Quince Restaurant

When I first ate at Quince, the Italian-inspired restaurant in San Francisco opened by the chef Michael Tusk and his wife, Lindsay, in 2003, I was impressed right off the bat with the incredible service: I counted more servers than guests (and the dining room was full). Wine? The sommelier suggested smart, unexpected pairings and brought us small tastes. More butter for the bread? It was there before I even knew I needed it. But it was the food that really took my breath away: the vibrancy of the ingredients and the way the chef was attentive, but not beholden, to his Italian theme, offering dishes like black trumpet mushroom and salsify sformato (a savory and succulent baked custard), and tortelloni filled with sweet Maine lobster and English peas. The main dish was a delicious John Dory with creamed leeks and winter black truffle, whose amazing aroma reached our table before the plates were placed in front of us (which was simultaneously, of course). And I'll remember the dessert of citrus soup with coconut gelato and sweet riesling for the rest of my life. In 2009, Quince moved to a new space in the financial district, and I can't wait to visit it. —Nicole Garrett, Houston, Texas

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