Coco 500 Restaurant Review - April 6, 2006 BunRabs Home Yummy Chow Home

Coco 500
500 Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA


What kind of over heated, driven indy thinker doesn’t like racy food? Not me. When I want to lap up some good chow for I make a pit stop at 500.

Friendly and efficient. It gets busy and there are a few bumps (coffee refills that don’t arrive, plates that are cleared before the last micro shard of crispy bit is relished) but when you consider the flavor to pickiness ratio, these minor issues are easily ignored. It’s meant to be a casual place. Your coffee cups will not be placed on the table with handles in the 4 o’clock position and fresh utensils will be placed on the table willy-nilly (which is okay by me.)

Atmosphere: modern, intimate, noisy and fun. Bare polished wood tables, a blue tiled bar, fresh flowers give this hip little urban eatery an inviting and relaxed feel. Jeans or suits would be equally at ease here.

Buddahdrop ($10.00):
is a lemondrop but with Hangar One buddah's hand vodka. This sugar rimmed glass brims with limoncello, fresh lemon juice and that delish spirit from St. George. Sweet, tangy and fun with a twist.

coco500 ($10.00):
combines Thai basil, Hangar One kaffir lime vodka, fresh lime juice and selzer. Is it a salad or is it a drink? Who cares? It’s delicious. This is my new favorite cocktail.

Tempura green beans ($6.00):
had a thin, crisp, greaseless coating. It’s deep fried status partially revoked any healthful properties to this veggie starter (but hey, you gotta live.) These were a savory herald of things to come. I ordered these with the cocktails to allow for munching while perusing the menu. These also served as an alcohol barrier (bread is only available by request, no baskets here.)

Cocomole taco ($4.00):
are actually not tacos at all, they are more like nachos topped with slow cooked beef braised in red wine, shredded and combined with a mole (the chocolate sauce, not the subterranean animal or spy) a dab of avocado crème fraiche and cilantro crown these rich and salty snacks.

Asparagus ($6.00):
was roasted with garlic and salted in this simple olive oil veiled presentation of pencil thin stalks. Although tasty, these delicate spears were a tad overcooked.

Think ultra thin crust veggie pizza when you order the truffled flatbread ($8.00):
which is a delectable wafer thin saucer of umami. The microbits of caramelized cauliflower meld with the parmesan, sea salt and truffle oil in a perfumed, savory circle of goodness. This is required eating.

I wouldn’t order the panko encrusted beef cheek ($15.00):
and the Cocomole taco in the same meal due to the similarity in rich beefiness, but this cheeky dish was meltingly meaty and had a wonderful depth of flavor complimented by the horseradish crème and refreshed by the cleansing watercress salad. A well balanced and satisfying carnivore treat.

The duck breast ($18.00):
was perfectly cooked to an inviting pinkness, but it’s gamey flavor had no relief with the heavy side dish of farro with duck liver, pecans, and spinach. It was all good, but the combination was like encasing your tongue in cement and throwing it overboard, okay, maybe it wasn’t that heavy, but you get the idea. To be fair, there was relief to be had in washing it down with some Cabernet Franc.

Vacherin ($8.50):
is enough to share (unless you’re me.) This is hedonist’s delight. The hidden foundation of crisp meringue topped with a mound of coffee ice cream and robe of bittersweet chocolate sauce with a shower of crunchy candied almonds is a dessert that only an insane person wouldn’t love. It has all the elements of a great finish to a meal. The four 4 “c”s necessary to enter into the dessert hall of fame are covered: crisp, creamy, chocolately, and caloric. What’s not to love?

They use Peet’s coffee ($2.50) and brew it to it’s called upon strength to rev you back up for the trip home.

Their espresso ($2.50) is also made from Peet’s beans. It’s silky crema announces the tasty richness that lies beneath.


Two carrots out of four

Coco500 is required drinking. Their coco-tails are fresh and inventive with fresh squeezed juices and produce. The kitchen takes advantage of local ingredients and creates alchemy in their wood burning oven. There is something for everyone on their menu which has a deceptively simple appearance for such complex flavors.



Coco 500 Bathroom Rating

Clean and well stocked although they are not believers in the “provided by the management for your protection” wax paper toilet seat cozy. Now, I don’t believe that those things really protect one from dying an excruciatingly painful and embarrassing death from some ass disease, but they offer the psychological benefit of knowing that your butt has not had some secondary alien tush transference intimacy. Even inert DNA transferred from the hindquarters of a well scrubbed, clean living, upscale restaurant patron is not the preferred contact that we enjoy contemplating.


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