Upscale with a bit of eccentricity seems to be the District San Jose way. The new tapas restaurant has a sleek peninsula-shaped bar that stands in contrast to austere exposed brick walls. On a recent holiday evening, a Sharks game played on one screen while It’s a Wonderful Life played on another. A color-coded mat for Twister even found a home in the comfy, dimly lit confines, suggesting things could get fun, or weird, or both, at any moment.

The newest addition to San Pedro Square—ownership also runs restaurants that go by the same name in San Francisco and Oakland, as well as an eatery (Martins West) in Redwood City—District has an ambiance best suited for groups, so I brought a motley crew.

We began with the Warm Barrata ($16), which comes as one would hope—a thick mound of gooey cheese that tears apart with deft crostini scoops. It had a bit of a chocolate pudding taste, for reasons I’ll admit I’m too dim to understand; get off my lawn. Meanwhile, the figs ($9) needed no culinary expertise, as they were delicious.

Chicken wings ($11), surprisingly enough, were the biggest stars of the meal. As a consumer who requires bibs (multiple), I generally refrain from finger foods. Too much sauce on the face or surrounding walls is usually poor form in public. But these wings were crispy and seasoned to specification, making for a manageable affair when pairing the bird with the excellent peanut sauce. The hangar steak ($16) and its rich dipping sauce finished a close second.

The Tempura Avocado ($8) reminded me of a panko-crusted variation of the dish found at Zona Rosa, one of my favorite restaurants over the last few years. The deep-fried delights melt in one’s mouth and the chipotle aioli was excellent. While it might not have matched Zona Rosa’s high bar, it didn’t disappoint. Lamb meatballs ($11.50) provided another small plate worthy of admiration, as greedy forks flashed for meat and swipes of the delicious tomato sauce.

The Steak Tartare ($17) came with a citrus-sweet jam that worked surprisingly well with gruyere-covered bread, while the Pistachio Pesto Pizza ($17) could have used a spicy kick or more sausage. The pie still played well with the CrossFitter at the table, perhaps because he hadn’t had a carb since Harvey Weinstein was still a hell of a guy.

District, like all new restaurants, is still finding its way, but the latest addition to San Pedro Square suggests the nightlife district is moving in the right direction.

District San Jose 
65 N San Pedro St, San Jose.