The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
March 17, 2015

The sign at Aster. Photo from Instagram.


Smoked trout from a recent test dinner at Coi. Photo from Instagram.

As reported on tablehopper back in September, Brett Cooper has partnered with the Daniel Patterson Group to open ~ASTER~ in the former Beast and the Hare in the Mission. A final opening date has been set for Tuesday March 31st, and though we’ll have menus and photos for you when we return from vacation then, here are some details to feast on in the meantime.

Cooper has assembled his kitchen team, including sous chef Meghan Clark (Delfina, Aziza, Spoonbar, and Kin Khao) and pastry chef Sean Ehland (McCrady’s in Charleston). Unsurprisingly, the restaurant will be impeccably sourcing their seafood, meats, and produce, and the menu will change seasonally. The dishes have a familiar backbone, but often include items prepared in unexpected ways or with unexpected ingredients. Some dishes to look for include potato and nettle dumplings with maitake, peas, and charred scallion, or black cod with chard, miso levain, and smoked cod broth. For dessert, you’ll find a beet crémeux with white chocolate and hazelnuts (beets on dessert menus seems to be a growing trend). To prepare for the restaurant’s opening, Cooper and his team have been hosting pop-up test dinners at Coi, and Chef’s Feed has a cool video from one of them.

Mark Mendoza of the Daniel Patterson Group has developed the wine and beverage list, which focuses on natural and biodynamic wines from international appellations. They’re also going to be using a Coravin system, too, which allows for a large range of options by the glass, including older vintages and more unusual pours. As for the space, which seats 45, designer Scott Kester has created a living garden that is intended to be both casual and elegant. More on that on the 31st. Hours will be Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. 1001 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.


The interior at El Capitan. Photo by Jon Whitehead.


Rock cod frybread taco from El Capitan. Photo by Jon Whitehead.

~EL CAPITAN~, the new project from Jon Whitehead we mentioned earlier this month, is now open in the former Radius space in SoMa. Mark Furr is running the kitchen, and his menu is inspired by Latin and Caribbean flavors. The restaurant is all about hospitality and fun, with food intended for sharing and pairing with drinks. There are lots of small plates, including multiple varieties of ceviche, grilled octopus with a white bean salad, chicken wings with Cholula-ancho glaze, and fry bread tacos with various fillings. In the coming weeks, they will also begin offering family-style platters of large-format meats, including whole fish and an Argentine-style asado. Check out the current menu here.

As for those drinks, right now they’ve got local beer and wine on tap, as well as sangria available by the pitcher and low-proof cocktails. A full liquor license should be landing in late spring too. The newly refreshed space has new paint and new art on the walls and will soon offer a private dining space in “the captain’s room” for groups. Hours are Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, and there is a happy hour every day they are open from 5pm-6:30pm. 1123 Folsom St. at Langton, 415-525-3676.


The pozole verde from El Pípila. Photo by John Ater.


Sopes from El Pípila. Photo: ©

It’s always fantastic news when another La Cocina business gets their own brick-and-mortar space. Or in the case of Guadalupe Guerrero of El Pípila, her own kiosk in ~THE HALL~ in Mid-Market.

Her story is an inspiring one: she left her native Acámbaro, Mexico, in 1998 and had to make the hard decision to leave her two girls behind while she came to work at a taqueria in Berkeley. (Can you imagine?) After working for 12-hour days, six days a week, for two years (alone, in a country where she didn’t speak the language), she was able to send for her girls.

Flash forward to 2005, when she met Alicia Villanueva of Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas, a fellow immigrant who told Guadalupe about La Cocina. Guadalupe has been a part of La Cocina since 2012, building her catering business and running a successful stand at Off the Grid Fort Mason (and appearing at the Street Food Festival). Her two daughters, Brenda (25) and Alejandra (28) are helping her with the business, which specializes in Guanajuatan recipes. Her pozole verde is extraordinary—it’s her mother’s recipe, which is made with chicken, tomatillo, hominy, and the brilliant addition of bacon. Trust me, you want this in your life. She also makes sopes, in homage to the street food vendors from home, topped with braised nopales. You’ll find these delicious and authentic dishes and more at her new stand at The Hall.

Guadalupe has come a long, long way. Not only can you help support her in this new venture by visiting her new kiosk, but she is also in the final days of crowdfunding her Kiva Zip loan. She only needs about $2,000 left (it’s a no-interest loan!) to help with equipment and first month’s rent. There are just six days left to help! Even $10, $20, will go far. Even if you can’t lend money, please tell your networks about it! Let’s show this amazing woman some support.

Soft-launch hours for now are Mon-Fri 11am-8pm, and every other Saturday. 1028 Market St. at 6th St.


Breton butter croissants at Un Fil à la Patte. Photo by David Carbonell.


Pain au chocolat. Photo by David Carbonell.


Mini baguettes. Photo by David Carbonell.

San Francisco is really lucky with our current bakery game right now, because it’s strong. Due to open late summer in North Beach is ~UN FIL À LA PATTE~ from David Carbonell, a French transplant who has been living in the Bay Area the past five years. His family has been in the bakery business for more than 200 years, because that’s how things roll in France, although he broke from the baking path to study art history, and then to be a journalist and war photographer.

But now the family’s baking roots have tugged Carbonell back. He is inspired by how obsessed San Franciscans are about food, and because he wants to offer baked goods with a real “French taste,” he will only use French ingredients, from the butter to flour. He knows this will be challenging, but he really wants to make it happen.

He will focus on viennoiserie, with speciality pastries, breads, and desserts (he mentions olive bread, cereal bread, and macarons too). Carbonell will also be offering some rare items, like le pain du chat rouge, which means “the bread of the red cat,” a recipe that is more than 300 years old. More than anything, he really wants his bakery to become a daily stop for the people in the neighborhood.

The location was previously a shop, Metis Makers on Grant Avenue, so it will require some permitting hurdles and remodeling. He wants the look to be like a humble “bread depot, where people feel at home, a French corner in the heart of San Francisco.”

As for the name, of course it has roots in the 17th century: it translates as “a string attached at your leg,” which was a reminder to flirtatious married men that they should think before looking at other women. Oh, the French. Look for updates from us this summer. 1314 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.


2227 Polk Street, the future home of House Rules. Photo from Google Street View.

Russian Hill residents will have two new spots opening on the same block of Polk Street, between Vallejo and Green. First up, the former Interior Visions is being transformed into a (currently unnamed) sushi restaurant from the chef-owner of Saru in Noe Valley, Billy Kong, and the chef-owner of Seiya in San Carlos, Kuo Hwa Chuang. The menu will focus on kaiseki and traditional sushi, so don’t expect yet another place with a menu of spicy tuna rolls with cream cheese in them. There will be a sushi bar and tables, about 45 seats in all. The change-of-use has been a long process, but construction is under way and they hope to open in July or August. There will be more details to release soon, like the name, so we’ll keep you posted. 2206 Polk St. at Vallejo.

Across the street in the former Pesce and Uno Dos Tacos will be ~HOUSE RULES~, a new bar from Rick Howard and Noelle Calixto (Eddie Rickenbackers, Campus bar), with Scott Youkilis consulting on the food menu, and Michael Brennan is designing the interior. The opening is looking like mid-April now, so we’ll have more to share in a couple of weeks. 2227 Polk St. at Vallejo.


The fried chicken biscuit at Rusty’s Southern. Photo from Facebook.

An April opening is slated for the new location of ~FISH & FARM~, which is moving into the former Elephant & Castle location in the Financial District. Fish & Farm, which currently is housed in the Hotel Mark Twain, will close that location on March 31st, according to Barbary Coast News. Then, in April, they will reopen in the new space, which is currently being built out. Look for a New American menu with sustainable seafood and meat, along with a full bar, wine, and beer. 424 Clay St. at Battery, 415-474-3474.

Tokyo ramen restaurant Mensho Ramen is opening its first outpost in the United States in May. Scoop reports that chef-owner Tomoharu Shono will call it ~MENSHO TOKYO~, and the menu will resemble the one currently being served at his Tokyo locations, but with additional small plates. 676 Geary St. at Leavenworth.

Rusty Olson managed the bar at Suppenküche for seven years and is now getting ready to open his own place in the Tenderloin, called ~RUSTY’S SOUTHERN~. Hoodline reports that Olson, a native of the Carolinas, has brought on chef Francis Rubio of Biergarten to run the kitchen. The pair plans to serve Southern dishes like fried chicken, barbecue, and shrimp with okra, along with brunch options. The restaurant is actually opening in the ground floor of The City Hope Community Center, and they plan to partner with the center on community service projects and possibly even a vocational training program in the future. They hope to open in late March; in the meantime, check out their Kickstarter campaign and consider contributing.


A plate from Square Meals. Photo from Facebook.


Breakfast tacos from SixFoot20. Photo from Yelp.

The brick-and-mortar location of prepared foods outfit ~LILAH BELLE’S~ on Divisadero is closing, Eater reports, and ~SQUARE MEALS~ is moving in. Lilah Belle’s will remain in operation, but owner Traci Freeman says her customers are more interested in her delivery service than in-store pickup, so she’ll be focusing on online ordering and delivery from now on. Square Meals, in the meantime, is opening as a takeout space today, March 17th, and this summer will add a café similar to their current Polk Street location, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. 1207 Divisadero St. at Eddy, 415-674-1069.

We mentioned a few weeks ago that ~CHEZ MAMAN~ on Potrero Hill is moving from its smaller location (at 1453 18th Street) into the larger Chez Papa Bistrot space on the corner (at 1401 18th Street). Just wanted to let you know the opening is Monday March 23rd! It will have the same menu, with a few additions (and larger tables, of course).

~SIXFOOT20~, the breakfast taco pop-up from chef Raymond Gaston, has secured a brick-and-mortar location and will be opening in late summer, according to Hoodline. He’s been popping up in the Excelsior and other locales around town, with a changing menu of breakfast tacos. Some past manu highlights have included gochujang chicken breakfast tacos, crispy mushroom breakfast tacos, and Dr. Pepper braised pork taco. Gaston will be moving into the former Rising Star Laundry location in the Duboce Triangle, and plans to serve breakfast and lunch both for dine-in and takeout. There will be tacos for breakfast in the morning, and then look for rice bowls at lunch, including a dirty-looking (in the best way) burger on rice with an egg. Gaston is also hoping to roast his own coffee beans in-house, depending on permits. 439 Duboce Ave. at Belcher.


Xiao long bao from Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong. Photo: ©

After years of rumors, it appears that ~DIN TAI FUNG~ is officially coming to the Bay Area with a location in Santa Clara’s Westfield Valley Fair mall. Eater has confirmed that the international chain, which has locations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Thailand as well as in greater Los Angeles and Seattle, will be opening a large location later this year. According to a Chinese newspaper Eater had translated, the restaurant should open in October and will clock in at about 8,500 square feet with seating for 200 people. And still, get ready for long lines. RELEASE THE XIAO LONG BAO!


Meatball with tare and egg yolk at Yardbird in Hong Kong. Photo: ©


Coffee shochu from Yardbird. Photo: ©

During my whirlwind trip to Hong Kong, one of the places I was most excited to check out was ~YARDBIRD~, since chef Matt Abergel’s chicken game is hella strong. I was lucky to have an hour to hang out with Matt, drink some beers, and get the scoop on the Hong Kong culinary scene before dining at the counter at his crazy-busy izakaya/restaurant. While the chicken yakitori list had upwards of 15 different pieces you could try (neck, thigh, heart, and even tail), and it’s what they’re known for, we also dug the corn tempura, ox tongue, and someone had a bit too much of their Stumptown-coffee infused shochu that they shake up like a shakerato, so it makes you want to, uh, have another.

Since I totally buried the lede here, I should probably mention now that Matt Abergel will be doing a Yardbird pop-up/à la carte dinner for two nights at ~IZAKAYA RINTARO~ on Monday April 27th and Tuesday April 28th. Chef-owner Sylvan Mishima Brackett met Matt last year when he came to do a private dinner at 18 Reasons, and Sylvan helped him source ingredients for the dinner. It will be fun night and rare chance to experience Matt’s yakitori and other dishes (and they are bringing the coffee shochu—be careful).

Reservations can be made only by phone (415-589-7022) or email.


Duck gravy hash browns for brunch at Klyde. Photo courtesy Klyde Cafe & Wine Bar.

Union Square has a new spot for happy hour and brunch. ~KLYDE~ in the Hotel G is now offering happy hour every Monday through Friday from 3pm to 7pm. Select wines are available for $5 a glass or $25 a bottle, with selections from all over the world.

They are also serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 6:30am to 2pm. Dishes include a crab and fried green tomato Benedict ($16), almond brioche French toast with fruit and whipped cream ($9), and bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits ($16); check out the menu here. Of course, Bloody Marys and mimosas are also on offer. 386 Geary St. at Mason, 415-654-5061.

According to a post on Instagram, ~COCKSCOMB~ is now serving happy hour Monday through Thursday from 5pm to 6pm and 10pm to 11pm (love that). Specials include $1 oysters and $5 beer, glasses of wine, and negronis. 564 4th St. at Freelon, 415-974-0700.

~1760~ is now open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2:30pm. You’d best make it a boozy brunch, since their fabulous cocktails will be in full force—check out the brunch drinks here. The brunch menu will change seasonally but currently includes cardamom beignets ($8) and pork belly with kimchi fried rice and egg ($18), along with beverages like the green cardamom fizz (cardamom cream, lime, egg white, club soda, gin, $13) or brunch punch for two (hibiscus, ginger, mint, cinnamon, lemon, club soda, gin or vodka, $25).


The window display at Epicurean Trader. Photo from Facebook.

According to a friendly spy in Bernal Heights, a new specialty market is moving onto Cortland. Bernal Wood caught the news that ~THE EPICUREAN TRADER~ opened on Friday in the former Red Hills Bookstore, and the owners are husband-and-wife team Holly McDell and Matthew Pond.

In an email, the couple says they want to “create a marketplace for San Franciscans to browse, discover, and learn about new and innovative brands in the small-batch foods. We will be focused on high-quality artisan brands with a unique story, packaging and/or flavor combinations.” In many cases, the products they offer are available in San Francisco for the first time, including chocolate from Maverick Chocolate Company and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters from San Diego. Their inventory also includes cheese, charcuterie, and other pantry items, along with wine and beer. Alex Finberg, who has consulted for many restaurants around town, is heading up the wine selection and should be bringing some great selections to the table. Hours are daily 11am-8pm. 401 Cortland Ave. at Bennington, 415-872-9484.

