Classic Tables: One Market

By eschewing trends, this 18-year-old feels timeless

Think back to the early 1990s, to a time before this city's pizza explosion, before the dot-com bubble and bust, when contemporary American food was the order of the day. One Market Restaurant, which opened in 1993, is a product of that era.

After 18 years, you might expect the veneer to have worn thin. But though the menu is larded with signatures, from bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin ($26) to Bradley's Caesar salad ($10.75; a nod to founding chef Bradley Ogden), it doesn't feel dated.

Perhaps that's because Mark Dommen, who has been chef-partner since 2004, doesn't play to trends. Strong technique, bolstered by the restaurant's proximity to the farmers market, is the magic formula. Dommen deploys it well, as in the guinea-hen pot-au-feu ($29.50), a crisp-skinned hen surrounded by tiny spring turnips and carrots, asparagus, spring onions and hon-shimeji mushrooms in crystal-clear consommé.

By expertly walking the line between straightforward and outré, Dommen has created a timeless restaurant. Yes, there's steak on the menu ($33), mashed potatoes that are equal parts butter and starch ($6.75), and some irresistible butterscotch pudding ($5.75). But Dommen also serves silken slices of shaved beef tongue atop an acidic tangle of cabbage ($11) and a "weekly beast" menu ($45 for four courses), the protein changing each week.

One Market is not a restaurant that has changed drastically over its nearly two decades, but it is one that has grown up in fine fashion.

One Market Restaurant, One Market St.; 415-777-5577 or onemarket.com