is both great for a martini as well as a civilized meal.
Overall: Good for a late night low key date restaurant if you like wine, pizza and meaty bits.
After hearing Michael Pollan blow on enjoyably about the benefits of eating mostly plants at a City Arts and Lecture, J and I headed off for a late dinner at A16. A16 has a significant portion of their menu dedicated just to cured meats. I walk by the restaurant often in the evening heading home from the gym and it is still packed night after night. And on OpenTable, good luck getting a res at a time that might suit your visiting parents. Hence, we arrived at quarter to ten in the evening for our dinner. Very Euro. James would have been proud. Typically when James invites us over for dinner he suggests we arrive at ten which I've found causes his American male friends some confusion as to whether they should have one dinner or two dinners.
I was hungry. But nevertheless, we walked into the restaurant, sat down and I was overcome with the memory of a boar-laden midnight meal that we shared with J and P a few years ago in Florence. My stomach is still heavy from the memory and I felt a slight panic that perhaps the fine food of Campania and Naples brought to me at A16 was perhaps not the best choice for the evening. But we soldiered on.
J and I both ordered the beet and radicchio salad with olives with the intent of starting the meal off lightly. A valiant effort but one perhaps sensible given the late hour. The salad was quite tasty but light it was not. The plate was laden down with red beets and sprinkled with delicate radicchio leaves. Heavy on the beets, light on the green bits. Perhaps we've been spoiled of late with the sudden popularity for gem beets on Bay Area menus. Shame!
We shared a plate of the roasted sardines. I can never resist ordering sardines whenever I see them on the menu. J stays quiet - I'm fairly certain he's not a fan. These three bad boys were sliced in half and laid flat like pancakes and covered in a layer of mostly crunchy breadcrumbs with soft capers. Tasty. One and half will do you finely - three might be overkill unless you dream of sardines.
For mains I stuck with a small plate of the tuna conserva. It was resting on a smeared layer of fava bean puree and fanning out from the plate were pieces of homemade crackers. Ech. It didn't do much for me on the eye appeal front. Tasted quite good though but I wouldn't order it again as the tuna and fava beans just seemed too heavy together to me.
J ordered one of the pizzas, a Funghi pizza with mozzarella. The menu is quite pizza-centric and I suspect they are the best bet on the menu. Very tasty, both of us enjoyed it immensely.
We ordered a couple of side dishes of vegetables and while they were tasty they had all the eye appeal of school food glopped into a bowl. Tasty roasted squash and braised kale.
For dessert we tried a couple of the sorbets. J complained that while they tasted alright they looked unappealing.
The takeaway being that the food is fine but the presentation leaves much to be desired. But it's quite dark and cozy inside, the wine list is extensive (do ask for some suggestions as you're bound not to recognize some of what's on offer) and overall is a good date place for late at night.