Chez Spencer

French. Chez Spencer is an elegant hideaway where customers will find critically acclaimed preparations of French bistro cuisine. This restaurant has garnered rave reviews from publications like Bon Appetit, Sunset, The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, The San Francisco Chronicle and Food & Wine. Live piano music fills the lofty space on Friday and Saturday nights.

The new buzz is Chez Spencer, French Chef Laurent Katgely's new spot on 14th at Folsom (the old Citizen Cake). Walk in and you'll bump into industry veterans running the show while established acts like Lavay Smith entertain from a small piano stand. Katgely, the opening chef at Foreign Cinema back when Hummers used to roll up Mission, works from an open hearth kitchen in the double-tall, white tableclothed 35 to 40-seat dining room.

Although Chez Spencer might ravage your checking account with entrees in the mid-to-upper-twenties, it provides that casual yet elegant bite to eat that won't torpedo you for the rest of the night. If you do eat too much, the Mariage Freres tea selection (boutique chic!) will pull you out of the mire, as might the sight of celeb Chefs Alice Waters or Nancy Oakes dining at the next table.

- Excerpt from Epic Dining by Tracie Broom.