Luscious Wines and Elegant Bites Come Together at Russian Hill's Et Al.
An apostrophe-sized space on Polk Street, the wine salon Et Al.’s name roughly translates to “and others”—a reference to its liquid offerings as compared to the heavy Italian accent at Biondivino, owner Ceri Smith’s wine boutique around the corner. In fact, it is a Parisian inflection that strikes you at Et Al., where leather paneling and white trim flank deep midnight walls; a backlit onyx bar casts a glow on Carrara marble tabletops and Kartell’s clear polycarbonate stools; and the chandelier, fashioned from old wine glasses, is punctuated at its cascading tip by a glass that belonged to Smith’s great-grandmother.
An oenophile of the most distinguished varietal, Smith, who also selected the wines for Flour+Water, parlays her prowess into intriguing bottle options with a focus on lesser known grapes. But don’t mistake her expertise for elitism. “Wine is a part of life, a part of food, a part of enjoyment,” Smith says. “It’s supposed to be fun.”
And at Et Al., it is. Accessible highlights of Smith’s by-the-glass menu include an orange 2010 Antadze Winery Mtsvane from Georgia (the country). Smith will serve it to you in a traditional piala ceramic bowl and warn that your mind is about to explode—and it will. This cheekiness is well-paired with a relaxed approach to savory snacks in collaboration with Boulette’s Larder. Think breakfast toasts with prosciutto and grilled pears and house-made brioche to scoop up razor clams or beef tartare. Even caviar service gets a casual spin with the accompaniment of Spanish chips. They’re all ample excuses for an any-time-of-day glass.
This article was published in 7x7's February issue. Click here to subscribe.