First Taste: Spork


The hippest stretch of Valencia Street, in the Mission District, just got a lot hipper, thanks to Bruce Binn’s unpretentiously chic diner, Spork, in a former KFC. Except for the inescapable Naugahyde covered stools and nuzzling booths, most references to KFC are gone. Binn had been an admired chef at local hotspots such as Citizen Cake and Bix before his stint in New York at Lupa and Bouley. His exuberance for local seasonal food, which brought him back to San Franciscom percolates through the lighthearted selections on his well-edited menu. A classic Bibb salad with shaved Parmesan, walnuts, and Dijon vinaigrette is a nice break from the standard Caesar. Mussel and Pork Spork, is a sort of pulled pork shoulder with mussels steamed in Anchor Steam beer. I got to use a real spork on Between the Sheets, a brilliant pasta dish with English peas and morels braised in a sage-and-mushroom stock. The Happy Endings menu offers a silky Pot Brownie (no, not that, it’s merely cooked in a ceramic pot). The overall palate at Spork—inside and out, right down to the chef jackets—is gray. Except for the food, that is, which is anything but.

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