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Dennis Leary now owns an empire (Sentinel, Golden West, House of Shields), but at his first restaurant every dish is still cooked in a tiny open galley kitchen. Once a diner, the restaurant features four booths and seven counter stools, and so dinner seatings fill up a week or two in advance. Canteen's seasonal menu, which changes at least weekly, is still just as delicious. Few dishes repeat, but we've enjoyed silky soups (such as white corn with bacon); a spicy-hot crab salad cooled by a ball of cucumber sorbet; plump roasted quail with sweetbreads and raisins; a "pot au feu" of veal filet, peppered beef brisket, and foie gras; and a much-loved vanilla soufflé.
Now that cooking has become entertainment and cooks our favorite performers, the counter is no longer the worst place in the restaurant to sit. Some counter spots require reservations, while others are the only seats you can easily score. Eat by yourself, and you're dining with company. Sit with a friend, and there are a million activities to comment on. Just remember: If you're eavesdropping on the cooks, they can probably hear you, too.Bar Crudo655 Divisadero (at Grove),... More »
This tiny spot, a chicly remade diner attached to the Commodore Hotel, has four booths and eight counter seats, all of them usually booked for the three dinner seatings (at 6, 7:30, and 9) offered Wednesday through Saturday. Every dish is prepared in full view of the happy clientele in the small open galley kitchen by chef Dennis Leary, late of Rubicon. His style is light, market-driven (the menu changes nightly), and full of fragrance and flavor: If crab is in season, you'll be offered a... More »
It only seats 22 people, but Canteen is a gem of a restaurant. Chef Dennis Leary is one of SF's best, doling out accessible haute cuisine from a four-burner stove. 3 seatings a night, intimate and, quite frequenty, magical.
My inscribed copy of Michael Pollan's gracefully written, compelling The Omnivore's Dilemma reads "Vote with your fork!" I know Pollan means that we should choose foods that are good for us, and good for the environment. In New York magazine's... More »
Since a wall of the tiny restaurant Canteen boasts shelves of carefully selected books (not just randomly bought by the yard as decor, but books you might actually want to pull down and read: Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence, Best American Short... More »
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