Bar Tartine: Beyond Bread and Baked Goods in the Mission [CLOSED]

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Restaurant San Francisco

Bar Tartine doesn't have a sign, but the Tartine name still has magnetic appeal.

When I travel to San Francisco, there are three activities I try to cram in: a gluttonous stroll through the Ferry Building, a guilt-fueled run along the Embarcadero, and a morning trip to Tartine Bakery. The wait is never less than a half-hour, and that never bothers me since I know there will be warm morning buns and other bread-y treasures along my path to the register. When I read co-owners Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson were opening a full-service restaurant named Bar Tartine, I booked a reservation for the first week. That I live in Los Angeles was a minor detail.

There’s no sign to identify the restaurant, an approach Ms. Prueitt claims “hasn’t seemed to hurt Tartine Bakery.”

A number of colorful paintings line the walls, and a “found” antler chandelier hangs near the front window, visible from the sidewalk. Bar Tartine’s chef is Andy Kitko, a young find of the owners.

To drink, we each ordered a glass of organic French white wine, which our waitress said earns that designation by excluding sulfites. The two glasses were Alexis Sauvion and Terres Dorees ($7 apiece). I don’t think the lack of sulfites hurt the flavor of either wine.

Our waitress started us with crusty sliced Tartine Bakery bread and a pat of soft butter. The bread alone is good enough to warrant a trip to the parking-unfriendly Mission District.

Olives San Francisco

Since our waitress wasn’t exactly attentive to start the meal, she brought us complimentary Spanish olives (normally $3): big greenies, small black ones, and mid-sized purple olives, all soaked in olive oil and all delicious.

Charcuterie San Francisco

To start, the “terrine of duck rilletes, with prosciutto and pickled figs” ($11) was served on a bed of baby field greens. The creamy rectangle of duck was lined with prosciutto, a cross-section of sweet Mission fig in the center. The terrine was cut in half and served on more of that amazing Tartine bread, this time a pillowy soft, crust-less version. There were two halves of a pickled fig on the plate, both purple and both powerful on the palate, but tasty.

French Food San Francisco
Ahi tuna came 3 ways for $14. The plate held a deconstructed Nicoise salad: haricot verts, Nicoise olives, a dab of Nicoise sauce, thin-sliced celery, a white anchovy-wrapped pepperoncini, and pink sheets of tuna, topped with a razor-thin lemon slice. There was also a carpaccio and a confit of belly with tonnato sauce. This combo was realized on the plate as tuna tartare with guacamole base, topped with sour cream and chunks of tuna belly. All of the tuna was impeccable; there wasn’t even a fraction of an inch of fibrous fish.

Fish San Francisco

For my entrée, olive crusted cod with artichokes, salsify, and Meyer lemon ($17) arrived in saffron sauce. The fish was outstanding, very juicy, with a light black olive crust that managed not to overpower the delicate fish.

Lamb San Francisco

Moroccan braised lamb shank ($19) arrived with chickpeas, harissa and red pepper, tender on the bone.

Although there were five intriguing cheese selections ($6 apiece, $16 for a sample of each) served with dates, honeycomb and Tartine Bakery bread, we opted for more site-specific desserts.

Cake San Francisco

Mission figs came poached in Moscato with lemon buttermilk cake ($7), cream, and slices of mango substituting for hazelnuts. It was terrific, the cake cloud-like, the slices of fig and mango delicious.

Dessert San Francisco

Fromage blanc Bavarian ($7) with pistachios, grapefruit and orange segments on a crushed pistachio base tasted outstanding. The cheese was creamy and savory.

We left Bar Tartine happy with our selections and disappointed our stomachs weren’t large enough to accommodate all the other intriguing dishes. Although the restaurant had only been open one week, it was already one of the better restaurants I’d eaten at in San Francisco, very high quality food at affordable prices. Chef Kitko and the owners are clearly on to something.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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