Hit Me With Your Best Shot -- Beretta (San Francisco, CA)
Holy shit. I am the blogging equivalent of the married person in an illicit affair. Why you trust a single word on this blog is a mystery to me, what with me breaking promises to you and all.
But please, baby, please. Take me back just this one time. I've got some sweet, sweet lovin' for you tonight. I won't call the wife, I won't check the blackberry, it's just you and me and some sexytime.
Beretta. Have you had the good fortune of dining there? Because if not, you need to stop reading this piece of shit blog right now and head there. I'm honestly getting turned on just thinking about that damn place.
What's the big deal, right? We've got 7 trillion great Italian places in SF, and half of them are in the Mission. Still, Beretta's got a good thing going. I will list them for you now.
1. Space. Last Supper Club was dark and stuffy. Now that Beretta has taken over the location, it's been opened up a bit and has a much warmer feel. It's crazy loud, but that's only because everyone is having such a good time. Plus there are pretty doves all over the place and instead of looking creepy (which, honestly, they should, because fake dead birds ARE creepy, yo), they look lovely and sweet. In an edgy, hip sort of way. OK, I'll just shut up now before I start sounding like an even bigger tool.
2. Cocktails. Yeah, yeah, all the kids are about the cocktails these days. Seasonal, artisanal, local, blah, blah, blah. Yet. Beretta is doing all of this and still keeping it interesting which is getting more and more difficult in this town. The cocktails on the menu are sublime to be sure, but I asked them to make me a surprise (a tequila based surprise) on my last visit and was delivered a beverage that I am sure would be served by virgins in heaven, if such a place existed. Tequila, Cassis, ginger beer and some other stuff (fairy dust? crack?) had me sucking them back as fast as I could manage. Of course that was when I wasn't busy spilling them, but that's another story for another drunkcapade.
3. Service. The hostesses are friendly, despite being crushed by throngs of the hipper-than-thou night after night. The servers are even better. They hit that all important triumverate of nice-knowledgable-efficient. Our most recent server was such a doll that I had to resist the urge to hug her upon leaving (because that would be weird, right?).
4. Food. Food, food, food. Let's first acknowledge the brilliance that is having an Italian menu with NO PASTA. Sounds cuckoo bananas, yes, but it is mensa worthy, folks. Starters, pizza, risotto. Awesome. My faves? The margherita pizza with burrata (instead of, not in addition to, the mozzerella), The proscuitto pizza, the sausage pizza (really, if there's pig on it then you can't go wrong with me). The pizza crust is thin and crispy, the toppings are well-proportioned and the options for embellishment are more than awesome (proscuitto, arugula, burrata, egg, anchovy, you get the idea).
In the starters category I cannot live without the white bean crostini with pancetta. It's the kind of thing where if I dropped one side down on the restaurant floor and then someone stepped on it, I'd still pick it up and eat it because I couldn't bear to lose one. Yes, I'm gross, but that is beside the point.
I'm also partial to the fritto misto, when they have it (seafood, lemons, green beans). My part-time lover loves the meatballs so much that she used to plan her schedule around the Mondays on which they were served. They are now on the menu all the time, so clearly she wasn't the only one clamoring for those meaty balls.
If you are going risotto style, I'd go with the barbera and porcini mushroom. Risotto with booze in it? Yes, please. The saffron with osso bucco is pretty fucking good, too. OK, so they are all good -- to-MAY-to, to-MAH-to, whatever.
I'm a little bit in love with Beretta right now. I feel instantly relaxed when I'm eating there, which is no small feat after my typical day of playing June Cleaver, if June Cleaver didn't cook and had an attitude problem. The only thing I can seem to find fault with is the dessert menu -- nothing ever sounds that interesting and the few things I've had did not impress. But screw dessert -- Humphry Slocombe is only, what? 5 blocks away? -- Beretta hits the target. And with that cheesy pun, I bid you goodnight.
"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
-- La Rochefoucauld