From Lard to Loin
Pork-spotting at Salumeria and Central Kitchen
Salumeria's cubano, left; Central Kitchen's ham and Cheddar plate (photos: Temi Adamolekun/Christopher Michel)
You may not be surprised to see a ramekin of whipped lard begin your meal at Central Kitchen if you tasted Matt Sigler and Thomas McNaughton’s winning 2012 pork menu at Cochon 555.
The new restaurant from the Flour + Water crew certainly plumbs the season’s vegetative depths. In fact, the whipped lard is served with tiny pickled carrots from the rooftop garden. But that creamy fat, nutty and flecked with herbs, is so compelling that we used it as a relish for the entire five-course tasting menu ($79).
Central Kitchen and its daytime incarnation, Salumeria, bring in two whole pigs a week to share. Sigler, the Salumeria chef, rubs the pork loins in ruddy spices and roasts them, then slices the meat into juicy curls for his take on a cubano ($12): a pressed sandwich filled with the pork, pale-green pickles and melted Wagon Wheel cheese.
At night, the Central Kitchen cooks compose an exquisite salad ($14) that layers flakes of Cabot cheddar, biting greens and flower petals on shavings of slow-roasted, house-cured ham.
Ham and cheese transformed--and transformational.
Central Kitchen, 3000 20th St. (at Florida St.), 415-826-7004 or centralkitchensf.com; Salumeria, 3000 20th St., 415-471-2998 or salumeriasf.com
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