Both SocketSite and The Bold Italic caught the news of a new market coming to the Mission. It comes from Bobby and Dmitri Vardakastanis of Haight Street Market, the family-owned natural food store in the Haight, and Noriega Produce in the Outer Sunset. Their new location will be at Harrison and 17th Street, in the ground floor of the mixed-use 400 Alabama building. With the opening of the third location, the family will be renaming all three locations ~GUS’S COMMUNITY MARKET~ after their father, Gus Vardakastanis, who took the market over from his father in the 1990s. The new location will offer a deli counter, butcher, seafood, and an outdoor space for enjoying a snack. No word on a timeline at the moment, but we’ll keep you updated. 400 Alabama St. at 17th St.


Emporio Rulli’s sfingi. Photo: ©

One thing that definitely does not suck over here is my mail, especially since it sometimes contains edible things for me to try (um, jackpot—well, unless you are trying to eat light, and then it’s pure fricking torture). A week ago, someone from Gary Rulli’s awesome Emporio Rulli baking team showed up with some zeppole (a fried bignè ring, filled with vanilla sponge cake brushed with kirsch, fresh whipped cream, Italian pastry cream, and sour amarena cherries) and my favorite, sfingi (a Sicilian fried cream puff stuffed with homemade ricotta), which they are making in preparation for La Festa di San Giuseppe on Thursday March 19th (just one day only, although the zeppole will be available from Thursday March 19th-Sunday March 21st!). If you know someone named Joe or Joseph, you should buy them one, and make sure you get one for yourself. They are $6.50 each, and they recommend you preorder them by calling 415-924-7478—you can arrange a pickup at one of Rulli’s SF locations.


Exterior of Café Claude Marina. Photo courtesy of AF&Co.

It appears that ~CAFE CLAUDE MARINA~ is closing permanently, after what was supposed to be a temporary closure and refresh in January. Scoop reports that owner Franck LeClerc says that while they intended to reopen with some new décor and an updated menu, he received some very generous offers on the space while it was closed. Turns out, one was just too good to refuse. No word just yet on what might be moving in, or LeClerc’s next project (he hints he’s up to something). 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore.

March 10, 2015

Jersey, looking towards the front of the restaurant. All photos: ©


The Little Italy pizza at Jersey.


The Jersey chopped salad.


Beef carpaccio.

Last week I had a chance to attend a friends and family test dinner for ~JERSEY~, the new Italian joint from Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal (Town Hall, Salt House, Anchor & Hope, La Capra). The brothers were Jersey boys, and so while pizza is an important part of the menu, you’ll also find pastas, roast chicken, and more. The chef is Ramona Rillo, who started as a line cook at Town Hall and then was a sous at Salt House.

Starters on the lunch menu include ‘nduja and ricotta on crostini, a fun Jersey chopped salad (complete with salami, provolone, and peperoncini) plus three other salads, and ahi tuna arancini. The dinner menu expands to include a beef carpaccio (they’re using tri-tip from Snake River Farms) topped with fried artichoke and a creamy confit of garlic and anchovy sauce, and meatballs on crostini with tomato sauce and fontina-jalapeño béchamel. Yeah, they’re having some fun.

For lunch, there’s a meatball sandwich, chicken Parm, a Jersey burger (with provolone and pancetta), and you gotta click the menu and check out the Goodfellas sandwich ($13-$15). There are also a couple of pasta dishes: bucatini and clams in red sauce ($10/$17), and pappardelle with guanciale Bolognese ($11/$18) and broccoli di ciccio (nighttime brings gnocchi and squid ink linguine with linguiça).

As for the pizza, there are two kinds. The Jersey style comes in a 14-inch size, and the crust is just soft and elastic enough, with a developed flavor from the long proof they’re doing. (Mitch says the pizza started as a hobby years ago, and his starter is at least six years old.) There’s a Trenton tomato pie, a meaty New Yorker, and we tried the Little Italy, with soppressata picante from Zoe’s, mozzarella, provolone, and a delicious tomato sauce (ranging from $16.50-$19). You can also try the California-style pizza, which is 12 inches and cooked in a hotter oven; there’s a margherita, an asparagus pizza, and a bianca ($14-$16).

Larger dinnertime entrées include roast pork ($23) and a diavola chicken ($19) with toasted bread salad. You’ll also find an easy-to-navigate wine list, full of Italian selections and some Cali picks too, with 15 by the glass. The beer selection is no slouch either, with nine on draught, like Drake’s nitro stout, Fort Point’s Manzanita altbier, and Ballast Point Longfin Lager.

The space (by Sagan Piechota Architecture) was formerly the Toaster Oven, which you won’t even recognize. Now it has a clean and classic industrial-chic look, with exposed brick walls, a long bar (plus counter seating at the front window), dark wainscoting, and an open kitchen in the back, with a punch of Prussian blue on the wall and yet another counter facing the pizza oven.

Reservations accepted. Hours are lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm; a limited menu between 2pm-5pm; dinner Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. 145 2nd St. at Mission, 415-912-1502.


Chef Olivier Roellinger at his outdoor cooking demo. All photos: ©


Chef Michel Bras helping to plate chef Francis Wolf’s dish at the Taste of France luncheon.


L’endive farcie, parfum de truffes, by Michel Bras.


The electric Ernst Loosen at his Mosel tasting and talk.


Bonjour, gorgeous. A 1966 poured en magnum at the Dom Pérignon tasting.


The lineup from the Dom Pérignon tasting.

It was an honor to be invited back to GourmetFest 2015, a weekend-long event in Carmel by the Sea, with some heavy-hitting Relais & Chateaux chefs from around the world, along with top winemakers and sommeliers from France, Italy, and more. I drove down early Saturday morning, in time for the outdoor cooking demo with chef Olivier Roellinger (Les Maisons de Bricourt), who gave an interesting talk about the history of spices and how his use of spices was a challenge to traditional Breton cuisine back in 1982. For the Taste of France lunch that followed, he served a riff on one of his first dishes (John Dory, cabbage, and 14 spices).

Another chef contributing to a lot of buzz at the luncheon was the presence of Michel Bras, who rarely leaves France for events. It was certainly enough for chef David Kinch to drive over for the day from Manresa, carting his first-edition cookbooks by Roellinger and Bras to have them signed. The ultimate fanboy!

Bras’s dish at the luncheon gave almost everyone pause: a beautiful head of endive (cooked so nearly all traces of bitterness were gone), filled with a mix of bread, olive oil, and black truffle, and then napped in an ethereal cloud of a cream sauce and a flurry of more truffle. So deceivingly simple but actually so complex. The 2008 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape paired with the dish was also a smooth talker. The entire lunch was rather special; hop on over here for more pics. And it’s worth nothing the new event venue, Seventh & Dolores, was a nice change and step up from last year’s tent.

After lunch, it was time for a fantastic wine tasting with Ernst Loosen of the Dr. Loosen estate in the Mosel. The man is so vibrant and energetic, the world needs more people like him (I thought he’s like the German Gary Pisoni). He walked us through the terroir, techniques, and a fabulous tasting of Wehlener Sonnenuhr riesling auslese vintages, including 1967, 1976, 1983, 1988 (loved the mushroom notes of this one), 1990, 1998, 2004, and 2011. What’s amazing is these “Erste Lage/grand cru” vines are more than 100 years old, with their original rootstock—they were never hit by phylloxera (the steep slopes and soil saved them). It was a fascinating talk, and if you ever have a chance to hear Ernie speak, you’re in for a treat.

I managed to get a quick and slightly tipsy power walk in along the beach at sunset (what a dreamy location, really) and then it was time to strap the feed bag back on for the Grand Chef Dinner. Highlights included the warm ceviche by Diego Muñoz (Astrid & Gastón Casa Moreyra in Lima), the “risoni all carbonara” by Annie Féolde of Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence), and the 2007 Calera Reed Vineyard pinot noir kept me in my happy place (and it was an honor to have the ever-stylin’ Josh Jensen at our table).

You can guess who slept like a rock in her room at La Playa Carmel—I kept my window cracked to listen to the nearby waves and let in some cool night air (the air in Carmel by the Sea is so bracing and fresh).

Sunday morning, time to rise and shine, time change be damned (of all nights I could have used that hour of sleep). I had a quick cappuccino and egg on toast at Carmel Belle—I needed to lay a little bedrock before walking into the 10:30am Dom Pérignon tasting, led by chef de cave Richard Geoffroy.

It quickly turned into one of the most extraordinary Champagne tastings of my life (I count last year’s Krug tasting and the private tasting I had in September at Louis Roederer as the other two, thus far!). We tasted vintages spanning from 1990 to 2004, and the stars of the morning, three vintages poured en magnum: the complex 1966, the precise 1973, and the extraordinary 1975. It’s so rare to be able to taste these wines, and the fact they were transported directly from the Dom Pérignon library makes it even more special because you know they were stored perfectly. Tasting the difference between the vintages was so illuminating. It was actually quite moving, I’ll admit I got a little misty. And I wasn’t alone—the energy in the room was palpable. I walked out of there feeling like the lucky lady I am.

I managed to snag a few quick bites at the Seafood Grill before heading back home—of course I needed to finish my 24-hour-luxury fandango with freshly shucked oysters from Taylor Shellfish topped with Siberian caviar from Black River Caviar, mmmhmmmm. Champagne wishes and caviar dreams, for real.

Merci beaucoup to everyone who put on this very special event—the caliber of chefs, winemakers, purveyors, and more is quite marvelous, and the smaller scale of it keeps it feeling very special.

For more pictures of the weekend, click on over here.


The 4505 Meats burger. It can be yours. Photo via Facebook.

A couple of exciting updates for you at burger and barbecue heaven, otherwise known as ~4505 BURGERS & BBQ~. First up, starting this Friday March 13th, their late-night cheeseburger window will be up and running. What this means is you can score the Best Damn Cheeseburger Friday and Saturday nights from from 11pm-1am. Oh yeah.

Secondly, in case you were driving or walking by and saw their outdoor patio looking rather construction-y, it’s because their whole shipping container/groovy outdoor seating situation is finally under way! Remember when we initially wrote about the shipping container, complete with indoor and outdoor seating, heaters, skylights, and food runners who will be able to help you with more beers? Well, it’s finally happening! You can read all about it on Hoodline, who says 4505 hopes to have it all ready around the first week of May, just in time for their one-year anniversary. 705 Divisadero St. at Grove.


Legume chaat with radishes, crispy boondi, and Szechuan pepper-verbena goat cheese at All Spice San Mateo. Photo from Facebook.

~GAME~, the restaurant that opened in November in the former Masa’s space, announced a changeup that will happen later this week. The restaurant is owned by Sachin Chopra and Shoshana Wolff, who also own All Spice in San Mateo, and they’ve decided to close Game and reopen as the San Francisco location of ~ALL SPICE~ on Friday March 13th. The All Spice menu is focused on modern American takes on Indian flavors, along with a special chef’s tasting menu. Check out the San Mateo location’s menu here.

To celebrate their grand reopening, they’ll be throwing a party on Thursday March 12th to benefit HandUp from 5:30pm to 8pm. Tickets to the party are just $5 (though you can donate more) and include a complimentary tasting of Chopra’s planned menu. HandUp is a crowdfunding organization committed to helping communities help each other through direct giving. 648 Bush St. at Powell, 415-874-9481.


A pic supplied to us of the always-smiling dine and dasher.

Consider this a heads-up for restaurant owners: I have been receiving multiple emails about a serial dine and dasher, who has a penchant for dining at quality places all over town (reportedly including Bar Tartine, Urchin Bistrot, Locanda, Marlowe, Rich Table, Cavalier) and manages to keep evading that onerous bill-paying part of the dining experience.

I spoke with a few restaurant employees who recounted their experiences with me, which basically goes like this: the diner, who goes by Glenn or Les, will sit at the counter or bar, for lunch or dinner. He’s extremely friendly, introducing himself to neighboring diners and the servers, sweet-talking everyone around him. He will go to the bathroom and outside to smoke numerous times, which gives servers a false sense of comfort when he isn’t in his chair because he soon returns…well, until he’s gone for good.

He is well dressed, middle-aged, orders heavy (lots of wine and cocktails), and extremely smiley. He also seems to not own a wallet. Ahem. Anyway, here’s the additional problem: not enough restaurants are filing police reports on this guy. He has been cornered and the police have been called to pick him up a couple of times, but there aren’t enough restaurants pressing charges to really put a stop to him. (Yet.) And when he gets caught, he doesn’t seem to really care—he just smiles and acts a bit nonplussed by the whole situation. Amazing. So keep your eyes peeled for this grinning charlatan, and let’s stop this cycle of restaurants being repeatedly ripped off by this guy.


The brunch burger at Sweet Woodruff. Photo from Facebook.

Chinatown jook shop Hing Lung closed three years ago, and lots of construction followed, along with a change in ownership. Now, the intrepid Chowhounders who have been closely monitoring the space’s progress are reporting that it’s open. It has a new name, ~CAFE BROADWAY~. No word on the menu quite yet, but here’s hoping for jook! 674 Broadway St. at Stockton.

Back in January, we reported that ~CHARIN~, the haute pop-up from Charles-C Onyeama, had a new home at Stable Cafe. Well, that space flooded back in December (that stretch of Folsom Street has been known to flood regularly), and they had to cancel their pop-ups in January and February. They’re back in business, though, with dinners on Sunday March 15th and Monday March 16th. There are also dinners scheduled for April 19th and 20th, and May 17th and 18th. Check out the menu for March here and make reservations here. The tasting menu costs $128 per person, not including wine pairings and a 20 percent service charge. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St.

Noe Valley Blog reports that ~HAPPY DONUTS~ in Noe Valley has reopened after a rather mysterious closure. The menu appears the same, and commenters are saying the doughnuts even taste the same. Thank goodness. 3801 24th St. at Church, 415-285-5890.

After a temporary closure in February due to water damage, ~SWEET WOODRUFF~ is reopening on Friday March 13th. According to a post on Instagram, they’ll be offering half-off specials on their grilled cheese, burgers, and soup all day long. 798 Sutter St. at Jones, 415-292-9090.


The famed cruffin from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Photo: ©

Noe Valley’s ~NOVY~ opened softly over the weekend, according to their Facebook page. The grand opening is this Saturday March 14th. As we reported in February, the new project is a family affair from John and Vi Gianaras and their two daughters, Kristen and Kathryn. The menu offer meze, burgers, salads, and pasta; they also serve brunch on weekends. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-9:30pm, Sat 9:30am-9:30pm, Sun 9:30am-9pm. 4000 24th St. at Noe, 415-829-8383.

Did you hear about the break-in at ~MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE~ last week? If you didn’t, here’s the deal: someone broke into the shop on the night of February 26th and stole all of pastry chef Ry Stephens’s recipes from binders. All their expensive bakery equipment, an iPad, computers, and even cash remained untouched, however. The The New York Times even picked up the story. While the press coverage of the incident can only be good for the bakery’s already surging popularity, Stephens is upset with the break-in, quite understandably. We’re so sorry, Ry, and people, please, stop it. 1042 Larkin St. at Sutter, 415-829-7700.

There’s a new chef and menu at ~LA MOVIDA~, the casual wine bar in the Mission. Now at the helm is Scott Carrelli (he has worked at Bar Agricole and Delfina, and most recently at the Dark Horse Inn in the Excelsior), offering a mix of eclectic California-inspired cuisine. There are plenty of small plates if you’re just looking for a bite to pair with a beer or glass of wine. On the menu: his famed kimchi Reuben, pickled curry deviled eggs, baccala croquettes, a polenta bowl with fonduta and sous vide egg, and mac and cheese with seasonal mushrooms and house-smoked chicken. Look for eight rotating items, with two or three nightly specials. Brunch will be relaunching at the end of March.

A neighborhood friend let us know that ~ALA ROMANA~ in Nob Hill has closed, and Yelp confirms the news. It looks like the space is for lease. 1098 Jackson St. at Taylor.

Remember back in 2013 when we told you about the New Orleans project from the owner of local ~PIZZETTA 211~? Well, ~PALADAR 511~ has officially opened! The Times-Picayune has a full story, along with photos. Congratulations, all! 511 Marigny St. at Decatur, New Orleans, 504-509-6782.


CAAMFest tickets, along with Masumoto Family Farm’s peach sauce on Frozen Kuhsterd. Photo from Facebook.

CAAMFest (which was formerly known as the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival) is taking place Thursday March 12th through Sunday March 22nd in various locations in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. The festival includes lots of great food-related programming, including some screenings you won’t want to miss (more below). There is also a whole lineup of food-oriented events and plenty of films and events to check out. Most tickets are $14 for the general public, $13 for students, seniors, and disabled adults, and $12 for CAAM members; find the full festival schedule and details here.

On Thursday March 19th at 7pm, catch Supper Club at New People Cinema. Director Edmond Wong follows chef Alvin Leung as he visits restaurants in the Bay Area and has in-depth conversations about the food industry and cultural identity. Oh, and there’s plenty of gorgeous food to gawk at, too. Details and tickets here.

The Masumoto peach farm is the focus of Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm on Friday March 20th at the Oakland Museum of California. The screening is at 7pm and tells the story of a year at the family farm in the Central Valley. The Masumotos will be in attendance, and there will be a conversation about the film. Details here, rush only.

These are just few highlights of the festival, but there is tons more to check out. Don’t miss out!


Chef Carlo Middione. Photo by Daniel Bahmani via the New Fillmore.

On Thursday April 16th, ~LUCE~ is hosting none other than chef Carlo Middione and his wife Lisa of Vivande, which shuttered in 2010. (How many memories do I have of eating in that beloved Fillmore restaurant? A bunch.)

The evening begins at 6:30pm with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, followed by a multicourse Italian feast complete with wine pairings. Check out the planned menu here. The dinner is $150 per person and includes all food and beverages, though not tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. Lobby Level, InterContinental Hotel, 888 Howard St. at 5th St., 415-616-6566.


Chicken, waffles, and scrambled eggs at Gussie’s. Yelp photo by Lily Y.

After reporting the sad news in January of ~GUSSIE’S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES~ closure in the Fillmore, we were so happy to hear that owner Michele Wilson has secured a location in Oakland. East Bay Express reports that she signed the lease on a space in Uptown Oakland, next door to the Paramount Theatre, and will be rebranding the new space as ~GUSSIE’S SOUTHERN TABLE AND BAR~. They will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There will also be a full liquor license and a basement lounge space that will feature music and dancing. The menu, though, will remain mostly the same, and prices should stay relatively low, less than $18 per dish. They have to build out the space completely, but are aiming for a September opening. 2021 Broadway at 21st St., Oakland.

Paleo diners and others on restrictive diets rejoice! You now have new place to eat out in North Berkeley, called ~MISSION: HEIRLOOM~ (which is an interesting name for a restaurant not located in the Mission and not associated with Heirloom Café). It comes from husband-and-wife team Bobby Chang and Yrmis Barroeta, and Berkeleyside Nosh has a nice in-depth story on the project from last July. They are striving to make paleo-style food that is delicious in addition to healthful. They are offering bone broths to go as part of their “Counter Basics” line, either for sipping or taking home, as well as serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. They are also selling lots of meals to take home for those short on time on Good Eggs.

The partners have also put a great deal of work into keeping their facility as “clean” as possible, including a negative ion air purifier and reverse-osmosis water-purifying system. If all of this is sounding like the pilot episode of Berklandia, well, you’re not wrong. But some of their menu items, like the lamb nettle stew, sounds downright delicious, no matter what you do or don’t eat. Current hours are Fri-Sun, Tue 11am-9pm. 2085 Vine St. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-859-4501.

Preeti Mistry’s ~JUHU BEACH CLUB~ has nabbed a full liquor license, is celebrating its second anniversary, and it’s Holi! So many reasons to party! Join them on Sunday March 15th from 11am to 3pm for a good time. All drinks will be $5, and there will be some free food. Be sure to wear white and get lots of colored powder thrown at you!

Jen Biesty of Oakland’s ~SHAKEWELL~ is going to be appearing on television! The Top Chef alum is going to be on The Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay, with airings this Thursday, Friday, and more. Don’t miss it!

Steve Carlin, the developer behind Napa’s Oxbow Public Market, has partnered with Jack London Square Ventures and the Port of Oakland to bring ~WATER STREET MARKET~ to Jack London Square in Oakland. The new project is opening at 55 Water Street and will include 32,000 square feet on the ground floor, with additional office spaces totaling 110,000 square feet above. There’s no official timeline yet, but fair to say it’s still a ways out. 55 Water St. at Franklin, Oakland.

March 3, 2015

The table is set for The Family Meal at The Progress. All photos by Eric Wolfinger.


A triumvirate of cocktails (thanks Campari America!).


Magnums of Louis Roederer Brut Premier were poured all night.


Oysters in kimchi mignonette for days.


The mind-blowing uni guacamole.


Nicole Krasinski lighting up the night’s flaming island.



Last December, before the holiday season kicked in, I co-hosted The Family Meal, a chefs-only after-hours spaghettata with Sosh at Locanda, which was a blurry night of Negronis, caviar and SKYY vodka shots, foie gras on gingerbread, mountains of spaghetti, and a showstopping croquembouche for dessert. Yup, the Turtle Tower chicken pho in the gift bags saved more than a few people the next day.

So when Sosh came to me in the new year about planning a sequel, it begged the question: how do you follow up one of the coolest events you have ever thrown? Well, for starters, you throw it at the city’s hottest restaurant (insert Stefon voice here): The Progress, created by two of the city’s most beloved creative forces, Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski. Fortunately they agreed it was a great idea.

At 10pm on Tuesday February 24th, chefs started rolling into the bar area at The Progress, greeted by the smell of savory pancakes (with Gruyère and grated Périgord truffle) that Stuart was making on a griddle in the back corner of the bar. Thanks to sponsor Louis Roederer, we were also pouring Brut Premier in magnum all night, which you know went swimmingly with the sweet little Kumamotos in kimchi mignonette.

The fine folks from Campari America helped everyone break in the new bar at The Progress, featuring a cocktail menu highlighting their fantastic umeboshi Negroni, plus SKYY martinis with smoked Castelvetrano olive juice, a margarita (made with Espolón reposado tequila, Aperol, guava, fresh lime, bitters) that went down way too smoothly, and our special house drink, the Shark Tail, with Appleton Estate V/X rum, allspice dram, lime juice, ginger, and bitters (thanks to bar manager Bryan Hamann for concocting that tasty little number).

After 11pm, it was eventually time to get everyone seated in the dining room. Chefs got to choose where they wanted to sit, from the spacious side booth tables to the large wood tables in the middle of the restaurant. On each table there were opened bottles of wine from Bedrock and Bodegas Ponce “Reto,” and yes, each table also had their own magnum of Brut Premier. Good times. Let’s do this.

And then the night’s theme of Oceanic Treasure Chest really came to life. Tables were hit with waves of deliciousness, in only the way Stuart and Nicole and their team know how to do it. Family-style plates of uni layered on top of guacamole (with black rice chips) were a undeniable favorite of the night (fingers crossed it ends up on the menu), plus yuba with turmeric-kohlrabi pickle, smelt tempura with lime pickle, the playful papiers des fruit de mer. And then it was the main event: huge platters of seafood curry accompanied by their famed roti (our table was scooping up the curried octopus tentacles with the hot roti right off the plate).

After cleaning up our paws with wet towels, we were greeted by Nicole bearing a blowtorch, setting afire our dessert of Linden Alley jasmine blossom flaming island. Someone also put bottles of Averna on each table. (Okay, okay, it was me.) The night went late for some of us, and really late for others, who shall remain nameless. (Okay, yeah, it was me again.)

Tremendous thanks to The Progress team for letting us host such a special event so soon after their opening—you are amazing! Such pros. It was fantastic for a bunch of chefs to be able to come in and check it all out. The kitchen crushed it! And we know, no pressure having 40 of the city’s best chefs in your dining room all at once, like Melissa Perello, Roland Passot, Dominique Crenn, Thomas McNaughton, Evan Rich, Traci Des Jardins, and Massimiliano Conti—it was also great to see some newer chefs on our local scene hang out and make new friendships.

As our star photographer of the night, Eric Wolfinger, said to me: “Tonight was full of great food and drinks. And lots of hugging.” Seriously, the room was hugging it out all night.

We had another fun gift bag, this time with a jar of furikake-quinoa crunch—I keep getting texts from chefs about dishes they’re shaking it on—plus your dream hair of the dog cocktail from Rye on the Road (The Family Meal Spritz: Campari, SKYY vodka, grapefruit cordial, and rosato), and thanks to Sosh, some Advil. Yesssss.

I have so much gratitude and thanks to Sosh, The Progress, Campari America, and Louis Roederer for enabling me to throw another over-the-top party. It’s an honor to be able to feed and spoil so many chefs who work so hard to feed our city, night after night. And it’s important to bring people together, to sit back, relax, and break bread—it’s hard to build community when everyone is so busy toiling away in their kitchens.

A donation was made to CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture), our local organization championed by many of the chefs in attendance.

Want to see more? Here’s a photo album of the night on Sosh’s Facebook page (pics by Eric Wolfinger), and the invite. Until next time!


The luxurious interior at Dragon Beaux. Photo from UrbanDaddy by Michael David Rose Photography.


The xiao long bao at Dragon Beaux. Yelp photo by Dan B.

The former Video Cafe space on Geary has a new taker, and this time it’s the Ng family, who also owns the Koi Palace restaurants in Daly City and Dublin. This new project is called ~DRAGON BEAUX~ and is rather ambitious. Scoop reports that co-owner Willy Ng wants the restaurant to be more creative than the usual dim sum standby. Inspired by the creative cooking in Hong Kong, he’s been working with younger chefs and even some consultants from Guangzhou to create a menu that isn’t held back by the classics. There are plenty of familiar items of the menu, but you’ll also find squid ink dumplings and frog legs. Cue the weekend lines now.

At dinner, the tables transform into hot pot stations, with a selection of five broths and several different meat and vegetable options. There is also a premium beef menu, which includes Kobe beef from Japan. There are well-considered wine choices; John Vuong, former wine director at Ame, consulted on the wine list. The interior has been extravagantly decorated, too, with multiple dining rooms, each with a distinct look. One room features plum leather seating, while another has cherry blossom wallpaper. Light fixtures are distinct, and there is also a curtained seating area. Hours: dim sum lunch Mon-Fri 11am-3pm and Sat-Sun 10am-4pm, hot pot dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm. 5700 Geary Blvd. at 21st Ave., 415-333-8899.


Exterior photo from the now-closed Café des Amis (photo via Facebook).


Chef Mark Furr. Photo courtesy El Capitan.

The Bacchus Management Group (of Spruce and The Village Pub) is opening a restaurant in the Saratoga Hotel building, Scoop reports. The neighborhood, in the Tenderloin/Lower Nob Hill, is unusual for the group—they’ve typically opened shop in places like Pacific Heights, the Marina, and Woodside. We have been tracking the space for over a year, and there are some additional details over at Eater, where they’re reporting that the group is still waiting on a conditional use authorization from the Planning Department that includes a restaurant and bar with seating for 72, in a 4,200-square-foot space. They aren’t divulging any additional details at the moment, though it may be called The Saratoga (which is the name of the building’s hotel). Time will tell. 1008 Larkin St. at Post.

Speaking of Bacchus Management, we previously mentioned their former Café des Amis space was scooped up by local restaurateur Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Starbelly, Super Duper, Lolinda). Eater now has an update on his plans for the space, which is still unnamed. It’s going to be a Belgian brasserie, with a California sensibility, of course. Think moules frites and steak frites, along with salads, sides, and sausages smoked in-house in a wood-fired oven. Right now, they’re working on renovating the space. They’re opening it up, creating a lighter, airier space, with natural wood and gray tones. The current opening date is set for May 1st. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

Jon Whitehead has a couple of new projects coming to SoMa this month. The first is ~EL CAPITAN~, which is moving into the former Radius space. He’s brought chef Mark Furr onboard to run the kitchen, which is exciting. We’ve been fans of his excellent barbecue since the Smoke truck days and his stint at Broken Record, and it sounds like he’s getting ready to have some fun at El Capitan.

