A duo of notable newcomers debuts in California

ST. HELENA: Martini House, 1245 Spring St., (707) 963-2233
Restaurateur Pat Kuleto (of Boulevard and Farallon fame) teamed up with chef Todd Humphries — both Napa residents — to open Martini House in a 1923 vintage craftsman-style bungalow. Sonoma foie gras and roast squab typify the kitchen’s Napa cuisine, stres-sing local produce, meats, and game. Get cozy indoors beside one of three fireplaces or out on the arbor-covered patio in view of a 75-year-old fountain.

SAN FRANCISCO: Merenda, 1809 Union St., (415) 346-7373
After stints at the White House, Spruce in Chicago, and Aspen’s Little Nell, chef Keith Luce is on the move again. In San Fran’s Cow Hollow neighborhood, he launches Merenda, a small Euro-style Mediterranean cafe and wine bar. Snare one of only 30 seats for such seasonal dishes as pappardelle with lamb shoulder and rabbit with porcini stew. With four courses priced at $42, best start dialing for reservations now. —