The highly polished restaurant's sleek location calls to mind the (retro) future, but its exquisite dishes are firmly rooted in present trends
The flesh-free dishes are just as vivid. First-of-the-season tomatoes ($13), although a monochromatic red, benefited from the tanginess of sheep's-milk fromage blanc. And slices of porcini mushroom ($16) found themselves splashing playfully in a balsamic-pancetta sauce with semolina (rather polenta-ish) and a tempura-like farm egg. Tempura recurred on the soft-shell crab ($14), which seemed unfocused and bland despite the flooring of jalapeño-corn relish and green-tomato tartar sauce. But then, soft-shell crab is an East Coast delicacy that can lose something in translation.
Desserts, like just about everything else on the menu, are small and intense. Chocolate orbit ($9) included warm flourless chocolate cake with a pat of bittersweet chocolate ice cream, and if that had been it, it wouldn't have been much. But the cake sat on a bed of mojito granita, whose colorless grains belied a strong lime charge. Chocolate and lime? Believe it. Believe, too, in the peach hand pie ($9), with diced peaches, a brown-butter pastry pocket and, best of all, muscovado brown sugar ice cream. It's not as sweet as you'd think.
Dinner: Sun.–Thurs., 5:30–10:30 p.m.;
Fri.–Sat., 5:30–11 p.m.
300 Spear, SF