The menu will draw inspiration from Latin America and the Caribbean, with lots of small plates for sharing, like ceviche, grilled octopus, and fried plantains. The convivial attitude is reflected in the main dishes, too, which are also intended for sharing. Large groups will be able to order large-format dishes like whole fish, suckling pig, and an Argentine asado, to enjoy family style. They are still working on refreshing the space, but should open in mid-March. A full liquor license is in the works. 1123 Folsom St. at Langton.

Then, in the neighboring former Radius Cafe spot, Whitehead is opening ~CARAFE~ tonight, Tuesday March 3rd. Instead of functioning as a café, Carafe will be more of a wine bar (our previous mention here). 1127 Folsom St. at Langton.

Scoop is reporting that Jay Bordeleau and Kate Bolton of Maven are opening a new restaurant on Market called ~CADENCE~, right next to the upcoming Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio. Joey Elenterio (Wayfare Tavern, Chez TJ) has been brought on as chef and will be creating a menu of progressive American dishes. The space will seat 90, with a more traditional service format than Maven’s cocktails-with-food style. The current timeline has them opening this summer. 1446 Market St. at Polk.


The mushroom and leek empanada from Frog Hollow. Photo courtesy Frog Hollow.


Blue Bottle at the Ferry Building, with its new look. Instagram photo by Laurel Touby.

The ~FROG HOLLOW~ café in the Ferry Building has made some exciting changes, launching Tuesday March 10th. To start, they now have a beer and wine license and will be serving two beers (Jagged Edge IPA and Hefeweizen Bavarian Wheat), along with two white wines (Bloomfield chardonnay and viognier) and two reds (both from Cline Cellars).

They will also be offering an after-hours menu Monday through Saturday from 5pm to 7:30pm, with special snacks. The menu includes a seasonal pizza, soup, and a housemade cookie plate. They’ve been growing barley on the farm for the last year or so, for Thirsty Bear Brewing, and the barley also shows up in the seasonal soup. To accommodate happy hour diners, they’ve also added some new seating, with sturdier tables and chairs, more planters for ambiance, and even new heat lamps so you can enjoy the view when the fog rolls in. They are also improving the seating in the interior and adding some new double doors to the patio, but that is an ongoing project. Ferry Building, at Embarcadero, Shop #6, 415-445-0990.

According to an announcement on Twitter, the Ferry Building ~BLUE BOTTLE~ is now done with its remodel and is open for business. The space has been designed to help customers order more easily and to increase the speed at which baristas can prepare drinks. Lookin’ good, guys! Ferry Building at Embarcadero, Shop #7, 510-653-3394.


The Fresno chili chicken sandwich from Dusty Buns Bistro. Photo from Facebook.


The exterior of Nourish. Photo from Facebook.

Dustin “Dusty” Stewart and his wife, Kristin, who own local food trucks and a Fresno restaurant, are opening their first San Francisco brick-and-mortar, ~DUSTY BUNS BISTRO~, in the former Source space. Eater caught the news that they are now open. The specialty is sandwiches on freshly baked, soft buns, with options like the bistro burger, a Fresno chili chicken sandwich, and daily specials. In addition, look for soups, salads, and pastries, as well as some new vegetarian and vegan choices. For now, hours are Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, but they plan to add more, including for brunch, in the coming months, along with beer and wine. 11 Division St. at King.

There’s a new health-focused café in the Inner Richmond. It’s called ~NOURISH~ and comes from a group of three friends who met at fitness boot camp and wanted to bring vegan and vegetarian food choices to the neighborhood. The menu offers salads, sandwiches, açai bowls, and toast, along with beverages like smoothies and juices. They also have coffee from Ruby Roast, and tea. Hours are Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-3pm. H/t to Scoop. 189 6th Ave. at California, 415-571-8780.

~DOÑA MAGO~, home of tasty chilaquiles and daily special soups, has moved. They are now residing at the corner of 14th Street and South Van Ness, just a couple of blocks from their previous location. You’ll still find classic Mexican food on the menu, and hours are Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 9am-5pm. 301 South Van Ness at 14th St., 415-573-8586.


The patio at Trou Normand. Photo from Facebook.

You can now get weekend brunch (and delicious cocktails, of course) at ~TROU NORMAND~. They’re serving it on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2pm, with dishes like coppa, soft-boiled egg, asparagus, and mizuna ($12) and brown rice porridge with duck confit and poached egg ($15). The full charcuterie menu is also available, and seating on their glass-enclosed back patio is sure to be pleasant.

~HRD COFFEE SHOP~ in SoMa has expanded their hours to include dinner service on weekdays. They’ll now be open for dinner five nights a week, serving their Korean-inspired cuisine. In addition, chef David Yeung is offering two weekly dinner specials; this week it’s a short rib bibimbap and loco moco. They have also applied for a beer and wine license, which should be coming soon. Hours are now Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, 5pm-8:30pm, Sat 10am-4pm (closed for dinner), closed Sun. 521A 3rd St. at Taber, 415-543-2355.


The sign at Sinbad’s. Yelp photo by Ed U.

~SINBAD’S~, the old-school and kind of scruffy seafood place on the water behind the Ferry Building, is closing. I know, fans of the bar (that view!) will be bummed to lose it. According to Scoop, they are in a bit of a dispute with their landlord (the Port of San Francisco) regarding when they will vacate the space. It could be as early as March 21st, though the restaurant is saying they intend to stay until 2016. Because with a name like Sinbad’s, you don’t go down without a fight. 141 The Embarcadero, at Pier 2, 415-781-2555.

In December, Ruchi in SoMa closed, so that the owner could spend more time raising her two children. However, it has reopened under new ownership, and apparently the new owners are calling it ~RUCHI’S~ (with an “s”). In a note on her website, the original owner expresses her concerns that the name was chosen without her permission, and expressly against her wishes, in order to benefit from her reputation. Since she wants to reopen someday after her children are more independent, this is particularly important. Yelpers have already let the restaurant have it, so we’ll see what happens moving forward. 474 3rd St. at Bryant, 415-543-3800.


Over at ~ONE MARKET~, chef Mark Dommen is getting ready to start his popular Weekly Beast series again, and the first one on Friday March 6th will launch with a whole new beast: water buffalo. The series will also include lamb, duck, goat, and more from local farmers, running until April 24th and 25th, when it all wraps up with rabbit from Devil’s Gulch Ranch; you can check out the lineup here. The three-course prix-fixe menu is available for $49 and features dishes that utilize unique cuts of meat from the whole animal (although please note the water buffalo menu is four courses for $59). You can also add wine pairings from local wineries.

It’s that time again: the ~OLIVETO~ Whole Hog Dinners will be from Tuesday March 3rd (that’s today) through Saturday March 7th. The menu includes charcuterie, appetizers, pastas, and even desserts, all using the whole animal. They are also offering a special dish each evening, including saucisson en croûte on Thursday March 5th and bollito misto on Saturday March 7th. Reservations are recommended.


Fried cheese curds sandwich at The Half Orange. Photo from Yelp.

Fruitvale restaurant ~THE HALF ORANGE~ will now be open seven days a week, as of Sunday March 8th. Their new hours are Mon-Sat 11:30am-9pm and Sun 12pm-8pm. They’re also adding a breakfast sandwich to the weekend menu, and given owner Jay Porter’s skill with housemade sausage and meats, it’s sure to be a tasty one. Oh, and hot tip: parking in the BART parking lot across the street is free all day on weekends. 3340 East 12th St. #11 at 34th Ave., Oakland, 510-500-3338.

It looks like old-school late-night staple Giant Burger has reopened, at least temporarily, as ~SPACE BURGER~. According to Scoop, the new owners have only gently updated the space, but are keeping the menu and fab retro architecture. They are no longer open 24 hours, but do offer late-night hours on the weekends. Unfortunately, though, the whole building is being torn down in 18 months to make room for a condo high-rise. The current owner, Ambessaw Assegued, reports that they have been offered a spot on the ground floor when the high-rise opens, so Space Burger will at least be able to stick around. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-2am, closed Sun. 2150 Telegraph Ave. at 22nd St., 831-588-7470.

As previously reported on tablehopper, ~MILLENNIUM~ is closing in April. Chef-partner Eric Tucker and general manager Alison Bagby are hoping to reopen a vegetable-focused restaurant in Rockridge soon. They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to open the new space, with pledges starting at $25.

At least one of the owners of San Francisco’s Izzy’s Steak & Chops, Sam DuVall, is opening a location in Oakland. East Bay Express reports they’ve taken over the former Vo’s Restaurant space, and liquor license activity says the new spot will be called ~CUBA LIBRE~. There aren’t a lot of details, but it does sound like it will be a Cuban joint. 59 Grand Ave. at Webster, Oakland.

One more little sudsy swig for you: based on this post on Chowhound, we learned the ~FIELDWORK BREWING COMPANY~ tasting room is now open in Berkeley, currently pouring five of their own craft brews, and they have a growler program too. The post mentioned friendly folks, and there are meat and vegetable pasties from The Pie Shop in Oakland in case you need a nibble. You can read more here about the brewery and team (led by head brewer Alex Tweet, previously of Modern Times Beer in San Diego). Open Thu-Fri 4pm-9pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-9pm. 1160 6th St. at Harrison, Berkeley.

February 24, 2015

The future home of Sessions in the Presidio. Photo from Facebook.


Lawn games and food trucks at Picnic at the Presidio. Photo from Facebook.

Michael Bilger and Evin Gelleri of the former Georges restaurant in the Financial District have a new project in the works. It’s opening in the former Dixie space in the Presidio and will be called ~SESSIONS~. According to a press release, they’ll be offering “craft beer, craft cuisine, and craft cocktails,” so remember to bring your knitting. They want to keep the environment welcoming and cheerful, and the focus will be on session-style beers, or beers made with lower alcohol so you can enjoy more than one at a time (and all day and night on your back porch before you get hammered). They will also have local beers on tap, cask-conditioned beers, and some nitro beers.

As for the food, they’ve partnered with the organic farm at Skywalker Ranch in Marin for their produce, and will offer seasonally driven dishes designed for sharing. Lundberg Design—whose previous projects include Mourad, Quince, and Hard Water—is working on the space. They will use large windows and natural elements to bring the beauty of the Presidio inside, and the space will offer both indoor and outdoor seating. The plan is to open in late spring. 1 Letterman Dr. at Lombard.

Off the Grid is returning to the Presidio and Fort Mason after a winter hiatus. Picnic at the Presidio will debut on Sunday March 1st on the Main Post Lawn, with food trucks, food stands, mimosas and Bloody Marys, and music. Partay! It’s happening every Sunday after March 1st from 11am-4pm, until November. Picnic at the Presidio: Main Post Lawn, Montgomery St. at Lincoln.

Then, on Friday March 6th, catch the kickoff of Off the Grid Fort Mason, with food trucks, cocktails, beer from Magnolia Brewing, and wine pairings. You can continue to enjoy the party every Friday from 5pm-10pm. Off the Grid Fort Mason: Marina Blvd. at Laguna.


The combo rice bowl from Halal Guys in New York. Yelp photo by Danny L.

Eater reports that New York City’s famed ~HALAL GUYS~ are expanding to the West Coast, including San Francisco and the East Bay. Apparently the expansion includes two more shops in New York, as many as 50 in Southern California, and eventually 30 in the Bay Area and Las Vegas. To start, they’re planning to open one spot in Berkeley and another in San Francisco, then go from there. The current schedule is to open in February 2016, with more expansions coming after that. They haven’t nailed down exact locations yet, but word is they are actively shopping for spaces.

It looks like the folks behind AQ and TBD are getting ready to open a fast-casual falafel restaurant called ~SABABA~. Eater reports that the new spot comes from AQ cook Guy Eshel, who not only trained at the CIA but also hails from Israel, along with Matt Semmelhack. The plan is to offer a limited menu of protein choices like falafel, eggplant and egg, chicken, and beef, available on a pita or in a salad bowl. Then, you’ll be able to customize from a selection of mezze and a toppings bar with pickles and sauces. They haven’t secured a location yet, but the plan is to be downtown. To test everything out, Eshel will be popping up at Deli Board every Monday in March from 6pm-9pm.

Some unofficial news on the ~SAM WO~ front about where it’s going to be reopening: according to this post on Chowhound, it’s going to be reopening in the Anna Bakery space in Chinatown. (Here’s our recap on why they aren’t reopening in their fabled space at 813 Washington.) We reached out to one of the owners, Julie Ho, who couldn’t comment at this time, so we’ll keep an eye on this one. Noodle rolls are imminent. 715 Clay St. at Kearny.


The Marlowe burger. Photo courtesy Marlowe.

After their move into a new location on Brannan Street, the team behind ~MARLOWE~ is opening a burger pop-up in their former location on Townsend. Originally, the plan was to have a “burger window” along the side of Marlowe’s new location, but the window’s popularity and nearby construction made that difficult. So instead, they’re going to be opening a burger pop-up and private dining space in the old Marlowe, called ~MARLOWE BURGER~. Burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, fries, and cookies and pastries will be available during the day, and then in the evening it will become a private dining space. The new burger spot is scheduled to open April 1st. No joke. 330 Townsend St. at 4th St.

More burger pop-up action: the evil geniuses behind the burger at ~CAUSWELLS~ are going to be popping up in the Mission, so you Marina-phobic types don’t have to venture too far to sink your choppers into one of those bad boys. On Monday March 16th, hightail it to their pop-up, the aptly named ~BURGER~. Adam Rosenblum (Causwells chef) and Alvin Garcia (Causwells partner) will be serving both single- ($6) and double-patty burgers ($8, and trust me, you want the double), plus fries (regular and duck fat), and shakes at ~BUFFALO CLUB~ from 6pm-1am. There will be paired cocktails too. 2331 Mission St. at 19th St.


Baked goods at Manresa Bread. Photo from Facebook.

~MANRESA BREAD~, the bakery project from David Kinch, Avery Ruzicka, and Andrew Burnham that we reported on in November, is now open in Los Gatos. The bakery opened on Saturday February 21st, with a selection of seasonally changing breads and pastries as well as coffee from Verve Coffee Roasters. Some of the bread and pastry offerings include a pumpernickel rye, Manresa levain, chocolate brioche, and kale Parmesan scones. (Hmmmm, I wonder if Postmates can deliver them…) Hours to start are Wed-Sun 7am-3pm, but they’ll be open daily soon. 276 N. Santa Cruz Ave. at Bachman, Los Gatos, 408-402-5372.

