Between the jewel-like courses on chef Val Cantu’s Mexican-influenced tasting menu and the artful wine pairings from wine director Charlotte Randolph, Californios is luxurious, for sure, but it feels more intelligent than decadent. Cantu tends to elevate local ingredients rather than look far afield. For example, he crafts an umami-driven carne asada dish by working with Mindful Meats, which selects retired dairy cattle from Marin and Sonoma counties just to the north. If you’re not doing the wine pairings, you might find yourself starting with a bottle of Dom Pérignon, then moving on to some deliciously offbeat California selection that Randolph just discovered.
3115 22nd St. (at South Van Ness), San Francisco, California
This story appears in the print issue of October 2019.
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