Hog and Rocks is a great place to go in the Mission for upscale gastropub fare and a great selection of drinks. Last November, they made a chef change and hired Executive Chef Robin Song to take over the kitchen and the good food got even better. With experience working under Chef Daniel Patterson at Plum and Haven, Chef Song is moving the food more upscale with a goal of making it more cocktail friendly. The change makes San Francisco’s first and only Oysters and Ham bar into a true gastropub with a lively bar scene and excellent food.
We sat at the bar where bartendress Maxine made us some great starting cocktails: a Nardini Black Manhattan (Rittenhouse Rye, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Nardini Amaro) and a very pretty Autumn Incantation (Laird’s 100 proof Apple Brandy, Punt e Mes Vermouth, Cider, Brown Sugar Syrup):
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We started with some “Hog” since we know they serve generous amounts of thinly sliced cured hams. This is the Monte Nevado Jamon Serrano aged 15 months from Spain served with candied almonds and house-made pita bread slices:
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Hog and Rocks has an excellent whiskey selection which is great since we are particularly into drinking straight ryes now. We went through more than a few rounds of neat shots throughout the evening to try the ryes they carried such as Templeton, Rittenhouse, Wild Turkey Rye, Knob Creek Small Batch, and Willet’s. We also ordered a pitcher of beer to chase our whiskeys with:
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Thankfully, their excellent Chicken Wings made with their proprietary Youk’s Hot Sauce is happily still available:
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One of the newer items on the menu is the delicious Trotter Tots served with fermented turnips and romesco dipping sauce. The tots were expertly fried and were crispy on the outside while creamy soft on the inside. Bits of pork trotter studded the fried potato dumpling:
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We shared the Chicken “Pot Pie” which was decadently rich. It came with roasted parsnip, carrots, wild mushrooms and smoked gravy. Topped with a flaky broken crust, this was a super tasty update of comfort food:
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We have eaten French fries with eggs and some protein (such as ham or foie gras) in Europe at places like Barcelona and Paris. We wondered why this dish has never made it back to this side of the Atlantic. So, we had to order the Kennebec Fries with the egg yolk glaze. It wasn’t quite the same as the versions from Europe, but it was almost as good since the egg yolk created a natural sauce for the perfectly cooked fries. We’ll just have to convince them to add bits of ham on our next visit:
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After all the rye shots, we ended up liking the Wild Turkey Rye the best as it tasted the most Scotch-like to us — or maybe our palate was burned out by that point. In either case, our home bar is now stocked with plenty of this affordable rye (note: it is so much better than their bourbon). We ordered a couple more neat shots of it to drink with the remainder of the meal:
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They have a great bar program at Hog and Rocks where Scott Beattie is the Bar Commander, Michael Lazar is the Bar Manager and Maxine is a great bartender. We were caught “cheating” on Locanda/KronnerBurger by barmen Gabriel and Brandon, who chose to come here to eat and drink with Maxine after their shift was over.
Hog and Rocks was a consistently good place to eat before, but with such a great bar program and the addition of Chef Robin Song, it got even better.