What to Eat

What to Eat and Sip at Heirloom Café, Opening Tomorrow

Straus, third from left, sits with guests at a recent preview dinner.
Straus, third from left, sits with guests at a recent preview dinner. Photo: Wine Yoda

Matthew Straus’s wine-centric Heirloom Café (2500 Folsom) makes its debut tomorrow night at 6 p.m. As promised, the menu is simple and wine-friendly, with mussels, a steak, and a prix fixe tasting menu geared toward sampling a couple of pairings from Straus’s idiosyncratic wine list.

“We basically have two lists,” Straus tells Grub Street. “We have a current list that is, in my opinion, the best wines from around the world for under $100, all of which we’re offering by the glass. [See the full list via pdf here.] And we have a cellar list with some more age on them, many of which come from a group of two dozen or so international producers who I’ve been collecting over the past several years.” The food menu, unlike at places like Bar Bambino and Flour + Water, is really meant to play a supporting role for the wine.

Also of note, there’ll be a corkage policy that discourages toting in younger vintages: $25/bottle for 2003 vintage and younger, but $10/bottle for 2002 and older.

As for the talk that the sommelier-chef is an Angeleno, having worked most recently at Wilshire and Grace in L.A., he wants all that to stop. “I’m from Boston,” Straus says. “I ran from L.A. like I was running for the hills. I couldn’t leave there soon enough. And now I’ve settled in the city that’ll hopefully be the last city I live in in my life.”

UPDATE: It now comes to Grub Street’s attention that there will be likely be one consistent, off-menu item: an Époisses burger, made with stinky Époisses de Bourgogne cheese mixed in with the beef.


onion soup gratinée 8

salad of fennel, arugula, walnuts, favas and feta 9

roasted asparagus, salsa rustica 10

PEI mussels, roasted tomatoes, shallots and sherry 10

orechiette, sausage, rapini, yellow eye beans, parmesan 14

NY steak, long-cooked broccoli, pine nuts 21

fourmé d’ambert 3
petite basque 3
comte 3


fresh-baked chocolate chip, walnut, oatmeal cookies 2 each

Straus-Ritual affogato 7


bacon mushroom tart



roasted halibut, ramps, English peas, cauliflower purée



sara’s lemon curd, pine nut Canadian province cookies

Heirloom Café - 2500 Folsom Street (at 21st) - 415.821.2500 - Open Monday - Saturday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Lunch service starts on May 21st.

What to Eat and Sip at Heirloom Café, Opening Tomorrow