Don't pass up the duck lasagna: this new Hayes Valley restaurant glows with satisfying warmth
Sarah Rich's desserts (all $8) maintain the comfort-meets-craft spirit of the restaurant from a bright melange of chilled melon to caramelized olive oil cake in strawberries, a heightened strawberry shortcake. Panna cotta lovers shouldn't miss Sarah's silky rendition with changing seasonal accents.
Wines are priced by glass, carafe or bottle, conveniently grouped in three white and three red price categories, with strong options like 2010 Christian Moreau Chardonnay from Burgundy, or a 2011 COS Frappato from Sicily. The cocktail list ($10 each) is short — no more than four or five at a time — and I've sampled six different ones. While some fare better than others (the Barn Wood, with Buffalo Trace bourbon and bitters, was a bit too musky-sweet from stone fruits), most offer understated elegance, actually different than other cocktail menus in simple purity.
The star is the lush, green Big Night, which looks like a healthy, green veggie drink, but is subtly smoky Del Maguey Vida mezcal mixed with nasturtium and ginger, topped with an edible flower. It's clean, strong, memorable. As is Land's End, the Riches' answer to a martini, using the incomparable St. George Terroir Gin, dry vermouth and foraged Monterey cypress. On the light, soft side, Let's Go is a refreshing sipper of Encanto pisco, coconut water and lime.
Sarah, Evan, and the engaged staff serve a warm vibe at their table in Hayes Valley — and an ever unexpected menu that focuses simultaneously on flavorful comfort and elegant simplicity.
199 Gough, SF.
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