American Gothic

You can ignore the music at the Chapel's new restaurant in the Mission

Much as we love the Fox or the Great American Music Hall, we wouldn't eat there when the stage is silent.

Not so with The Vestry: The newly launched food operation at the Chapel–formerly the site of a Mission mortuary–fills up particularly fast when there's a show next door, but is much more than a pre-concert stop.

The Vestry's executive chef, Matthew Colgan, also oversees the kitchen at longtime favorite À Côté in Oakland. So instead of bland burgers and dogs, Colgan and chef de cuisine Seamus Mackenzie are putting out ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms ($13) whose crisp, battered exteriors are no more than a millimeter thick, and chicory salads whose bitter crunch is offset with the season's first sweet persimmons ($10).

The food's what we San Franciscans might call unfussy–a few citrus-smacked seared scallops ($18) arranged around beet risotto, or slices of a righteously tender Alsatian sausage ($13) with roast potatoes and grainy mustard.

The bar at The Vestry

There are two seating options: gothic and picnic. Right now, the correct choice is the latter; on warm evenings the restaurant's fenced-in patio is a hive of conversation. After 10 p.m., the action shifts to the black-walled, moodily lit interior.

The restaurant takes reservations until 11:30 p.m. every night, so you can ignore the concert schedule altogether.

Just be sure to dress accordingly. (We'd recommend black.)