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Boot and Shoe Service

Josh Sens | October 20, 2011 | Story Restaurants

For a restaurant that occupies a former shoe-repair shop, this Pizzaiolo offshoot has never really been about shine and polish. The aim is urban-chic rusticity, a goal achieved nicely in the dining room, the bar, and a new side annex, where robust sandwiches (smoked pork belly; meatball) and earthy mini-entrées (ratatouille enriched with an egg) make for a satisfying lunch. At night, as ever, the menu is a happy meeting of farm and table. Avocado-smeared toast, set amid a crowd of coriander-seasoned heirloom tomatoes, is as good as you could ask for from the garden, while cannellini beans with roasted padrón peppers, halved cherry tomatoes, and a briny shower of bottarga show that the kitchen is capable of much more than arranging produce on a plate. Now and then, Cal-Med simplicity turns a shade sloppy, as when the watery sauce on a pizza margherita leaves the crust a sopping mess. But missteps remain rare at this spirited restaurant where the service never stumbles, the festive energy is highly infectious, and the music pumps so loud that you can barely hear your server answer when you ask her where she got the cool tattoo.

3308 Grand Ave. (bet. Lake Park Ave. and Mandana Blvd.)
$$$ W ★★½

Our review policy: To ensure that we get a typical consumer’s experience in a restaurant, our writers dine anonymously; all expenses are paid by the magazine. Reviews are pulled from our listings two years after the review date or any time personnel changes at a restaurant render a review invalid. Our admittedly imperfect star ratings are based on food quality, variety, service, ambience, and value.
Staff reviewers and contributors to our restaurant guide include John Birdsall, Susan Bryan, Stett Holbrook, Rachel Levin, Jan Newberry, Josh Sens, and Lisa Trottier.

Average price of an entrée:
$ = $10 or less
$$ = $11–17
$$$ = $18–24
$$$$ = $25 or more

D = Dinner only
R = Reservation required/recommended
C = Cash only
V = Valet parking
W = Wheelchair accessible

★★★★ = superlative
★★★ = excellent
★★ = very good
★ = good
✩ = below average


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