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Josh Sens | October 21, 2011 | Story Restaurants

North Beach
Of a beautiful coin of beef, caked lightly in lichen, a server says, “It has ancient flavors common to our distant ancestors.” Our Paleolithic forebears feasted well, it seems, but not as well as diners do today at Coi, where Daniel Patterson’s strict focus on his 11-course prix fixe menu (he’s done away with à la carte options) provides for a night of fresh discoveries. Sweet, raw spot prawns, licked by thin green tongues of summer squash, brighten in a bath of saffron-scented squash-and-prawn sauce. Sautéed abalone, grounded on a bank of farro and wheat berries, draws back toward the currents of the squid ink that surrounds it. It’s the world’s subtlest meeting of land and sea. Patterson forages widely and invents freely; he pairs purple new potatoes with sorrel and burnt-hay sauce. And when he trots out the familiar, there’s always a twist. A tomato mousse tart with a basil pesto base and an olive tuile top stars as a classic trio, performing as you’ve never before imagined they could. The snug dining room, all earth-toned and subdued, feels like a place where everyone’s eavesdropping. But with Meadowood vet Matt Tinder on desserts (twinning milk and peach ice creams, the former splashed with lemon soda, he creates something of a Creamsicle for mature tastes), matching Patterson’s original aesthetic, mostly what you overhear is, "My god, did you taste this?"

373 Broadway (at Bartol St.), S.F.
$$$$ DRVW

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


Photography by: