New & Notable

New Chef Hector Diaz works wonders with small plates at B Bar SF

photo: courtesy B Restaurant & Bar SF

When B Restaurant & Bar in Oak-land shuttered its doors earlier this year, owner Kevin Best didn’t want to lose his talented chef, Hector Diaz, so he asked Diaz to be head chef at the San Francisco location. With Diaz manning the kitchen, B Restaurant & Bar SF is now one of the most popular places to share small plates for lunch, dinner or brunch. And with its location just above the waterfalls at Yerba Buena Gardens, it’s the perfect spot for happy hour drinks and nibbles before a performance at the Novellus Theater or just for fun.

Diaz, a native of El Salvador, began his career as a graphic designer and then honed his culinary skills under the tutelage of his mother by watching her prepare large family meals. He has created a menu at B Bar SF that combines fresh, seasonal ingredients to create gorgeously presented, absolutely delicious ceviches, sandwiches,
salads, and more.

The generous bar dominates the long, narrow space, and there are tables as well. An extensive wine, spirits and cocktail list make B Bar SF a destination in and of itself. Many of the wines come from the City’s own Bluxome Street Winery, which opened in SOMA late last year, and other wines hale from some of California’s best small vintners. Along with imported and domestic beers and fine liquor from around the world, specialty cocktails include the Love On with vodka, raspberry puree, and pineapple juice; and the Wild Child with Resposado tequila, sage, chili, egg white, and lime.

Lunch and dinner menus both offer fresh daily oyster selections along with a raw bar plateau featuring oysters, prawns, mussels, and crab. At dinner, there are four different types of ceviche. Starters for both meals include charcuterie and cheese boards, a seasonal soup, and fantastic crispy truffle fries (please, just order them!).

Other seasonal small plates might include delicate triangles of polenta with prawns; a lush grilled asparagus salad with shaved fennel, shaved raw asparagus, pecorino cheese, and coriander vinaigrette; and several sandwiches, including a basic burger with caramelized onions, house pickles and a choice of avocado, bacon, blue, or cheddar cheese or a fried egg; a grilled chicken sandwich with green onion and red pepper aioli; and a Calabrese sausage sandwich with peppers and onions. At dinner, hanger steak and local king salmon fill out the menu. Desserts include a sumptuous vanilla crème brûlée and a Genoise cake, made with brown butter cream, chocolate ganache and Bing cherry. The knowledgeable staff is happy to suggest wine pairings.

If you haven’t been to B Bar SF since Diaz took the helm, it is well worth a trip across town.

B Restaurant & Bar:
720 Howard Street (btw. Third & Fourth in Yerba Buena Gardens upper terrace), 415-495-9800,; Tuesday–Friday 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.–9 p.m. (happy hour 4:30–7 p.m.), Saturday–Sunday 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

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