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Josh Sens | Photo: Eric Wolfinger | October 21, 2011 | Story Restaurants

North Beach
On a stretch known for topless dancing, the fine chef Ian Begg has moved into what used to be Enrico’s, where the lighting is so dim, you consider waving dollars to see who might disrobe. Instead, what you pay for are sexy small plates, from chèvre-stuffed squash blossoms smacked with chili aioli to a delightful Devil’s Tower of fried green tomatoes, fennel, goat cheese, and olives, splashed with smoked-tomato vinaigrette. Some of the dishes are more involved than they are intriguing, like scallops with sweet-corn sauce and potato coulis (the flavors play just one note, and it’s too sweet). But the cerebral concepts prepare you for dessert, renegade creations—such as foie gras ice cream that tastes a lot like vanilla, and date bread pudding with chorizo—that are at one with Begg’s hard-to-categorize cuisine. Less of a piece is the room itself, with dark wood tables and chintzy paper-napkin dispensers that give the place a low-achieving look. Like some other performers in the neighborhood, the chef deserves a nicer stage.

504 Broadway (at Kearny St.), S.F.
$$$ DW ★★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


Photography by: