The Homespun Hipster

Johnfrank

Another American custom, the big plate of cookies, isn't as successful. The lime bar is a wonderfully tangy variation on the crunchy lemon bar, and the shortbread is a dense slab of sugar, butter, and flour, but the rest -- a limp oatmeal-raisin cookie, a perfunctory snickerdoodle, a gummy date pinwheel, an overly sweet chocolate chip cookie -- are no match for the oven-baked memories of childhood. At least two other desserts -- both textural variations on a lactic theme -- are worth enjoying, however. The honey mousse is so light it's practically ethereal, with a bare hint of the hive and an accompanying coulis that's apricot in all its summery essence. The dish's minimalist op-art presentation contrasts nicely with the Vegas extravagance of the passion fruit semifreddo, in which an alp of icy fruit rests on a coaster of coconut dacquoise (meringue disks) in a pool of mango coulis, a flute of spun sugar sprouting from the whole. The flute is overly chewy and the coulis is more sweet than musky, but the hefty, coconut-infused dacquoise makes a fine setting for the bracing semifreddo.

Room With a View: Diners at the pleasantly Bauhaus Johnfrank enjoy the panoramic vista.
Anthony Pidgeon
Room With a View: Diners at the pleasantly Bauhaus Johnfrank enjoy the panoramic vista.

Details

Gnocchi$11

Flank steak salad$11

Pork chop$22

Roast country chicken$18

Rhubarb tartlet$7.50

Island Breeze$7

Three-course prix fixe$25

503-0333

Open for dinner Sunday through Thursday 6 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 6 to 11 p.m.

Reservations accepted

Wheelchair accessible

Parking lot next door

Muni: F, J, K, L, M, 22, 37

Noise level: affable

2100 Market (at Church)

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The impressive wine list appears just about as domestic as the menu. Its 141 selections include vintages from Argentina, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa as well as France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, but the cellar sinks most of its roots in American soil -- Northern California to be specific. There are several treasures available -- the Franus 1997 cab, the Truchard 1998 merlot -- and nearly half the bottles cost less than $35. You can also get six wines by the half-bottle, 17 by the glass, and 15 by the half-glass, a good option for the cellar-grazer. Service is unobtrusive and well informed, and despite the moderne trappings the food is heartily apportioned. The crowning touch is the panorama out the wide streetside windows: the streetcars, the storefronts, and the strolling inhabitants of a beautiful city enjoying its springtime.

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