The folks at Cortez gave us the distinct impression that we weren't young enough or cool enough for them (no we didn't have reservations, but when we've been turned away from places like Delfina, they've done it with friendliness and apologies not cold haughtiness). So we wandered the streets of Union Square, and stumbled upon Anju. Lucky us.
Anju is a 3 week old tapas bar on Taylor just below Geary. It's tiny, red-walled--I think 30 seats--and dark, the candles were a significant source of illumination! Anju has Spanish style tapas and says that its chef is from Barcelona (he looked he could have been, who knows). They're still waiting for any kind of liquor license, including beer or wine, so bring your own.
The food was very good, if often highly salty. I wouldn't know if that's authentic. The working owner--who couldn't have been friendlier--gave us a starter of tortillade--rotating types of omelet pie--in this case potato. Quite fine. We had a Pimento Relleno--stuffed pepper--which was very small and where the filling didn't quite live up to the peper. The Atun Rebozdo--olive crusted Ahi Tuna--was tiny, just three little pieces, but fabulous, the tuna a just-cooked degree of pinkness. Arroz Cremososo de Setas--mushroom risotto--was a great salty sticky texture and reminded very much of one of the comfort foods of my youth, then fondly known as "rice mush." Still hungry, we got a double order of chicken with beer sauce--fork-tender chicken breast.
With a couple of Oranginas, tax and tip, the cost came to $45.
Go soon--this place could be overwhelmed easily, or it could die on the vine.
550 Taylor St. (btwn. Geary & O'Farrell), San Francisco
Dinner 7 days, open late