Parea Wine Bar and Cafe - Page 2

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Photo by Rory McNamara

(The puréeing had been done with a food mill, perhaps, and not a mercilessly efficient electric device.) And an excellent pizzetta ($5) was tomatoless if not quite bianco; roasted red bell peppers provided a smear of color, while rounds of pepperoni floated on a small sea of melted mozzarella cheese.

The kitchen offers a nightly entrée for those who need a more sustained experience of nourishment. It might well be some sort of baked pasta — bucatini ($13), maybe, tossed with corn niblets, mushrooms, and fennel in a cream sauce, with gratings of ibérico cheese on top.

"Too much cheese," one of my companions said. Clearly he had not grown up where I did, in the land where there is no such thing as too much cheese.

Panini make a nice alternative to the nightly entrée. A vegetarian version ($9) might include tomatoes, English cheddar cheese, and a pesto made of several varieties of basil, at least one of which had a definitely minty character. Or it might be meatier ($11): bits of smoked duck with a sweetish ensemble of red onion slivers, fig jam, and some dandelion greens.

The dessert menu suggests that a panna cotta nexus is forming in the neighborhood. Excellent versions can be had at nearby Delfina and Farina, and Paréa's ($6) is comparable, if different. It's scented with vanilla, barely sweet, roughly the consistency of mascarpone, and served in a shallow dish with raspberry coulis. It's also incomparably better than a polenta cake ($6), a dried arrangement that even a studding with cherries and lavish scoops of whipped cream could not redeem. It should be banished from the paréa of desserts.

PARÉA WINE BAR AND CAFÉ

Mon. and Wed.–Sun., 5 p.m.–midnight

795 Valencia, SF

(415) 255-2102

www.pareawinebar.com

Beer and wine

AE/MC/V

Noisy

Wheelchair accessible

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