Naked Lunch: Noshing on Inspired Sandwiches in North Beach [CLOSED]

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Restaurant San Francisco

A North Beach sandwicherie honors noted author William Burroughs.

Advice from a local expert once again paid dividends as Ryan Stern, Managing Director of Foodbuzz, led us to Naked Lunch, an inspired market-driven sandwich shop that occupies the southeast corner of Enrico’s from Tuesday through Saturday. Check that, Naked Lunch occupies 504 Broadway through the end of lunch, at which point the proprietors cede the North Beach space back to Enrico’s in time for dinner.


Restaurant Logo San Francisco

Enterprising owners Ryan J. Maxey (front of house) and Ian Begg (chef) worked together at Vignette, moved to Cafe Majestic in 2007 and opened Naked Lunch last year, naming their sandwicherie in honor of William Burroughs’ signature novel.

The menu changes daily and appears on a blackboard. We ordered almost every option available.

Restaurant Number San Francisco

In exchange for our money, we received a number in the former of a Summer Truffle playing card, the 6 of spades, one of several playful touches that the Naked Lunchers implemented.

Sandwiches San Francisco

Our sandwich trio arrived wrapped in butcher paper that simply read Pig, Foie, Veg.

Sandwich San Francisco

Naked Lunch’s signature sandwich involves foie gras and house-made duck prosciutto ($15).

We managed to score the first and last foie sandwich of the day, which came on Acme’s rustic baguette. The warm bread cradled the rich, creamy slab of house-made torchon, a juicy slice of heirloom tomato, crisp butter lettuce and a tiny hit of black truffle salt. I enjoyed the sandwich, but had an issue with the texture of the prosciutto, which was thick cut, fairly chewy and came across as more raw than cured.

Sandwich San Francisco

My favorite sandwich was the Pig + Peach ($10).

More crusty Acme baguette offered just the right amount of give and contained sweet, juicy peaches, a judicious garlic aioli application, a mizuna thatch and two types of pig, thick slabs of smoky bacon and rosy tenderloin, which Begg marinated and cooked before carving some especially juicy slices.

Sandwich San Francisco

Grilled Eggplant + Chevre Sandwich ($9), the day’s vegetarian option, was also excellent.

Tender, smoky eggplant slices joined a generous helping of tangy goat cheese, sweet onions, heirloom tomato, thyme and more mizuna on Acme’s green onion slab (aka focaccia).

Soup San Francisco

Mushroom Cappuccino ($6) was another highlight, a frothy and rich soup with a button mushroom base, dried porcini accent, Sherry hit, and just the right amount of truffle salt: very little.

Iced Tea San Francisco

It was impossible to resist a glass of Cinnamon Sweet Tea ($2) after seeing Maxey pulling cinnamon sticks from a vat of simple syrup upon our arrival. The North Carolina native clearly has a firm grasp on his homeland’s signature (non-alcoholic) beverage.

Apparently Naked Lunch is just the beginning for Maxey and Begg. Maxey said they’re looking to sign a lease on a space in SoMa to serve San Sebastian style tapas until 2 AM. If and when that happens, count me in for more of their bold food, fun vibe and ingratiating service.

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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