Cotogna, the casual offshoot of the lauded Quince, has been packed since it opened. Considering the demand, their decision to open for lunch was a no-brainer. But their further move to sell daily brown bag lunches ($12) to-go was a stroke of genius, and sheer luck for San Franciscan's with expensive taste on a budget. There aren't may places where $12 gets you a delicious sandwich, a side salad, and a cookie; from Cotogna, it feels like a true steal. The menu changes daily, and when I visited my bag contained a shrimp po' boy, a rigatoni pasta salad, and a chocolate chip cookie.
First, the sandwich. Plump, sweet shrimp were well-seasoned, breaded and fried—their fresh flavor shone through the accoutrements, and the overall effect was far from greasy. The menu described the sandwich as being topped with green cherry tomatoes and remoulade; I saw and tasted no evidence of the tomatoes, but enjoyed the rich, savory remoulade and the accompanying cabbage and red onion slaw. Spread across an excellent baguette, this was a fancy-pants po' boy I'd order again in a second.
The rigatoni pasta salad was coated in olive oil and mixed with arugula and cherry tomatoes bursting with sweet juices. A bite containing all of these elements was lovely, but I found myself wishing for more tomatoes, more seasoning, and perhaps a sprinkling of cheese for added flavor. All in all, a fresh, light approach to a sandwich side.
Finally, the cookie. Simultaneously crisp and chewy with the right amount of salt, this was a close to perfect chocolate chip cookie; all it needed were a few more chocolate chips scattered throughout.
They post the sandwich menu every week; keep an eye out for the link on their twitter page.