A16 Food + Wine

A16 Food + Wine

By Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren

Ten Speed Press, $35

A16? It seems a little cold and abstract as restaurant names go, but don't let it put you off. It refers to a highway that bisects Campania, the region of Southern Italy whose robust cuisine inspires and informs the menu at this San Francisco hot spot. The recipes presented here by Appleman, A16's executive chef and a RH Rising Star in April 2007, strike a delicious balance between authentic peasant-style cooking and the expectations of the contemporary restaurant patron. It's particularly strong on pizza, pasta and charcuterie. His tutorial on meatballs, an unintended signature item at A16, is worth the price of the book alone. So is wine director Lindgren's information about the wine regions of Southern Italy — that's Campania and beyond.