A change of ownership in the late summer swept this downtown, high-end power lunch locale back into the local culinary spotlight. Its reopening just before Indian Market brought full-house crowds to the historic white-walled home and its radiant courtyard. We squeezed in at the bar and enjoyed watching as a rainbow of cocktails and aperitifs designed by new owner Quinn Stephenson sailed away. Ours was a purple-hued plum martini with spiced plum bitters and citrus ($18). We tackled the lunch choices from the single-page menu by executive chef Kelmin Rosa with a shared-plate plan, dividing up three dishes between two people: the sumptuous Talus Wind Ranch pork dumplings with a thick and savory sesame dipping sauce ($14), a side of roasted cauliflower and broccolini ($12) with a deep flavor, seasoned with garlic, parsley, chiles and vinegar, and an order of avocado tartine—that's fancy speak for toast laden with garlic cream and pickled vegetables ($12). The fancy didn't stop when we took a gander at the dessert menu ($13 each), from which we chose cookies and cream. A pile of cookies and a dollop of fresh whipped cream arrived with a small glass of milk—all atop a gold doily that was totally unnecessary given how much the cookies shined on their own.

231 Washington Ave., 984-1788
Lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday
santacafe.com