 421-7044. They’re open for lunch and dinner and reservations are strongly suggested.