The Dish: Lamb Shank
As big as your fist, Zare at Fly Trap serves a beautiful lamb shank. It’s the proverbial-cliche ‘fall off the bone’ lamb meat, propped up around its prominent bone like a rugged rock formation in a wild landscape of flageolet beans, white beans, and jus. The meat is wonderfully tender but subtle on the tongue. Green & yellow flageolets give the waxy snap-crisp against the soft meat, and you’ll need about 5 or 6 slices of sourdough to soak up the jus. A peeled, slightly stewed tomato, quartered fingerling potatoes, and white beans add nice textures, but hints of preserved lime in the jus inject a subtle brightness to the very light dish.
The Persian kicker that knocks this up a notch is called torshi, which is a picked vegetable tapenade you can either spoon into the jus or smear over the lamb. (I used my entire portion and requested another.) For a lamb shank, Zare at Fly Trap serves a pretty subtle one and the torshi, for me, made the difference. The pickling flavors brought the entire plate into a harmony that was at once natural and unfamiliar (because I’ve never had torshi before).. it’s an example of what makes Zare at Fly Trap unique: the subtle fusion of Persian flavors into familar food to generate surprise and delight.
Described on the menu: lamb shank abgusht (with flageolet beans, fingerling potatoes, preserved lime, torshi)
The Spot: Zare at Fly Trap, San Francisco
Neat spot in SOMA, on Folsom near 2nd Street, with a narrow urban garden hidden behind a steel gate as its entrance that makes it feel like a little secret. Orange-red walls, a very smart cocktail list and very cool bartenders, comfy seats to eat at the bar and two communal tables to cater to soloists and walk-ins. Dozens of prints of old architectural and floral drawings cover the walls, imbuing a bit of quirky classicism to the place. The cuisine is a bit of classic and New American with strong Persian / Mediterranean influences, so familiar dishes (baked chicken, pork chop) come with Persian flavors that aren’t known to most palates. Zare is named for chef/owner Hoss Zare, a self-trained chef who began his cooking career at The Fly Trap in 1989 and, after numerous chef jobs over the years, returned to reinvigorate Fly Trap with a flavor of his own.
The Grade: Excellent
The Damage: $24
The Skinny: Zare at Fly Trap 606 Folsom St. (at Second Street), San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: (415) 243-0580
Hours: Kitchen: Monday through Thursday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Happy Hour: 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Closed on Sunday