Change Is Good

The menu is different every day — really! — at this spot in Hayes Valley.

We started with a bowl heaped with Tomales Bay mussels ($12), in a rich, oily broth flavored with oregano, lemon, and garlic. At first I thought the smoky flavor came from the oregano, but no, the mussels were started on the wood grill, an extra step that made them soar miles above the usual steamed version. We also shared a panzanella ($12), chunks of grilled bread combined with Early Girl tomatoes, cucumbers, and more of those wonderful house-cured boquerones.

We'd intended for the plate of rosy slices of Parma prosciutto, topped with four quarters of grilled white peach ($14), to arrive with the two mains we'd ordered, but our astute server served it as a separate course, which worked perfectly. I was surprised that the kitchen was more generous with the ham than the peach: A couple more quarters would not have been amiss.

But nothing was wrong with the two mains. The perfectly cooked wood-grilled swordfish ($25) was heaped with a sauce of crushed olives and sided with roasted halved German butterball potatoes and French green beans. Even better was the succulent long strip of shortribs ($24), braised in red wine and topped with a fresh garlicky salsa verde dense with parsley and capers, and with gigantic fat, creamy white beans and sweet whole baby carrots so tender they legitimately could be said to melt in the mouth. It didn't seem the right summer dish for the end of a sunny June day until we tasted it, and then we forgot everything but how wonderful it was.

Excellent ingredients, carefully combined and lightly cooked.
Jen Siska
Excellent ingredients, carefully combined and lightly cooked.

Location Info

Map

Bar Jules

609 Hayes
San Francisco, CA 94102

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: Hayes Valley/ Tenderloin

Details

621-5482, www.barjules.com. Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.; dinner Tuesday-Saturday 6-10 p.m.; brunch Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. No reservations. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: street, difficult. Muni: 16, 21. Noise level: moderate to high.
609 Hayes (at Laguna)

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Equally as wonderful was the extraordinary nectarine tart ($8): thin slices of fragrant fruit laid upon a layer of astonishingly white, thick yet light pastry cream, on a fragile pastry. It used to be whispered that the River Café had knowingly printed a clumsy recipe for its Chocolate Nemesis cake in order to confound home chefs. Boncutter knows its secret. But we were more interested in the secret of her pastry cream.

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