COCO500 is one of SoMa's most fashionable restaurants.
On a recent visit to Orson, chef-owner Elizabeth Falkner mentioned that COCO500 is one of her favorite restaurants. Another night, family friends raved about the restaurant, unprompted. Chef Loretta Keller’s restaurant has been open for three years, but it’s still generating plenty of buzz, so it was finally time for a visit.
Keller previously owned Bizou in the same location, beginning in 1993. In case you’re wondering, Coco is the nickname of Keller’s childhood friend Caroline, who makes all the restaurant’s olive oil, and 500 is the address on Brannan.
The space was sleek, with a light brown exterior and an interior with plenty of smooth wood, dangling lights that looked like white Roman candles, and a bar backed by a long rust-colored painting.
Our waiter told us that fried green beans are a signature starter. With good reason. Plump green beans ($7) were lightly coated with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale batter, delicately fried and served with a dish of wasabi crème fraîche.
Truffled Squash Blossom Flatbread ($12) was wood-oven baked with Parmesan. The “pizza” was crisp at the edges and soft in the middle.
The Catch changes daily, depending on market availability. Today it was sockeye salmon with summer squash risotto and mint oil. The rosy fish sported a nice seared crust.
COCOburger ($10) was topped with a slice of sharp cheddar cheese ($1 extra). The juicy burger came with house made potato chips, pickles and fire engine-red tomato slices sprinkled with salt and pepper. Bonus: the bun was nice and soft.
Marinated Grilled Chicken sandwich ($12) was rubbed with harissa, a spicy North African spice mixture, and came on a soft sesame-seed bun with tzatziki. The sandwich came with an arugula salad with orange segments and thin-shaved onion.
Prawn salad ($14) included spinach, bitter treviso (similar to radicchio), artichokes, bagna cauda (a “warm bath” of oil) and croutons.
The cocktail list was compelling, but it was lunchtime, so we went non-alcoholic. Limeade was stirred with jasmine-infused simple syrup. The lemonade was also well-received.
Everybody at the table enjoyed COCO500’s food. The ingredients were clearly market-fresh, most dishes featured a pleasant surprisingly twist, and we’d all be excited to return for dinner.
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