A classic revamped, Persian-style

When tapped as the new front man for an institution, you can either take the reins (like George Steinbrenner), or knuckle under to a long-established direction (like that guy who's in Journey now). Looking more like the former, Zaré at Fly Trap

Ushering in the 102yr-old classic's newest era, Iranian-born chef Hoss Zaré (Zaré, Bistro Zaré, Ecco) has given the "Barbary Coast era" interior a moddish jolt, and kicked the classic Cali menu in favor of Persian/Mediterranean grub. To un-stuff the mood, some of the old-fashioned trappings have hit the bricks (the white tablecloths, the piano, the pianist), and the date ante's been upped by complimenting the vintage maps, botanicals, diagrams, and pressed tin ceilings with bright red walls and warmly lit sconces; larger parties can hang at two new communal tables, while the 15-seat leather-clad bar still accommodates people those larger parties think are lame, and totally didn't invite. The all-day menu starts with apps both light (baby octopus, calamari frisee) and hearty (honey/pomegranate-glazed pistachio meatballs, lamb cheek Bolognese conchiglioni), then moves to mains like the Zaré Niman/Persian pickle/sumac "lamburger", and the creamy tarragon/mushroom/artichoke "drunken" half chicken ("yousa shoulda seentha other half chicken...")

To wash it all down, Zaré's stocking a Cali/Med-, 100-bottle wine list, and mixing Barbary Coast cocktails like the Trader Vic's Mai Tai and the Absinthe Frappe, plus "Cradle of Civilization" concoctions like the Aquavit/beet juice/lemon "Jitterbug Perfume" and the lime/saffron "Cardamom My Dearest" -- which sounds gross, but Zaré's got skillz, so don't stop believing.