You know your perfect shirt, the one that makes you look fantastic without looking like you were trying?
St. Vincent is the restaurant version of that.
Nab two seats at the zinc bar and an order of pickled eggs. Then ask what’s open. The 100-bottle wine list (all under $100) lets you order a half bottle of anything for half price. Or, try something fun that’s already open and ready to rock.
St. Vincent belongs to David Lynch: not the Blue Velvet one, but the one from Quince and Cotogna, known for his reference-standard tome to Italian wine, Vino Italiano. Dude knows his stuff.
As does his beer director, who also chooses brews for Monk’s Kettle. Get a hyper-local draft pour or bottle of something wild and international. The Birrificio Montegioco Tibir, brewed with Timorasso grapes, is smoking good alongside red trout with roasted cauliflower and Meyer lemon.
Or just eat whatever they say is good (the all-star team rounds out with a former Bar Tartine chef). Leaving it to them lets you focus on cool conversation with your date.
That, and figuring out what to wear on date number two.
1270 Valencia St. (24th St.), Mission
Price: 3 (out of 4) Noise: 2 (out of 4)
Scene: Foodies obsessing over the wine list; wine geeks obsessing over the beer list; beer freaks obsessing over the food menu.
Best bets: Pickled eggs; red trout; milk chocolate ice cream
Hot seat: Bar
Get there early: The online reservation system’s not running yet and, at last check, they’re not answering the phone either.
Nearby: Beretta; La Taqueria; Lone Palm
The Rundown's restaurant reviews are based on anonymous visits by reporters, not press releases.