City Grill - Page 2

The Noe Valley spot's nouvelle American menu nods to the traditional while offering excellent modern dishes
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Photo by Rory McNamara

— but the bread itself (French, not sourdough) was wonderfully soft and warm, and when we ran through the first basket, we were brought another.

Lamb chops ($24.50) — really a rack of lamb, with each rib bone carefully frenched) — were rubbed with herbs and roasted to the rare side of medium-rare, then plated with a whirl of well-seasoned, creamy mashed potatoes, a thicket of wilted broccoli rabe, and several mysterious, leathery hemispheres we guessed might be dried, pitted cherries.

A more fanciful preparation was a plate of pork medallions ($16) — a trio of what I took to be slices of roasted loin, each arrayed in a haybed of sauerkraut on a platform of russet potato. These layerings were set on the plate pointing outward, like the petals of a flower, while around the edges a country-mustard sauce had been napped. It all seemed naggingly familiar, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it until I was halfway through: it was a rethinking of choucroute, the warming — and highly sustaining — dish of Alsace.

Then on to Vienna for some strudel ($6) — apple, of course, studded with raisins and topped with a scoop or two of ice cream (for a buck extra per scoop). Strudel is the ultimate pastry experience of Mitteleuropa, but it was brought (along with coffee) by the Turks and is a version of phyllo, like its Middle Eastern cousin baklava. City Grill's strudel is golden and puffy and could stand on its own without any fruit or ice cream, just a bit of butter and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Maybe a splash of coffee, or espresso, to wash it down. No matter how American we are, the world is always with us. *

CITY GRILL

Dinner: Tue.–Sat., 5:30 p.m.; Sun. 5 p.m.

Brunch: Sat.–Sun., 9 a.m.

4123 24th St., SF

(415) 285-2400

www.citygrillsf.com

Beer and wine

MC/V

Not noisy

Wheelchair accessible

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