Restaurant images: Ed Anderson
Restaurant: Michelin-starred restaurant SPQR is a Northern California restaurant inspired by Italian cuisine and wine. An acronym for Senatus Populesque Romanus, SPQR translates to “The People and Senate of Rome” which was the emblem of the Roman Empire. SPQR is set in a comfortable and inviting atmosphere in San Francisco’s Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood. SPQR creates it’s dishes from the perspective of an American Chef who has Italian heritage, and has trained in Italy, but at the same time is very aware of where he is living and what resources are around him.
Chef: As a New Jersey teenager, Matthew Accarrino got interested in cooking while watching cooking shows and working in local restaurants, first as a dishwasher, then as a cook. He earned a degree in Culinary Arts in 1998, trained in Italy, and worked for some of America’s finest chefs. In 2009 he joined the team at SPQR as Executive Chef. During his tenure there, Chef Accarrino has won many accolades. Chef Accarrino was named “2014 Best New Chef” and “the mad genius of handmade pasta,” by Food and Wine. In 2012 Chef Accarrino released his first book, SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine.
Butter: For the weekend lunch, SPQR serves a butter quenelle (oval dumpling shape) with a blend of edible flowers— calendulas, marigolds and cosmos. Chef Accarrino mixes the flowers into the butter and sometimes adds honey, flowering sage, and/or bee pollen. This beautiful compound butter comes with pecorino, buttermilk biscuits and homemade jam. Delicious!
Recently, SPQR has been experimenting with buffalo milk butter. The buffalos are fed a good diet, and that leads to pure milk and white, bright, clean-tasting butter. Chef Accrarrino looks forward to offering buffalo butter to SPQR patrons in the future.
Commentary: Chef Accarrino considers butter a luxurious ingredient. He fondly recalls his parents making toast with cinnamon sugar and butter and how he savored the rich taste. “So, great!” he says.
1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, California 94115