THE SPOT: SODINI’S BERTOLUCCI’S RISTORANTE, South San Francisco CA
Sodini’s Bertolucci’s is the kind of old-school Italian joint that you would imagine finding in downtown Las Vegas, or in Eastern New Jersey. With its giant signage, black-and-white awning, and exterior murals of Italian landscapes, it’s a holdover from another era, and a surprising discovery off the main drag in South San Francisco. Giant, framed turn-of-the-century European posters, a wraparound gold-striped curtain, a garden fountain, and swirling red booths that swallow you like the jaws of Jonah’s whale make the interior like a Sopranos backdrop, but cleaner.
THE DISH: CORNISH GAME HEN
God bless the place that has Cornish game hen as a menu staple. I wish more restaurants served the lovely young bird. It’s the daily lunch special at Sodini’s Bertolucci’s on Tuesdays, and on the dinner menu that night as well. (Lunch specials here also include soup or salad; I thought the traditional minestrone was good.) The plate has not one, but two hens, perfectly roasted and seasoned with salt, pepper, with fresh rosemary sprigs tucked in. The fowls lay atop creamy polenta, with seasonal veggies (like squash) along for the ride. The veggies are unremarkable, but the polenta is great.
Like other dishes I’ve enjoyed at Bertolucci’s, the portion is enough for lunch and a take-home snack or light dinner. For the price, it’s a solid value but, more importantly, it’s delicious.
THE DAMAGE: $14, lunch (includes soup or salad) and $19, dinner
THE GRADE: EXCELLENT (4 out of 5)
THE SKINNY: SODINI’s BERTOLUCCI’s
421 Cypress Avenue, South San Francisco, CA
Phone: (650) 588-1625