If you’re a carnivore and you haven’t been to Fatted Calf in Hayes Valley, you have deprived yourself of one of most singularly exhilarating experiences San Francisco has to offer. Nowhere else can you find such quality mountainous offerings of fresh sausages, aged beef, Liberty duck confit, and Heritage pork cheeks. Various homemade rillettes and pâté fill the cases, otherwise cluttered with massive logs of pistachio mortadella, peppered coppa, and deep red bresaola. It’s the closest thing to heaven a meat-lover will ever find, but there’s one product in particular that I cannot visit without purchasing.
The beef jerky at Fatted Calf is, hands down, the best I’ve ever had. It’s lean and fatty with ideal toughness, like chewing succulent leather. Thin sheets of rustic tenderloin rip and crack with each tear. Fibrous shreds fray at the corners of every slab, like they’re made of some kind of beefy fabric. It’s light and soft, loaded with salty richness.
Fatted Calf isn’t the cheapest butcher in town, and the prices are geared toward those who are ready to spend for a holiday or some other special occasion. And at $40 per pound, the jerky can feel like a little bit of a splurge, but life is all about excess in moderation. You’ve got to go for it. Grab one of the quarter-pound bags at $10 a piece, because it’ll be just enough to quench your meaty hankering.
If there is one thing you can trust about Fatted Calf, it’s that they’re pros. I can guarantee anything you get from this place is going to be a home run. Swing by for a nice steak or some cheese for you and that special someone — but for God’s sake, get yourself some jerky.
Fatted Calf, 320 Fell St., 415-400-5614 or fattedcalf.com