Mission bakery ~CRAFTSMAN AND WOLVES~ is expanding, with a second location in Russian Hill. They are moving into the ground floor of a new mixed-use building on Pacific Avenue, set to open in May. The menu will be similar to the Valencia location, with savory and sweet pastries, cube cakes, and lunch items. As part of the expansion, they’ve brought on pastry chef Angela Pinkerton, from New York’s Eleven Madison Park. While there, she received a James Beard Award, and her presence at Craftsman & Wolves will allow owner William Werner to focus on bigger-picture issues as the company expands. They are also bringing afternoon tea back to the Valencia location and launching an online store. Afternoon tea is available Monday through Friday from 11am to 6pm and is $27 per person or $50 for two. Details on the Russian Hill location are still sparse, but we’ll bring you more details when we’ve got them. 1643 Pacific Ave. at Polk.

After losing their commissary kitchen in a tragic fire earlier this month, it sounds like ~WISE SONS DELI~ is slowly recovering. Eater has an update on their progress. They were able to salvage their special bagel machine from the burned building, though they don’t yet know if it still works because it requires a special power setup to operate. They are also trying to find a new space for their baking operation and still plan to offer bagels soon, though their bagel operations has probably been pushed back 9 to 12 months. Good news: they are moving forward with their plan to open five nights a week, as of this week. You can now stop by their 24th Street location Tuesday through Saturday from 8am to 9pm, and they even plan to be open on Mondays soon.


Ryan Shelton, the new chef at Verbena. Photo courtesy Verbena.

After Sean Baker left last month, it looks like ~VERBENA~ has a new chef. His name is Ryan Shelton and his previous experience includes Chez TJ in Mountain View, the fantastic Baumé in Palo Alto (the restaurant earned two Michelin stars), Le Cigare Volant in Santa Cruz, and, most recently, the Palo Alto Grill. He is currently in the kitchen at Verbena and is actively working on his new menu, which should be rolling out over the next couple of months. No word (yet) on what opening chef Sean Baker is doing next.


The margherita pizza from Merigan. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

Get ready, barbecue lovers! Eater reports that Austin’s legendary Franklin Barbecue is coming to San Francisco for some pop-ups this spring. Eater says they’ll be here mid-May, as part of owner Aaron Franklin’s tour for his upcoming cookbook with Bay Area writer Jordan Mackay. While there’s no word about exactly where and when the pop-ups will occur, you can be sure the lines will be epic, but worth it. We’ll keep you posted!

Meanwhile, another import coming to SF is New York chef Zak Pelaccio (of Fatty Crab fame) and his co-chef of Fish & Game in Hudson, New York: Kevin Pomplun. The duo will be kicking off the guest chef series at ~BELCAMPO MEAT CO.~ Thursday March 5th and Friday March 6th. The five-course menu will of course feature Belcampo meats; $120, with an optional wine pairing for $40. Tickets here. 1998 Polk St. at Pacific.

There’s a new pop-up venue where you will be seeing some cool upcoming events: ~EATWITH~, the social dining platform, has a test kitchen in SoMa where they will be hosting dinners (there’s room for 24 seated). Expect dinners from pro chefs like Jonnatan Leiva of the upcoming Bay and La Cocina chefs, plus unique events like the GastroSalon, which will focus on “the origins of our food obsessions,” and feature curated media and discussions over a gourmet meal.

We’re big fans of pizza over here (um, who isn’t?), and big fans of ~MERIGAN SUB SHOP~, too. So we’re pretty stoked that chef Liza Shaw is doing a pizza pop-up at Merigan on Monday March 2nd from 5pm to 8pm. She’s a pretty serious pizzaiola (remember, she worked at A16 for years), and will be slinging pies along with wings, salad, and desserts all night long.


The interior at Chapel Hill Coffee Co. Photo courtesy Chapel Hill Coffee Co.

A fab reader tipped us off to this new coffee spot downtown, called ~CHAPEL HILL COFFEE CO.~. We got in touch with owner Rafael Vizcaino, who opened the shop with his brother Jorge. They are currently softly open, with a grand opening planned for next month. They are serving Four Barrel coffee, along with pastries from Neighbor Bakehouse and tea from Chamois & Twig. The space was designed by Boor Bridges Architects (Four Barrel, Sightglass) and Kyle Minor Design (Farina Pizzeria), but some of the exterior work is on-going during the soft open phase. Hours are currently Mon-Fri 7am-2pm. 670 Commerical St. at Kearny, 415-948-8119.

Hayes Valley has a new place for boba tea, called ~CUBE TEA~. It’s actually inside the Papabubble candy store, and they’ve partnered with Papabubble to make their “candy cubes,” a flavored spin on the usual boba tapioca. All the tea is brewed in-house and available with either milk or soy. Hours are Tue-Sun 11am-7pm. 488 Fell St. at Laguna, 415-355-1188.

There have been some changes at Italian restaurants in The Richmond, according to The Richmond Blog. Apparently, a new restaurant called ~LUNA ROSSA~ has moved into the former Mescolanza space on Clement. But it’s not a totally new restaurant; the owner, Jeff Piccinini, was one of the original owners of the space, years ago. They sold it to a former employee, but have now moved back in. Piccinini reports that they are currently softly open, and are offering classic menu items along with some new choices. The space has a pizza oven, and they hope to add more creative combinations to their pizza toppings and utilize more seasonal produce on the menu, which you can peek at here. Hours are Sun-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm. 2221 Clement St. at 23rd Ave., 415-379-4910.

This does not, however, mean the end of ~MESCOLANZA~. Liquor license activity shows that they have relocated to a space on Geary at Second Avenue, in the home of the now closed Ichiraku. Their website reports that they will be opening soon, but no word on exactly when. 3750 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave.


The kiosk you should be looking for! Photo courtesy of Jim McDonald.

You probably know how I feel about vintage SF restaurant menus (here’s Exhibit A), and it ends up the kind tablehopper reader who lent me a couple of designs from his private collection (like Players Club) contributed to this fun exhibit of SF restaurant memorabilia at the Kiosk Museum.

A former JCDecaux newspaper kiosk is now featuring an exhibit of cool menus from the Sinaloa, Oyster Loaf, and more, on display until April 15th, thanks to a partnership with Community Arts International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting public art. They may expand to an additional kiosk, depending on funding or finding a corporate sponsor. Look for a San Francisco nightclub exhibit later this year. It’s on the southeast corner of Stockton and Post.


Jaynelle St. John in the pie window at Pietisserie. Photo via Facebook.


The Double Standard interior. Photo from Facebook.

Jaynelle St. John has opened a permanent home for ~PIETISSERIE~, according to Berkeleyside Nosh. Her new location is in the Grand Lake neighborhood and is rather small but apparently popular already, according to Facebook. You’ll find full-size pies, mini pies, and pastries on the menu. Hours are Wed-Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 10am-6pm. 1605 2nd Ave. at Foothill, Oakland, 510-859-7437.

Bourbon & Branch alum Ali Tahsini has opened a new bar in the former Kim’s Backyard space on Telegraph, called ~THE DOUBLE STANDARD~, according to Berkeleyside Nosh. Initial Yelp and Chowhound reports are positive, saying the cocktail menu is short but on point, there are good beers on tap, and the backyard is impressive. Hours are daily 5pm-2am. 2424 Telegraph Ave. at 24th St., Oakland, 510-879-7601.

We’ve been tracking this one on Facebook for a while, and it looks like they’ve opened! ~BUMA’S PIZZERIA~ is offering slices and whole pies out of the former Marrow space in Oakland. East Bay Express caught the news that Jon Kosorek would be reopening the space, but with this new, simpler pizza concept. Kosorek hails from Albany, New York, and is offering true New York-style pies here. The crust is crunchy and chewy, and the toppings are simple, he says. They’ve also got wings and some combo meals, and pizzas are available for delivery or pickup. Hours seem to have solidified and are Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, slices only 11:30am-2:30pm. 325 19th St. at Harrison, Oakland, 510-250-9885.

February 17, 2015

A look into the spacious Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company. Photo: Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company.


A look down from the mezzanine into the dining room. Photo: Sunset Reservoir Brewing Company.

We caught up with Hilary Passman Cherniss of Devil’s Teeth Baking Company, and she confirmed that if inspections go well as planned this afternoon, she will be opening her Outer Sunset brewpub, ~SUNSET RESERVOIR BREWING COMPANY~ this Thursday February 19th! We mentioned the project back in March of 2014, which is opening in the former El Grande Produce Market.

The chef is Gavin Braid, who has worked in numerous kitchens, ranging from Mikkeller to Quince. His menu is live on the website, which includes grilled flatbreads and grilled oysters, too, beer-friendly dishes like steamed mussels and chorizo, and four different salads (including a Cobb). Entrées include a roasted half chicken with polenta ($20, from Mary’s); beer-braised pork shank ($26) with sriracha spaetzle, toy box carrots, and chives; and of course there’s a burger (this one has two patties, cheddar included, for $14). He plans to eventually make charcuterie in-house too.

Also of note: Passman Cherniss, a mother of four, wanted to make sure the menu and space is family-friendly, so you’ll find a kid’s menu and a welcoming attitude to little ones too.

The brewer is Aaron Weshnak, formerly with Russian River Brewing Company, who is brewing five house beers: dry Irish stout, wheat, double IPA, extra pale, and rye amber (you can geek out on more beer details here). There is also a full bar, managed by Jeff Koch, who has bartended in many Mission bars.

Geiszler Architects is behind the 160-seat space (Steve Geiszler designed and owns Faultline Brewing). There’s a raised dining area so you can watch the brewhouse and an upstairs mezzanine with its own bar (can you say future party space?). The space is clean but comfortable, and the bar top and tables use reclaimed wood from the ceiling—even the pallets from deliveries got reused.

Hours are Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm for food, and until 12am for drinks; Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm for food, and until 2am for drinks. Look for lunch and brunch soon. 1735 Noriega St. at 24th Ave., 415-571-8452.


The future home of Novy, on the corner of 24th Street and Noe. Photo from Instagram.

A report by Dana Eastland. Back in November we reported that the Noe Valley location of Pasta Pomodoro was closing, and it looked like the landlord of the building was making some major changes to the space. It turns out that the building’s owners, John and Vi Gianaras, have bigger plans for the space.

According to this story from 1997 in The Noe Valley Voice, the Gianarases have owned the building since the 1970s and operated a Greek restaurant there called Panos. They closed Panos in 1997, and Pasta Pomodoro moved in. But now John and Vi’s daughters, Kristen and Kathryn, are taking over the space and opening ~NOVY~ this spring. I had a chance to catch up with Kristen Gianaras on the family’s plans for the new project.

The new restaurant won’t be exactly Greek, but there will be some Greek inspiration on the menu. They’ve been working on it with Vi, who ran the kitchen at Panos, and Kristen says the food will be firmly rooted in seasonal California cuisine, with a Mediterranean influence. One section of the menu is devoted to burgers (including a Greek one), while another is all about big salads (including, yes, a Greek one). They’ve also been developing some pita bread wraps with souvlaki-style grilled skewers, a selection of seasonal pasta dishes, and quesadillas with Mediterranean flavors. In addition, there is a small plates section of the menu, with fried almonds and olives, grilled calamari, grilled halloumi cheese, and Greek-inspired spreads. The aim is for the food to be fun and inviting, and they want the many families of Noe Valley to feel welcomed.

In addition, Novy has a beer and wine license. To keep waste and prices reasonably low, they’ve decided to only offer beer and wine on tap (with the exception of sparkling wines). There are eight wines on tap, available by the glass or carafe (four reds and four whites), though they haven’t yet finalized the list. As for beer, they want to start with local favorites, so you’ll find choices like Anchor Steam, Drake’s hefeweizen, and Lagunitas IPA, as well as a hard cider for gluten-free drinkers.

As for the space, it’s been completely gutted and is receiving a major overhaul. They want it to feel inviting and casual, but also modern and chic. There is a poured concrete floor, lots of warm wood slats (but nothing too rustic or reclaimed looking), and big windows to take full advantage of the corner building’s light. The bar area has been designed to feel more relaxed than other spaces in the restaurant, with high, bistro-style tables at the windows and seating for four at the bar itself. They will also be keeping the corner spot’s popular outdoor seating.

Novy is currently scheduled to open on Tuesday March 10th, barring any delays in construction. When they do open, hours will be Mon-Fri 11am-9:30pm for lunch and dinner, Sat-Sun 9am-9:30pm for brunch and dinner. They may change the hours and add a happy hour in the coming months. 4000 24th St. at Noe, 415-829-8383.


Tacos at Don Pisto’s (photo from website).

There are quite a few switcheroos we’re going to report here, I hope you’ve had your coffee. First up, Pete Mrabe will be moving ~PISTO’S TACOS~ in North Beach to the former Mas Sake space (2030 Lombard Street at Webster) in three to six months, and in the meantime, he’s moving the Pisto’s Tacos daytime/lunch menu into ~DON PISTO’S~ (the last day serving at 1310 Grant Street will be Saturday February 21st). Fans of Pisto’s Tacos burritos, tacos, and quesadillas will be able to find them at Don Pisto’s (510 Union Street) Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, starting March 2nd.

Mrabe will also be moving the pop-up of ~CHUBBY NOODLE~ North Beach that’s inside Amante (570 Green Street) into the Pisto’s Tacos space, and will be tweaking the menu a bit. A few Chubby Noodle staples will remain, like the ramen, plus grilled skewers, soups (like seafood udon), and a raw bar. And beer. That should all be up and running in three months or so. As for Amante, it’s going to have a limited menu for now and Mrabe is going to be launching a new food concept in the space, stand by for more on that.

Over on Potrero Hill, we caught up with Jocelyn Bulow, who shares that he is moving ~CHEZ MAMAN~ from its smaller location (at 1453 18th Street) into the larger ~CHEZ PAPA BISTROT~ space on the corner (at 1401 18th Street). It will have the same menu with a few additions (and larger tables, of course). Taking over the cozy Chez Maman space will either be a chicken rotisserie concept, or something else he is mulling over. Look for Chez Maman to reopen by the first week of March; the new concept will come later in spring.

Another thing to note: ~PAPITO POTRERO~ (317 Connecticut Street at 18th St.) has a new chef, Efren Villalobos (previously Mamacita, Mexico DF, and Marino Restaurant), who is launching his new menu on Wednesday February 18th. Bulow has sold ~PAPITO WEST~ (in Hayes Valley) to the restaurant’s general manager, David Alexander.

