Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday; dinner: seven days
Open late: Friday & Saturday till 2, other nights till 1
Saunalike restaurant featuring Mediterranean small plates.
At first, sitting on a bench between strangers in this cedar-lined, saunalike room makes me feel a little apprehensive, like I'm wrapped in naught but a sweaty towel. But as the wine flows and the evening grows long, everyone's gabbing like pals, offering around bits of robust cheese or chorizo-stuffed dates and dredging juices off empty plates with warm rustic bread. The Mediterranean "peasant" food here is paired with an ever intriguing and ever changing selection of uncommon wines and cheeses, many of which are as unforgettable as the Spanish sheep's-milk torta del casar, a powerful molten gob of delicious funk that may forever remain my benchmark for strong queso (if only because I couldn't seem to wash the smell from my fingers). The chefs make excellent and varied use of the wood-burning oven, firing up everything from focaccia to roast chicken, hanger steak, and skate wing. And it never ceases to amaze me how combining just two or three seasonal ingredients—say springtime's baby asparagus, smoked mozzarella, and Meyer lemon vinaigrette—can be, in the right hands, a kind of alchemy.
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