And so, a quick tour of some favorite meals to-date:
Frisson: A swank restaurant/lounge concept in Jackson Square. Cool Jetsons-inspired interior and luscious cocktails, plus playful desserts ("cereal"-flavored ice cream: Yum!). The food was good, but drinks and sweets were better, so I'd call this an after-theater spot (are there any theaters nearby?), especially with a large group of young, unnaturally attractive friends.
Tallula: Sensual Indian-fusion food that combines Indian spices, French technique, and California ingredients. I usually blanch at food labled "something-fusion," but their lobster and pea dhosa persuades me to keep an open mind. Plus, the interior has its own form of fusion: Bombay-meets New Orleans bordello-meets Design Within Reach. It's fun and engaging. Especially eating on the 2nd-floor porch, looking down at the carnival of the Castro at night.
Zuni Cafe: My favorite meal(s) to date. Judy Rodgers is a master of pure Mediterranean sensibility, keeping things close to the ground and expressing each ingredient to its fullest. No other restaurant gives me such a feeling of well-being. On the snarky foodie chatboards, I see a lot of talk about Zuni being overrated, but I love this place.
Incanto: They call their food Californian-Italian, but I feel a true Italian spirit at work. Most of the pastas are home-made, they use Ligurian basil in the pesto, and they're not afraid of offal (that Chocolate Blood Pudding ain't made with blood oranges). They even have tripe, Dad! My only gripe is the decor, which could have been ordered from an Expo showroom. But that's a grumpy quibble. The food was wonderful and we were treated well.
I've talked enough about The Slanted Door, so I'll leave it at that.