Meat of the Moment

Beast and the Hare serves noteworthy charcuterie

For a while, it seemed like every outfit in town with a meat grinder and access to duck fat was getting in on the charcuterie act, often with questionable results.

So it's a pleasure to find a restaurant–particularly one named Beast and the Hare–that knows its way around preserved and potted meats.

Chef Ian Marks has the chops. Before his gig manning the stoves at Hog Island Oyster Co., he spent two years learning the charcuterie trade from the masters at Fatted Calf.

At Beast and the Hare, you can sample the fruits of his labor individually ($8) or on a platter (3 for $14; 4 for $18), making tough choices between translucent slices of coppa and foie gras torchon, chicken liver pâté and smoked duck breast. And in another 12 months, Marks will be adding house-made prosciutto to the lineup, having just installed a curing cabinet at the restaurant.

But it's the rabbit rillettes–made from gently poached rabbit meat that's shredded and blended with the pork fat in which it's been poached–that steals the show. Packed into diminutive glass jars, capped with more of that snowy white lard, there's a magnetism between your knife, the jar, and the thin toasts that accompany it.

Beast and the Hare, 1001 Guerrero St., 415-821-1001 or beastandtheharesf.com