The trouble with food and wine pairings is that the food always comes first. But sometimes, you just want to drink what you want to drink. What's a wine lover to do?
At Parigo, the Scott Street sophomore project from The Barrel Room's sommelier Sarah Trubnick and chefs Manny Hewitt and Danny Murcia, the pairing experience begins with the wine.
"Manny and I both love wine," says Murcia, who admits "it was a challenge to work backwards, but we were up for it."
The result is a space that can neither be called a wine bar with food nor a restaurant with great wines; instead, Parigo lands somewhere outside the box, serving more than 50 wines by the glass along with full courses—way more than just cheese and olives—that pair accordingly.
The salmon tartare reads like a deconstructed lox bagel at your favorite Jewish deli: smoked fromage blanc, delicately fried capers, pickled red onion and gratifying crispy potato chips.
The wine selection includes many limited productions and varietals curated during Trubnick's travels around the world. You can start small with a half bottle or go whole hog with the impressive list of reserve magnums; wines are available at a range of price points as well.
In the kitchen, New American cuisine is executed with interesting twists—think succulent butter-basted chicken with porchetta spices and gravy, or a sesame crusted trout with green apple and avocado mouse—and is designed specifically to pair. Each course comes with a choice of two distinct wine options: one that complements the food, and one that provides contrast, each bringing out different flavors in the dish. Think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure experience.
The interior design, done by Damiaen Hollinga and Kenneth Woodruff (Trubnick's husband), highlights the focus on wine. A long wooden bar draws you in, and a swath of periwinkle provides pop for a wall of bottles. Past the bar, there is a small wine den with and two private tables; beyond that, a patio with contemporary outdoor furnishings, a fire pit and plenty of plants—and, oh yes, another wine bar.
So settle in. Trubnick promises "some unforgettable pairing experiences."
// Parigo, 3232 Scott St. (Marina) parigosf.com