Hoss-Pitality at Zaré at Fly Trap

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Hoss Zaré inspires me to eat and drink adventurously, to go beyond the flavor boundaries I had carefully constructed for myself. When we met last month shortly after the opening of Zaré at Fly Trap (a new vision for the landmark space established in 1906), he had me reaching for a second helping of bone marrow, something I was quite sure I'd never taste in all my days. After a few hours of chatting and eating, I left on a buzz, happy to meet someone who puts so much love in his food. So I was very excited to attend one of three "Hoss-pitality" parties he threw this weekend.

The offerings were safer in general than the bone marrow, with small bites (mini-hamburgers, pistachio meatballs with harissa-honey-pomegranate glaze) and spoonfuls (sea bass with marinated chickpeas, Greek yogurt with truffled honey) passed around. The Greek yogurt was another favorite from my first visit, and I was still enjoying the aftertaste when I turned around and there was Zaré, ready with another spoonful for me. That's real Hoss-pitality.

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We tried three highlights from the bar's Barbary Coast and Mediterranean menu, courtesy of cocktail program creator Reza Esmaili. The Anar Daiquiri (Pampero Anniversario rum, Veev acai, pomegranate, pistachio and lime), the Persian-inspired Minted Memory (Bombay gin, Pimm's No. 1, minted vinegar syrup and lemon) and a classic Bay Area favorite in Trader Vic's Original Mai Tai (Appleton Estate 12 Year rum, Curaçao, Orgeat and lime).

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All hit the spot for this writer, a picky and infrequent consumer of alcohol that always craves a sweet edge. By the end of the night, I was tipping back shots of the Anar Daquiri as a bemused best friend and boyfriend did double-takes.

Esmaili may be a master mixologist, but he rocks a bacon wallet.

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As we bid farewell, Zaré mentions a new weekly event he just launched at the restaurant. Every Monday night, he is preparing his version of a special from his hometown of Tabriz, Iran: Kufta, giant meatballs (designed to be shared by a group of people) stuffed with a bird such as duck or chicken. The twinkle in his eyes is extra bright as he talks about this, the promise of a new adventure. Call 243-0580 for more information, or check the Web site for daily offerings. —Tamara Palmer


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