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Four Restaurants We're Crazy For

 We check out Alfred's Steakhouse, Indian Paradox, Belotti, and Waxman's.

 Kale salad from Waxman's


Alfred’s Steakhouse
Financial District
Nearly 90 years after its first dinner service, San Francisco’s oldest steak house retains its hidebound, bloodred booths in a dining room lit by crystal chandeliers. But under the new ownership of the Daniel Patterson Group, the place is acting younger than its age. Yes, salads are still tossed tableside, and the meat of the menu remains intact. But there’s mascarpone in the mashed potatoes, and much of the produce is organic. Best of all is the beef, which is now grass-fed, dry-aged, and cooked as tenderly as it was raised. 659 Merchant St. (near Kearny St.), 415-781-7058
Josh Sens

Indian Paradox
Kavitha Raghavan’s tight and tidy wine bar seeks to correct the common misperception that Indian cuisine doesn’t play nicely with wine. And it succeeds: Raghavan’s pairings are thoughtful and exuberant. Her short menu, which doubles as a primer in Indian street food, features an assortment of snacks and larger platters. All come with suggested pairings; whether you opt for them or not, the fact that you can get bhel puri with Spanish muscat is something to drink to. 258 Divisadero St. (near Haight St.), 415-658-7550
Rebecca Flint Marx

Even in a Rockridge district already rich in pastas and red sauces, there’s still room for good ragù and housemade pappardelle. Belotti obliges with a simple, artful menu that spans from agnolotti (plump with sausage, beef, and pork loin) to pliant tagliatelle in wild boar sugo, brightened with black pepper and pecorino. Both service and atmosphere are perfunctory, but the Lombardy-born chef Michele Belotti more than compensates with the food, which all but bursts with the comforts of home. 5403 College Ave. (near Manila Ave.), 510-788-7890

Ghirardelli Square
California cooking pioneer Jonathan Waxman returns to his old stomping grounds with this cavernous paean to the seasonal Cal-Med canon. There’s a (delicious) kale salad and wood-roasted asparagus; tagliatelle woven with Dungeness crab, Meyer lemon, and jalapeño; and Waxman’s storied roast chicken, served with salsa verde in a portion big enough for two. It’s safe but agreeable food, and while its surprises are few, its pleasures are considerable. 900 North Point St. (near Larkin St.), 415-636-9700


Originally published in the June issue of San Francisco 

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