City’s Most Popular Skool Is Warm in Winter
By Emma Krasov, photography by Yuri Krasov
Filled to capacity on a Friday night and brimming with youthful energy, Skool Restaurant and Bar in the Potrero Hill neighborhood is a delicious San Francisco staple. Since the opening of this modern, stylishly designed venue a few years ago, Skool’s seasonal cocktails and array of highly enticing small and large plates keep patrons coming back for more.
It would be hard not to notice the creative touches that set Skool apart from the many other restaurants in the City by the Bay. These things make it a place where you want to come again—and bring your friends, your family, your in-laws, and your out-of-towners.
A quartet of partners behind the successful enterprise—spouses Andy Mirabell and Olia Kedik and Toshihiro and Hiroko Nagano—are on the premises practically every night making sure everyone in the dining room is having a pleasing and memorable experience.
While Andy and Olia greet visitors at the door, bring Andy’s famous cocktails to the polished walnut-and-epoxide designer tables, and provide information about the new arrivals on the menu, chef Toshihiro and pastry chef Hiroko dazzle newcomers and regulars with their latest creations, especially when a change of the season brings along new opportunities for menu development.
Heirloom tomato salad and smoked salmon flatbread are now quickly becoming stars among the starters. The small plates menu features many recent additions, such as festive and picturesque Ika-Yaki, grilled squid in a spicy bean and smoked bacon soup with house-smoked yuzu kosho butter. A whole-sliced fresh squid with a healthy ruddy color and chewy texture is served in an oblong white plate filled with fragrant red sauce and inevitably attracts other diners’ attention when brought to the table in all its glory.
Perfectly seared hoisin-glazed duck is one of the new main courses, garnished with pumpkin puree, sautéed Brussels sprout leaves, and soy-infused duck egg, which acquires an amazing cheesy-custardy quality.
With the recent arrival of Skool’s new sous chef Ryan Jacobs some menu options point in a comfort food direction, or rather a very sophisticated comfort food direction. Crab Brandade arrives in a miniature iron skillet, in which chunks of sweet Dungeness are baked with mozzarella, parmesan, creamy potato puree, and cauliflower and decorated with caper barriers.
Quinoa morning salmon is a tease on a breakfast theme. Loch Duart salmon filet is crusted in quinoa (to provide your morning lox AND cereal), topped with a fried egg (to provide your sunny-side up), and garnished with prosciutto-wrapped gobu root (to provide your bacon), tomato-edamame ratatouille (to provide your vegetables), and a toast with bacon powder butter. A tiny jar of what looks like maple syrup contains soy-mirin sauce to pour over the entire dish—’cause it’s just great with everything.
No one familiar with the Skool temptations would ever leave this place without having dessert. New this season is an amazing purple yam pot de crème with butterscotch tamari soy balsamic sauce, black pepper Chantilly, and sesame yam chips. If you have ever had any prejudice toward yam, it’s ripe time to suspend it and indulge in this masterpiece of earthly delights.
Another plate-licking sensation is sake kasu panna cotta with decaf coffee-infused Anglaise sauce, poached pear, and decaf almond coffee crumbs.
Skool Restaurant and Bar is located at 1725 Alameda Street in San Francisco, California. Call (415) 255-8800 for reservations or visit the website.