The Luddite Eats

Paragon

Paragon has a menu of daily specials: pot roast ($17) on Sunday, sole ($16) on Tuesday, etc. -- and on Friday it's cognac-roasted Maine lobster ($30). The dish sounds tantalizing, and much of it is, indeed, wonderful, with the sweet-creamy meat enhanced by the simple richness of brandy, but some of the meat can be tough and overly pungent. Another entree, the garlic-studded lamb shank ($17), is as handsome and as pallid as the fritto misto, just a hunk of overcooked meat with no discernible hint of garlic and a bed of tough white beans and watery Swiss chard beneath. And the house-made garlic sausage ($16), dense with filler instead of flavor, is served over bland, oily strands of linguini and the occasional shelled Manila clam, complete with grit.

The 56-item wine list ($21-75 per bottle) is mostly French- and California-oriented, with 18 wines by the glass ($5.50-12.50) and an appreciable markup throughout.

Dessert is the best part of the Paragon experience: The strawberry napoleon ($6) is like a really terrific It's It, with crisply fried pastry dough enclosing a sandwich of strawberry and vanilla ice creams and fresh strawberry purée. The wonderfully rich crème brûlée ($7) takes the inevitable standard and infuses it with new life, offering it parfait-style in a tall glass in alternate layers with big, juicy, delicious blueberries.

Sous-Chef Michael Fagnoni and Executive Chef Brian Lewis (in focus) prepare food that looks great, but has all the soulful depth of an interoffice e-mail.
Anthony Pidgeon
Sous-Chef Michael Fagnoni and Executive Chef Brian Lewis (in focus) prepare food that looks great, but has all the soulful depth of an interoffice e-mail.

Location Info

Map

Paragon

701 Second St.
San Francisco, CA 94107

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: South of Market

Details

701 Second St. (at Townsend), 537-9020. Lunch served Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday until 5:30 p.m.; dinner served Sunday through Wednesday 5:30 to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday until midnight. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: possible. Muni: 15, 30, 42, 45, 76. Noise level: intense.

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By this time Artist "Y" had switched from Mandrin Mangos to Lemon Drops and was gazing happily out the window at the Second Street asphalt. Across the way, at MoMo's, crew-cut Dockers-wearers were exchanging exultant high-fives, neither knowing nor caring that the gesture was invented by the Los Angeles Dodgers infield. Out at a sidewalk table a team of architects pored over the blueprint of one new monolith or another, while nearby a white-collar warrior described his latest conquest to a table of fellow dot-combatants aglow with EMF emissions.

Me, I'll take a bottle of port and three Hershey's bars on Mount Tamalpais at dusk.

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