Best New Restaurant, Moderate San Francisco 2006 - Range
The inviting glow that tempts you into Range, fortuitously sited next to a small park, is a harbinger of the glow that will pervade you as you tuck into its inspired dishes. Range offers the apotheosis of intelligent comfort food, created by chef Phil West. Satisfying starters of creamy chicken liver mousse, sturdy whiskey-and-brown-sugar glazed pork ribs, or ethereal goat cheese and sorrel-stuffed ravioli are followed by intelligent takes on meat or fish, paired with inventive sides: grilled steak with a gratin of potato, spinach, and nettles, or oven-braised pollock in a pancetta-enhanced broth with runner beans, cabbage, and fingerling potatoes. If there's a soufflé on the dessert menu, don't miss it: Seasonal variations have included one made with Brillat-Savarin cheese and another flavored with eggnog. The cozy front-room bar, embedded with little stars, features a nightly cocktail, but all libations are made with respect (and fresh juices and herbs). A thoughtful wine list and fair prices add to Range's allure.