The Next Wave on S.F. Menus: American Regional

Photo: Facebook

“Here in San Francisco we obsess about Burmese food, but we don’t even know about American food,” says Francesca Salcido of 51st State, the new ‘American Regional’ food truck we told you about and which John Birdsall at the Weekly caught up with yesterday. He notes several dishes on offer, ranging from a Brunswick stew (involving a mix of chicken and sausage and native to Virginia), crispy cornmeal quail and Texas caviar (a.k.a. black-eyed pea salad), and a spinach salad with blue cheese, smoked trout, and marionberries from the Pacific Northwest. Could this be part of the backlash against strictly local Cal-Med cuisine that we’ve all been expecting?

These new food truck kids on the block aren’t the only ones getting on the American regional train. Chef Adam Timney at Starbelly is doing a series of Tuesday summer picnic menus on the patio, each with a different regional theme.

Tonight, for instance, is Cajun with jambalaya and catfish; next week veers south with fried chicken and creamed corn; and on August 17 he’ll be doing a New England-style clam bake.

The recently opened Hog & Rocks (see our slideshow and menus) is doing American cuisine tied to various regions around the country, including an East Coast grinder, artisanal American hams from Kentucky and Tennessee, and at the bar they’re serving a traditional New Orleans-style Hurricane, using the original recipe from Pat O’Brien’s bar. (Chef Scott Youkilis’s other restaurant Maverick celebrates five years on the American kick tonight.)

And then there’s the opening of Citizen’s Band today (slideshow here), which is also on the American bandwagon, with walls covered in vintage Life Magazine ads, the CB-radio theme, and some “fine diner” cuisine spanning several regions including crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, and fried chicken.

Along with already established and recently opened restaurants like Wexler’s, with its haute BBQ theme, Thermidor with its 60s Americana menu, and Wayfare Tavern with its old-timey San Francisco slant, we feel confident in saying this back-to-America thing is one of the defining trends of 2010.

51st State: A Roving Taste of American Regional Food Downtown
Related: What to Eat at Hog & Rocks [Grub Street]
Bauer Hates Pop-Ups [Grub Street]
7x7 Declares 2010 the Year of the Izakaya, Also the Year of Goat Belly [Grub Street]

The Next Wave on S.F. Menus: American Regional