I met a dear friend for drinks at Tunnel Top last night and after tossing a couple back (well, he did, while I half-nursed/half-sipped my one happy hour beverage ... too much booze at lunch, but that's another story), we decided that dinner was in order. Said friend excitedly nominated a new Italian restaurant he'd spotted on a drive-by the week prior. Sure, why not, I said. I'd love to check out a new place even though the thought of pasta after my 3-hour lunch at Slanted Door made my stomach churn. Still, I had a feeling that this was an opportunity not to be missed. After hopping out of the cab and onto 18th and Guerrero, we rolled on up to an already bustling eatery. Airy, lofty and welcoming, Farina reminds me of the size and feel of Chelsea's Cookshop. We sat down at the focaccia bar and proceeded to order a simple salad, homemade handkerchief pasta with pesto and filet mignon with roasted cipollini onions. The entree was fantabulous ... so much so that, except for a few wilted leaves, we scraped the dish clean. The tender meat gave way under the slight pressure of a butter knife; the sweet onions and tangy tartness of the balsamic vinaigrette reduction were divine.
We were also duly impressed with the soft and drapey hanky pesto pasta, which had just the right amount of seasoning and moisture (lots) in the sauce. The only (tiny) fly in the ointment was that the hostesses had failed to warn us that it was BYOB; it was left to our waitress to suggest (only after we'd ordered and then asked for the wine list) we go to nearby Bi-Rite and pick up a bottle. Farina's only been opened a week with as yet no liquor license in sight. I'm happy to bring my own bottle of vino, but it would be better to know sooner than later, so that one of us doesn't have to hump out to the store while the other sits waiting with the appetizer already hitting (and wilting on—i kid, i kid) the table.