En plein air - Page 2

Cole Valley's Zazie
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As for the Provençal fish soup (a prix fixe player), it could easily have been called a stew by virtue of its potato-thickened, slightly spicy red-pepper broth and would have sufficed as a light main course even without the chunks of snapper filet and handful of mussels. Additional spiciness appeared in the form of a trio of toasts smeared with rouille. We were warned against eating the toasts straight out — "Too spicy!" said the comely server — so I was naturally obliged to eat one straight out. I found some heat, nothing unmanageable. The other two toasts were dropped off at the pool as per instructions.

The joy of the prix fixe does ebb down the home stretch. For dessert we were asked to choose between some kind of fruit crumble and a chocolat pot de crème, and since we are confessed chocoholics, this was no choice at all, though we did manage to agonize about it for a few minutes. The pot de crème turned out to be fine in an unremarkable way: a rich, smooth chocolate pudding topped by a generous dollop of whipped cream and served in a handsome crock of white porcelain. As someone who has reached that point in life where the ideal dessert is a taste or two (often of someone else's), not a massive portion to be consumed solo, I can't say I was disappointed.

Zazie's many other graces include knowledgeable, friendly, well-timed table service that seamlessly extends to the garden — always a serious test — and a brisk but sophisticated wine list that features some by-the-glass possibilities you seldom see, including a Quincy and a white Graves, the Bordeaux blend of sauvignon and semillon. The prices for these wines are more than reasonable, as are the restaurant's prices generally — a welcome bit of proof that superior food and service at a fair price is not yet a paradox, at least not in some neighborhoods.

ZAZIE

Mon.–Thurs., 8 a.m.–9:30 p.m.; Fri., 8 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.–10 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.–9:30 p.m.

941 Cole, SF

(415) 564-5332

www.zaziesf.com

Beer and wine

MC/V

Noisy

Wheelchair accessible

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