The Dining Cryptographer: RN74 and Quince (San Francisco, CA)
As much as I appreciate receiving recommendations, all these reviews were written well in advance of this week. But if you've got a good tip -- especially for good lunch restaurants within walking distance -- let me know and I'll consider it for next year.
RN74 is Michael Mina's new restaurant. The room is pretty and elegant, and the food is good. My favorite thing on the menu is the clam and pork belly appetizer, but you're safe trying anything. (The duck confit main dish is particularly good, as are the scallops.) And they have a good selection of wines by the glass, so you're likely to be able to pair with anything you order. If you want something less formal -- or a faster lunch meal -- sit at the wine bar and order off that menu. The cheese fondue is both delicious and fun, the mushroom tempura is just delicious, and there are loads of great seafood choices. Plus, more good wine. (301 Mission St, 415-543-7474, www.michaelmina.net/rn74/)
Quince is the best meal in San Francisco. Food is French-Italian, more or less, and uniformly delicious. Michael Tusk is the chef and owner, and you might remember him from Chez Panisse and Stars. You can order individual items, or -- and this is what I recommend -- the five- or eight-course menu. Reservations are essential, and the restaurant tends to book up about a month in advance. But here's a secret tip: Quince serves their full menu at the bar. They don't take reservations, so it's first come, first served; but if you get there when they open at 5:30 -- easy if you're from the East Coast -- you'll be able to snag a couple of seats. Quince is borderline walking distance -- about a dozen blocks -- from Moscone. It's only open for dinner, and it's not even remotely cheap. (470 Pacific Ave, 415-775-8500, www.quincerestaurant.com)
Last year's Wednesday reviews: