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Mescolanza

August 27, 2006

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Mescolanza is a great little neighborhood gem located on the relatively quieter end of Clement Street in the Outer Richmond. It is one part of a several-part proof that San Francisco’s best Italian restaurants are, for the most part, not located in North Beach. This trattoria serves the well-loved Italian standards, including pastas, gnocchi, pizzas, and a collection of meat and fish dishes. The pizzas are definitely decent, but when in this neighborhood, we prefer Pizzetta 211 to satisfy our pizza cravings. However, Mescolanza’s pastas are delicious and consistently executed well; they are fresh and made in-house, so we would recommend you use them as your introduction to Mescolanza. A specialty item is the linguine al limone (linguine with parmigiana and a lemon cream sauce), which is delicious, though a little dull to look at on the plate.

Short Exact began our meal with a salad,

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consisting of cups of radicchio, with each cup containing a morsel of deliciously pungent Gorgonzola cheese, and served with a blended parsley dressing. This tasty salad was not only colorful, by virtue of its ingredients, but it had a great bite and was full of flavor. In addition, the crunch of the radicchio, when set against the smooth creaminess of the Gorgonzola, gave the dish a nice textural contrast. Generally, the ingredients and preparation here are simple and clean, and the salad was a refreshing start to the meal.

For an entree, we ordered the spinach gnocchi with creamy tomato sauce:

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The presentation wasn’t exquisite (though certainly acceptable, given the nature of the dish), but the flavor of the tomato sauce was a delicious and surprisingly subtle complement to the tender, melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi. The gnocchi was not quite the fluffy, subtly textured revelation of our very favorite gnocchi, but it was still very well done.

Generally, this a solid neighborhood Italian restaurant. Service is usually prompt and timed well, even when the (admittedly rather small) restaurant is full, and the courteous restaurant staff really does care if you are enjoying your meal or not. We’ve never experienced anything less than completely kind and helpful service here. Mescolanza’s virtue really lies in its simplicity. It does not try to push the envelope; it only strives to provide fresh and delicious executions of classic Italian favorites. Sometimes we wish that Mescolanza would exhibit just a little more creativity. For example, at the beginning of the meal, we were served some nice ciabatta, which would have have been perfect with olive oil, but only butter was served. (Short Exact is lactose intolerant and could not partake of the butter; still, even if this were not the case, the olive oil would have been more appropriate.) On other occasions, some aspect, such as the seasoning, can be off in a way that makes a noticeable effect on the dish, but in general, preparations are remarkably consistent. And when functioning at its best, Mescolanza pays attention to the details, which we very much appreciate.

All in all, this is a very comfy, homey trattoria. As one of the best spots in the neighborhood, Mescolanza is worthy of not just one, but many visits.

RATING:

COST:

2221 Clement Street (between 23rd Ave. and 24th Ave.)
San Francisco, CA 94121
Phone: 415.668.2221
Hours: Daily, 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

Cuisine: Italian
Neighborhood: Outer Richmond

How to get there: Mescolanza is located directly on Muni line 2 and is within easy walking distance of lines 1, 29, and 38.

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4 comments

  1. I haven’t been to Mescolanza in ages, but it used to be my favorite Italian resto in the city. So glad to hear it’s still top-of-form!


  2. Awesome review. How do you take pictures in the restaurant. I always feel odd when I do that, and unless it’s a cheapo place, refrain from doing so. Any ideas?


  3. I always just ask if they mind if I take pictures. So far, as you can see, I haven’t yet been refused (though I can think of a couple places that might). It seems that with so many digital cameras everywhere, no one seems to mind, even really nice places that you might think would mind.

    The only thing I wonder about is if they figure that taking pictures equates with someone writing a review about them. My hunch is that a lot don’t, necessarily, but it is polite to ask, if you ever think it might be a problem.

    Also, nicer places often take on a much more casual feel at lunchtime, so it might be worth it to go there at lunch if you feel uncomfortable taking pictures at dinner.


  4. I used to lived on 29th Avenue between Clement and California. Mescolanza was one of my favorite places in the neighborhood. Ernesto’s a block west is a great, simple Italian place too.

    At Mescolanza it was so difficult for me to order. All I ever wanted to get was the pesto linguine. I had to twist my own arm to try anything else. That pesto linguine was absolutely incredible.

    Mescolanza’s decor is what impressed me. It’s a very tiny place and they decorated it to look elegant, but not gaudy. Beautiful simple wallpaper and perfect lighting. That huge plant by the door has to go, if it’s still there.

    I’m in Boston now and I miss all the neighborhood restaurants on that stretch of Clement.



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