Traci Des Jardin's Cal-Spanish cuisine in the Presidio
Who can resist a charcuterie plate?

Never one to rest on her laurels, James Beard Award-winning chef Traci Des Jardins (of Jardinière and Mijita) is heating up again with the opening of Cal-Spanish concept The Commissary.

The Presidio restaurant takes its name from its location in the old Army mess hall at the Montgomery Street Barracks. And it’s the newest in a wave of upscale tapas spots to hit the city. (It follows in the wake of Michael Chiarello’s Coqueta on the Embarcadero and Noe Valley neighborhood joint Contigo.)

The menu is heavy on Spanish comfort bites like crispy patatas bravas with romesco sauce, spicy albondigas and grilled squid with chickpeas.

But here’s our suggestion: Ask for a seat at the counter overlooking the open kitchen (note the historic black-and-white photos from wartime days). Order yourself a glass of white sangria--theirs is made with Albariño, Lillet, sherry, fruit, herbs and a dash of salt (but not an ounce of added sugar). Then hunker down with a generous helping of fennel-and-artichoke paella.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be Spanish without churros for dessert.

101 Montgomery St.; 415-561-3600 or thecommissarysf.com

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