Rye on Time

Out of the bread and onto the plate

Rye whiskey has escaped extinction. Rye bread and rye beer are fashionable once more.

And now San Francisco chefs are playing with the grain itself.

At Prospect, Pamela Mazzola serves seared duck breast and pressed leg meat ($31) over whole rye berries. Their chew left intact, the grains are given an autumnal cast–sautéed with apples, shredded duck confit meat and roast walnuts. Prospect, 300 Spear St. (at Folsom St.); 415-247-7770 or prospectsf.com

Perbacco's chef, Staffan Terje, also plays off rye's earthier, rustic notes in his cunij ($25), a roast rabbit haunch paired with a fat rabbit boudin that he sets atop a "risotto" of rye berries and chanterelles, alloyed with a potent rabbit reduction sauce. Perbacco, 230 California St. (at Front St.); 415-955-0663 or perbaccosf.com

And Tartine Bakery recently introduced a chocolate-rye cookie ($1.35), its top speckled with hollow grains of salt; dark chocolate smothers the grain's bite but lets its bewitchingly grassy flavor through. Tartine Bakery, 600 Guerrero St. (at 18th St.); 415-487-2600 or tartinebakery.com