St. Vincent just may be my favorite restaurant in San Francisco. It’s been the site of two of the best meals I’ve eaten since moving here, the most recent of which was last night. I’ve been told that it got off to a wobbly start when it opened in 2012, but it’s since evolved into the kind of restaurant I could go to every week: a relaxed, quietly stylish place serving smart, creative, and incredibly well-executed food that succeeds simply by having faith in its ingredients; you always feel like you’re being served a solid meal, rather than some overwrought extension of the chef’s ego. I’m still daydreaming about the eggplant terrine I ate: a little cube with the consistency of pate, it was dusted with za’atar, a Middle Eastern herb mix, and served with yogurt, chanterelle mushrooms, and some pleasantly chewy toast. It was a dish that could illustrate the dictionary definition of “woodsy” and “earthy,” but the rich, slightly tangy flavor of the za’atar and fresh snap of the yogurt kept it from straying into Moosewood Cookbook territory. If St. Vincent sold their terrine in jars, I’d buy it by the case. —R.F.M.
Today, I went to Oolong Noodles, an unassuming Japanese joint skimming the edges of North Beach and Chinatown. The beef noodle soup was a rehabilitating bowl of soy and miso broth with a rainbow of enoki mushrooms, sweet corn, sesame, seaweeds, and thin ribbons of salty beef. I don’t care how hot the weather gets; when the day demands a lot from me, I demand piping hot noodles in spicy meat broth. —Sosha Young
For the past few weeks Ravi Kapur has been cooking at Bloodhound under the guise of Paniolo Social, his pre-Liholiho Yacht Club pop-up. I can only hope that Liholiho will have Paniolo’s ahi poke (pictured above) on its menu, because it is flipping fantastic. Really: it is pure ahi alchemy. Every component you’d want on top of rice is present and accounted for: chunks of avocado at peak ripeness; julienned radish batons, crunchy pockets of sesame seeds; creamy ribbons of spicy mayonnaise; and the tuna itself, tender, fresh, and glistening. Topped with a scattering of microgreens, it was extraordinarily satisfying, right down to the last grain of (perfectly cooked) rice. More, please. —R.F.M.