Lunch at Coco 500
A rare treat today - a lunch date with hubby at Coco 500 in San Francisco on 4th and Brannan. I'd heard good things about the restaurant and it was a natural choice for us as it's a stone throw from hubby's office and the smoky wood oven smells had been tempting him for some time. We had 11:30 reservations, much earlier than I would have chosen, but I had to be able to get back in time to pick up the kids. We were the second party to arrive.
The restaurant doesn't look like much from the outside but inside its bright and cheerful, sparsely decorated with some striking impressionist oil landscapes that captured the colors of the earth, the sky, some with shadows of telephone poles and wires.
The seating is extremely intimate and consists of two long rows of small tables with a booth seat on the wall side and a chair on the inside. The tables were too close together and it was very awkward to get in and out of the booth side seats. Once it got bustling, we also found it difficult to hear each other because you had to compete volumewise with the guests seated either side of you.
The menu is small, which we liked. We started out with a bottle of sparkling mineral water - Badoit, a very light and refreshing French mineral water ($8), marinated olives ($3), and a Coastal Greens salad ($6). I was attracted to the salad because of the coriander vinaigrette. It was delicious and I will be experimenting with this! The salad included greens, a lot of frisee, thinly sliced apple, and warm toasted almonds. The coriander vinaigrette was particularly good with the apple. I would have preferred the salad had more leafy greens and a lot less frisee, but would definitely order this again.
We both ordered pizza, although hubby was tempted by the Coco Burger and I did consider the English Pea Ravioli. Hubby ordered a salmon pizza, with thinly sliced smoked salmon, fennel, and meyer lemon. He really enjoyed this, although on first bite he was overwhelmed by the unpeeled thinly sliced lemons. He said he didn't notice it after that. I had a tough time choosing between the Spinach Pizza with stewed garlic and oven dried tomatoes and the Pizza with Potato and Taleggio cheese. I asked the waitress which she'd recommend and she said it depends if you want garlic or not. I did, so I went with the Spinach pizza and I'm glad I did. It was fantastic - the stewed garlic was mild and tasty and the oven dried tomatoes were rich and fabulous. The spinach was definitely the minor player. Both pizzas ($13) had very thin, crispy crusts and packed in a lot of taste without leaving you weighted down.
I looked at the dessert menu but was the only item that tempted me was the Greek Yogurt with orange blossom honey, dried fruits, and pistachio praline. I decided to give it a pass, but will probably make my own breakfast version! One thing I did like about the dessert menu were the "noncommittal" items, chocolate or biscotti ($2) as a side for a coffee. Great idea!
We really enjoyed the food and the experience. We just needed more space!