An exciting new eatery focusing on craft beer is now open at 1735 Polk Street at Clay, an area of the city that has experienced a real dearth of new restaurants. Owners Ted Kim, Quinn Wong and Gil Hoh have partnered with chef Tim Luym (Poleng Lounge, Attic) to create a playful menu of mostly small plates to compliment the rotating list of 40 beers on tap.
The large and sleek, industrial space is filled with curious antiques and SF collectibles including a vintage typewriter at the entrance with a typed missive that explains the “buffalo theory.” Buffalos cull the weak in their herd, thus making them stronger as a whole. Drinking beer and alcohol kills off the weaker brain cells first and in theory makes for better cerebral function…at least we can aspire to this. There is a lounge area with two comfortable leather banquettes where guests can mingle and wait for a table or a seat at the 10-person bar. Prominently featured is a custom art piece of a buffalo by local artist Luke Stevens.
Photos by Kelly Puleio
Executive chef Tim Luym was a Chronicle rising star chef in 2007 and won many accolades for his Filipino-inspired food at the now shuttered Poleng Lounge. Mr. Luym has come up with a very creative menu celebrating dishes from the likes of Italy, Spain and Japan to name a few, each melded together with a foundation of Filipino and Asian ingredients. Take for example the brilliant “Aranchino,” a play on the Italian deep-fried risotto rice balls. Luym takes panko-encrusted Asian sticky rice with mushrooms, shrimp and Chinese sausage and marries them beautifully with an X.O. aioli. Another not to miss dish is the beer braised short rib Shepherd’s pie with Japanese curry, seasonal vegetables, mashed potatoes, Japanese yam and English peas. Lighter fare includes a yellowtail tosazu crudo (wakame seaweed, Japanese cucumber, furikake, lemon zest) and crispy chicken wings with a classic adobo glaze. There is even a play on Spain’s white bean stew from Asturias—La Fabada—that includes braised Iacopi fava and gigante beans, longanisa sausage, pork and saffron. The staff is very knowledgeable about the selection of beer and can make fun recommendations and pairings. However, if beer is not your thing there is a very good selection of wine. Buffalo Theory is open daily for dinner.
The buffalo meatballs
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James is a food writer and Bay Area chef who owns and runs a private dinner party and cooking class business specializing in regional Italian and Spanish cuisine. See CookWithJames.com