Classic Tables: Range

This Mission restaurant has gracefully weathered time and a chef change

The intimate dining room at Range may fill up later than it once did. Bucking the normal life cycle of an eight-year-old restaurant, the diners sport shirts more rumpled than before, and their hair is shot through with fewer strands of gray. The appeal of Range's finely detailed food, however, remains the same.

We're talking details like the way the sweet and vegetal crunches of a melon-cucumber salad ($12) end in the prickle of a green-peppercorn vinaigrette. Or the ethereal texture of charred eggplant ($21), its suave blandness given resonant flavor by a swipe through a tomato-saffron coulis.

Chef-owner Phil West turned day-to-day management of the kitchen over to Rachel Sillcocks a year ago, but the transition now appears seamless. "I think that his food and my food are very similar in terms of the ingredients we like to use and our execution," Sillcocks says.

The melon-cucumber salad at Range

Although she's now working with a longer set list of spices, the style Sillcocks previously demonstrated at Piccino–clean, vegetable-focused, impeccably balanced–honors Range's core blend of comfort and carefulness.

Another example: sole with fresh shell beans, Nardello peppers and salsa verde ($26). The herb-olive relish is its focal point–just sharp enough to keep you zeroed in on the oil-poached sole's yielding, creamy flesh.

It's like an Italian shoe: The closer you look, the more you realize how well it's made.