Meet Trestle, Your New Neighborhood Restaurant That Wants to Please

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The dining room at Trestle. Photo courtesy Trestle.

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Little Gem salad with bacon, egg, and Dijon vinaigrette. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Garganelli. Photo courtesy Trestle.

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Strawberry and rhubarb pavlova. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

As we keep hearing about luxury tasting menu-only restaurants pushing our credit card limits, it’s refreshing to be able to write about a restaurant featuring a prix-fixe tasting menu that is just $35, for three courses. Yes. You can pay $10 for an additional pasta course, and guess what, you’re gonna be stuffed.

The Hi Neighbor restaurant group (Stones Throw, Fat Angel) have just opened ~TRESTLE~ in Jackson Square in the former Great Hunan—you won’t even recognize the space (it’s right where Chinatown, North Beach, and the Financial District converge). The 1911 building had some beautiful bones, with dark brick walls, and Apparatus Architecture did a stellar job opening the space up. There are touches of rusticity, like the wide-plank oak floors and ash tabletops, and modernity, too, in the artwork and the sinuous shape of the chairs. The wood beams create an eye-catching element. The music is upbeat. The pace of the meal is brisk, so you can get on with your night and go grab a cocktail nearby.

Like Stones Throw, the team is comprised of executive chef Jason Halverson, Ryan Cole, and Tai Ricci (all Michael Mina alums), plus partners Jason Kirmse and Cyrick Hia. Halverson’s dishes will rotate often and have roots in comfort dishes, but they are elevated with some modern techniques, lightened up with fresh Cali produce, and beautifully plated. You’ll have a choice of a couple of dishes in each section, and partner Cole wants people to be excited to make dessert a part of their meal again. The place hits that SF tone we like so much: casual but quality, with good service, wines, and design details.

On the opening menu, my guest and I started with a Little Gem salad with meaty pieces of bacon lardons and a sunny-side up egg, and marinated calamari and roasted fingerling potatoes and Calabrian chile aioli; we had to supplement our meal with the hearty garganelli Bolognese, with a spoonful of burrata on top; and the main event was a short rib “pot roast” with potato gratin, and pan-roasted salmon with farro and an orange-sherry vinaigrette. You can also request bread, and you’ll get some Firebrand bread with burrata (I KNOW).

For dessert, a strawberry and rhubarb pavlova, and a warm chocolate brownie sundae, with some amazing elderflower ice cream that Humphry Slocombe made. Our meal would have been $45, and overdelivered in quality, portion, and taste. They’re on to something here.

Value is also a big part of Jason Kirmse’s wine list. You’ll find a list of bottles for less than $50 (like a 2013 Château Thivin “Côte de Brouilly” gamay from Beaujolais for $42), and some quality picks by the glass ($9-$15), but the real big-name bargain hunters will want to check out the bottles for $100 and more, which will only have a markup of $40 per bottle (instead of the industry standard of 200-300 percent). Yeah, there’s some Krug for $201. And a Moreau “Les Clos Grand Cru” from Chablis for $119. So if you want to still blow some cash, you’ll be handsomely rewarded. And of course the beer list totally rocks (you know, that Fat Angel connection), with over 25 bottled selections from around the world.

Dinner nightly. 531 Jackson St. at Columbus, 415-772-0922.