Zare at Fly Trap, on Folsom street in San Francisco, between 2nd and 3rd, is my new favorite restaurant in the city. It’s quite interesting how those things work. It’s not the fanciest. It’s not the best. It’s not the cheapest. And yet, I think this is where I’ve had 2 of my top 5 meals in the last 5 months.
First some history: Hoss Zare moved from Iran in 1986 and first worked at the Fly Trap. More than 20 years later, he decided to purchased the place (he had moved on since). I loved that story. Someone who cares! If he cares about the place, he must care about the food. I often say that the food you cook is a representation of the type of person you are: generous vs cheap, emotional vs dry, etc… It also works the other way around. Who you are will impact the food you cook!
Zare created a very relaxed atmosphere in his restaurant, probably due to his roots, where food is a social thing, where people just sit around a table, not to put things down their stomach, but to spend some time together. In my mind, that’s the spirit of Zare.
This relaxed but classy atmopshere goes very well with the food that Zare serves. It’s hard to describe, so I’ll just say it’s THAT good. Simple, fresh, & tasty. No fancy crazy stuff. Just good food. The lamb shank is a must have, served in a fantastic broth (so light!), with flageolets, potatoes and torshi (combination of pickles). My goodness, just talking about it makes me hungry! I go there these days just for this dish.
There are also some really interesting starters, my favorite one being the menage a foie, which is a combination of livers: foie gras, sheep liver and chicken liver. I’m a huge fan of bone marrow, and I wasn’t disappointed! Finally, I was really impressed with the cinnamon braised lamb tongue. That was really something unique, and very hard to do at home (so order it in a restaurant!).
As far as the wines are concerned, we’ve tasted several, and I may say that they have an amazing Santenay (from Thevenin) which is clearly on the pricey side ($50), but totally worth it.
If you want to know more, visit their website, or pay them a visit and say hi to Zare! He’ll be around!