San Francisco: RN74

With a name like RN74 (the highway through the Burgundy region in France), you’d expect to find French fare. But at this latest outpost from the Michael Mina restaurant group, helmed by chef Jason Berthold, who came on board from the French Laundry, there’s nothing particularly French-focused about the cuisine. A fussy preparation of foie gras topped with a layer of strawberry gelée might be taken directly from the French nouvelle playbook, but whole grilled fava bean pods evoke Italy, as do spring garlic agnolotti. Dishes like hamachi sashimi, confoundingly served with hearts of palm (why?) and itty-bitty cubes of green apple, as well as a delicious Maitake mushroom tempura plated on a square of Japanese-language newspaper, further the menu’s eclectic feel. The interior, though, is fixed on its theme: vintage French rail station-cum-chic SOMA bar and lounge, complete with a destination-board “ticker” (no train times here, just a periodic cascade of clicks as certain bottles of wine rotate off the list). In the restrooms, the whispered sounds of French films emanate from strategically placed speakers. The wine list is superlative, and while many bottles exceed ponderable prices, there are a number of deals to be had. Sit at the bar, drink liberally, and eat any of the very tasty, more casual items; a glass of Domaine Matrot Meursault and the perfect, herby green salad served with a thick slice of grilled Della Fattoria bread are enough to keep me coming back.

RN74 Millennium Tower, 301 Mission St., San Francisco (415-543-7474;



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