And let us not forget such beyond-seasonal dishes as seafood linguine, offered as part of a lunchtime prix fixe and featuring bay scallops, shrimp, and mussels — all farmable — in an herbed cream sauce. The beauty of a preparation like this is that it's almost infinitely variable: you toss in a little of this, a little of that, whatever's good today or (yes) in season — even king salmon — and it will still make people happy, especially if they've opened with a good Caesar salad, showered with croutons and squiggles of shaved parmesan cheese.
Desserts here are good if mainstreamish, and they make up in price what they lack in imaginative verve. The fudgey chocolate brownie cake ($5.75), for instance, topped by a little helmet of cherry ice cream, would probably cost at least $3 or $4 more at any comparable restaurant east of Twin Peaks while being not quite as big; Pisces's version survived a two-front assault for several minutes. A crème brûlée (part of the prix fixe) wasn't quite as shareable but did reflect stern and basic virtues: it consisted of a straightforward vanilla custard of just the right fluffy-firm consistency under a thick, brittle cap of caramelized sugar, and it was served in a plain, white, round ramekin of the sort you see stacked in cooking-school kitchens. While my austere, puritan self approved of the lack of ornamentation or embellishment, my other self — or one of them — couldn't help wondering if a little garnish would have been entirely out of place. A sprig of mint is never hard to come by, and it is the season of berries after all — stone fruit too. Maybe cherries ... black cherries? SFBG
PISCES CALIFORNIA CUISINE
Lunch: daily, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Dinner: daily, 5–10 p.m.
3414–3416 Judah, SF
Beer and wine
Pleasant noise level
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