Cane Rosso is the firstborn brainchild of the partnership between two renowned San Francisco chefs. Lauren Kiino who headed the kitchen at Delfina and Daniel Patterson–the talented avant-garde chef whose restaurant, COI, is one of the best fine dining destinations in the Bay Area. COI is famous for its sophisticated cuisine of inventive combinations and artful presentations. But much like Ad Hoc is Thomas Keller’s foray into casual dining, Cane Rosso gives Patterson a chance to serve a more informal and accessible fare.
The takeout rotisserie and sandwich shop that took the place of the late Mistral in the Ferry Building was named after Kiino’s three-legged rescue mutt. His silhouette is proudly displayed on the restaurant’s signage.
At first sight Cane Rosso looks like a makeshift restaurant. Aluminum tables covered in brown butcher’s paper tied with binder clips are lined up in the Ferry Building’s ample hallway.
On warmer nights, outside seating is surrounded by a beautiful view of the Bay. If the weather is not on your side, a small counter gives you a privileged window seat to look out.
And in terms of atmosphere, that’s all you’ll get. Cane Rosso is a place for a quick, unfussy meal. But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat well.
In addition to serving lunch and fulfilling the Ferry commuters takeout needs, Cane Rosso recently started serving nightly supper from 5 to 8pm. The menu changes every night and is offered as a single 3-course prix fixe dinner for $25. For lighter appetites, starter, main course and dessert can be also ordered individually.
Chefs Patterson and Kiino serve an Italian-inspired fare with classic American comfort food flavors. Like at Ad Hoc, dishes are presented family style, portioned for the number of people at the table. But here, it feels even more informal, as if you were eating at a takeout rotisserie–which you are.
Cane Rosso offers a handful of local wines including sparking, white, rosé, and red served in small glass pitchers.
Other drink options include Fentimans Botanically brewed sodas. The Mandarin and Seville orange jigger is worth a try.
To start, Mariquita Farms Roasted Beets, little gems, and horseradish vinaigrette with toasted pistachios. A simple salad that celebrates fresh, local, seasonal ingredients.
On a second visit, a similar salad combining sweet beets, crunchy almonds and rich ricotta cheese. Star Route Mixed Green Salad with roasted beets, almonds, ricotta salata and roasted shallot vinaigrette .
Marin Sun Farms Spiced Pork Ribs with Fennel Orange BBQ Sauce. Fagioli All’ Uccelletto. Broiled overnight at a low temperature of 230º, the ribs are tasty and tender.
Accompanied by the deliciously creamy Tuscan classic of beans in a light tomato sauce.
Pozzi Braised Lamb , Umbrian Lentils, Caramelized Carrots. On the second visit, the braised lamb trumped the pork ribs. Tender, flavorful and nicely paired with the light acidity of the lentils and sweetness of carrots.
On the side, tasty garlic bread toasted with olive oil and parsley.
Warm Chocolate Cookies with Straus Vanilla Soft Serve. If you eat ice cream at home you’re accustomed to the hand-churning process that follows scooping a pint right out of the freezer. A necessary step to achieve an ideal creamy texture. A texture exactly like this Straus Family soft serve. A perfect side to warm cookies.
Warm Brownies with mixed nuts and Straus vanilla soft serve . Even better than the cookies.
Accessible multi-course prix fixe menus are more popular than ever in the Bay Area. And while Saison and Commis offer informal fine dining on the sophisticated side, Cane Rosso is more akin to Ad Hoc–offering comfort food tasting menus created to make you feel at home. But Patterson/Kiino’s outpost lacks the finesse of Keller’s outstanding restaurant. On the other hand, it’s more accessible. The price you pay for its 3-course meal is often less than a single entrée in town. Cane Rosso may not be the restaurant you write home about but that’s not the point. What you get here are great ingredients prepared with the talent of two great San Francisco chefs, for just 25 bucks. And that’s worth writing about.
Il Cane Rosso is at One Ferry Building, # 41
No reservations are taken