IF YOU GET to San Francisco anytime soon, you may want to step into Hotel Vitale's Americano Restaurant & Bar for a bite of something fresh and fun, courtesy the restaurant's brand new executive chef, Josh Perez. Like the previous chef Kory Stewart, Perez's focus is on fresh ingredients, but he prefers more simple presentations.
Above is a watermelon and heirloom tomato salad topped with fresh feta cheese and dressed with a barley sweet poppyseed vinaigrette. It is standout, especially with a hunk of the house bread. Below is what I'd call a great second course -- fried green tomatoes with a killer aioli.
Perez has actually been cooking at the restaurant for several years. Before that, he spent considerable time cooking alongside the late Chef Judy Rodgers at Zuni Cafe, also in San Francisco.
Americano is located at 8 Market, directly across the street from the Embarcadero. Parking is tricky, but if you're visiting the Wharf, just leave your car in a garage and hike toward the Bay Bridge. Prices vary, but expect to pay $10-$14 for an appetizer; $10 and up for wine unless you hit happy hour from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, when prices drop to $5 for wine, $3 for beer. www.americanorestaurant.com For reservations, call (415) 278-3777.