Saturday evening, I was fortunate to be invited to a preview/test dinner at ~ST. VINCENT~, David Lynch’s New American tavern that opened last night in the Mission. Lynch, previously at Quince and Cotogna, has transformed the former Heart wine bar into a welcoming wine-centric restaurant. As soon as you walk in, you’ll note the hefty wine cabinet; the space has deep green walls, tables with wood benches (made from the previous tables at Heart), a communal table with a cherrywood top, a custom rolling cart, and seats at both the zinc bar and the open kitchen in the back (featuring white subway tile).
Running the full kitchen is chef Bill Niles, previously at Bar Tartine, who is integrating a bit of his East Coast sensibility into the seasonally influenced New American menu. You can start with some great bar snacks like the technicolor pickled eggs (either curry or beet, $3 each) and buttery hand-rolled pretzels ($5) with cumin and cultured butter. The roasted bone marrow ($14) was perfection, featuring the kick of smoked chiles—I was also happy to note the accompaniment of Bar Tartine bread (hey, former membership has its privileges)—and the Dungeness crab with Carolina gold rice ($14) is another tasty option. Larger plates include English pea dumplings ($22) with brown butter and sea urchin, while the showstopper dish is the house dry-aged lamb ($45), a bountiful plate for two, with leg, riblets, loin, tender farmer’s sausage (cooked sous vide), and turnips. Sure to elicit many a joke is the spotted dick ($7) for dessert, a British classic that is given a different rendition here. There will also be a good selection of cheeses to choose from.
As for the name, St. Vincent was the patron saint of wine and vinegar makers—you can read more here. Lynch’s wine list is what you’d expect from the James Beard Foundation Award-winning sommelier, wine expert, and author. There’s a list of 100 wines all priced under $100, plus an extensive reserve list reflecting Lynch’s signature passion for and expertise in Italian varietals. Guests also have the option of ordering half-bottles of wine; Lynch will open any bottle from the list of 100 and charge half the price—be sure to ask your server what’s already open.
Another exciting thing to note is certified Cicerone (beer sommelier) Sayre Piotrkowski (Monk’s Kettle) is on staff—he assembled a rotating selection of California craft brews on tap (from Firehouse Brewing, Linden Street Brewery, Pacific Brew Labs, and more) as well as a variety of international beers by the bottle, including large-format selections. Yeah, every sommelier and server in town is going to be calling this place a second home. Open Mon-Sat 5:30pm-11pm.
Owner David Lynch. Photo: © tablehopper.com.