Dispatches from the Hog & Rocks' Thursday Night Korean Pop-Up

Katsu curry (pork cutlet

For the past three Thursdays, Hog & Rocks, the ever-popular ham-and-oysters hotspot, has been even more phenomenal than it already is, offering a Korean pop-up from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Chef Robin Song is scratching San Francisco’s perpetual itch with a menu of late-night snacks, the kind that on paper look like they’re meant to ward off a hangover, but are certainly meant for people whose palates haven’t been compromised by a night of drinking.

[jump] Katsu curry (pork cutlet, curry and kimchi) was a zesty affair, perfectly seasoned and sizeable. A zucchini pancake (with soy, peppers and cress) was as good as the superb okonomiyaki at nearby Namu Gaji. And that classic, bibimbap (here with namul, smoked egg and beef), was of course what everybody at the table fought for more of.

The best dish was the one that probably gets the least love, as offal is one thing you can’t really be on the fence about, ever. And blood sausage is probably the biggest dare of all. The spicy pan-fried rice cake has, along with fish cake and fermented chili and a bonus soft-boiled egg that wasn’t listed on the menu, pieces of blood sausage so luscious that they almost warrant a force-feeding down the hatches of the reluctant.

I have to say, the crowd was noticeably well-heeled, more so than on my last couple visits there — by a factor of about five. (Thus evolveth the Mission.) And while technically, this pop-up’s initial three-week run is now over, the hostess said the house was regularly at capacity until after midnight, so hopefully Hog & Rocks isn’t just playing us when they hinted that it might come back soon.

Hog & Rocks, 3431 19th St., 550-8627.


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