With its tree-lined streets and genteel corners, the block of Folsom between 21st and 22nd feels like a slice of New Orleans's Garden District. The Big Easygoing vibe continues inside the confines of Heirloom Cafe (2500 Folsom St., 415-821-2500), which manages to feel tucked away even though it occupies a corner. Amid weathered wood walls and bentwood chairs, Chef Matt Straus treats classic European cuisine with reverence but updates it with a modern Mission District sensibility. Dining at Heirloom feels like being an honored guest at a stately historical home owned by good-timers who've outfitted with a very serious wine cellar. A veteran sommelier and food industry lifer who's worked everywhere from McDonald's at age 14 to Campanile in Los Angeles, Straus long dreamed of opening a restaurant where the wine list came first. On a recent Friday, I met up with some friends for dinner in the laid-back but lovely space; it was lively but not too loud, perfect for a dinner with parents or a date. Two of us had the three-course prix fixe, which is a very reasonable $80 with wine pairings, considering the wines were outstanding, unexpected, and perfectly paired. The California and French-inspired food was unfussy but elegantly executed. Beet salad with pickled fennel and almond butter prepped the palate perfectly for entrees like sliced duck with farro and port sauce, served with a 1986 White Rock Claret, and simple but divine roasted chicken with wilted escarole and bacon (pictured). I ordered the sea scallops over sweet mashers — comforting yet quirky — and the scallops (pictured) were cooked to perfection, as was my side of broccoli. In fact, the only place Heirloom lacked was in more restrained dishes like the bacon and onion tart and the dessert of Meyer lemon vanilla chiffon cake, both of which weren't bad but just basic. The wine, like the food, felt familiar yet unintimidating, like discovering an instant connection with a stranger at a party. Thankfully, I think I'm invited back.