Overall Rating: 6.700

Address: 220 California St.
Cross Street(s): Btwn Battery & Sansome Sts.
City, State ZIP: San Francisco, CA 94111
Neighborhood: Financial District
Phone: 415.955.1919
Hours: M-Su 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-10pm
Type of Establishment: Restaurant
Cafe Rating: 6.50
Barista: 6
Savvy: 6
Ambiance: 6
Presentation: 8
Consistency: Inconsistent
Espresso Machine: Faema
Coffee Rating: 6.90
Aroma: 7
Body: 7
Brightness: 7
Crema: 6
Flavor: 7
Taster's Correction: 0.5
Size: M
Primary Taste: Smoky
Coffee Beans: Mr. Espresso
Cup Manufacturer: Fortessa
Price: $2.00
Last Update: 07/09/2011
First Reviewed: 03/20/2010
Notes: None

Two doors down from Perbacco, the owners opened up this downscale enoteca and small bites eatery in early 2010. For all the recession-era tactics of restauranteurs to expand into bargain brands, this place shows far more inventiveness and creativity than the tiresome gourmet burger or pizza joint. It's a long, narrow space, split in half by a long bar. Seating consists of long booth seating along the wall and designed-for-looks-and-not-comfort stools. Mirrors along the length of the restaurant give the impression of more space, if not also a fun house. Using Mr. Espresso beans and a Mr. Espresso-supplied Faema Granditalia superautomatic machine in the back, they pulled shots with a thinner layer of lighter brown crema that has recently become a darker, medium brown. It's a weaker cup than they offer at their big sister restaurant nearby, but it used to be much weaker. It has improved with a richer, more syrupy body and a smaller pour size in recent times. It also had a peppery bite to its flavor that carried too much of a bitter edge, but that since has mellowed out in a more classically European flavored espresso. Served in D&V TechnoCeram cups. Milk-frothing tends to be dry and a bit too ample.