A salad of wine red roasted beets ($11.95) interpolated with sections of pink grapefruit and daubs of goat cheese vanished with only slightly more ceremony.
Garganelli ($17.95) pennelike pasta, tossed with smoked sausage and porcini in a spicy tomato sauce was a gratifying country dish. Just a bit more exotic was a plate of fregola ($19.95), a pebbly pasta (like a Sardinian version of Israeli couscous), sauced with a mix of mussels and scallops in a saffron tomato sauce. If you squinted, you could convince yourself this was a seafood risotto made with especially fat grains of rice.
Dessert: a flourless chocolate torte ($8) with crème anglaise, raspberries, and mint, the colors of the Italian flag and the pizza margherita. Crowd: mixed and younger than Osteria's, with more overt peculiarities. Middle-aged man with much younger man in beret: Son? Boyfriend? Other thoughts?
Our server asked me if I wanted a second glass of pinot grigio, which was peculiar, since on the first round I'd ordered vermentino ($8.50). The vermentino hadn't tasted like vermentino; it was too plump, like an oaked California chardonnay or maybe a domestic pinot grigio. I demurred on a second glass, wondering if it would be rude to ask if it was poured right from the bottle. At Bacco's prices, which are far from low, this wouldn't seem unreasonable. Although we weren't at all tipsy, we walked home one of life's loveliest luxuries.
Tues.Sat., 59:30 p.m.; Sun., 59 p.m.
3277 Sacramento, SF
Beer and wine
Mon.Thurs., 5:309:30 p.m.; Fri.Sat., 5:3010 p.m.; Sun., 59 p.m.
737 Diamond, SF
Beer and wine