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Best Clam Pie San Francisco 2007 - Pescheria

The relatively compact menu at this clean, well-designed, water-colors-and tiled Noe Valley bistro is a brave one: None of the 18 items on the menu would make a red-meat lover happy. (Well, just to hedge a bet, the regular but unlisted nightly special is a massive bone-in New York steak, enough to satisfy two carnivores. But only after their hearts sunk while reading the menu). Pescheria means fish place, after all, and therefore they offer raw oysters (a choice of three varieties), octopus salad, lobster soup, baked stuffed clams, steamed clams, and polenta topped with crab, followed by linguini with clams, Petrale sole with salsa verde, butterfish in cartoccio (cooked in parchment), and a fish soup for two that outclasses most of the tired cioppinos and bland bouillabaisses served in this town. Our favorite dish was an inspired tower of Arctic char served atop celery root pur?e, saut?ed mustard greens, chewy fris?e, crowned with a poached egg, whose liquid yolk made a lovely sauce for the whole. A few oysters, the char, a glass of cool Vermintino, and a bowl of amaretto-tinged tiramisu, and we're in bliss.
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