Zuni Cafe: Roasted chicken and more

The San Francisco publication 7 X 7 is an insider’s guide to the best of San Francisco.  A popular list they created was their Big Eat List of 100 Things to Try Before You Die.  Each year the roasted chicken and bread salad at Zuni Café in San Francisco is Number 1 on the list.  The menu item has intrigued me for years and finally I had the opportunity to have dinner there.

Zuni is located on Market Street and Rose Alley in a beautiful flatiron building.  The walls are made of glass which makes the environment very warm and inviting.  We were led upstairs to the second floor to our table.

The roasted chicken takes an hour from the time you order so that as soon as we sat down, we placed one order.  It is a full chicken that typically serves two.  We were a party of four and with one person a vegetarian, we decided one chicken would be plenty and would allow us to try some other things while we waited.

We started with the Zuni Caesar salad, an arugula salad with beets and toasted almonds, and clams with brussels sprouts.  Everything was delicious, but the clams were the standout.  They were sweet and buttery and had me wanting more.

Shortly thereafter, the chicken which had been cooked in a wood fired oven arrived.  The perfectly golden chicken that had been cut into about six pieces which is topped on a bread salad with frisee, currants, and pine nuts. The chicken was juicy, tender, and delicious.  I describe the bread salad as crusty pieces of bread that that has been soaked in the juices of the chicken.  It is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.  The chicken and bread complimented each other very well.  Having this dish generally brought good vibes to the table as a lot of sharing and is involved which I find fun.

We were all quite full but had a little room to share a dessert. We decided to have the homemade ice cream sandwiches.  The simple dessert hit the spot.

Everyone should have Zuni’s roasted chicken on their bucket list.  If I get the opportunity to go again, I’m going to try more seafood because I think there is more to Zuni than chicken and bread salad.