James Beard-beloved chef Melissa Perello has given us Frances, an easygoing, timeless neighborhood nook, serving hearty, yet nuanced seasonal dinners.
Order the house red or white wine. Frances' beverage director blends these wines with Marco Cappelli from Miraflores Winery. Pay only for what you drink, $1 per ounce served in pitcher.
"If you can't get a reservation, show up at 5:30 when they open and you can get counter seats."
Always begin with her bacon beignets, and finish with a slice of rich, apple-filled lumberjack cake. The tiny space fills up quickly, and reservations are a must even as it's aged.
Sitting in Frances you'd swear you were in SoHo in New York rather than the Castro in San Francisco. That's not saying that one place is better than the other, but at Frances, as at many SoHo places, every inch of space is precious and utilized, creating an overall urban vibe.
Yet when the food arrives, there's no doubt that Frances is in San Francisco. Melissa Perello meticulously crafts her dishes to accentuate the freshness of the ingredients.
Chef owner Melissa Perello has worked in some high-end San Francisco restaurants — Charles Nob Hill, Fifth Floor — and at Frances she brings all she knows down to an elemental level. It's all good. No, it's all pretty wonderful. And it's always different, just like dinner at home.