Finally, my style of "fine" dining in Hillcrest (there's places in Hillcrest I like the food just as much, like Bite, but I like the ambience here more). Amazingly comfortable, intimate dining room. Very simple, soothing decor, cream on cream. I love the half-bottle concept for the wine list, it appears to be priced reasonably and it's quite extensive.
Overall one of the better meals I've had recently. It's not cheap, but for the quality of the food it seems about right.
The amuse bouche was perfect; thin crisp and crumbly toast topped with just the right amount of goat cheese and some nice diced beets (even my bf who doesn't usually like beets liked these). The first salad with strawberries where the strawberries "worked". A slightly too complex, though tasty mussel appetizer. Braised short ribs were super tender, with a really rich sauce. My fish was moist and on a lemony risotto; it just needed something green (sugar snap peas?) or crisp to make it perfect. A perfect cheese plate. A way too large chocolate torte (can you say ganache shaped like a pie?).
Good service too. The main waitress was fun and clearly enjoys working here and loves the food, but a little more animated than I usally prefer. The waitress-in-training was just my style; knowledgable, sweet, and mellow.
The chef has an interesting background (CCA to French Laundry to a big hotel etc), and I like the promise in his food. I also overheard the chef telling another table about the things he's planning to add to the menu and some of his ideas moving forward and it all sounds good - I'm looking forward to going back!
My only suggestion is simple:
1. larger plates so the food doesn't look so cramped (not larger portions, I liked the portions)