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by Leith Steel

470 Pacific Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415 ) 677-8986

Cuisine: Eclectic Californian and French food with flair in a hip, elegant but unpretentious setting.

Pluses: Both the food and the service come with a polished pedigree.

Minuses: Overwrought dishes don’t always succeed, and some of the food is heavy enough to feed a famished family.

Don't Miss: Risotto with peas and chanterelles

Prices: $ 7 – 12 appetizers; $ 14 – 30 entrees; $ 8 desserts

A good selection of wine for under $25, plenty more for over.


Myth. Is the food so good that you can’t believe it’s true? People have high expectations of executive chef Sean O’Brien, former sous-chef for Gary Danko, and with close to ten years working under his tutelage. But is it worth the six week wait for a weekend reservation? Or would Hype be a better name?

The restaurant wilts under the burden of high expectations, unfairly so because so many things are done right. Where they misstep is towards overindulgence. Take advantage of the user friendly menu and order small portions, or plates to share.

On one of the first autumn nights, when a brisk chill permeated the air a roasted pumpkin soup with poached pears and duck confit beckoned us. Slightly sweet and silky smooth, the soup lacked adequate seasoning. Overpoweringly rich duck confit tried to compensate.

Scallops, a specialty of the house are served with a potato puree, chanterelle mushrooms, and beurre blanc. One is wonderful, two is plenty, and three is two too many. A salad of sweetbreads with shitake mushrooms, bacon and whole grain mustard shared a similar fate. Arriving in a molded ring, a temple of temptation, the sweetbreads were sinfully indulgent. Crispy fried sweetbreads, a sheer mask of smoked bacon, a suggestion of piquant whole grain mustard lurking around in the background; this dish was made for a tasting menu. But after three bites I was done for.

A better bet is the risotto. This was of mythological perfection. Velvety rice melting into swathes of butter and parmesan with nuances of white truffle, punctuated by chanterelle mushrooms, sweet green peas, and fleshy cubes of patty pan squash. This time the small portion disappeared all too quickly.

Braised beef cheeks with spatzle, horseradish, carrots, spinach and gremolata was everything one expects. Molten meat, so tender it falls apart. A welcome burst of astringent lemon gremolata to cut through the fatty meat. Carrots and spinach to add a burst of fresh flavor to the sautéed spatzle.

Despite the high-concept food on the tables the wine list has a selection of wines for under $25 a bottle. The atmosphere is similarly a bridge between casual and elegant. Myth can conform to your desires offering up foie gras or pizza, fancy or fun. It tries to be it all, it doesn’t always work, but it never really fails.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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