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Postrio boasts an elite classic status in the minds of San Franciscans. With renowned chefs Wolfgang Puck and Mitchell Rosenthal, a celebrity clientele, high prices and an unbeatable Union Square location, the restaurant had a lot to live up to when I finally paid the place a visit. On an especially spontaneous Friday evening in the city, my companion and I were not laughed at for making a reservation 10 minutes before we showed up. Nor were we snubbed for our endless questions about the menu. The ambiance, service and food were ready and willing to prove themselves worthy. From start to finish, Postrio left nothing to be desired.
The restaurant is extravagant but not pretentious. There are three separate tiers of dining options where you could feel equally comfortable coming in for a lazy lunch in blue jeans from your room in the adjoining Prescott Hotel or in an opera gown before a formal theatre event in the neighborhood. The top floor, at street level, houses the bar and café. The bar feels smaller than it actually is, and very intimate—dimly lit with dark wood and bronze themes and a wood-burning oven—while the restaurant below has a luxurious sense of space that makes for a royal and open dining atmosphere. The restaurant provides a quiet ambience to enjoy the classic jazz playing in the background and, of course, the fabulous food. Large windows span the wall furthest from the street, revealing plants of various shapes and hues, in the small bit of open space that downtown San Francisco affords Postrio.
On the restaurant walls, an impressive modern art collection adds to the artsy mood created by large, amber orb lights decorated with confetti-style bronze sculptures and appear almost space-age. Our dapper waiter, bespectacled in horn-rimmed glasses, was a font of knowledge when we asked about the diverse and tantalizing menu. He recommended the heirloom tomato salad, a wildly creative and divinely delectable choice. Two fat slices of tomato topped with kim chi (a Korean marinated cabbage dish) and a watermelon-based sauce with cayenne pepper.