Valencia Street may be jumping the restaurant shark, but this upscale greasy spoon rides the wave deliciously
But the menu offers other meals unto themselves, too, with a bit more polish. Grilled tiger prawns ($15) were arranged atop a butternut squash risotto heavily leavened with Parmesan cheese, whose tang balanced what otherwise might have become a cloying sweetness. A filet of Pacific snapper ($16) was "crusted" — "smeared" would have been more accurate — with what seemed like crab-cake batter and seated on a pad of celery-root puree with a pool of carrot-butter-white wine sauce and watercress salad. And the osso buco ($17) arrived in autumnal, rather grave guise atop mashed potatoes with a burgundy-charged sauce and fried shoestring carrots. The meat was fork-tender, and as someone who's been making osso buco for years (from the same Patty Wells recipe), I can tell you this isn't a given, even with long simmering. As for mashed potatoes instead of the more traditional risotto: eh. The potatoes did have a dense, mousseline-like velvetiness, which led me to suspect the involvement of tons of butter. But then, at higher-end sort of greasy spoon, you would expect a higher grade of grease, and butter is the grease of the gods, or at least godlets.
Dinner: nightly, 6 p.m.–12:30 a.m.
Brunch: Sat.–Sun., 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
758 Valencia, SF
(415) 431-GRUB (4782)
Beer and wine