Now let’s jump to SoMa, where ~RADIUS RESTAURANT AND CAFE~ will be closing after a five-year run on Saturday February 28th. Owner Jon Whitehead (now the sole operator) is going to reopen the café and back patio as ~CARAFE~, a café by day (smoothies, salads, sandwiches) and a wine bar in the evening (offering small plates, oysters, cheeses, and charcuterie). The wine list will continue to reflect many local winemakers and urban wineries too. Stand by for what’s in store for the restaurant space. 1123 Folsom St. at 7th St., 415-525-3676.


The former home of The Republic on Scott Street. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

Over in the Marina, we noticed last month some ABC activity for the closed ~THE REPUBLIC~ sports bar space, which listed former Fog City chef Erik Lowe and pastry chef Aaron Toensing (who are also both Bix veterans). We reached out for more details, but they spoke with the Scoop instead, who confirmed the duo plans to open an American restaurant in the 4,000-square-foot space with a full bar; details and a name are forthcoming. Meanwhile, Javier Montano (Grand Café, Limón) has taken over for Lowe at Fog City, with Alex Garay on desserts (via Eater). 3213 Scott St. at Lombard.

Just down the street, more ABC license activity shows that wine bar ~BIN 38~ has been sold to Brian Cassanego (Noir Lounge in Hayes Valley), with a working title of Scotland Yard. Eater says to look for a closure in April, and Cassanego will be opening something similar in its place a few weeks later (the trinity of wine, craft beer, and food will remain). 3232 Scott St. at Chestnut, 415-567-3838.


Exterior photo by Craig Lee.


The interior at Home. Yelp photo by Cheryl W.

Back in October, we broke the news that Melissa Perello (Frances) was taking over the former Baker & Banker space, and now we have learned the name of this new project: ~OCTAVIA~. Additional details (for now): the style of food will be similar to Frances, Perello is having Paul Einbund run the wine program, and there will be a communal table for walk-ins. The downstairs bakery area will be converted back to a private dining room, and the awnings will be taken down to allow for more natural light. We’ll have more in coming weeks on this exciting spring opening. [Scoop] 1701 Octavia St. at Bush.

If the Bay Area restaurant scene is any indication, the tipping model of paying food-service workers is on its way out. High-end restaurants have been making the switch from tipped compensation to other forms of payment. The latest to join the wave is ~BENU~, Eater reports, which has raised the prices on their tasting menu and also eliminated tips. The price tag for dinner for two at Benu is now $228 per person, plus a blanket 20 percent service charge. Wine pairings are $160. Similar restaurants have also raised tasting menu prices and added service charges, including Atelier Crenn ($220 per person plus service charge) and Saison ($398 plus service charge). The linked article has a handy graph to illustrate the changes. This is a loaded issue, for sure, but ultimately the goal is to make sure that all food-service workers are paid fairly, regardless of whether they work in the kitchen or on the floor. As long as these policies aim for that end, we’re all for it.

There is a new café in the Sunset, called ~HOME~. Yelpers report they are serving De La Paz and Four Barrel coffee, and a menu shows pour-over and espresso options, along with some more inventive choices like a coconut vanilla latte. There are also snacks on offer, including toast and pastries. 1222 Noriega St. at 20th Ave., 415-742-0038.

According to Yelp, the new café in the former Mason space has opened. It’s called ~TAVARES~, and appears to be from Ivo Nesralla, who owns a similar spot in Sao Paolo. Initial reports say there are sandwiches, burgers, and salads on the menu, along with some Brazilian dishes like fish cooked in a banana leaf. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., no phone.


Exterior photo from Slow Club’s Facebook page.

After running the kitchen at ~SLOW CLUB~ since 2008, chef Matt Paul has stepped down. The parting is amicable, according to a note from the restaurant. In his place, two chefs from Slow Club’s kitchen have been promoted, Max Bauer and Marco Pool. Bauer has been the sous chef at Slow Club for more than a year and worked at Blue Plate and Firefly before that; Pool began working here more than 10 years ago and most recently was sous at Serpentine (Slow Club’s sister restaurant). The menu already has some of the pair’s new dishes on offer, and more new items will be appearing soon. Don’t worry, though, many of the restaurant’s classics will remain.

Chef Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood (and holder of three Michelin stars) has left San Francisco Airport’s Centurion Lounge for American Express. To recap, Kostow joined the lounge in November of last year in an effort to bring fresh, seasonal cuisine to travelers at SFO. American Express cardholders have access to the lounge ($50 for regular cards, free for Centurion and Platinum members), and they are reportedly working on a replacement for Kostow. Jim Meehan, of New York’s PDT, is continuing to helm the cocktail menu. [Eater]

Over at the Hotel Monaco, the Kimpton Group has announced the team for the upcoming ~BDK RESTAURANT & BAR~, opening this spring in the former Grand Cafe. Chef Heather Terhune (who is leaving Chicago’s Sable Kitchen & Bar) will head up the kitchen, while Kevin Diedrich (Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen, Bourbon & Branch) will run the bar. 501 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-292-0101.


An array of golden and delicious bagels from Earl’s Bread. Photo: ©


The sunny beer garden at All Good Pizza. Photo: ©

On our gloriously sunny Sunday this past weekend, I was happy to hop in my car and scoot over to ~ALL GOOD PIZZA~ in Bayview, where you can now find another player in our locally made bagel scene: Earl’s Bread (you can read about other locally made bagels in this piece I wrote for

Earl Shaddix is a familiar face to anyone who attends Bayview food events and farmers’ markets, and he has been working on his own bagel for the past year and a half. They’re delicious, with a great flavor and chewy texture.

The flour he uses from Central Milling in Petaluma is fresh-milled from organic, non-GMO wheat growers (he drives up there to pick up the flour every month). He makes the dough 24-36 hours in advance, hand-rolls them, boils them in malt and water, and bakes them in the deck oven at All Good Pizza around 5am on Sundays. You can come by from 8am to 10am for a freshly baked bagel ($10 for 6 or $19/dozen)—slip through the gate on the Flora Grubb side of All Good (Hudson Street) and head to the back door of the pizza truck. You can get plain, poppy seed, sesame, and everything, and Earl also does a dozen of Maldon salt-onion each week as well. Since he’s just making 10 dozen every Sunday, they usually run out by noon.

At 10am, All Good opens for brunch, and that’s when you can get a bagel with cream cheese ($3) or a plate with lox ($8.50). And a mimosa. And one of their breakfast pizzas. And a beer. Yes, you have options. Their sunny beer garden is full of picnic tables, and don’t forget you can pick up a cappuccino or whatever you like at the Ritual Café inside Flora Grubb Gardens, just around the corner. 1605 Jerrold St. at 3rd St.


Oysters on the half shell at Piccino. Photo from Facebook.

On Sunday February 22nd, enjoy (another hopefully) sunny afternoon in Dogpatch at ~PICCINO~’s annual oyster party. Beginning at 11am, they’ll be serving oysters both raw and barbecued, all from Two X Sea. There will also be lots of rosé available by the glass. Oysters will be available from 11am until they run out.

There is also a new place in town for $1 happy hour oysters: ~FERRY PLAZA SEAFOOD~. The happy hour menu includes a fantastic oyster selection at various prices, plus a daily changing $1 option. There are also glasses of wine for $5, Anchor Steam for $4, and other bites to try (like their fantastic mussels and frites). 653 Union St. at Broadway, 415-274-2561.


A look into the bar area and dining room at A16 Rockridge. Photo: ©

The ramen takeover continues, with the news from Scoop that Kyle Itani of Hopscotch is opening a ramen offshoot called ~ITANI RAMEN~ later this year. Itani only just signed the lease, though it won’t be opening until fall at the earliest. Once they do, you can expect a small menu, with only a few types of ramen on offer each evening, not unlike Itani’s Yonsei pop-ups from a couple of years ago. He wants to keep the project focused but casual, with an emphasis on fun. There is also talk of late-night hours, yes! 1738 Telegraph Ave. at 18th St., Oakland.

Enjoy this year’s early spring weather with the primavera aperitivo hour at ~A16 ROCKRIDGE~ every evening from 5pm to 6:30pm. There will be daily specials on batch cocktails ($6), Italian beer ($3), and wine by the glass ($6-8), as well as daily changing snacks ($4-6) like meatballs with tomato sauce, Grana Padano, and basil, or burrata with dragoncello, pistachio, sea salt, and crostini. There will also be complimentary nibbles like cheese, charcuterie, and nuts. Aperitivo hour is available in the bar only.

As of Sunday February 15th, there’s a new hot spot for eating outdoors in Oakland, Bites at the Lake. It’s happening on Sundays from 12pm to 3pm, in the Lakeview Library parking lot. Participating food trucks will change weekly, but look for folks like Liba Falafel, Fist of Flour, and Doc’s of the Bay; follow along on Twitter and Facebook for updates. The area offers plenty of lawn seating at Lake Merritt, so bring chairs and a blanket for picnic perfection. 550 El Embarcadero at Lakeshore, Oakland.

February 10, 2015

The interior of Ginto Izakaya Japonaise. Yelp photo by Elmo S.

There’s a massive new project on Market Street from Japanese company Ramla, called ~GINTO IZAKAYA JAPONAISE~. Eater reports that the restaurant corporation currently has more than 100 eateries around the world. This it their first outpost of the Ginto concept in the United States, though their Oto-Oto and Gyoro-Gyoro in Southern California are reportedly quite similar. Apparently, they’ve got a little bit of everything going on: yakitori, a robata grill, sushi and sashimi, ramen, and tempura, all made by chefs brought over from Tokyo. The aim is to offer an “authentic” experience, similar to what you’d find in Japan. Like we mentioned, the space is huge, clocking in at more than 6,800 square feet with room for more than 200 people. They’ve also got a full liquor license, which means you’ll find cocktails, Japanese whisky, sake, and beer. For now, Ginto Izakaya is open for dinner only, but all-day service is coming in mid-March. Hours are daily 4pm-10pm. 658 Market St. at Geary, 415-530-2466.


Tea-smoked duck from Five Happiness. Yelp photo by Kevin W.


The cheerful dining room at Marla Bakery. Photo courtesy of Marla Bakery.

After six months of being closed for remodeling, I’m happy to report ~FIVE HAPPINESS~ has reopened. (Every time I’d drive by, I was looking to see if they were open yet.) The Shanghainese/Taiwanese restaurant has been open since 1975, and genial owner Bill Yang says they’re happy to be back. Fans of their hot soy milk and doughnuts on the weekend should be pleased. Look for some new dishes on their banquet menus too. 4142 Geary Blvd. at 6th Ave., 415-387-1234.

And here’s more news from ~MARLA BAKERY~: after their Valentine’s Day dinner service this February 14th (which is kind of an awesome menu for just $50), they will be temporarily shelving dinner service. Newly hired chef de cuisine Duncan Holmes is leaving SF. Taking the place of dinner service will be some upcoming pop-ups, including Workshop from Rachel Sillcocks (Range) and Kristina Compton (Range), the next one is Monday February 23rd. And Amy and Joe are going to be busy with their new baby, who is expected to arrive in June (congrats!). One more item of note: Saturday brunch is coming on February 28th, heehaw! 3619 Balboa St. at 37th Ave., 415-742-4379.


The exterior of L&G Vietnamese Sandwich. Photo: Rebecca Kinney ©

Tablehopper intern Rebecca Kinney caught the news that there is a new banh mi shop in the Tenderloin, called ~L&G VIETNAMESE SANDWICH~. It just opened on January 29th, and she reports that the service is friendly, the vegetables fresh and crisp, and the interior space is clean. A photo of the menu reveals that all sandwiches are $4, and a small selection of appetizers are also available. Hours are daily 7am-5pm. 602 Eddy St. at Larkin, 415-345-1878.

There’s a new taker for the former Cuco’s space in the Lower Haight, called ~EMMANUEL CAFE~. Hoodline reports that owner Irene Parada Quinteros will offer plenty of coffee, along with Salvadorean and Yucatecan food like pupusas, cochinita pibil, and breakfast items. 488 Haight St. at Fillmore.

Acai bowls are now available on Polk Street at ~BASIK CAFE~, according to Scoop. This is the first mainland location of the Hawaiian café, specializing in smoothies and bowls of fruit and granola made with the Brazilian berry. Hours are Tue-Sun 8am-4pm. 1958 Polk St. at Pacific.


The interior at Picnic on Third. Photo courtesy Picnic on Third.

For a new brunch, check out ~PICNIC ON THIRD~ every Sunday from 10am to 2pm. Owners Natalia Bushyager and Leigh Loper will be serving brunch fare like chile-braised pork with sage polenta, collard greens, and poached eggs, or try Leigh’s pancakes made with custom-milled four-grain flour from The Mill and served with blood orange syrup and cultured butter. Check out the full menu here, and note you can also get mimosas, coffee from HalfWit, and espresso from Contraband. 493 3rd St. at Bryant, 415-590-7121.

Now you can get dinner at ~JUST FOR YOU CAFE~ on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30pm to 10pm. The menu includes lots of new dishes, including a chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, black-eyed pea cakes with kale and Brussels sprout slaw, and buttermilk fried chicken. They’ve also added new beer and wine choices to pair with the new menu. 732 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-647-3033.


The Moroccan Wes, a recent special at Wes Burger. Photo courtesy Wes Burger.

Burger maestro ~WES BURGER~ has been doing Wednesday pop-ups up at Mojo Bicycle Café for a while now. For the month of February, Wes Rowe will be switching things up a bit, with a different style of burger each week (still on Wednesdays only). This week is the Return of Uncle Brother’s Chicken, a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with pickle slaw and sambal aioli, followed by the Breakfast Wes Burger on February 18th, a pork-beef burger patty (reminiscent of Texas breakfast sausage) with bourbon- and maple-glazed bacon, an egg, and hash browns. The final week will be the Juicy Lucy on February 25th, which is a double all-brisket patty burger with bourbon caramelized onions and cheese. Follow along for updates on each week’s burger here. 639-A Divisadero St. at Grove.


No more communal tables: the new banquette seating in the front of Barbacco. Photo: ©


The new look at The Pub at Ghirardelli Square. Photo: Tev Lee Photography.

A few places around town are starting the year with some freshening up and remodeling. So if you walk into any of these places and do a double take, now you know. First up, ~BARBACCO~ has changed their front dining area. The former communal tables are gone (owner Umberto Gibin explains diners in the Financial District don’t like to have their conversations overhead so easily by strangers), and now there is banquette seating instead, with tables for two to six. (Interestingly, there are the same number of seats.) All the tabletops throughout the restaurant are black slate as well.

