Canteen, San Francisco
Comfort food is taken to new heights at this retro-hip diner, run by wunderkind chef Dennis Leary in the neighborhood known as the TenderNob (where upscale Nob Hill meets down-at-heel Tenderloin). Here, in a tiny kitchen wedged behind a lime-green Formica counter, Leary whips up constantly changing menus of hearty, inspired dishes: recent choices include pork-shank confit with chickpeas and mint; roasted duck breast with red cabbage, quince chutney, and lentils; and chestnut soup with porcini oil. The wine list is short and sweet, with six whites, five reds, and one sparkling, and there are usually only a few desserts to choose from (if it’s available, don’t miss the heavenly, light vanilla soufflé)—but nobody leaves here unsatisfied.
Tip: Prepare to wait for a seat—there are only 20.
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From Food & Wine , JUL 2006
Leary appears happy to be cooking—not a leisured happiness but the happiness of rock climbers and chess players, the happiness of challenge and absorption—as he prepares a series of brilliant dishes: halibut gravlax with cucumber sorbet; mussel soup with green garlic and pureed artichoke; sweetbreads with poached rabbit over frisée salad; spring-lamb stew with asparagus and leeks; mild fennel-seed cake with whipped cream....MORE
From Food & Wine , OCT 2005
Dennis Leary's new restaurant might be in a former coffee shop next to the boutique Commodore Hotel, but he's no short-order cook....MORE
From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
A cross between an American diner and an English pub, Canteen reworks English classics like pie-and-mash (minced-beef pie and mashed potatoes) and bubble-and-squeak (cabbage and potatoes) so that they're totally delicious.
We loved: Deep-fried plaice (fish) and chips.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.