Marina/Cow Hollow, Zone of the Lobster Corn Dog

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John Birdsall
The lobster corn dog at brand-new Unwind on Union.
​What is it about the Marina/Cow Hollow superhood that makes it prime ground for the lobster corn dog?

On Sunday, as packs of bare-shouldered blondes sprouting Old Glory deely bobbers ignored the fog, deploying from Union Street in the direction of Marina Green and a better view of the fireworks, we settled in at two-day-old Unwind on Union. Owners Kai Vance and Todd Slosek oversee a daily expanding menu of what they're (oxymoronically, perhaps) calling "New American classic cuisine." Bar food, basically, though the menu thinks bigger: potato skins, crab cake sliders, and bacon-studded white cheddar mac and cheese, mingling with big platters of tri tip, chicken noodle soup, and salmon and succotash served on a savory waffle. And the lobster corn dog ($8), on oversized pellet of diced meat, bits of yellow pepper, celery, stuck together with some starchy medium (thick b├ęchamel?). It's impaled on a skewer, battered and deep-fried, served with a ramekin of something called "super hot ballpark mustard," only the ballpark in question must've been in Hong Kong (it's identical to Chinese-restaurant eggroll mustard).

The lobster corn dog wasn't bad, though it wasn't particularly good. It made us wonder what makes the lobster corn dog so appealing here in the city's northern region. It was one-time Circa chef Erik Hopfinger, of course, who made his name with the lobster corn dog, before being 86ed from Top Chef Season Four for delivering soggy corn dogs to the judges' table. Is it that the corn dog is just casual enough for Union Street, and the lobster just exclusive enough, the equivalent of $100 Chuck Taylors tweaked by John Varvatos?

Today we asked Kai Vance if he'd been inspired by the lobster corn dogs at Circa at Chestnut and Fillmore.

"Circa?" he asked, as if we'd lobbed an insult. "We serve New American classic cuisine," he said with emphasis.

Unwind on Union 1875 Union (at Laguna), 931-3436.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com
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