Meet the King of Porc: Adam Sobel
Just weeks after arriving in San Francisco RN74's new chef Adam Sobel wowed the local food cognoscenti at the Cochon 555 competition with a mix of American and Asian inspired porkaliciousness that beat out a slew of better-known hometown chefs. But that's not all he did. Sobel then went on to do San Francisco proud, winning the top prize from Cochon 555 at Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, despite having to deal with challenges from his product going bad in transit to torrential rain destroying his table and display. Now he's bringing home the bacon, so to speak, with a Sunday night prix fixe menu inspired by the win.
A seasoned culinary competitor, Sobel said he knew he needed make major impact with each bite and felt Asian flavors would be the key to his success. A trip to Asia last September with Michael Mina, which included stints in Thailand and Korea, greatly influenced his game. His Asian dishes included Chiang Mai meatballs on a skewer, Ma Po Tofu made from fatback and spicy braised pig parts, chili oil and cilantro, and "Tako Taco" pork katsu with shaved octopus.
While you might have missed his Asian dishes, not to mention his Porkstrami and Return of Fat Elvis (an egg roll with smoked pork belly, peanut butter, banana, chocolate and passion fruit caramel) at the competition, you can now try some of his more refined heritage pork dishes that are more in synch with the French focus of RN74. Luckily they also feature the bold, sweet, and savory combinations and contrasting crunchy and creamy textures that made his competition dishes so memorable.
Sobel describes the pork-themed Sunday prix fixe ($39 for three courses, available through the end of August) as "what I'm in the mood to eat on Sunday," meaning comfort food favorites like schnitzel, braised pork cheeks, gougères and a juicy cassoulet. Each week the menu changes and includes piggy desserts like French crullers with candied bacon or a sundae with bacon caramel and chocolate sauces. In addition, it’s not unusual for pork to work its way into much of RN74's regular menu, from first courses like grilled squid with shaved lardo, piquillo peppers and squash blossoms to main dishes such as pork loin, crispy belly and spicy crepinette.