By Omar Mamoon
By Kate Williams
By Pete Kane
By Molly Gore
By Lou Bustamante
By Anna Roth
The most unusual dish, served only on Mondays, was a huge, steaming veal-and-pork meatball studded with pistachios and pine nuts, which our server broke open to reveal a whole plump quail dressed with dried apricots and barberries ($25). It sat in a lake of meaty broth, accompanied by roasted tomatoes, broccoli rabe, and a little dish of torshi, a tart, vinegary Persian vegetable relish. I've never had anything like it before, and I would order it again.
As I would Zaré's perfect french fries ($5), also a huge portion, which came with a rich aioli. We were less enthralled with the plate of lavash and herb bread ($4), which came with ramekins of feta-walnut spread and tapenade. No other bread is offered, which seems a bit of a shame when there are so many dishes with soppable sauces.
Zaré's wine list is unusually interesting and personal; we were tempted to try wines from Lebanon or Greece, but were very happy with the light Spanish Bodegas Vizcarra Tempranillo ($32) after the Venta Mazzaron Tempranillo ($28) we tried to order proved to be the only bottle not available. There's also an unusually exciting cocktail menu (all $10).
San Francisco, CA 94107
Region: South of Market
Desserts are the creation of ex–Top Chef contestant Marisa Churchill, whose sophisticated sweets we'd enjoyed at Yoshi's. The goat cheese cheesecake ($9) was airy and light, while the slightly alcoholic mojito sorbet ($6) was tart and icy. The yogurt panna cotta with white truffle honey ($9) tasted exactly like the Greek Fage yogurt you can buy around town. The star was a stack of torrijas ($9), brioche soaked in milk and then fried, a sort of magical version of churros, dusted with powdered sugar and served with a hot chocolate sauce scented with rosewater.
The hundred-year history claimed for the Fly Trap (it was originally on Market, then Sutter, then Golden Gate) is a bit suspect, especially since we suspect there was a lot of down time — decades, in fact — before the place on Folsom took the name. But with its new owner, menu, and freshened-up room, it's poised for the second hundred in the new millennium.