If you look up the Italian translation of “cioppino,” you won’t find it. The word evolved from San Fran’s cadre of late 19th-century Italian fi shermen, who chopped the leftovers of their catch for a nightly community stew simmered on the city’s wharf. “It’s that perfect one-bowl kind of meal,” says chef Jim Burke, who serves a so-good-you-could-dive-into-it cioppino at the dressed-down lounge in his dressed-up restaurant, James. Virgin-pure halibut— the same specimen that commands $34 on the dining room menu—is a recurring player in Burke’s $17 cioppino, joined by wild salmon, snapper, octopus and whatever other fi sh the kitchen is working with that evening. But the real star is the deep, soulful, body-and-soul-comforting broth: tomato sauce simmered for seven hours with browned veal, blended with mussel stock and a slug of Pernod. Sink into it spoonful by spoonful—and don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and dip with the accompanying crusty garlic bread. It’s de rigueur, even in these digs.