Next, ~THE PUB AT GHIRARDELLI SQUARE~ has really lightened things up, moving away from the Irish pub feeling and more toward the rustic/industrial side, thanks to Oakland’s SRG Architects and seating upgrades by Big Daddy’s Antiques. Owner Scott Broccoli also added some new menu items and cocktails. 851 Beach St. at Polk, 415-351-0500.

~MAYES~ on Polk also got a new look, and a new management team too: Matt Corvi (Velvet Lounge), Johnny “Love” Metheny (Johnny Love’s), and Nick Pigott (The Pigott Group). The look is a bit clubby-meets-Gothic cathedral in the back, with some dramatic lighting for the dance area. Swing by every Thursday and Friday for happy hour, and Johnny “Love” Metheny will be taking over the bar making cocktails and serving his very own Kobe beef burger. Happy hour drink specials include $5 draft beers and $6 well drinks. 1233 Polk St. at Fern, 415-885-1233.


The staff at the new Blue Bottle in Tokyo celebrates. Photo from Facebook.

~BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE~ has just opened their first café and roastery in Tokyo’s Kiyosumi area, and now they have another exciting project under way: Blue Bottle and ~TARTINE BAKERY & CAFE~ are partnering on a bakery and café in Tokyo’s Daikanyama district. SF artisan OGs James Freeman (Blue Bottle) and Tartine’s Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt have talked about partnering in the past, so now they are bringing the idea to fruition. The 2,000-square-foot space is due to open this spring.

Fans of Santa Cruz’s Verve Coffee Roasters are going to be able to enjoy Verve’s first SF café at Church and Market in the former Veo Optics. Hoodline mentions Fuse Architecture will be designing the space (they also designed Verve’s roastery). We’ll share more when we hear back from Verve. 2109 Market St./210 Church St.

Another update from Hoodline: ~REPOSE COFFEE~ is back on track and should reportedly be opening sometime this month in the former Magpie and Rye space on Divis. Owner James Grogan also has a Repose in Sebastopol. They will be serving Ritual Coffee, along with panini, salads, and quesadillas (including a gluten-free version), plus treats from Sweetmue. And yes, it’s just across the street from where Sightglass Coffee will be opening their upcoming café this summer. The neighborhood is gonna be wired. 262 Divisadero St. at Page.


The deli case at Communitē Table. Photo from Facebook.

Intrepid Chowhounders caught the opening of ~KOUZINA GREEK STREET FOOD~ in Oakland’s Montclair neighborhood last month. The “street food” seems to refer to souvlaki and gyros, which dominate the menu along with daily specials like moussaka and roast leg of lamb. Hours are Mon-Sat 11am-9pm and Sun 11am-8pm. 2064 Antioch Ct. at Mountain, Oakland, 510-339-1020.

Back in August, Berkeleyside reported on the upcoming ~COMMUNITĒ TABLE~. It’s now open, according to East Bay Express, serving seasonal salads, sides, and entrées. The space offers seating on the outdoor patio, and items can be selected from a case for either dine-in or takeout. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-7pm, Fri-Sat 11am-8pm, closed Sun. 4171 MacArthur Blvd. at Maybelle, Oakland, 510-482-2114.

East Bay Express is also reporting on an unfortunate closure in West Oakland: ~B-SIDE BBQ~ from chef Tanya Holland has closed. It’s not all bad news, though. According to a note on the restaurant’s website, Holland will reopen the space as B-Side Baking Co., an offshoot of the bakery at nearby Brown Sugar Kitchen run by Celeste Scott. They will be serving coffee, baked goods both sweet and savory, and the neighboring Barn will continue to function as a music venue. 3303 San Pablo Ave. at 33rd St., Oakland.

The SF|Noir Wine & Food Festival is kicking off on Wednesday February 25th and bringing many special events to the Bay Area through Sunday March 1st. The various events will explore black cuisine, culture, and contributions to the arts during the last week of February, which is Black History Month. There is a lot you can check out here, including a special Shrimp, Grits, and Greens event on Wednesday February 25th at 7pm at Impact Hub in Oakland, with chefs from restaurants including Miss Ollie’s, Picán, and Flora. Don’t miss it! Tickets for events vary in price, starting at $10, or consider purchasing an all-access pass for $80. Locations vary.

February 6, 2015

Okay, so this exact cocktail isn’t on our tour, but it should still make you thirsty. Photo courtesy of Anchor Distilling Company.


There is just one ticket left for the tablehopper cocktail crawl through North Beach with Anchor Distilling Company this Saturday February 7th! We’re kicking things off early at 5:30pm, so you can still raise Cain later in the evening if you’re so inclined (we should be all wrapped up by 8:15pm or so). I was originally calling this a “winter warmer,” and since that groundhog gave us six more weeks of winter and we have a rainy weekend (yay), I’d say the name is on point. Let’s get our heat on!

We’re going to start the progressive night at the brand-new Devil’s Acre, where we’ll kick things off with a classic SF cocktail, Pisco Punch, made with BarSol Pisco. Then it’ll be time to scoot across Columbus to Comstock Saloon, where we can snack on their fab pimento cheese while they prepare another classic, the Martinez, made with Anchor Distilling Old Tom gin and Luxardo maraschino. And to keep you from getting hungry (hello, this is a tablehopper tour), we’ll be served pot roast poutine by chef Ronnie New. Oh yeah.

All aboard, it’s time for the last stop: 15 Romolo, where we’ll sit down for further savory munchies (mushroom flatbread) and their Sioux City Milk Punch made with Old Potrero whiskey. I know this is a Barbary Coast kind of night, but you don’t think I’d be uncivilized and leave you without dessert, do you? It’s time for some boozy Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira bread pudding!

The whole evening is just $65, all-inclusive (I KNOW), and the fine folks at Anchor Distilling will be sending you home with a gift bag! Sweet. There will also be a quick educational component at each stop, talking about the history of the drinks, spirits, and places we’re visiting.

You can purchase tickets on Sosh—but like I said, there is only one left! There will be 20 of us total, with plenty of solo attendees, so don’t be shy! And I repeat, it’s just $65. (To be clear: any additional cocktails are your responsibility. And for goddess’s sake, you better take a cab.)

We’re meeting at the first stop, Devil’s Acre, at 5:30pm: 256 Columbus Ave. at Broadway. Don’t be late! I look forward to seeing you there. Let’s raise our glass—filled three times with quality spirits from Anchor Distilling Company’s portfolio—to some great North Beach destinations together. Cheers!

February 3, 2015

Okay, so this exact cocktail isn’t on our tour, but it should still make you thirsty. Photo courtesy of Anchor Distilling Company.


Just before I left town for Hong Kong, I mentioned I had an awesome night on the town in the works, specifically a tablehopper cocktail crawl through North Beach with Anchor Distilling Company! So, are you ready to join us this Saturday February 7th? We’re kicking things off early at 5:30pm, so you can still raise Cain later in the evening if you’re so inclined (we should be all wrapped up by 8:15pm or so). I was originally calling this a “winter warmer,” and since that groundhog gave us six more weeks of winter and we have a rainy weekend in the forecast (yay!), I’d say the name is on point. Let’s get our heat on!

We’re going to start the progressive night at the brand-new Devil’s Acre, where we’ll kick things off with a classic SF cocktail, Pisco Punch, made with BarSol Pisco. Then it’ll be time to scoot across Columbus to Comstock Saloon, where we can snack on their fab pimento cheese while they prepare another classic, the Martinez, made with Anchor Distilling Old Tom gin and Luxardo maraschino. And to keep you from getting hungry (hello, this is a tablehopper tour), we’ll be served pot roast poutine by chef Ronnie New. Oh yeah.

All aboard, it’s time for the last stop: 15 Romolo, where we’ll sit down for further savory munchies (mushroom flatbread) and their Sioux City Milk Punch made with Old Potrero whiskey. I know this is a Barbary Coast kind of night, but you don’t think I’d be uncivilized and leave you without dessert, do you? It’s time for some boozy Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira bread pudding!

The whole evening is just $65, all-inclusive (I KNOW), and the fine folks at Anchor Distilling will be sending you home with a gift bag! Sweet. There will also be a quick educational component at each stop, talking about the history of the drinks, spirits, and places we’re visiting.

You can purchase tickets on Sosh—but tickets are very limited, FYI! There will just be 20 of us total, and half of the spots are already taken up, so hop to it! And I repeat, they’re just $65. (To be clear: any additional cocktails are your responsibility. And for goddess’s sake, you better take a cab.)

We’re meeting at the first stop, Devil’s Acre, at 5:30pm: 256 Columbus Ave. at Broadway. Don’t be late! I look forward to seeing you there. Let’s raise our glass—filled three times with quality spirits from Anchor Distilling Company’s portfolio—to some great North Beach destinations together. Cheers!


Chef-owner Aaron London. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.


The airy dining room. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.


The Ms. Brown cocktail at AL’s Place. Photo: ©


Mr. Blue (Cardamaro, Vergano Americano, Dolin Blanc, and mandarin bitters). Photo: ©

Opening this Friday February 6th for dinner is chef-owner Aaron London’s long-time-coming solo restaurant, ~AL’S PLACE~. After his time at Ubuntu in Napa, the chef has been looking for a space in SF to call his own, and as we previously mentioned, he has transformed the former South End Grill ‘n’ Bar on Valencia.

It’s now an airy and cheerful spot, with a light turquoise floor that is reminiscent of a hue you’d find on a fridge from the 1950s. The exterior is a bright cornflower blue—you can’t miss it. There are plenty of windows (with lots of light coming in, thanks to the south-facing orientation), with vibrant artwork on the walls by Jessica Fleming. There are 45 seats (eye-catching and colorful Jean Prouvé replicas) matched with plywood tabletops, plus a bar/chef counter in the back (featuring stools by Sean Dix and originally created for YardBird in Hong Kong, which I was recently sitting in), and there are 20 outdoor seats next to some raised beds as well, which will come in handy when brunch launches in a few weeks. Eventually there will be some headlamps added to make outside more cozy too. Because, SF.

London will obviously rocking the NorCal seasonal, local, organic, vegetable-centric tip, with plenty of attention on seafood, and he also wants the menu to strike a note of affordability for the neighborhood as well. The menu is broken down into composed dishes, about four or five in each section: smaller bites, warm/hot, cool, and then sides, which are actually the meat dishes (the rest of the menu is seafood- and vegetable-heavy). Small bites are priced around $5, composed dishes between $11-$18 per dish, and sides $15-$20.

Dishes include lightly cured trout, pickled green fig, torn potatoes, fava leaf; black cod crusted with black lime and roasted black lime powder with winter citrus and sunchoke curry; and a side of hanger steak with crab shell butter and sherry vinegar. The menu should be live on the site any day now. Look for that oh-so-SF balance between precise food and a casual atmosphere.

A unique component to AL’s is they may only have a beer and wine license (with a well-selected wine list that isn’t too spendy either—Sam Bogue from Central Kitchen consulted on it—plus plenty of Belgians on the beer list), but the team really took time to develop a low-ABV cocktail menu, thanks to bar manager Alex Phillips, who London worked with while he was working behind the bar at Locanda (he was also the bar manager at Camino).

I was given a sneak peek of the low-proof cocktail list, which are all named after characters in Reservoir Dogs (and no, one of them is not Victor the Cleaner). You can start your meal with a couple of spritzes, like Mr. White (Cocchi Bianco, prosecco or cava, orange bitters, and fruit, like blood orange), served over a big, gorgeous hunk of hand-cut, clear ice. A fuller-bodied choice is Mr. Pink, made with Cappelletti, Cocchi Rosa, and seltzer.

I was quite taken with the sherry cocktails, especially Ms. Brown (manzanilla, Dolin Dry, Cocchi Torino, grapefruit bitters), while the nutty Mr. Blonde really highlights the oloroso on the finish, with Bonal and five-year-old cherry bitters that Phillips just found in his cabinet, providing some oomph to the drink.

You can finish your night with Mr. Blue, which has a touch of bitterness and a richer style thanks to the Cardamaro, plus Vergano Americano, Dolin Blanc, and mandarin bitters. All are $10. Here’s the beverage menu.

There are also a couple of fantastic nonalcoholic options, including the tangerine and vanilla cream soda (which features a half ounce of cream and tastes just like a 50-50 bar in a liquid form), and a concoction made from pomegranate syrup and blood orange, with lemon and seltzer.

London was really hands-on in all facets of the restaurant, from custom designing the aprons with Alternative Apparel (including diagonal pockets for tweezers and more in the front so they don’t fall out when bending over, a special phone pocket, a custom fit around the neck with snaps, and a bit of stretchy material as well) to customizing the bar rail (inspired by things he learned while bartending) to making a really comfortable dish pit (London was once a dishwasher). His kitchen is Tokyo-small and really tight but features many design shortcuts and improvements. London is happy to have some folks in his kitchen he has worked with before. You’ll also spy GM Liz Subauste working her magic on the floor. The team is ready and raring to go.

Opening Friday February 6th. Open Wed-Sun 5:30pm-10pm (and until 11pm Fri-Sat). 1499 Valencia St. at 26th St., 415-416-6136.


The dining room. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography, courtesy of Urban Daddy.

One of the bigger openings this year has arrived: ~MOURAD~, logging in at an eye-popping 258 seats in the historic 140 New Montgomery/Pacific Bell building designed by Timothy Pflueger (which also houses Trou Normand). This is chef-owner Mourad Lahlou’s second restaurant under his sole ownership, his first being Aziza, which he opened in 2001 in the Outer Richmond.

Any Aziza regulars can attest how the self-taught chef’s cuisine has evolved over the years, and this new project will continue his exploration of where Northern California ingredients and traditional Moroccan dishes intersect. A sample menu has items that read simply (“Mackerel: herb jam, rye panisse, puntarelle, sorrel”), but one look at images of his modern Moroccan dishes reveals a complexity of preparation, presentation, and flavors. There is also a tasting menu for $150.

Lahlou has brought on chef de cuisine Chris Kajioka, who worked for Ron Siegel when he helmed the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, and later for Per Se in New York, Aziza, Willows Inn on Lummi Island in Washington State, and Vintage Cave in Hawaii. He has a contemporary French style with a Japanese sensibility. Look for more on the native Hawaiian’s upcoming project, Restaurant CK, later this year. 

