The term “baby” has a wide range of connotations. When your new squeeze uses it to refer to you, you blush. When your shrink uses it, you throw things.
Christopher Losa clearly meant it as a term of endearment when he named his new Mission spot Bar Bambino. (Italian for you-guessed-it.)
Losa’s love child blends functional beauty (a salume and formaggi bar enclosed in glass, Japanese maples on the back patio) with fancy trimmings (a Carerra marble bar top, communal tables carved from Siberian wood).
The menu is full of rustic Northern Italian dishes in authentic portion sizes — with nary a small plate in sight. Try bruschetta with poached egg, freshly grated Parm, and truffle oil; pork shoulder braised in milk, sage, and lemon; and bite-size polpette. Italian vinos and house-filtered still or sparkling water wet the whistle.
You may have to stifle an embarrassing Austin Powers “Yeah, baby!” when you try the Ecco coffee micro roasts.
Or let it slide and explain yourself later.
Bar Bambino, 2931 16th Street, between Mission Street and South Van Ness Avenue (415-701-8466 or barbambino.com).