Belcampo: Sustainable Meat on Russian Hill

The fourth location of the 2-year-old Belcampo Meat Company — after Larkspur, downtown L.A. and Santa Barbara — has come to Russian Hill, and it is a beauty. If the sight of a pestle full of lard sitting in a display case causes you to fibrillate with joy, you're going to want to poke your head in.

A combination restaurant and butcher shop, Belcampo is a bright, clean corner spot with lots of blue tile and a lots of choice offerings. The sitdown half is dinner-only, with slightly baroque entrees such as a braised lamb belly and neck, a pork chop with salsa criolla and savory corn pudding, and a fried half guinea hen. Beer and wine service is forthcoming (we are told). If you're just running in for something to cook for dinner, you've got options — all of them raised by Belcampo or, in the case of turkeys, by known quantities such as BN Ranch. Traditional, integrated methods of animal husbandry pay off, as a bite of pork pâté, fragrant and well-spiced like a glorious sausage, revealed.

Weirdly, Belcamo's stylized B logo looks a lot like Bi-Rite Market's, but that shouldn't cause much confusion. The bull head atop the lintel as you walk in, like something out of a Mithraic cult, might function as some Ancient Babylonian vegan repellent but it's pretty cool (and relax, vegetarians and vegans can get a plate of grilled summer vegetables with long-cooked tomato, basil, and quinoa). But Belcampo is a meat-lovers dream, through and through. Hard to imagine that at one time, animal butchery was the lowest of the low occupations and its practitioners were consigned to Butchertown.

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