Friday, April 17, 2009

Magnolia Pub and Brewery - San Francisco

Asparagus with lemon vinagrette, poached egg, and three sisters serena cheese.

My friend and blogger, The Gastronomer, coincidentally just posted about Magnolia Pub and Brewery. Tis a small world. AJ and I spent the weekend in San Francisco visiting friends. In need of some grub before we hit the town, we headed to Magnolia Pub and Brewery, just a couple blocks from our friend's apartment.

Magnolia Pub and Brewery offers about 10 different beers, and four cask ales. The selection and availability varies day to day. We were lucky enough to try the "Kalifornia Kolsch". A light golden beer, reminiscent of a heffeweizen, but sweeter. This is quite possibly the most refreshing beer I have ever had. Served in a tom collins-esque glass, this cold brew goes down easily. If you're looking for something darker, the "Cole Porter" is an excellent choice - with nice coffee notes. The "Stout of Circumstance" is similar to guinness.

French Onion soup.

It's a good thing the beers are so wonderful, because one can expect to sip on brews at least an hour while waiting for a table. The space is very small, with a small bar area and dining room for 20-25 people. With a party of 6 (actually 7) we waited for almost two hours before we sat down to eat. While I was doubtful that a two hour wait would be worth it, Magnolia doesn't serve your typical pub food. Burgers and pizza do appear on the menu, but the quality of the dishes is very high. A yeast pizza is served daily, with the toppings changing depending on the chef's mood. The night we arrived, the chef was topping the pizza with pancetta (and lots of it).

Roasted sweet potatoes.

There are lots of choices for the meat eater. From house made sausages to pork chops to spare ribs, let's just say they like their pig. There are also a variety of fish dishes and Thursday nights feature their famous fried chicken. One of my friends ordered the ribs and they were finger lickin' good. You have to dig a little deeper to find some vegetarian dishes, but trust me you won't be disappointed.

Mushroom ravioli in a sage brown butter with swiss chard and grana padano.

AJ and I decided to share the spring asparagus and roasted sweet potatoes. He got the mushroom ravioli and I ordered the french onion soup. After the amazing french onion soup at Forbes Mill, I was really craving some caramelized onion goodness in my life. The roasted sweet potatoes were simple, but perfect. The flesh was tender and sweetly caramelized with lots of butter and brown sugar drizzled on top. The spring asparagus were roasted and drizzled with a lemon vinagrette. A poached egg was served on top with shavings of what tasted like parmegiano reggiano, but was in fact three sisters serena cheese. The nuttiness of the cheese worked well with the light egg whites, runny and creamy yolks. I absolutely loved the flavor of the egg and the lemony asaparagus. I could have made a meal out of just those two small plates.

All smiles after his meal and ready to party.

AJ's ravioli were excellently prepared. We are both huge fans of sage brown butter sauce. AJ thought they did a particularly good job with the sauce, adding a little extra sugar to the sauce to balance the earthy mushrooms and bitter chard. My french onion soup was sweet, salty, and surprisingly light. While I wanted to save more room for some good brews we had bought for the evening, I couldn't resist finishing every last bite.

While I was going for gangsta', I ended up looking like a bit of a sourpuss.

Bottom Line: If you are looking for some excellent brews and high quality grub head to Magnolia. But you might want to select your best friend to bring along, because the wait can get pretty long for parties greater than two.

1398 Haight St
San Francisco, CA

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