A trio of arancini ($8), basically risotto fritters that look like batter-fried golf balls, were scented with Meyer lemon and carried a secret cargo of tarragon crème fraîche. House-made lamb sausage ($10) arrived, still sizzling from the grill, on a ragout of navy and fava beans, while flaps of grilled Monterey Bay sardines ($8) were mounted on rounds of toast, with rich, dark caponata on hand to help balance the fish's oiliness.
Some of the stuff drifted toward the ordinary: an heirloom tomato salad ($12), with burrata di bufala and balsamic drizzle was good, but practically every restaurant in town is offering something similar; and a wild mushroom soup ($8) with garlic chives and a crouton, was also good and only slightly less familiar. Some of the so-called accompaniments, on the other hand, were unexpected and tasty. A Castilian-style pisto ($6) resembled its summer-bounty relatives, ratatouille and caponata, but put more emphasis on diced eggplant and added haricots verts for color, while grilled corn with lime butter ($5) fitted the butter, in melting pats, atop disks of cob that looked like yellow nigiri.
There is at least one extraordinary dessert awaiting your attention. It bears the nearly unmanageable name of galaktoboureko ($8). If you can make it understood that this is what you want, you will soon be feasting on a pair of crisped phyllo tubes filled with lemon-infused semolina custard and plated with lavender honey and grilled fig halves that look like pieces of candy. I like figs about as much as I like chestnuts, which is not very, but here we have a dessert that's greater than the sum of its parts or, an artful union.<\!s>*
PALMETTO RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE
Brunch: Sat.Sun., 9:30 a.m.3:30 p.m. Dinner: Sun.Thurs., 5:3010 p.m.; Fri.Sat., 5:3011 p.m.
2032 Union, SF