Sunday, February 1, 2015

Feeling Flirtatious

A celebrity chef makes his SF debut with tapas on the waterfront


The bad news: thanks to the federal budget sequester, the Blue Angels will not be flying this year. Which essentially ruins Fleet Week.

The good news: celebrity chef Michael Chiarello (Bottega, Top Chef Masters) has come to the rescue with a new reason to head to the waterfront.

It's called Coqueta (little flirt or infatuation in Spanish), it's a tapas joint, and it's open now.

Reserve your table well in advance to dine tapas atop a bull hide from one of the last fights in Spain. Seriously. You can see the spear holes.

Of the 20-deep cocktail menu, our pick is the Tarriff, a gin & tonic inspired by the painting of the pig (by the southwest facing window) mixing Iberico ham-infused-gin with acorn tonic.

Chef Michael's jump from Italian to Spanish was inspired by multiple trips to Spain, and a new Spanish son-in-law — so you know the pressure's on.

And he delivers, from pinxtos (skewers) laden with olives, pearl onions, and guijillo peppers, to the cheese menu selections (mmmm, manchego) to the hot plate of wood-grilled leeks.

Order generously, these plates are meant for sharing. And with the wait for weekend reservations already a month out, the Blue Angels might be returning before you get a chance to.

Pier 5, Embarcadero
(415) 704-8866

Parking: Metered street.
Walk-Ins: No reservations? Arrive early to score one of 14 first-come-first-serve seats on the enclosed patio, or snack at the standing tapas bar.
Crazy cocktail program: In addition to the cocktail list, they've got a house-made rice ale in the works, a seasonal liquid nitrogen sangria on tap, and a full sherry program.
Grill envy: A quick peek into the open kitchen reviews a monster of a wood-fired grill so major, they had to re-enforce the floor to get it in there.
Nearby: La Mar; Hard Water; Waterfront

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