Chilled fruit cup at Californios
Team Tacolicious has ventured beyond tuna tostadas to take on Chinese food, and the result is a fun, poppy restaurant (co-owned by San Francisco editor-at-large Sara Deseran) that appears to have been codesigned by Andy Warhol and a 13-year-old girl. While the menu offers tradition in the form of Shanghai soup dumplings, it abounds with cross-cultural mashups like the yuba salad, its cool, slippery ribbons of tofu skin bathed in cilantro-ginger salsa verde. Authentic? No. Delicious? Oh, yes. 3198 16th St. (near Guerrero St.), 415-552-5771 —R.F.M.
Red Dog Restaurant and Bar (SoMa)
With her first full-fledged restaurant, Il Cane Rosso’s Lauren Kiino has room to stretch, both literally and menu-wise. The airy, industrial space makes an appropriately expansive backdrop for Kiino’s generous, full-bodied cooking, which at dinner includes a silky fillet of petrale sole and a bowl of brown rice and vegetables invigorated by a Meyer lemon–brown butter vinaigrette and an expertly fried egg. For dessert, a butterscotch pot de crème inspires both euphoria and hoarding impulses. 303 2nd St. (near Harrison St.), 415-692-0211 —R.F.M.
Marla Bakery (Outer Richmond)
“Sweet” is the word to describe everything here, from the amazing pastries and bread to the lovely scene in the evening when it becomes your favorite new date-night spot. The menu is simple but refined: soup with a little chili oil and crawfish, braised pork belly with buckwheat polenta. There’s a back patio to boot. In a neighborhood starved for a little style, it’s a gem. 3619 Balboa St. (near 37th Ave.), 415-742-4379 —S.D.
The Commissary (Presidio)
Chef Traci Des Jardins is at it again, this time feeding the inhabitants of the bucolic land known as the Presidio. The delectable food is California first, but you’ll taste a little Spanish flair in the creamy-crispy sweet pea and ham croquettes, and in a New York steak served with a potato gratin aromatic with idiazabal cheese. The best seat in the house is at the kitchen counter in the open dining room. 101 Montgomery St. (near Sheridan Ave.), 415-561-3600 —S.D.
Originally published in the September issue of San Francisco
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