In this town you can pretty much turn any corner and come across a restaurant you've never heard of. Sometimes they are new, sometimes they've been there for awhile and it's flown under every one's (meaning mine) radar. When this happens I feel out of the loop and think how did I miss this? I was out running some errands one day and while I was heading back home I took a different root (really I was trying to stay in the shade) and came down 5th and made a left on Folsom and walked half a block when I strolled past this little place that had a patio out front. I stopped and took a gander at it and the menu hanging out front. It was called Jamber Wine Pub and I tried to think if I'd read about it somewhere and forgotten or just totally missed the run up to it's opening. I'm going to go with a little of both, lest you think I don't have my pulse on the food scene of San Francisco and I loose any credibility I've built up. Or whatever. I marked this place down on my "to try" list and one late lunch day while I was still gainfully unemployed I made my way over there to see what was the what.
The lunch rush was well over by the time I got there at 2:30pm so I had almost the whole place to myself except for one other table. It's a cute place with a fair bit of indoor seating and a small patio in front and I can just bet the place is packed for after work happy hour things. The full menu has some interesting things on it and I really wanted to try more than one but was by myself. Fortunately the waitress mentioned they had a lunch special where you could get a half one of their sandwiches with a side of one of their salads for $9. I thought, well why not get that and get a half of two different sandwiches and some salads--it would just like if I had gotten a full sandwich! Somewhere in my mind the rationalization worked, plus I was really hungry so let's just go with that and keep the judgements to ourselves. First up was the Meatloaf Sammy.
A buffalo meat meatloaf with bacon, barbecue sauce and cole slaw on a toasted French roll served with a spinach and radicchio salad with almonds and a blueberry vinaigrette. The salad was fine, I felt healthy eating the spinach though wasn't totally sold on the blueberry vinaigrette, a little sweet and not enough tang for me, but still, it was simple and fresh tasting. The meatloaf was grilled on each side and the first few bites I was like, mmmm, I kind of like this. The buffalo has a very earthy flavor, a little gamey and it paired nicely with the spicy barbecue sauce and the the vinegary kick of the slaw. Plus the bacon had a nice salty smokiness. Overall I liked the sandwich but I'm not sure I could do a full size one of these because the gamey flavor of the buffalo started to wear on my tastebuds. It's kind of how I like liver but could only really eat a small portion of it as the flavor becomes disagreeable on my tongue. A half size of this was perfect to try. Though if you are into game meats like this or venison or boar it's right up your alley. Next up was the PB2.
Seared pork belly, house made peanut butter and cranberry walnut jam on a buttered and toasted French roll with a salad of arugula, pear, spiced walnuts, blue cheese and cider vinaigrette. The salad was fresh and tasty and between the sweet of the pear and the tang of the cheese it was a nice combination. The walnuts gave it some added crunch and texture too. The sandwich I have to say surprised me--I liked it a lot. The pork belly was large thick strips crisped on the outside but still soft and juicy on the inside. The jam I was unsure of because of the nuts but they were ground up with the cranberries giving it a lovely tart earthy flavor to mix with the slightly salty house made peanut butter. You'd think this would be too salty with the peanuts and pork but it really wasn't. All the pieces seemed to blend favorably and I definitely could have eaten a full size of this sandwich. One for me was I wanted more of the jam and fortunately all I had to do was ask and she brought me a little ramekin full that I could just spread on at will. There is just something about bacon, peanut butter and jam that is comforting and a sandwich I recommend everyone try. I mean every things better with bacon right?
Since I just ran across this in my daily travails I'll mark this one down as a cute and quaint little find in SOMA. It's a bit off the beaten path, though folks who work or live(?) nearby probably already know about it. Either way, they are open late enough that if you happen to have finished up a movie at Metreon or the Westfield and want a decent quick bite to eat that's different they are worth stopping in to grab a bite or a brew and just hang out. Just remember you heard it hear first! Or at least pretend you did.