There's a Place for Us

In its quiet beauty, Campton Place, may be the perfect restaurant

The first and main courses had been presented without much fanfare, but a couple of the desserts were visual extravaganzas. The tropical fruit sorbet ($7) reached the table in the shape of a rose: It looked like a piece of sugar candy, and it had the concentrated, essential flavor of a Sweetarts.

The apple crisp ($7) did feature slices of apple, but they were overshadowed on the one side by a scoop of ice cream that tasted powerfully of Calvados (the apple brandy) and on the other by a phyllo pastry that looked like a sombrero.

The prix fixe dessert was a slice of chocolate-pecan tart absolutely choked with nuts -- nice, but not special. And the poached pears ($7), though firm and faintly sweet, were a shade stringent for a horde of American sweet tooths.

On the way out, we reclaimed our battery of $5 umbrellas, only to find, as the gloved valet swung open the doors, that the night had calmed down. A valet! For an instant I had the fantasy that the limousine parked at the curb had been ordered up for us -- a final thoughtful gesture by the maitre d'. But it was just another lucky group, heading in for dinner.

Campton Place Restaurant, 340 Stockton, S.F., 955-5555. Mon-Fri 7-10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m; Sat 8-11 a.m., noon-2 p.m.; Sun 8-10 a.m., brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 6-9:30 p.m.; Mon-Thurs 6-10 p.m.; Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30 p.m.

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