Basque. The Piperade's chefs literally wrote the book on Basque cuisine, The Basque Kitchen, and this downtown San Francisco restaurant serves some of the most authentic regional Spanish cuisine in San Francisco. The hardwood dining room is small and convivial featuring wine barrels and a large communal table at the center. Piperade is devoted to customer satisfaction-- chef-owners, Gerald and Cameron Hirigoyen, are known for checking in personally with diners. Featuring Basque classics such as Duck confit and Porrusalda (Atlantic cod), Piperade aspires to expand the palettes of its visitors.
Combine sauteed Monterey squid, grapes, foie gras, raisins, and heirloom potatoes. Sounds strange, but when my best Brooklyn girlfriend came to town recently, we had our minds blown by this dish ($16), as well as the rest of the relatively inexpensive fare at Gerald Hirigoyen's Piperade. The somewhat-celeb chef of Fringale has reopened his Pastis as a rustic Basque bistro, servicing the same casual uppercrust crowd with a truly standout menu.