St. Vincent Tavern and Wine Merchant is one of the most recent restaurant openings in the Mission District of San Francisco. It is owned by David Lynch, the former sommelier at Quince and Cotogna. The chef is Bill Niles, who used to cook at Bar Tartine.
What impressed me about the food at St. Vincent Tavern is the chef’s boldness in adding ingredients such as sea urchin (which most people dislike) into a delicate crab chowder-like soup. I happen to love sea urchin so I savored bit of it. Side dishes, which are usually an afterthought in many restaurants, are given the same attention as the starters and the main dishes. For example, the side dish I ordered of collard greens had a smokey, earthy flavor which was balanced out by the saltiness of bacon. Main dishes include a savory rabbit sausage with baby green okra and white turnips, poached white sea bass with english peas and mint and succotash of butter beans, sweet corn, escarole, opal basil, and shishito peppers. For starters, try the bone marrow with charred onion, smoked chili, mustard greens and toast or yellow eyed peas, confit beef tongue, cauliflower, eggplant and cress.
The wine list is impressive with a huge selection from France and Italy. Best of all, you can order a half-bottle of any wine (excluding bubbly ones) at half price.
On the evening that I went to St. Vincent, it was crowded but people were not packed in like sardines, so the dining experience was civilized and comfortable. Service was excellent.
St. Vincent Tavern and Wine Merchant
1270 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: +1 415 285 1200
Reservations are advisable.