Zuni Cafe Chicken Challenge, Zuni Cafe, San Francisco

We went to Zuni Cafe for the caesar salad before (BMH’s review of Zuni Cafe), and even tried to recreate the caesar at home, but still had not tried the famous roast chicken with warm bread salad. The evening we met up at Zuni was a evening full of out of towners and a mariachi band playing. The music reverberated throughout the restaurant and we asked our server if this was a one time occasion, which it was for same sex rights.

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The crusty bread (used for the bread salad) was so easy to enjoy. As we were waiting for the chicken’s arrival, we enjoyed it with butter.

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We also shared a Bellwether Farms ricotta gnocchi with chanterelle mushrooms and spinach for $16. The gnocchi was pillowy soft and the light earthy flavor from the chanterelles were lovely.

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The chicken for two roasted in the brick oven with warm bread salad with scallions, garlic, dandelion greens, dried currants, and pine nuts takes approximately 1 hour to table and cost $48. The roast chicken is served already cut and is hidden under dandelion greens. The croutons are crispy and have soaked up the jus.
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The tender chicken had a nice lightly crisp skin and went well with the texture and flavor of the dandelion and crunch of the jus soaked bread.

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Our friend mentioned she has made Zuni’s roast chicken based on Smitten Kitchen’s recreation and recipe. The chicken it self is a 1/4 of the cost, super tender, flavorful and would definitely surpass the original. The warm bread toast with jus from Zuni’s was buttery and crisp, whereas the competition version was a more healthy tasting version. Give us the buttery toasts any day, but clearly if one can make this chicken at home that surpasses the original at a fraction of the cost, the latter is a no brainer.

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We definitely will try making a Zuni chicken at home and highly suggest the challenge!

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