Gabbiano’s feels like a pleasant anachronism. Plates of rooster parmesan even larger than your face and fried mozzarella shot glasses, set from a backdrop of a mural that includes painted columns and a patio with a string of light-weight-up grapes, sense like they arrived from a time right before I was born, like a properly-worn ’70s purple sauce joint.
A several many years back, I may have handed more than Gabbiano’s in favor of a place with tricky-to-pronounce pasta names. But correct now, coming out of attempting moments and back into the cheerful buzz of a eating room, Gabbiano’s will make full perception. It does not get itself as well very seriously, offering playful, though in some cases imperfect, spins on the familiar—while delivering a several stunner dishes and a stellar cocktail menu.
Co-owners David Sigal (Mian, Sunshine Noodles) and Blake Foster (Zoo Bar) opened Gabbiano’s (5411 Ne 30th Ave) in January 2022 with the intention of generating an Italian restaurant reminiscent of Sigal’s relatives visits to Italian restaurants in San Francisco’s North Beach front rising up. “It was a section of my childhood,” suggests Sigal. “To me, Italian American foodstuff is equated with joyous gatherings.”
You’ve most likely listened to about the a great deal-Instagrammed fried mozzarella shot glasses stuffed with marinara, so popular that the restaurant normally sells out by 7 p.m. Thankfully, these creations from chef Daniel Rehbein are very a great deal as glorious as they sound. The cup form indicates lots of crispy area space, and it’s significantly a lot easier to load each individual chunk with marinara when it’s currently loaded into the cup rather than dipping a normal mozzarella stick. If I experienced a gripe, I’d say load it with even much more tomato sauce, and allow its acidic tang glow a little bit a lot more to contrast with the cheese.
Speaking of photographs, the cocktail menu is a banger—you could issue at quite substantially nearly anything and be happy. Most are playful spins on common cocktails. The limoncello drop adds a savory element to the normally just one-note lemon drop cocktail with the addition of housemade saffron vodka and a lemon-salt rim. The Seagull Sour is an sudden riff on a whiskey bitter with bourbon, lemon, egg white, oregano oil, and a float of Lambrusco. In warmer climate, we’d go for the bellini slushie, comprehensive with sour peach ring garnish.
The humble Caesar salad reaches perfection in this article. It is an umami-packed, garlicky, no-holds-barred ode to the anchovy that even my anchovy-skeptical close friend got on board with. It is balanced with super-crunchy little gem lettuce and tons of lemon, furthermore lots of crackly croutons for very good measure.
The marvel of the menu is the ought to-purchase duck marsala, the meat cooked to a excellent medium scarce and nestled in a velvety marsala foie pan sauce. Somehow equally remarkable: the confit potatoes cooked to a shattering crisp. Pastas are a bit strike-or-pass up: the Girlfriend Pasta, which brings together property-created squid ink pasta with Dungeness crab and brown butter with chile, mint, and lemon, was delicately balanced, permitting the sweetness of the crab and the tart citrus to shine. The ricotta gnocchi with confit chicken is a artistic get on rooster and dumplings, and though we beloved the pillowy gnocchi, all the flavors could be turned up a notch.
The big hen parmesan impresses visually—you surprise how any single piece of chicken could create a thing so huge, and it’s sided by a few of slices of golden garlic bread. But it falls target to the same shortcomings as the mozzarella shot eyeglasses. A lot more sauce and much more cheese, be sure to! In a perfect entire world, I’d have a minor gravy boat full of purple sauce to pour above the crisp, evenly breaded fillet. The meatballs could also use work—maybe a coarser grind for a lot more texture and a bit more browning on the outdoors to produce a crisp crust.
Irrespective of its flaws, Gabbiano’s has a certain charm to it that would make it effortless to realize why the restaurant already has a loyal subsequent with wait around moments to match, even on weekdays. Pretension receives changed with playfulness, and the buzzy, festive environment can make for a enjoyment close friend day or loved ones celebration—something we could unquestionably use more of suitable now.