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550 Geary St. (Jones St.) Send to Phone
Bold Mediterranean flavors, textures and clever presentations in a sleek cosmopolitan space.
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  • 3.5 star rating
3.5 rating over 3 reviews
Dining room at THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Cortez, San Francisco, CA

THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Cortez Restaurant Review

: Known as fertile ground for young talent (Quinn and Karen Hatfield, Louis Maldonado, Seth Bowden), Cortez has found another winning chef in Jenn Puccio, whose beautiful seasonal plates easily match---and occasionally surpass---those of her predecessors. Under new ownership (Ron Silberstein of Thirsty Bear), the sexy slip of a dining room and bar remains happily unchanged but for a refreshed positivity in service. Designed by Michael Brennan and ensconced in the Hotel Adagio, the narrow room features a stylish, urban vibe, drawing local sophisticates for upmarket dates and small group dining. A letterbox window onto the exhibition kitchen creates a subtle stage. Regulars delight in the menu’s traditions: the farm-fresh soup shots, for example. Inspired small plates feature bright, well chosen ingredients, and in Puccio’s hands a slow-roasted baby beet salad with burrata and herbs becomes a miniature Chihuly garden of color and form. The slow-cooked Jidori egg of past dishes now rests in a lovely, compressed “nest” of Parmesan, risotto and truffle. Compositions are artful and balanced, and playful with texture and temperature. Larger plates include tender pan-seared Pekin duck breast, swiped with a precise calligraphy of dusky reduction, chanterelles, leeks and wild arugula; Alaskan halibut is seared and met with just-warm heirloom tomato gazpacho, poured tableside. Good cocktails and an extensive international wine list provide fine complement. Seasonal desserts are less consistent but innovative: try the pistachio crusted french toast with maple-glazed huckleberries and pancetta ice cream.

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