It's always struck us as odd that the Castro—so close to the hallowed culinary ground occupied by the Bi-Rite, Delfina and Tartine trifecta, with a gorgeous theater as its centerpiece and, let's face it, filled with the "disposable income" types the right-wing media are always talking about—has never been a great spot for eating. We're happy to see that there seems to be a change afoot. The Castro has its own farmers market now (Wednesday nights until October 28) and Starbelly is quickly becoming the go-to neighborhood restaurant.
This is the time of year when I start thinking about all the bests of the year—my favorite meals, the chefs I hope to see more of in the New Year, the best newcomers, restaurants I’m sad to see close. Melissa Perello is one of the young chefs I’m keeping my fingers crossed for in 2009. I finally got over to Sebo last Monday, where Perello’s been guest-cheffing periodically (her boyfriend, Danny Dunham, is one of Sebo’s chef-owners and was in the kitchen to help). The $45 four-course meal was a well-executed Cal-French mid-winter treat, featuring a caramelized scallop salad with celery root puree, kale-and-chanterelle risotto, and fork-tender Cabernet-braised pork cheeks.