San Francisco is a city I go to often enough that I've happened upon a couple of spots that are "must-goes" whenever I return. Top of that list is the Market Street stalwart Zuni Café.
The photo above was snapped while occupying a table right next to the restaurant's beloved wood-burning brick oven. This is the singular piece of kitchen equipment that makes the bistro's infamous Roast Chicken for two so darn delectable.
Sitting close to that oven makes me happy. A solid cocktail, like the Montenegro Manhattan pictured, only makes the warming glow from the fire all that more comforting.
That's what Zuni is about for me - comfort. Oysters aplenty, deceptively simple salads that illicit oohs and aahs, and that miracle of a bird, decked out with warm bread salad with scallions, garlic, mustard greens, dried currants, and pine nuts - and comfort.
Never fussy. Always welcoming. I was a bit concerned that might change with Chef Judy Rodger's passing, but her legacy lives on quite beautifully within the kitchen and dining room of this neighborhood charmer.
Next time you're in San Francisco - go. Make Zuni Café one of your "must-goes" too. Just make sure that the seat next to the brick oven is left for me.