Since Michael and Lindsey Tusk (of Quince fame) opened a more approachable Jackson Square Italian joint called Cotogna in early November, everyone's been buzzing about the little offshoot that could. Tusk's imported Italian rotisserie is a focal point of menu, design and many of the writings about the place to date. And now that a good eight weeks have passed since opening, much has been said among the bloggers and even some critics to date. We'll let them take it from here. And please don't forget to add your own early review to the Comments section or send it straight to Eater SF headquarters here .
The Bauer News: It's probably a good sign that Bauer included Cotogna's pork in this "Favorite Dishes" post: "I can’t remember the last time I’ve had pork this good...The meat on the bone is powerfully flavored, crispy and delicious."
The Pasta News: Madame Unterman said in her early December review, "No one makes better pasta than Mike Tusk, and all the old favorites are here: pillowy gnocchi folded in mysteriously herbal pureed wild nettles; a golden farm egg yolk pouring out of a gossamer raviolo slicked with brown butter..." And Chowhounder kzukor says the "gnocchi were the best I've ever had." But Carolyn F. of Yelp says "If you are looking for Quince-quality pastas, Cotogna falls a bit short. I tried the garganelli with rabbit and the pappardelle with lamb and neither had the execution and "delicateness" (not sure how to explain it) of Quince pasta dishes." [Examiner, Chowhound, Yelp]
The Menu News: 7x7's Sara Deseran says it's "The kind when you open a menu and can't decide what to order because you want to eat it all."
The Wine List News: Deseran calls it an "...excellent wine list compiled by renowned wine director David Lynch, featuring some unlikely gems from appellations such as Montecucco in Tuscany (yes, I had to ask about this one), wherein every bottle is $40. Very fun. Very liberating. Kind of like the Everything's A Dollar store."
The Cocktail News: SFoodie deems the Cydonia Fizz worthy of a spotlight: "It's sweet enough to make it easy to almost accidentally polish one off in two gulps, yet sophisticated enough to encourage sipping." According to steve h. of Chowhound "The barkeep was charming and built me two martinis over time that were head-and-shoulders above the usual Bombay/Hendricks stuff. Well done."
The Service News: Inside Scoop notes, "The fine dining lineage is clear in many of the details — replacing the forks, for example — but make no mistake, it’s a bustling, casual and modern trattoria ? albeit one with a pedigree." Yelp's Ross K. adds "The service is fast, casual and professional, and the prix fixe wine list takes all of the fear out of ordering Italian wine. But rob d. says, "service is where cotogna fell short. our server was friendly, but was either inexperienced or disinterested."
The Dessert News: According to kzukor again "The bònet with caramel & amaretti crumble was OK, but why not just call it almond flan, and get on with your day? They were already out of the panna cotta by 8:30, and the gelato of the day was vanilla. So, Cotogna, some work could be done in this department." But steve h. says the panna cotta is "maybe the best I've had in San Francisco."
The Temperature News: While Gloria H. of Yelp says "The warmth from the [charcoal fire] pit was perfect as it was cold and rainy out." Yelper Kurt F. complains "the ambient temperature at the foyer is 60 degrees with a steady cold draft, and 65 in the center of the dining room (I have a thermometer on my keychain). So many guests were in heavy sweaters or never took their coats off -- SO TYPICAL of San Francisco restaurants.
· All Previous Cotogna Coverage [~ ESF ~]
Open kitchen at Cotogna. [Photo: Tablehopper]