Tag Archives: best pork chops in SF

Pork Chop (Monk’s Kettle, SF)

Awesome Pork Chop

Grilled Pork Chop, mustard sauce (Monk's Kettle, SF)
Grilled Pork Chop, mustard sauce (Monk's Kettle, SF)

Within a week, I had two of the best pork dishes of the year. And one of my favorite pork dishes from 2009 is the grilled pork chop from Monk’s Kettle, a gastro-pub in San Francisco’s Mission District.

The pork chop at Monk’s Kettle is simply outstanding. It’s double-cut thick with nice, tire-burn grill marks, and the perfect sunrise pink interior that’s tender, juicy, and hard to come up for air for after bite one.  The chop (Coleman Natural Hampshire) has been brined in apple cider with brown sugar (and the necessary bay leaf)to really heighten the flavors. Did I say juicy?

The mustard sauce that swaddles the pork chop like a pale yellow superhero cape is utterly fantastic. It’s a creamy Bechamel sauce with stone ground mustard, a sort of plate-licking temptation that disappears instantly like a demon. You’ll not see much sauce remaining when your server collects your UFO-shaped dish.

The sides here are also great, making this dish one of my favorite pork dishes of 2009. And there’s enough on this plate to feed a substantially hungry person, either once or twice.

The orb-like accompanying side that appears to be a polenta imposter is actually a cheddar-scallion potato cake. Crunchy exterior, great surprise inside. So good I want it for breakfast. Chef Kevin Kroger uses house-cured bacon, not as just a tiny flavoring or afterthought to bolster the Brussel sprouts, but as another serious element. I think it’s actually the Fifth Element on this plate. I’m keen on bacon & Brussel sprouts, and this pairing favors Monk’s fine, crispy, maple-smoked bacon. The interplay between the elements in this dish is wonderful.

Monk's Kettle Chef Kevin Kroger
Monk's Kettle Chef Kevin Kroger

The Spot: Monk’s Kettle

Aside from simply the pork chop, Monk’s Kettle is one of the best places in San Francisco Bay Area to sample an astounding array of beers. Their 24 draught taps change 3 to 5 times weekly. The beer menu itself is 6 legal-sized pages listing (and explaining) a worldwide variety of familiars and odds, with prices that range from your low-budge suds (PBR and such) to party-like-a-rock-star froth (including champenoise-style beers that set you back between $45 and $60 for 12 oz.). The staff is authentically friendly, very knowledgeable about the beers they have, and enjoy helping folks match their flavor palette or dare into new territory. If you’re no pork chopper, just go by for a beer sometime.

God bless the Monks
God bless the Monks

The Grade: Awesome / Phenomenal (my highest grade)

The Damage: $24.50

The Skinny: Monk’s Kettle

3141 – 16th Street, San Francisco (between Valencia & Guerrero Streets)
Phone: (415) 865-9523
Website: http://www.monkskettle.com 


Monk's Kettle on Urbanspoon

Pork Chop (Fresca, SF)

Pork Chop – Chuleton de Chancho

Fantastic Pork Chop, Fresca (SF)
Fantastic Pork Chop, Fresca (SF)

Fresca, a Peruvian restaurant with two locations in San Francisco, is renowned for an amazing array of ceviche. So Fresca may not be top of mind when someone’s considering a great meat dish in the Bay Area. But make no mistake, Fresca makes one of the best pork dishes in San Francisco. 

The pork chop at Fresca is stellar. It’s a nominee for Meatmeister’s Top Pork Dishes of 2009.

The pork chop itself is a generous portion (sometimes called a double-cut for its thickness), and is perfectly pale pink and juicy inside. The grilling on the chop is superb. The pork chop vogues across a muddy-river toned flatbed of rice and beans (black bean “tacu-tacu”), and some wicked plantains that are slightly crisped, sweet, and tender. Atop the chop is a mango mustard salsa, with some aji honey mustard sauce. Whew; it is one great dish and highly recommended for pork chop fans.

The Grade: Awesome / Phenomenal (my highest grade)

The Damage: $19

The Skinny: Fresca

Website: http://www.frescasf.com 

Locations: Fillmore, Noe Valley, Sunset, and West Portal

Noe Valley location: 3945 – 24th Street, SF CA

Phone: (415) 695-0549

See Fresca’s dinner menu

Pork Chop (Town Hall, SF)

Peanut Tasso Crusted Pork Chop – Town Hall, San Francisco CA

Peanut Tasso Crusted Pork Chop, Town Hall, SF
Peanut Tasso Crusted Pork Chop, Town Hall, SF

The Dish: Peanut Tasso Crusted Pork Chop

I’m not a huge peanut fan, to be frank. Peanuts are like the chickens of nuts; you might enjoy eating them, but you probably don’t want to know where they’ve been before entering your mouth. But the peanuts reinforcing the crust of this Town Hall version of the pork chop are well suited. They provide sufficient Southern crunch and a mild, earthy undertone to the smokiness of the tasso (a Cajun dish enhancement staple that has a smoky, cayenne-bolstered pork flavor).

So the pork chop itself comes somewhere betwixt medium and medium-rare, the thick cut pork showing just a blush of pink. The soft, juicy interior’s textural contrast to the nutty, crunchy crust is a balanced counterpoint. It’s one of the best pork chops in San Francisco, to be lauded both for its flavor and its originality.

But another reason for this dish’s power is certainly the crafty selection and rendering of the accompaniments: wonderful, subtle, and smart. Town Hall acknowledges familiar and classic pork partners like fruit and winter vegetables, then reinterprets their presence entirely. Rich, dark apple butter swirls around the plate instead of the expected dollop of baked apple compote. A sprinkling of pomegranate , the crunchy, juicy seeds relating directly to both the sweet apple and the crunchy peanut exterior on the chop. The flavor relationships between the ingredients become as a whole deeper, more vibrant and, somehow, altogether correct, like a symphony. Described on the menu: peanut tasso crusted pork chop, butternut squash, apple butter.

The Grade: Excellent

The Damage: $24

The Skinny: Town Hall, 342 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA

Phone: (415) 908-3900

Website: http://www.townhallsf.com/

Town Hall on Urbanspoon