1270 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA | Directions 9411037.752503 -122.420862
Neighborhoods: Mission, Central East
Citysearch Editorial Review – Heart isn’t content to be a one-trick pony: the new Mission wine bar not only dishes out glasses of red and white, but sells bottles retail, maintains a good-sized small-plates menu (without a full kitchen), and displays a small collection of professionally curated art. The results can be a bit chaotic, with patrons of all four businesses funneled towards one extremely harried cashier, but the lean, high-ceilinged space, all white walls and reclaimed wood, has a calming effect. Food is provided by Kitchenette, the first official restaurant outpost of that little-loading-dock-that-could, and is surprisingly varied and tasty considering that pesky lack of a kitchen—all of the dishes are prepped in advance and finished with a couple of hot plates, a convection oven, and an iron wall, in bar surroundings so up-close that patrons may fear sneezing on the food (try the wild mushroom and leek-strewn square of pain perdu, or the chicken pie topped with rich gravy). A large, quirky selection of primarily European wines is available by the glass or bottle, and a $9 corkage fee is charged to enjoy any bottle you buy in the store. Like that one friend who’s always pursuing eight crazes at once, Heart may doff one or two of its many hats with time; also like that friend, its unbridled enthusiasm can be awfully charming.
Nice Addition to the Neighborhood – At first glance, I didn't know what to make of Heart. Art gallery? Wine bar? Wine shop? Cafe? But what ultimately makes Heart kind of cool, is it's ambiguity.
If you go into it thinking it's just a wine bar, you may not be happy. It's a little too bright (and a lot too loud) to be a traditional cozy neighborhood wine bar. If you're thinking it's just an art gallery, you'll be pleasantly surprised to see that you can sip on wine while looking at the art. And regardless, the neighborhood desperately needed a wine store. A place to grab an interesting bottle of wine whether on your way home from a hard day at work, or before heading over to a friend's house for dinner.
The ordering process can be a little confusing and chaotic, but they've made an effort to increase signage, and to have an employee 'directing traffic'. There was a lot less confusion the second time I went.
I haven't yet tried the food yet, but the plates I saw around me did look good. And if it's food from the Kitchenette kitchen, well, you can't go wrong.
There's lots of potential here. I'm still warming up to Heart, but I think in the long run, I may just heart Heart.
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