It’s hard to believe that Beretta in the Mission is more than 4 years old now, since it seems to be as perennially packed today as when they first opened. Can anyone remember that they took over the space of The Last Supper Club, the Italian restaurant run by the Luna Park Group? Owned by the restaurant group run by Adriano Paganini, the former CEO of Pasta Pomodoro, it helped spawn other successful ventures such as the recently opened Argentinian steakhouse Lolinda , Starbelly, Delarosa and the Super Duper Burger micro-chain.
Beretta pairs moderate priced Italian-inspired food (such as pizza) with a very successful artisinal cocktail program. This seems to be a formula for attracting Mission hipsters and huge crowds, no matter what time of the day it is. Here it is actually more difficult to sit at the bar since it’s always 2-3 deep, so we were very lucky that on this weeknight, there was no wait at all for a table. Apart from the great cocktails, perhaps one of the reasons Beretta stays so popular is that they serve a lot of small antipasti style plates, meant to be shared, at very reasonable prices.
We started with the dungeness crab arancini (fried rice balls) served with calabrese aioli:
The Southern Italian specialty was filled with tasty creamy rice and crab in a hard breadcrumb shell. It wasn’t greasy at all, proving that the cooks know their way around a fryer:
We moved on to the beef carpaccio with arugula, capers and a generous amount of thinly shaved Parmesan cheese (click on different parts of the picture to check out Lytro living picture refocusing capability):
Our one complaint is that the we like to drink with our meals most of the time. Unfortunately, the bar is so popular and the drinks do take a while to make, so it tends to back up the bar. We ate through two dishes before we got the cocktails that were ordered before we placed our food order. We can honestly say that the drinks were worth the wait. Our lightly sweet Monte Carlo (Rye, Benedictine, bitters, orange rind) and Kentucky Mule (Bourbon, lime juice, ginger, mint, gomme syrup):
We don’t normally post pictures of menus, but this shows one of the cool effects of the Lytro living picture. Clicking on the back or front of the menu allows you to read different parts of the cocktail menu:
We then shared the delicious pan-seared gnocchi with bits of porcini muchrooms, smoked pancetta, fried sage and Parmesan cheese:
Just to make sure that we didn’t have to wait as long for another round of drinks, we did order a glass of Aglianico red wine and Scrimshaw Pilsner to pair with the rest of our meal.
Listed as a fish antipasti, this fritto misto di pesce was more than enough for two people to share as a main course. Buried beneath the batter fried green beans and calamari was a generous amount of shrimp that went really well with the marinara cocktail sauce. Rounding out the mixed fried dish were some fennel batons and a grilled lemon half:
Beretta does not take reservations, but you can call ahead and have your name placed on a list and hope that by the time you get there, the table or a place at the bar will be open. Another good option option is to wait until after 9 pm on weeknights when the restaurant starts to empty out.