Today at Grub Street San Francisco we launch a new series for budget-conscious diners in which we compare two similar dishes with different price points, and decide whether the "poor man's" version is any match for the more expensive "real thing." Our inaugural virtual throwdown takes a cue from last month's Food Chain post featuring chef Russell Moore's renowned and labor-intensive boudin blanc, on the menu weekly these days at Camino in Oakland.
What: The Fatted Calf boudin blanc with arugula and fries
Where: Show Dogs, 1020 Market Street at 6th Street
How Much Will It Set You Back?: $7 (v. $22 at Camino)
Availability: On the menu irregularly.
Does It Hold a Candle to the Rich Man's Version?: Well, it's not exactly a fair comparison given that Moore slaves a whole day over his infrequent batches of what the French call the "king of sausages."
Show Dogs' boudin blanc from Fatted Calf, given that it's a not such a small-batch job, is more typically sausage-like in both texture and flavor, with more pungent pork and herb notes and none of the creaminess of Moore's. While it may not benefit from the accompaniment of Moore's tangy sauerkraut or perfectly fried duck-fat potatoes, Show Dogs' fries are pretty goddamn good as fries go, and there's the added bonus of the Acme roll and the option of a half-pint of Boont Amber to wash it all down without leaving you too sleepy to go back to work.
The version they serve at Camino derived from years of practice at Chez Panisse Café, and served with duck-fat-fried potatoes and sometimes house-made sauerkraut as well is luscious and tender to the extreme, a melt-in-your mouth white sausage that rewards the palate with subtle layers of chicken, pork, herbs, cream, and wine. (See the photo below.) Note: It is on the menu again tonight at Camino, and every Monday until the kraut runs out, or until Moore needs another extended break from making the sausage.
The rich man's boudin blanc at Camino. Photo by Allison Hopelain
Earlier: Show Dogs Debuts Political Hot Dog [Grub Street]
Bakesale Betty's Alison Barakat Covets Russel Moore's Boudin Blanc [Grub Street]