Now in business five years on Yerba Buena Lane, just off Market Street, Bluestem Brasserie has come through a couple of incarnations already under three different chefs. The latest, chef John Griffiths, came to SF via Larry Forgione’s renowned An American Place in St. Louis, among other kitchens on his resume, and his approach with the Bluestem menu is an approachable but still sophisticated one, highlighting seasonal produce, local meat and seafood with touches from Spanish and Italian cuisines thrown in, in addition to running a house charcuterie program.

Some highlights on the menu include plancha-seared octopus served with fingerling potatoes, ligurian olives, and espelette; and half cauliflower head grilled and served with green harissa.

But one of the more satisfying and necessary items on the menu remains the chicken liver mousse on fat toasts, which Griffiths elevates with seasonal toppings and mostardas — one earlier this ear featured pickled apricots, wild pecans, grilled sage; and another, pictured above, included peaches and rosemary. On a recent visit, the chicken liver came topped with delicious, sweet, tiny golden grapes that complemented and added a touch of acidity to the smooth, rich but refined mousse. It's a classic starter that, when executed this well, deserves high praise.

Bluestem Brasserie - 1 Yerba Buena Lane near Market and 4th Street - 415-547-1111

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