We could taste the maple on the surface of the meat, which was fork tender and moist, but once we penetrated to the interior of the great disk, we found ourselves in dim lighting indeed. The beef's enveloping sidekicks fried onion rings on top, mashed potatoes underneath were good but peripheral in every sense.
Better was arctic char ($25), a salmonlike fish presented as a breaded and crisped fillet, almost perfectly square, nested atop a tasty hash of roasted brussels sprouts, fingerling potatoes, bits of lobster, and balsamic gastrique. I didn't detect much Southern influence, but the flavors and textures were beautifully integrated and the portion size was ideal, especially with the wheel of beef looming across the table.
If the savory courses seem as much Pacific as Gulf Coast, the dessert menu speaks with an unmistakable drawl. There are first-rate beignets ($8), three doughnut torpedoes lightly dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar and ready for dunking into either warm chocolate sauce or coffee foam, which had a root-beerish fizz along with a hint of chicory: New Orleans coffee, we guessed. A gingerbread napoleon ($8), meanwhile, looked "like the de Young Museum," according to a tablemate with whom I'd been pleasurably commiserating about the de Young Museum. At least the napoleon an elaborate modernist construct of wafers, gingerbread pudding, whipped cream, and a square of apple-caramel jelly was edible, as opposed to bulletproof.
Service: attentive if slightly erratic (some dishes to the wrong people). These are usually teething troubles, and the best thing about teething troubles is that you outgrow them to have a long run, which you're pretty sure you will. You're jazzed. *
1300 ON FILLMORE
Daily, 511 p.m.
1300 Fillmore, SF