Pork and beans (and chicharrones!). Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Last week I was invited by Josh Birch—a partner in Club Deluxe and Orbit Room Cafe with owner Jay Johnson—to check out the new menu for ~CLUB DELUXE~. (Birch is responsible for all the delicious changes that happened in the kitchen at Orbit Room Cafe.) While some folks are mourning the departure of Giovanni’s Pizza (whose name, I found out, is actually Andrew), after a few bites of greens grown by new chef Thomas Martinez (previously Mission Beach Cafe, Wise Sons Deli), here’s hoping the neighborhood realizes how good things have become.
The Cali-style menu has simple snacky items, like the bar mix ($5/$8) with honey cashews, spiced almonds, chili and chocolate bacon, papadum, and dates. But if you want to fall in love with vegetables all over again, go for the marinated beets with verbena and beet crisps ($10); the crazy-fresh foraged and seasonal greens ($12) with olives, red onion, local feta, and croutons; the flavorful cauliflower ($8) with spiced almond, black garlic purée, and micro shiso; or Josh’s Caesar ($10) with blood orange and pistachio. The seasonal ingredients are all blatantly top notch and so fresh. Foraged mushrooms on some polenta? Check. Harmonious flavors and creativity? In the house.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one meal, there’s the dry-aged steak sandwich ($14) that’s a take on a French dip with au jus on a roll from Marla’s Bakery; a house sausage ($12); and the hearty pork shoulder and beans ($14) with Brussels sprouts and mustard vin. Again, everything is well sourced and local. Sure, there were a few dishes that weren’t perfect, but it was overall very impressive, especially for bar food.
The pizzas have also gone through some changes, with four currently offered: the pesto ($17) with spinach, local feta, broccoli, pine nuts; a winter pizza ($20) with squash, kale, local crescenza, and prosciutto; a margherita ($18); and the Deluxe ($21) with white sauce, pancetta, foraged mushrooms, roasted shallot, and garden herbs.
They completely gutted the kitchen and added new equipment, and there’s also going to be a private chef’s table in the kitchen that will be great for groups. Come by for some jazz, some comedy, some hyper-local Cali cuisine, and a few cocktails and you’re gonna be set. The new menu launches tomorrow (Wednesday February 6th). Kitchen open Tue-Sun 6pm-10pm for now, with expanding hours to come. 1511 Haight St. at Ashbury, 415-552-6948.