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By   /   July 1, 2012  /   No Comments

Almost every neighborhood in San Francisco has its beloved corner grocery/deli, where the hungry can get thick, made to order subs, chips, a beer.  For fourteen years I lived in North Beach a block away from Freddy’s, an old timer on the corner of Francisco and Grant. I still have fond memories of the prosciutto and arugula on a little too much roll. Everyone else in my household went for the Italian combo, hold the mustard, extra oil and vinegar.

Now SOMA/ Mission has Salumeria, the artisan corner grocery/deli that shares a building and an out door/indoor daytime seating area with Thomas McNaughton’s Central Kitlchen, a sister restaurant of Four + Water.

Salumeria is not dissimilar to the old fashioned operations except that everything on its shelves and counters– olive oils, jams, pickles,  crackers, cheeses–are high end, hand made products of both local and imported provenance. Though some of the salumi is made in-house by Matthew Sigler, others are brought in.  Sigler also prepares antipasti, salads, roast pork and charcuterie.  All breads and rolls, the keystone of sandwich construction, come from  Acme Bread Company  and Oakland’s Firebrand Bread, delectable in and of themselves, and matched to the fillings.

One afternoon I couldn’t resist having a porchetta sandwich ($10), the warm,  thin rotisserie pork slices comprised equally of delectable fat and lean meat, with caramelized onion, fennel, and pop corn-like bits of pork crackling, all layered onto soft, rich focaccia.  How divine this sandwich would have been without the heavy dressing of grain mustard! That mustard, fruity and relish-like though it was, killed my porchetta rush. What this sandwich needed was salt–maybe because of the mustard–a fingerful of which I had to snatch from Central Kitchen’s kitchen. No salt shakers anywhere. I couldn’t help myself.  I complained.

I was recognized as the crazy mustard woman on my next visit.  And I must say that the prosciutto cotto sandwich ($9) on a soft bun struck the right balance, with moist, thinly sliced ham, vegetables and just the right amount of that whole grain mustard. Since the sandwiches here are more about composition than size, even something as indulgent as a porchetta sandwich doesn’t finish you off for the day.

Don’t pass up an antipasto of exquisitely blanched baby artichokes with chopped olives ($5) in mild vinaigrette. Sweet, medium hot, pickled peppadew peppers, about the size of a thumbnail, come stuffed with ricotta, each garnished with a tiny silvery strip of pickled anchovy ($5)–pickle on pickle, but just right.  A generous, floppy, butter lettuce salad with shaved vegetables ($7) got a delicious buttermilk dressing.

If you want to skip bread, a salumi plate ($12), offers both house made and other artisanal cured meats, olives, a couple wedges of farm house cheddar, house pickles and condiments.

The trellis and canvas covered courtyard is furnished with handsome Mission-made wooden furniture. The soft natural light is so inviting you might be tempted to linger over a bottle of wine for which glasses are provided, but don’t expect plates–paper or ceramic– for sharing, or real silverware. Think strictly picnic and bio-degradable wrapping…and maybe tell them to hold the mustard.

3000 20th Street at Florida San Francisco  415 471-2998; salumeriasf.com

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