Starbelly, San Francisco.

October 2013.

I think we missed the boat on this place, which is well-known for the wonderful things it does with pigs. We were there for lunch instead of dinner, so didn’t get to enjoy the crackly pork choices sadly confind to dinner. Still the food was good if inconsistent and I picked up one lovely idea.

Imagining that Caesar salad is stellar everywhere in the city after our experience at Anchor Oyster Bar, we were disappointed by what I would call jar dressing and box croutons. Robin’s pizza was okay, containing blobs of her favorite buratta, but no better than fare at a thousand pizza joints.

I fell for a thing called loco moco, said to be a Hawaiian idea, comprising nicely-cooked rice with a rare (yes, they were actually willing to risk ruinous legal action) delicious hamburger patty, with a sunny-side-up egg on top, surrounded and flavored by sweet soy sauce and chopped scallions. Absolutely delicious. Could be the basis for a ersatz Hawaiian eggs benny.

The place is characterless, very high ceiling, large room, concrete floor, perfectly pleasant but too-young and pseudo-sophisticated server, and noisy staff who however turned the music down obediently when requested. Reasonable price: $100 with a very nice bottle of northern- rhone-varietal white from Paso Robles.

Ambience 3.8, service 4.4, food split: 4.8/7.9, value 5.6.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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