The five-year-old restaurant has a grand men's club air but stays true to its earthy Italian influences
Actual short ribs ($24) were also available, cooked long and slow (stracotto is the Italian word), given a bone-marrow crust (rich!), and plated with pea tendrils, chanterelle mushrooms, and more cipolline onions, which for some reason did not wreak the havoc here they did with the pasta and actually might have helped balance the richness of the bone marrow.
The dessert menu, like its savory counterpart, reflects a surprisingly friendly pricing scheme. Everything is $8, except for the sorbetti ($7) and the panforte ($3). And the preparations are complex enough so that you feel you're actually getting more than one thing. For example, a strawberry semifreddo (a flat pink disk with the consistency of sherbet kept in a too-cold freezer) was festooned with crumbles of pistachio cake and tumbles of zabaglione, the marvelous — and marvelously simple — concoction of egg yolks whipped in a bain marie with sugar and some kind of sweet wine, usually marsala, but flat champagne works well, too. The zabaglione had a faint green sheen; had it been doctored with pistachios, like the cake? Pink plus green beats brown every time.
Dinner: Mon.-Sat., 5:30-10 p.m.
Lunch: Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
230 California, SF
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