The local culinary scene is about to get one restaurant richer: chef-owner Melissa Perello is opening her first very-own restaurant, ~FRANCES~ tonight (Tuesday December 1st). The intimate restaurant is a bit off the Castro cruising path (it’s where the short-lived Palencia was), and will be bringing a comfortable but classy style to the neighborhood. The modern California menu will change daily, with seasonal and local ingredients. Tidbits on the opening/test menu included an appetizer of roasted chestnut soup with cipollini onions and house-cured pancetta ($9); a main of ling cod crusted with Boccalone lardo, plus Manila clams and fingerling potatoes ($23); and vegetarians will be happy to see the lacinato kale and crepe cannelloni, with wild mushrooms, leeks, and Gouda ($17). There’s also a section called bouchées, with savory bites like duck liver mousse with pickled currants, cress, and grilled levain ($6.50 each). The wine list from Paul Einbund has around 100 global selections, including two house-blended wines on tap using grapes from the central coast region of California (both are in the $6/glass price range). The designer is Michael Baushke of Apparatus (he also designed Ubuntu)—there are 48 seats total (34 in the dining room, 14 in the bar), ecru-toned walls, solid walnut table tops and counters with ebony finish, and a monotype B&W series by Katie Van Horne. Dinner is served Sun, Tue—Thu 5pm—10pm, Fri—Sat 5pm—10:30pm. Many will agree it’s great to have Melissa back on our culinary scene, and even better, running her own show.