Early Bird Special: The Tipsy Pig

Jen Siska
The mac 'n' cheese most definitely did not suck.
You've been to that party, the one where you feel uncomfortably dickish. Everybody else is hammered and sweaty, screaming into their phones and busting cheesy moves to Lady Gaga, while you're, well, wondering if anyone'd notice if you booked. That's how Weekly food maven Meredith Brody felt on her second visit to The Tipsy Pig (2231 Chestnut at Pierce), the Marina comfort-food phenom that calls itself a "gastrotavern" (you know, like gastropub just wouldn't do). And yet -- in contrast to her first, more laid-back meal there, when the cooking kind of sucked -- the delicious food kept her riveted to her seat. Read Brody's complete Tipsy diary at www.SFWeekly.com. Before you rush off, sample a taste of the restaurant at its best after the jump.

After the low expectations engendered by the first meal, the Tipsy Pig's kitchen surprised us. Dish after dish was excellent. A very generous serving of tender steamed clams in the shell, more than two dozen, in a covered casserole with rings of fingerling potatoes, big chunks of spicy chorizo, and strands of greens, the whole drenched in a flood of hot cream, was perfectly balanced and exciting to eat. Thin sweet- potato fries were crisp and came with a ramekin of aioli. The smoked bacon mac 'n' cheese, again a generous portion, featured tiny, pillowy lengths of tubular pasta; lots of even tinier bacon bits; and a creamy white cheddar sauce -- a seductive and grown-up version of the dish.

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