Volta is the long-anticipated Franco-Scandinavian follow-up to Perbacco and Barbacco, and as of this evening, it's in its soft-opening phase. Chef Staffan Terje's menu encompasses everything from five different preparations of herring to boeuf bourguignonne, by way of classics like moules normande and salad nicoise, which really classes up a stretch of Mission between Fourth and Fifth streets that's otherwise the province of zpizza and good-old Mel's Drive-In.
It's a pretty dazzling space, light-filled with lots of brass accents and wiry statement chandeliers. Fancy banquettes or not, it's still a food-forward lunch-and-dinner spot, full of oysters and marinated mussels( ($12), and charcuterie platters that range from pork rillette ($13) and pot au feu terrine ($16) to a Swedish pork shoulder terrine called a pressylta ($13).
As Scandinavian cuisine is in surprisingly short supply in S.F. — there's Pläj in Hayes Valley, but apart from that, it's Sylt lingonberry preserves at a certain blue-and-yellow warehouse in Emeryville — Volta wisely chose to lavish some attention on unfamiliar-sounding cold appetizers like skagen (a pink shrimp with a dill-and-horseradish sauce, white fish roe, and radish, $18) and matjes herring ($15). It's bracing, wintry, and a great collective counterpoint to the richer, French entrees, among them a sole meuniere lightly fried in brown butter.
Similar to the savory side of the equation, dessert contains a few things that might not immediately register with American palates. Princess cake, a Swedish classic made from sponge cake, cream, and marzipan, comes decorated with pastel-colored rosettes and other accents that belie the depth of its flavor. Chef Terje insists that, despite its gendered name, it's something that little boys would clamor for on their birthdays, too. See for yourself when Volta has its grand opening on Jan. 6.
Volta, 828 Mission, 628-400-6200.