Classic Tables: Bix

Two decades of hidden allure

Twenty-one years on, and Bix has achieved the impossible: It has become a well-known restaurant that still feels like a secret.

Certainly the alley location on Gold Street, epic two-story interior and subtly conjured supper-club ethos contribute to the restaurant's covert allure.

The food, though, is the truly privileged information.

Executive chef Bruce Hill and his chef de cuisine, Erik Lowe, continually assemble a menu that revolves around pristine seasonal ingredients and superb signature dishes.

Begin a meal with one (or two) of the bar's flawless cocktails. This time of year, consider a Meyer lemon Collins ($11) or a Plymouth Negroni ($11). An assortment of hors d'oeuvres–like firecracker shrimp ($10.50), prosciutto-wrapped house-made mozzarella spears ($9), and dainty potato pillows with crème fraîche and caviar ($13)–is essential.

From there, choose your dining path according to your hunger. On the lighter side, smoked trout salad ($14) features a cabbage galette, pickled ramps and a beet reduction so sweet and savory, it's what ketchup can only dream of being.

Standout main courses include the lavish, shellfish-saturated lobster spaghetti ($40) and the black-truffle-stuffed burger on rye toast ($27.50).

Bix is that rare restaurant that's as transporting as it is satisfying.

Bix, 56 Gold St. (at Montgomery St.); 415-433-6300 or bixrestaurant.com