Simply Put

The standout wine and simple food of Heirloom Café

We'll admit it: We had reservations about the brand-new Heirloom Café.

When we dined at the wine-focused Mission restaurant, the dinner menu looked inviting but uninspired.

Consider us schooled. Owner Matt Straus and his team (truly: the cooks and servers swap places regularly) are cooking simple food phenomenally well.

And that's precisely how you want your eats in order to best enjoy a wine program as laudable as Heirloom Café's. The wine list has 20 superb wines by the glass, and there's a noteworthy cellar list available by request.

Though Straus is not a fan of rigid pairing rules, we persuaded him to share what he might drink with some of the dishes currently on the menu:

Mussels with roasted tomato and sherry ($10) "This is a fantastic vehicle for richer whites like the 2006 Ceritas Porter-Bass Chardonnay ($16 for a glass; $68 for a bottle) or the nutty 2005 Jacques Puffeney Savagnin ($14; $55) from France's Jura."

Mushroom tart ($10) "This dish goes with everything, including the 2008 Foillard Morgon Côte de Py ($13; $53) from the Beaujolais and the smoky 2008 Lioco Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($11; $45)."

The well-priced cheese program ($3 each) "We're working with Soyoung Scanlan of Andante Dairy. Her subtle cheeses go well with just about any white wine or dessert wine."

Heirloom Café, 2500 Folsom St. (at 21st St.); 415-821-2500 or heirloom-sf.com