Sunday, June 10, 2007

Home, Home on the Range

The latest gem I've discovered in the Mission District - Range, a restaurant where you can enjoy great California-style cuisine at reasonable prices in a sophisticated yet unfussy setting.

It's easy to pass right by Range and not even notice it, because its exterior is very simple and not glamorous at all (one of my friends even said its sign was too small). The interior, although simple as well, emanates sophistication without overdoing it. A subtle industrial theme runs throughout the restaurant, from the concrete bar to the metal lights to the aluminum-like tables. The industrial elements give the space enough quirkiness to make it memorable, but still don't ruin the overall coziness. Our servers were quick but not hurried, friendly but not stuffy.

The wine list was fairly extensive, although I wish they offered more wines by the glass. They also had an interesting list of speciality cocktails.

The best part of the dining experience was, of course, the food. For starters, we had asparagus soup and manila clams with spicy sausage. The soup was amazing - very light with just enough fresh asparagus flavor, with a small dollop of sour cream. The clams were cooked in a tasty broth, and the bits of spicy sausage and jalapenos added a nice zest.

Manila clams and spicy sausage ($12)

Asparagus soup ($7)

For entrees, one of my friends got the halibut with escarole, shiitake mushrooms, and bacon bits. The fish was very fresh and soft, with a semi-buttery texture that went well with the mushrooms. My other friend and I ordered the slow cooked pork shoulder with fava beans & bacon bits, which was quite heavenly. The pork was a little too much on the fatty side, but it was very juicy and tender.

Halibut with escarole, shiitake mushrooms, and bacon ($18)

Slow cooked pork shoulder with fava beans and bacon ($20)

And you can't go someplace this good and skip dessert - so we ordered a peach soup with bing cherries and shaved ice to end our great meal. Most of you are probably thinking, "Peach soup? What IS that?" I can assure you it's not some thick glop of peachy porridge. It's actually a very light juice of yummy peach flavor served cold in a bowl. The juice itself wasn't overly sweet, so the bing cherries were a nice touch. Definitely a refreshing dessert that anyone would have room for!

Peach soup with bing cherries topped with shaved ice ($8)

I am definitely going back to Range very soon! Their menu changes daily (for example, most of the things we ordered are not listed on their website), so it'll be exciting to see what they have next time. I've heard wonderful things about their lamb, and I would love to try their strawberry shortcake.

If all of this sounds appealing to you, go and check out Range for yourself! You'll feel right at home.

842 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 282-8283


Helen U. said...

Another well-written entry! Nice job on photoshopping my photos, as well. And I LOVE how the colors of the peach soup pop -- perfect for summer.

Erica said...

Yummy! I can still taste that halibut in my mouth - basil sauce, mmmm.