The deft touch here is the pile of spicy Spanish fries, really a version of patatas bravas, the gently crispy quarters of waxy (in this case some kind of baby yellow) potato.
From steak and potatoes to fried chicken ($16.95) in this case a Cornish game hen, given a Cajun-scented batter, then lightly fried and served with buttermilk mashed potatoes, a mop top of wilted pea tendrils, and a marvelous, bewitching gravy inflected with citrus. If there's a heaven, the home cooking there will include something like this.
Desserts are all $8.95 a price point I would describe as neither high nor low and sing in a more mainstream key. You might find a sundae, a flourless chocolate cake, a crisp, a butterscotch pudding. The last is presented in a parfait glass and consists of layerings of homemade butterscotch and whipped cream like a sundae with no ice cream, or a planet (like Jupiter) with no definite surface. Butterscotch is basically caramel with vanilla, and Kati's version is barely sweet with a faint, keen edge of smoke and a rich color like that of tarnished gold. These are strong hints that the butterscotch has been made by a practiced hand, someone who isn't afraid to skate near the edge of burnt sugar and to give character to the result. (The big giveaway for commercial, mass-produced desserts is that they are predominantly, often overwhelmingly, sweet; they taste as if they were made from sugar and little else.)
Kati's wine list is substantial though not overwrought, with quite a few decent choices by the glass, and service tends toward flawlessness. As in many pint-sized restaurants, the door opens right into the dining room, which can be disconcerting, especially in the season of cold drafts. I mean wind, not beer.
Dinner: Tues.Sat., 5:3010 p.m.
1963 Sutter, SF
Beer and wine
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