Between Two Slices: Naked Lunch

Around the corner from the city’s worst-slash-best-slash-worst-again strip clubs lies the cleverly named Naked Lunch. If you fancy a decadently sinful lunch hour, you can stop in for some skin, or you can just cheat on your gastroenterologist and stop in at North Beach’s Naked Lunch for my favorite kind of sin: Sandwich porn!

[jump] I rode my blue Schwinn up through the FiDi and turned left on Broadway before rolling up to meet an old friend for lunch. It was a late one, and the long bike ride made me extra hungry. I gazed up at the colorful chalkboard menu and the sight of the seemingly inexplicable Foie Gras Torchon sandwich ($19) was tantalizing, but how could I pass up the Kurobota Pork Belly sandwich ($13)? (As readers will come to learn over time, I seldom pass up the pork belly.)

We got a round of beers and posted up on the large patio overlooking the sunny Broadway pavement. On a beautiful day, I can scarcely think of a better outdoor space for lunch. While it looks out onto the world, it feels like a little hideaway. And then the sandwich arrives…

Served on a well-matched ciabatta roll with thick, juicy, tender, and fatty chunks of pork belly, my sando was flavored well enough with a saucy green garlic aioli, but it wasn’t overbearing to where the pork was no longer the star on every bite. The pickled carrots and chilies added crunchy, sweet-and-spicy Asian flavors that succeeded in making this a more interesting creation. Butter lettuce and cucumber held it together with a nice earthiness, but it’s still a messy sandwich in the best way possible. Not “fall-apart-in-your-hands-messiness” as much as the “drip-all-over-your-hands” variety.

My pal got the Mary’s Farm Fried Chicken Sandwich ($10) and you know I took not one, but TWO bites (we’ve known each for years; it was chill.) Served on a brioche-like Pain de Mie with only buttermilk coleslaw, the aforementioned green garlic aioli surrounded the perfectly fried supple breast (my last strip club pun, I promise). 

Go ahead and label Naked Lunch a “fancy” sandwich spot, for the sheer quality and decadence of their food, but it stops there. The inside dining room has pool tables, a Pop-A-Shot basketball game (yes, please), well-selected beers on tap, and even a full bar. There’s a happy hour Tuesdays through Fridays from 4:30-7 p.m., with drink specials and a similarly decadent sandwich selection served 'til they close at midnight (Note that they also close daily from 2-4:30 p.m.)

The sandwich-benevolence is strong with this one, as tax is already included in all of their prices. The menu rotates, but seems like the fried chicken, foie gras torchon and pork belly options are mainstays. I’ll be back for that Foie Gras Torchon sando real soon, but don’t tell my gastroenterologist!

Recommended Sides

1. Fried chickpeas. If they got ‘em that day, get ‘em!
2. Dogpatch Dolores Saison. The perfect beer to pair here.
3. Foie Gras ice cream. With lavender and sea salt?!  I’m sensing a theme here.

Naked Lunch, 504 Broadway, 415-577-4951.

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