Presents and Future

The food is as important as the wine list at the excellent Cav Wine Bar & Kitchen

Just as I wish I could have tasted more of the wines, the food we had was so well thought out, so carefully cooked, so satisfying, that I wish we could have ordered more. We started with the assorted house-made charcuterie: a silky chicken liver mousse with tart red wine gelée, an interesting rillettes made with rabbit, grilled apple, and a drizzle of saba (a wine byproduct: reduced grape must), and a coarser country-style boar pâté with a little heap of grainy mustard and some sharp house-made pickles. We also had wonderful crunchy hot ricotta fritters, garnished with the triple bite of pickled golden raisins, shallots, and arugula.

Then Ruth ordered the pork tagine, stewed with olives, orange sections, plump yellow raisins, and strewn with toasted almonds for a bit of crunch above the succulent oily tenderness. Sharon feasted on pimenton-spiced (smoked chili powder) shrimp tinged golden with saffron, with a paella croquette. I hesitated over the classic steak tartare (with capers, mustard, chopped parsley, and quail egg), but was thrilled with my choice of lightly poached egg on creamy semolina polenta, a "bite" rather than a "plate," beatified with some crisp house-cured pancetta and Meyer lemon hollandaise. (The flowery Meyer lemon made a big contribution.)

Cav isn't a white-tablecloth place, but it's classy.
Paul Trapani
Cav isn't a white-tablecloth place, but it's classy.

Location Info


CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen

1666 Market
San Francisco, CA 94102

Category: Restaurant > Wine Bar

Region: Hayes Valley/ Tenderloin


Cav Wine Bar & Kitchen, 1666 Market (at Gough), 437-1770, Open for dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday until midnight. Closed Sunday. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: difficult. Muni: 6, 7, 26, 71, F. Noise level: high.

Charcuterie $7 for one, $15 sampling of all three

Ricotta fritters $10

Pork tagine $18

Pimenton-spiced shrimp $18

Poached egg on polenta $12

Cheeses 3 for $16, 5 for $27, platter for $95

Coconut pot de crème $7

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We had already had a fabulous meal. But we couldn't resist cheese and dessert. The three cheeses we chose, the triple-cream cow's milk Brillat-Savarin from Normandy; the irresistibly named Sweet Grass Thomasville Tomme, a raw cow's milk cheese from Georgia; and an unusual raw sheep's milk, Serra da Estrela, from Portugal, were beautifully plated with nuts, fresh and dried fruit, and honey. The mascarpone panna cotta with poached persimmon was lovely. But we were all crazy about the coconut pot de crème, which really tasted like coconut. Each dish we'd been presented had been like a present, and I knew that my first New Year's resolution was to eat here again soon.

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