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Channeling New York

Dobbs Ferry's menu rambles from coast to coast but never finds a home.

Hayes Valley
In a twist on the old chestnut, Scott Broccoli and Danny Sterling moved to San Francisco but left their hearts in Dobbs Ferry, New York, the Hudson River village where they were raised. In tribute to their hometown, their Hayes Valley operation aims for a small-town vibe, with wooden accents and informal service. The menu, however, by Ozumo veteran Michael Yakura, comes at you from everywhere. Call the food wide-ranging or unfocused: Either way, it ambles from East Coast Italian staples like rigatoni with braised sausage and eggplant rollatini to California characters like sweetbread BLTs (the sweetbreads are poached in milk, then crisped and dressed in bacon vinaigrette) and grilled crab-and-shrimp cakes with bright jicama slaw. Along the way, you come across good grazing, highlighted by panko-encrusted, fried kabocha squash, on a sweet foundation of honey and goat cheese, and chicken scarpariello, a satisfying sausage-and-pepperoncini-studded stew. But there’s not much point to the bland mushroom pizza or the Bloody Mary seafood cocktail, a limp handshake of a starter that lacks its promised tang. The goal, we’re told on the restaurant’s website, is to see the East Coast through a West Coast lens. But that’s the biggest problem with Dobbs Ferry. In trying to cover so much territory, it winds up lacking a sense of place. 409 Gough St. (at Hayes St.), S.F., 415-551-7700 $$ RW **