We came across a plate of sashimi ($9) made from tai snapper (a sea bream from New Zealand), arranged atop a set of kohlrabi-stuffed spring rolls that looked like Tiparillos, and, for some color, slivers of kumquat and squirts of arugula puree. Beer would have been fine here, but so was a small glass of Schmelz grüner veltliner. (As is the case at several other wine-intensive spots around town, wines by the glass are available as 2.5 ounce tastes or 5 ounce glasses. Two cheers for sobriety.)
Desserts were startlingly good and not pricey by recent standards. There was a sniff of disdain from across the table at the prospect of a butterscotch tartlet ($7.50), since there are those who don't care for butterscotch. I'm not one of them; I've always responded to what seems to me to be a simple and irresistible blending of vanilla into caramel. The creamy butterscotch filling of the tartlet was that, yes, but it also had ... liquor breath! Someone had discreetly spiked it with Scotch whisky, and eating it was like giving a peck on the cheek to a boozy but lovable old aunt on Christmas Eve.
The chocolatepeanut butter cookies ($5 for three) arrived on the wings of higher expectations, and they did not disappoint. They resembled Oreos, except with an intense peanut-butter mousse as a filling rather than the sugary white stuff in the commercial kind. And as if that weren't enough, the kitchen threw in a bonus: a scattering of candied peanuts, like peanut brittle without the brittle. We dug that.
CAV WINE BAR & KITCHEN
Dinner: Mon.Thurs., 5:3011 p.m.
Fri.Sat., 5:30 p.m.midnight
1666 Market, SF
Wine and beer