Best Unsung Restaurant - 2005
598 Haight (at Steiner), 551-7900, www.rnmrestaurant.com
This small, bilevel, urbane restaurant, a little out of place in its Lower Haight neighborhood, consistently offers fresh, interesting, and well-cooked food that speaks of the skill and passion of its young chef/owner, Justine Miner. Its Web site says it serves "small plates of American food with French and Italian influences," but it delivers plenty of "large plates," too, which match meat and fish with wonderful seasonal vegetables, such as lavender-scented grilled rack of lamb on English pea risotto with red wine glaze, mint salsa verde, and a salad of pea sprouts and Easter egg radishes. You can share a few small plates (our favorite is a selection of charcuterie with greens) or a couple of pizzas, or eat the old appetizer-main course-dessert way. We especially like the $25 prix fixe three-course menu, with several choices per course, available from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. There's also a nice little bar.