This weekend, one of my friends asked for a good new lunch spot to hit in the Mission. The first place that came to mind was La Torta Gorda, even thought it's not new, because it's one of the few spots that serves pure unadulterated satisfaction and great service on the cheap. But that wouldn't do. My friend wanted "booze options" in lieu of a "gut bomb," as he put it. They finally landed on Luna Park: it has hard liquor and a day of drinking was clearly on the agenda. I got to thinking about how little attention lunch gets, in general. There are, however, a few big-time dinner players that've recently added lunch to their roster—all of them offering a full bar to play with. And now, a little air time for the mid-day meal.
In April, Tyler Florence's year-old show stopper started serving lunch on Saturdays, in addition to its usual week day FiDi lunch service. The weekend is an especially good time to dig into some of the more indulgent items on the menu, like poutine: french fries with mozarella curds, braised short rib chunks and truffled gravy. Nothing cuts the fat like a maple sidecar.
Zare at Fly Trap
Also in spring, chef Hoss Zare rolled out a healthy lunch service called Grill & Grain. Zare applies his panache with Persian ingredients to a quick-and-easy menu of wraps, soups and grain-based salads. His vegetarian orzo salad with harissa-spiced yogurt is healthy, fresh and filling and the sardine wrap—an early favorite—tucks in walnuts and black garlic spread for a zingy, crunchy bite. A Fly Trap martini garnished with sour grapes, cherry tomato and Persian pickle almost fits with the healthy theme. Almost.
The North Beach bar and restaurant with a wild West feel has a pork belly sandwich that could fill you for days. The owners just added a free lunch option to boot. Order two "adult beverages" and get a classic San Franciscan plate—like a hamburg steak sandwich—on the house.
This Wednesday, the Marina's patio-ed hot spot will put its first lunch on the books. Owner Nate Valentine has already implored 7x7 to add their new "light and lovely" fried chicken sandwich to the great fried chicken sandwich debate. Other brand-new menu appearances include a banh mi rendition with wild king salmon and a spicy tuna burger with sambal aioli.
Have you seen another new lunch player hit the scene? Feel free to drop it in the comments.