San Francisco is a city that offers a wealth of dining pleasures, but a nice, multi-course, sit-down dinner for less than $40 has increasingly not been one of them. 1760, the casual New American spinoff of high-end Italian spot Acquerello, is starting off the new year with a bid to buck that trend: Starting tonight, the Polk Gulch restaurant will replace its regular a la carte menu with a three-course, $39 prix-fixe menu focused on the cuisine of Tuscany.
1760 founder and wine director Gianpaolo Paterlini says the menu shift is designed to really “tell a story” and to focus chef Carl Foronda’s efforts on one thing — and one cuisine — at a time, instead of its previous, more eclectic New American approach. The choice of Tuscany to start was largely because “it’s been pretty freaking cold,” Paterlini explains — hence the appeal of “hearty, comforting, soul-satisfying Italian food.” Meanwhile, diners who order from the bar menu will still be able to get some of the classic dishes the restaurant is known for — the beef tartare, the pork ribs, the burger — on an a la carte basis.
The current prix fixe, which features ribollita (a Tuscan vegetable stew), a pork chop entree, and cantuccini (aka biscotti) with ice cream — plus an optional $10 pasta course — will run through the end of February, at which point the menu will switch over to a completely different geographic theme for the spring. Nothing has been finalized yet, but Paterlini says future menus might focus on Filipino food (chef Foronda is of Filipino descent), Basque food, or Korean food.
For many diners, however, the relative affordability of the menu might be the most attractive thing, as the city doesn’t have more than a handful of places that are doing a prix fixe at that price point — the most prominent example being Jackson Square’s Trestle, whose own $39 prix fixe Paterlini cited an inspiration.
“I think pricing in the city has just gotten kind of out of control,” Paterlini says. “We want to counter that with something of value.”
See the initial Tuscan prix fixe menu below: