Range, San Francisco

It was only a few months ago that I visited Range for the first time. When I told people about my experience, the response was, almost unanimously: “Mmmm, I love Range”.

Behind the understated facade in the Mission district, hides what turned out to be one my favorite restaurants in San Francisco.

The interior design is simple but feels warm and contemporary. A long dining room sits about 70 people in 3 different spaces. At the bar, a beautiful antique blood bank refrigerator is used to chill wine bottles and martini glasses. Counter seats and high tables offer a perfect spot for cocktails and a buzzing dinner. If you’re looking for a more intimate setting though, just ask for a table towards the back of the room. While many restaurants try hard to be hip, Range is authentically and unpretentiously cool.

Service is, simply put, exceptional. The razor sharp staff has the timing and precision of a Russian ballet. Never late, never rushed, just perfect. From bartender to the busboy, everyone seems to operate with impeccable efficiency without losing the charm, even on the busiest nights. Very few places offer this level of service, Delfina is one of them, but Range is second to none.

The menu

There are only a dozen or so items on the menu, and that’s a good thing. Range is about thoughtfully created dishes, perfectly executed. No matter what you order, be sure it will be spot on. It is an inventive and honest celebration of flavors and ingredients. Worth trying many things.

The meal

I’ve been to Range 3 times before this review. Everything I tried was surprisingly good, even the simplest things.

My favorite appetizer is the Chicken liver mousse with mizuna salad. I had it the first time and couldn’t resist ordering ever since. The smooth, decadent mousse is deliciously rich and flavorful. So good in fact, I could have it for dessert. This is the kind of thing you fall in love with. Even if you think you don’t like chicken liver mousse.

Another great example of a simple dish exceptionally made is the braised leeks with poached egg, aged cheddar and breadcrumbs. Perfectly cooked with carefully balanced flavors and a pleasant contrast of acidity and richness.

In my last visit I had the opportunity to try the soft-shell crab. A big hit. The crispy yet tender crab was well combined with a refreshing watercress salad over a creamy bed of avocado mousse and crème fraîche.

Entrées are also thoughtfully conceived and flawlessly prepared. My all-time favorite was the Coffee rubbed slow braised pork shoulder. Sorry, no photos, but believe me when I say this was the most tender, flavorful pork I ever had. To die for. Unfortunately, it was not on the menu the last time I went.

Save some for the end, Range won’t let you down in the dessert department. Sweets seem to get the same attention given to the rest of the menu. One of the best is the Chocolate crêpes with ruby grapefruit and pink peppercorn ice cream. A great combination of flavors makes this dessert far from boring.

On the lighter side, try the refreshing Rhubarb strawberry chilled soup with buttermilk ice cream. A perfect ending to a fulfilling meal.

Also worth ordering is the delicious shortbread cookies with marinated cherries and house-made whipped cream.

In short

It’s not by chance this restaurant has received one Michelin star, the same rating given to prestigious Bouchon and Gary Danko. I can go on and on about the delightfully prepared food, the welcoming atmosphere and the impeccable service. But somehow, when people ask me, the first thing that comes to mind is: “Mmmm, I love Range”.

Range is at 842 Valencia Street
Online reservations


lowercase said...

mmm...I love range too.

Megan said...

usually i don't enjoy specialty drinks, but the bartender at range makes some delicious and interesting ones, using incredibly fresh and unique ingredients.