A16: Soulful Italian Cooking Near San Francisco’s Marina
2355 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
415 771 2216
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Date of Visit: July 23, 2006
A16, named for the Italian autostrada that runs between Naples and Canosa, occupies a long, thin space in the trendy Marina neighborhood. There’s a small wine bar up front, with co-owner Shelley Lindgren’s hand-picked wines listed by the glass on a chalkboard. Down a corridor, past the kitchen, sits an airy dining room. Chef Nate Appleman contributes soulful Italian cooking.
Since everything on the menu sounded good, we split several dishes. First up: this summery arugula salad with juicy white nectarines, cuts of green olive, walnuts and shaved pecorino.
Too many olives isn’t enough, so we devoured this marinated dish of plump san remos and castelvetranos.
This startlingly good salsiccia pizza was topped with spring onions, mozzarella, chunks of fennel sausage, garlic, and chives. This pizza was as good as it gets, with a soft, blistered crust that held up under the weight of the terrific toppings, and it wasn’t dry in the least. The sausage was sensational, juicy, with a subtle kick.
These succulent chicken meatballs were crisp outside, served with a tangy giardiniera (vegetables from the garden) that contained pickled carrot slices, onions, and cauliflower.
This was a simple plate of spaghetti with Manila clams, borlotti beans, stewed cherry tomatoes and garlic. The clams were briny and plump. The plate could have done without the pinto-like borlotti beans, but it was worth ordering.
This spiedino (skewer) of pork was partnered with an alternately sweet and bitter salad of wild arugula, pinenuts, currants and garlic. The pork was chewy and salty, to good effect.
At A16, each entrée comes with a choice of side dish. These small roasted cobs of corn came brushed with olive oil and black pepper, which accentuated the natural sweetness of this summer veggie.
These braised green beans would do a Southern cook proud, since they’re tender and infused with the delicious flavor of all the shredded pork.