Location, Location, Location

Zax

The five-item dessert list ranges from the simple (sorbet with biscotti, $6) to the grand (caramelized banana cream tart with chocolate sauce, $6). We opted for a couple in between. The apple galette ($6) looks as good as it tastes, a striking, wonderfully fragrant amalgam of buttery pastry, tart apples, and marvelous caramel ice cream melting on top. Equally impressive, and even tastier, is the chocolate brownie sundae ($6), a towering creation that stars a thick, fudgy brownie, toasted walnuts, and espresso ice cream with a nice caffeine edge to it.

Relaxed, Hip, and Welcoming: Zax's menu is dinner by the seasons.
Anthony Pidgeon
Relaxed, Hip, and Welcoming: Zax's menu is dinner by the seasons.

Details

2330 Taylor (at Columbus), 563-6266. Open Tuesday through Saturday 5:30 to 10 p.m. Parking: difficult. Muni: 30, Powell-Mason cable car. Noise level: lively

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The wine list reflects the establishment's intelligence and joie de vivre as well. The selection is thoughtful and eclectic -- mostly featuring local stars, but with several fine French vintages and a smattering from New Zealand, Argentina, and Italy -- including such treasures as Lis Neris- Pecorari's pinot grigio ($29), Spottswoode's sauvignon blanc ($36), Flowers' pinot noir ($64), Bonny Doon's Cigare Volant ($22/$44), and Chateau de Pibarnon's Bandol ($38). The eight-item by-the-glass list is direct and to the point, with a taste of something or other to go with just about anything you could order, and there are eight top-shelf beers (including light, rich Chimay Ale at $5).

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