When we told our server that my friend would have the soft-shell crab followed by the sea scallops, and I would have the RN74 "slice" with Epoisses cheese and potatoes and then the carbonara, he became visibly upset: "No, I can't have a guest ordering entirely from the bar menu." My friend quickly suggested switching his dinner menu crab with my bar menu pizza, thereby obeying the letter of the law. But that seemed a trifle silly, so I asked for the foie gras, too.

We had a much better meal than the first one, though the waiter's anxiety seemed overblown — don't people come in and order, say, a single main course each, as opposed to our assemblage of five (and then six) savory dishes?

My favorite dish over the two meals was the delicious sea urchin carbonara ($14), a tiny-but-rich portion, with English peas and bacon. When my slice ($12) was slow in appearing, we were gifted with a plate of Serrano ham ($15). The smallish block of foie gras was a $22 disappointment. Four fat sautéed Maine sea scallops on a bed of Rancho Gordo beans with grilled Swiss chard, Meyer lemon, and capers seemed a better bargain at $29.

Michael Mina's RN74 is a work in progress.
Paul Trapani
Michael Mina's RN74 is a work in progress.


543-7474, www.michaelmina.net/rn74. Lunch Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner nightly 5:30-10 p.m. Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: valet, $10, at dinner only; otherwise street, difficult. Muni: 1, 14, 20, 30, 41. Noise level: high.
301 Mission (at Beale), in the Millennium Tower

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The bizarre deconstructed strawberry shortcake with berries marinated and roasted until they looked and tasted like defrosted frozen ones, served with rock-hard chunks of pound cake, left us with a bad impression, but not as bad as the one left by the sullen sommelier and the unsettled server. The wine list is amazing, but the rest of RN74 needs work.

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