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The Barbary Coast re-created by the Comstock Saloon would have appeared to the denizens of the 19th-century vice district as a utopian
fantasy. The saloon's booths are occupied by mixed groups, the bartenders have all their teeth, and the booze won't make you go blind. That doesn't make the romance it stages any less potent, because everything about the place is so beautifully realized. Jonny Raglin and Jeff Hollinger's take on classic cocktails such as Pisco Punches and South Sides is deft, and even defter is the way chef Carlo Espinas lightens and modernizes Victorian dishes - beans and salt pork, Hamburg steak, beef-shank and bone marrow pie - so they feel as contemporary as a well-made Manhattan.