Sans full liquor license, the sisters offer inspired amaro-, beer-, and wine-based cocktails. The Iggy ($7) is a salty aperitif of silky Punt e Mes vermouth and grapefruit juice with salt rim. Port of SF ($7) is likewise refreshing with Madeira, lime, ginger, and Pilsner beer. For a husky Manhattan stand-in, go with The Duke's Son ($9): Amontillado sherry, Carpano Antica vermouth and bitters. Food is made with care in a tiny kitchen. A blanched brussel leaf salad ($8) is my dish of choice. Freshly laden with creamy French feta, cherry tomatoes, and roasted corn, it sings in lemon vinaigrette. Savory bread pudding ($6) is made with fennel, tomato, Manchego cheese, roasted garlic, and black truffle oil.
EAST COAST SPIRIT IN A CALIFORNIA BISTRO
Debuting two weeks ago, Dobbs Ferry (409 Gough, SF. 415-551-7700, www.dobbsferrysf.com) comes from restaurateurs with an East Coast background (Dobbs Ferry in Westchester County, NY, is the hometown of two of the owners). Executive chef Mike Yakura, formerly of Ozumo Restaurant Group www.ozumo.com, helms: they're dubbing the place a "California bistro" with "small town" New York cooking. The three-room space is decorated in muted browns and black with white walls.
Skip the unbalanced cocktails, and head for the dishes. Salads are crisp and straightforward. Eggplant parm pizza ($14) is a pleasant pie of breaded eggplant and basil. Kudos to my waiter for offering extra red sauce: without it the slices are too bready. Crispy sweetbreads ($12) over mustard sauce with bacon are unexpectedly satisfying, while a juicy half ($22) or whole ($35) chicken scarpariello somehow evoked childhood. (Half is enough chicken for two, with gently fried potato cubes like elevated tator tots, Molinari Italian sausage, sweet peppers and a peperoncini for good measure. The broth is the clincher: tart, zingy, savory, it ties the whole uniquely comforting dish together.
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