It’s from the chefs behind acclaimed restaurants State Bird Provisions and The Progress

A School of Anchovies

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Sardines. Full frame image.

In San Francisco, the humble anchovy will finally have its moment in the spotlight, when chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski debut their newest restaurant in the spring. The aptly named Anchovy Bar will open as soon as April, just around the corner from the duo’s relentlessly popular Fillmore District restaurants: State Bird Provisions and The Progress. 

Brioza has been a booster for the tiny silver fish for years, brining and curing them for use throughout the menus at his restaurants, and even participating in a documentary on them. Now the fish that is often considered bycatch (the fish that are swept up in fishermen’s nets while trawling for bigger fish like salmon) will lead the menu — when in season, of course. 

“It’s a small fish with small impact,” says Brioza. “Anchovies are definitely the low man on the totem pole and I think that the work required to prepare them makes them challenging for people.” And, when they’re cured their flavor is very strong — a little goes a long way, says the chef.
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Brioza sources his from a fisherman who delivers the fish within an hour of two of catching them in local waters, which the chef says is truly the only way to capture the best qualities of an anchovy. Anchovy season is about six months, roughly from April to October. During the off season, Brioza plans to serve anchovies from Italy and Spain, as well as other products like anchovy salt from fish sauce maker Red Boat and colatura, an Italian anchovy sauce. 

A raw bar with West coast oysters, cured meats, meat and seafood tartare, and other items that don’t require a full kitchen will join anchovies on the menu. Whipped butters with seaweed bread, or dishes like whipped sauerkraut and dill butter over steamed potatoes could make the menu, which is still very much in development, says Brioza. Beer and wine will accompany the menu from the restaurant group’s Cicerone Ben Henning and wine director Jason Alexander, who promises esoteric, organic, and biodynamic selections. 

The Anchovy Bar will open this spring at 1740 O’Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (formerly craft beer haven Fat Angel), ahead of the team’s other planned restaurant, a vegetarian spot on Haight Street that has been in the works for over a year. 

“Tiny fish, tiny space,” says Brioza . “It all just came together.”  

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