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Friday, November 4, 2011

Il Cane Rosso's Rich, Surprising Pancetta

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 8:27 AM

click to enlarge ALAN SCHERSTUHL
  • Alan Scherstuhl

The current iteration of San Francisco-style pancetta seems at times a cheap ploy by the fancier restaurants in town at making good old American bacon an elegant side dish for the peaking trend of dignified brunches. It's too often straight slabs of seasoned pork that bear a striking resemblance to the rectangular cuts of fatty swine 1950s-raised mother used to fry up for our Sunday breakfast. Nothing to scoff at, but certainly an inadequate introduction to the beauty of a delicious fried bit of true pancetta

Enter Il Cane Rosso, the Ferry Terminal Building's lone stab at casual Italian fare, and their utterly surprising rounds of pancetta. One might assume for the measly 2 dollars Il Cane Rosso charges for their pancetta what might arrive in front of you will be a stereotypical slab of bacon gussied up with a fancy name.

Oh how wrong you are.

This pancetta is thinly sliced from a rolled log of Boccalone cured meat so each crispily fried bit of park is shaped something like an tiny compact disc perfectly sized for the average person's mouth.

Looking at the pancetta circles, it seems likely that placing one in to your waiting maw will yield the typical burst of bacon flavor you've come to expect from San Francisco pancetta. Again, you're premonitions are wrong. Il Cane Rosso's pancetta may seem stiff, perhaps even overcooked, but when bitten it shatters in your mouth into a fluid powder of salt and spices. This pancetta exists in a delectable limbo somewhere between the greatest slice of bacon you've ever ingested and the most addictive potato chip to ever grace your pallet.

Be warned: Il Cane Rosso's side of pancetta might seem like a small portion, but consuming even a third of this extremely rich delight might result in a gluttony-punishing stomach ache.

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Noah Sanders

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