Eat This: Zuni Cafe’s Roasted Chicken

2 Mar

I cook things, and then I eat them. But sometimes, I just buy things and then eat them. Eat This spotlights some of those things–especially when I think you should be eating them too.

Last week I went with my boyfriend Michael to San Francisco on vacation. We stayed with gracious hosts and family friends Naomi and Karl and their awesome daughters Tess and Noa in the Mission.* It rained the whole time, but we were still able to eat a ton of incredible food. One such meal was at Zuni Cafe. Zuni’s not new–it’s an institution, over thirty years old–but it somehow still feels fresh. Part of it may be that their menu changes daily, but two classic items are permanent: a superlative caesar salad, and the whole roast chicken for two with bread salad. Like Zuni itself, this chicken isn’t under the radar. In fact, it’s got a cult-like following. I know, what’s the big deal, right? It’s just roast chicken. But oh, no, my friend, this roast chicken has juicy meat, and a salty, crispy skin.

Zuni Cafe's Roasted Chicken

It wears a crown of wilting mustard greens, and beneath it sits that bread salad, crispy in places, soft in others, tossed with currants and pine nuts, soaked with succulent chicken juices and doused in enough vinegar to cut the richness. You can make it at home (the Paupered Chef has the recipe, as does Smitten Kitchen), but if at all possible, go experience it for yourself. It’s got to be tasted to be believed.

Zuni, 1658 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
zunicafe.com

Zuni Cafe’s Roasted Chicken [paupered chef]
Zuni Cafe’s Roasted Chicken and Bread Salad [smitten kitchen]

*Naomi and Karl have two vacation rentals in their home; they are comfortable, private, and located barely a ten minute walk from Tartine Bakery. What more could you ask for? If you’re going to be in the area, check out their listings on VRBO: the cozy Mission Secret and the two bedroom Mission Heights.

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