Boom, all of a sudden, Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski of State Bird Provisions and The Progress decided to swing open the doors to their latest project, THE ANCHOVY BAR, which just opened last week around the corner in the former Fat Angel (Wylie Price is behind the new look).
It’s meant to be an all-day kind of oyster and wine bar, where you could swing by for a snack or a meal, but who are we kidding? You’ll want to eat it all if you get a table. There’s a variety of oysters on the half-shell (six in all), and then there’s the Western Addition Oyster: two broiled Hog Island Sweetwaters, with smoky date sambal butter, and bacon. Uh huh. And then there are the steamed potatoes that you slather with cod roe and Mendocino nori butters. Oy.
There are a couple kinds of namesake anchovies you can try, served with toasted ciabatta, cucumber, crème fraîche, seasoned tomato, and radishes, and sign me up for the Strauss yogurt butter with fish floss and radishes. (There’s also a filetti di alici “deviled” egg with Caesar dressing and Parmesan.) Other seafood dishes include geoduck clam with tomato, basil, and olive with somen noodles, and our local Littleneck clams with chorizo on garlic toast. A couple heftier plates include Liberty duck confit schnitzel, and oxtail, short rib, and bone marrow stew. (Of course, Brioza and team inspire extreme gluttony and make you want to order one of everything, because even though dishes read simply, there’s always so much going on.)
There are a number of seasonal vegetable dishes, and I couldn’t say no to the Bellwether Farms ricotta and Black Mission figs, and how about some 18-month prosciutto di Parma to go with it? Good luck choosing just one of the trio of desserts from Nicole Krasinski (although I’ll have to start with the caramelized arlettes with Shaker Meyer lemon curd and coconut cream). Check out the menu here. You’ll also see a selection of aperitifs, three beers on draft (thanks to the former incarnation), and some inspiring wine selections to pair with all the goodies.
There are just six tables outside (a mix of deuces and four-tops), with three inside (plus a bunch of open windows). Reservations are released a week ahead of time, and even though the hours are all-day (Wed-Sun 11:30am-8pm), those tables disappear quickly. (There’s a chance you can snag a walk-in if the timing gods are with you, but a wait is very likely.)
Brioza says they aren’t offering takeout for now—they want to keep things on a short leash and get their footing with the demand (and it’s a small kitchen). But they’re happy to be hiring people back, and look forward to seeing you. You’ll also find a market inside, with some pantry items, housewares, wine, and more that you can bring home. Stand by for some food pics and a deeper update on the dishes from me soon on @tablehopper. 1740 O’Farrell St. at Fillmore.
An array of dishes from The Anchovy Bar. Photo: Stuart Brioza.