Joining the team is Master Sommelier Alan Murray, formerly at Masa’s; cocktails are by Christ Aivaliotis and Troy Bayless of Wizard Oil; and Melissa Chou (Aziza) will also run the pastry show at this location.

Lundberg Design designed the contemporary two-level space. You’ll see Moroccan influences and motifs (a great deal was inspired by a trip Lundberg and Lahlou took to Marrakesh) paired with modern touches like a suspended steel and glass wine bridge that houses a backlit wine cellar. There’s also a spacious lounge and bar area.

Open nightly for dinner 5:30pm-10pm. 140 New Montgomery at Mission, 415-660-2500.


The dining room at Sous Beurre Kitchen. Photo by Patricia Chang.


The open kitchen and dining room. Photo by Patricia Chang.

A report by Dana Eastland. After months of popping up at Sugarlump coffee shop, chef Michael Mauschbaugh is opening a brick-and-mortar location of ~SOUS BEURRE KITCHEN~ on Thursday February 5th. The new spot is just down the street from Sugarlump, at 24th Street and Potrero, and offers cuisine inspired by Provence, but with Northern California ingredients and flair. The name translates to “in butter” in French, which is definitely a good sign.

The menu will change daily, with à la carte options, or you can opt for the five-course tasting menu. Sample winter dishes include pressed breast of pheasant with turnip, wild mushrooms, spelt risotto, and jus; or Mendocino uni with consommé, celeriac timbale, mustard greens, and house-cured trout roe. Look for pasta dishes and charcuterie on the menu, as well, along with classics like beef tartare, bouillabaisse, and bavette steak.

Sous Beurre Kitchen is also one of many local restaurants to do away with the traditional tipping system for service. Instead, labor costs and taxes will be built into the price of each dish, allowing all employees to be compensated fairly. As for the space, it was designed by Said-Jon Eghbal, whose previous work includes Rich Table and The Monk’s Kettle. The 74-seater is intended to be approachable, with soft gray walls, French oak, white marble, and brass elements, as well as antiques and objects found during Mauschbaugh’s trips to France. There is also a communal table was was custom-built by Mauschbaugh’s father out of French oak.

The doors will officially open on Thursday February 5th, and hours will be Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm. 2704 24th St. at Potrero, 415-874-9831.


Azalina’s laksa with hand-pulled noodles (and it’s vegan!). Photo: ©


The opening menu board at Azalina’s. Photo: Johanna Mansor.


An opening day visit by chef Alex Ong means big smiles. Photo: Johanna Mansor.

Congrats to Azalina Eusope, who opened her first brick-and-mortar spot this past Monday, ~AZALINA’S~, which we told you was coming in a story we broke a year ago. She is in the new Market on Market (“in the Twitter building”) that we wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

You can come by for her handcrafted and soulful Malaysian dishes, loaded with bright and complex flavors and colors and California touches, from 11am-10pm. She is a fifth-generation Mamak street food vendor and is proud to make her sauces by hand, as well as her noodles, dumplings, and more (they will be made at and transported from her commissary kitchen).

The opening menu includes her incredible laksa, Malaysian pineapple tea salad, hokkien mee (handmade noodles with shrimp), roasted chicken rice, and nasi lemak with beef curry. There’s also a pear iced tea, and fermented sticky rice with coconut cream for dessert.

There is a small counter with some seats along the window and another overlooking the kitchen, and there is some outdoor seating on a back patio garden area, which also has a roof. Look for some fun outdoor events in the future, like movie screenings and bonfires. 1355 Market St. at 10th St.


Exterior photo from the now-closed Café des Amis (photo via Facebook).

A bunch of new projects are coming down the pike—2015 is coming in hot! First up, here’s the great news that Kim Alter (previously Haven, Plum), who will still be working in conjunction with DPG (Daniel Patterson Group), has found her SF location: in the former Stelline and Las Estrellas in Hayes Valley. Scoop reports it will have around 40 seats, and she’ll be offering a casual tasting menu. Stand by for more details in the coming months—she is also hoping to score a liquor license as well. 330 Gough St. at Hayes.

I’ve been wondering who was finally going to take over the Thermidor space in Mint Plaza, and it’s chef Jason Fox of Commonwealth, who is working with restaurant consultant Timothy Felkner (Vigilante Hospitality). Scoop reports it will be a casual format (featuring small plates and larger dishes too), with more Mediterranean flavors and full liquor. Look for a summer opening. 8 Mint Plaza.

There’s a new taker for the former Café des Amis space in Cow Hollow: restaurateur Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Lolinda, Delarosa, Starbelly, El Techo, Uno Dos Tacos, and Super Duper Burgers). While there aren’t any details to release about the concept just yet, expect a gathering spot that will be more casual than Des Amis, and there’s talk of a spring/early summer opening. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

Last Thursday, Presidio’s Transit Cafe closed it doors, according to Scoop. The new taker for the space is none other than Traci Des Jardins, who’s in the middle of a bit of a Presidio takeover, with her recent openings, Arguello and The Commissary. Look for coffee, pastries, and other quick takeout options once the new spot opens. There’s no name yet, but in the interim a food truck called “The Transition” will be parked out front Monday through Friday from 7am to 2:30pm. 215 Lincoln Blvd. at Graham.

~IKE’S PLACE~ is continuing their expansion into the East Bay with a new location in Emeryville. The new spot is set to open this summer in the upcoming Hollis@Powell housing development. Then, here in San Francisco, owner Ike Shehadeh is opening a spot on Mission Street between 18th and 19th, serving pizzas and burgers in addition to sandwiches. Hat tip to Scoop.

Shah Bahreyni and Sam Ramadan of Marin County restaurants Boca Tavern and Boca Pizzeria have nabbed a restaurant space at 100 Brannan Street. The former home of Sutro, Slanted Door, and La Suite will become Caputo, according to Scoop, with a full liquor license and California-style Italian food. It’s a big space, with 180 seats (60 of them will be on the patio). No word on a timeline yet. 100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero.


Colin Dewey, the new chef at Florio. Photo by Devin Moore.

Exciting news: ~FLORIO~ on Fillmore has a new chef, the talented Colin Dewey. He most recently worked at Zero Zero with Bruce Hill, and returned this winter from a cooking sabbatical in Italy. Prior to Zero Zero, he worked with Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali. His new, Italian-focused menu at Florio will launch on February 16th, with housemade pastas and his own take on bollito misto. Florio classics like steak frites and roast chicken will remain, though the general focus of the menu will turn toward Italy, not France. Dewey plans to use local and seasonal ingredients, and everything will be made in-house, including sausages, preserves, and gelato.

And in case you were wondering where Nicholas Pallone, the previous chef at Florio, was headed, Eater just reported that he is opening his own spot on Fillmore, just a few blocks down from Florio in the Pizza Inferno space. His new place will be called ~ACADEMY BAR & KITCHEN~ and will focus on Neapolitan-style pizzas cooked in the wood-fired oven. He’ll be doing everything in-house (anyone sensing a theme here?), including curing his own charcuterie, brewing vinegar, and milling flour. Inferno is currently slated to close March 1st, and Academy plans to open in mid-April. In the meantime, Pallone has a Kickstarter campaign going to raise $50,000 to help with construction. 1800 Fillmore St. at Sutter, 415-775-1800.

~GAME~, the restaurant from Sachin Chopra and Shoshana Wolff (All Spice San Mateo) that opened in November, has a new chef. Opening executive chef Zack Freitas has left, and Chopra himself will be running the kitchen from now on. A press release says the split is amicable, and Chopra will be launching a new menu in the next couple of weeks. Chopra says, “I’m happy to be able to execute my original vision for Game.” As for Freitas, there’s no word as to where he might land next. 648 Bush St. at Powell, 415-874-9481.

North Beach’s ~ROSE PISTOLA~ has a new executive chef: Steve Walker. Walker, who previously worked as chef de cuisine at Corso in Berkeley, plans to honor the restaurant’s history while also bringing some fresh perspective to the daily changing menu. The restaurant will continue to focus on housemade pastas and whole animal butchery, with new dishes like house-cured bresaola and braised artichokes alla romana. 532 Columbus Ave. at Union, 415-399-0499.

~CITIZEN FOX~, the upcoming brewery and beer incubator, has found an executive chef. Kevin Schuder, whose previous experience includes Millennium, Izakaya Yuzuki, AQ, and his very own vegetarian and vegan pop-up in Oakland, Veg 388. The project, which has lots of local names involved, including restaurateur Deborah Blum (partner in Beretta and Starbelly), master cicerone and brewmaster Rich Higgins, bar consultant Chris Lane (Ramen Shop), and general manager Danielle Seiple, is currently slated to open this summer. 2205 Mission St. at 18th St.


Some of the Millennium crew in the restaurant’s dining room. Photo from Facebook.

After more than 20 years in business, high-end vegan restaurant ~MILLENNIUM~ is closing. A note explaining the closure mentions that the Hotel California space was recently purchased by Seattle-based Pineapple Hospitality, and they will not be renewing the restaurant’s lease. However, chef-partner Eric Tucker and general manager Alison Bagby are apparently planning to open a new restaurant with a plant-based focus somewhere else in Bay Area, either in San Francisco or the East Bay. Millennium’s last day is April 30th, so you have a couple of months to get in there before they close for good. As for Tucker and Bagby’s plans, we’ll let you know when we hear anything.

While I was away in Hong Kong, a few tablehopper pals let me know that Charles Phan’s British pub concept, ~THE COACHMAN~, was going to close on Friday January 30th. The restaurant opened last March and struggled to find a niche, until shuttering. No word on what Phan’s plans are for the space in SoMa, which also used to house Heaven’s Dog. 1148 Mission St. at 7th St.

Another punch for our city’s vegans: Eater reports that vegetarian and vegan restaurant ~SOURCE~ has closed. After four years of business, it seems they simply weren’t able to make ends meet. Business partners and brothers Mitchell and Adam Fox will continue to run their Berkeley outpost, ~SOURCE MINI~. 11 Division St. at De Haro.


The fire damage at Mission Market, which housed Wise Sons commissary and many other businesses. Photo from Instagram.

A report by Dana Eastland. As many of you have probably heard by now, last Wednesday January 28th a terrible fire destroyed a building at the corner of 22nd Street and Mission. The building had apartments on the third floor, offices on the second, and many businesses housed on the ground floor, and the repercussions have been, simply, awful. One resident of the building, Mauricio Orellana, was killed in the blaze, and dozens of long-term Mission residents were displaced by the fire. That would be tragedy enough for the community, but the businesses on the ground floor have also suffered greatly.

Mission Local, whose offices were destroyed on the second floor, has a moving tribute to Orellana, the victim of the fire, as well as a comprehensive list of charity funds and the various ways you can help. Anything you can offer helps.

As for the businesses affected, we’re hearing the most about the commissary kitchen for Wise Sons Deli, which included a bagel machine Leo Beckerman and Evan Bloom purchased and were testing out for production. The pair is quick to note that they are recovering, and many residents and businesses were more severely affected. Their 24th Street and Contemporary Jewish Museum locations are still open, and they are working hard to get their baked goods back in production. Other businesses destroyed in the fire include locally owned small businesses Antojitos Salvadorenos Aminta and La Altena.

Just yesterday we got the word that hopper favorite Los Shucos had to close as well. Owner Sofia Keck had hoped her business was safe (she’s in the adjoining building, not the one that burned) and had planned to offer her kitchen to businesses affected by the fire. However, after a walkthrough with city and insurance inspectors, it became clear that water damage had essentially destroyed the space. They are currently closed until further notice.

UPDATE: Sofia Keck wrote to let us know that while she is rebuilding her shop, she has secured space in a commercial kitchen and will be continuing her catering operation. She is also going to be donating ten percent of all proceeds from direct catering will be donated to business owners affected by the fire because she’s amazing like that. Book your catering events here and help this community rebuild.

It’s been a difficult time for businesses in this part of the Mission. Just a few months ago, a fire on Mission Street between 22nd and 23rd destroyed several buildings and businesses, and many are yet to reopen. Again, anything you can do to help the displaced residents helps, and support your local businesses by eating at them as soon as they reopen! We’ll let you know when that is, of course.

Our thoughts are with all the families and businesses affects, and our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mauricio Orellana at this time of overwhelming loss.


The killer breakfast sandwich at Lou’s. Photo: ©

~LOU’S CAFE~, the Inner Richmond sandwich shop that rocks an excellent spread and killer breakfast sandwich, has opened a second location in Parkside. Initial Yelp reports say that menu is the same as the Geary location, but there’s a bit more space to spread out and enjoy your tasty sandwich. 1508 Taraval St. at 25th Ave., 415-682-4083.

The former Pop-Up Cafe location in the Tenderloin has become ~TYCOON THAI~. The primarily Thai place also specializes in Laotian dishes, according to early Yelp reports. It looks like the interior has a spare, modern look, with some neat modern graphic design. 620 O’Farrell St. at Leavenworth, 415-796-3391.

For good falafel downtown, check out newly opened ~THE FLYING FALAFEL~. The tiny outpost offers vegan falafel sandwiches, along with lots of gluten-free options. Yelpers are reporting that the owner is friendly and the pita bread is warmed in a steamer to keep it warm and fluffy. 1051 Market St. at 6th St., 415-964-1003.

The hopper noticed ~KISU~, a new Japanese spot in the Financial District. It’s focused on sushi bowls, at least according to Yelpers. It sounds like you create your own bowl using a list of choices, including rice, sauces, and fish. 493 Pine St. at Kearny, 415-678-7722.

A new Italian café in North Beach tweeted us about their opening in December. It’s called ~CAFÉ DIMMI TUTTO~ and is the project of Grace LaGoce and Francesco Signorile. They want to offer excellent espresso, with an Italian sense of hospitality, where customers are encouraged to linger and talk to their barista; for more information on their vision, check out this article. They’re importing Saicaf beans from Italy and have even created a special ice cream and coffee concoction called the “dimmi cremino,” using a special blending machine, according to this article on the new spot. Hours are Mon-Fri 8am-6pm. 473 Broadway St. at Kearny, 415-987-0714.

San Francisco will soon have a new place for Burmese food, this time on Polk Street. Chowhounders and Good Bad SF caught the closure of Sushi Rock, and it looks like ~RANGOON RUBY~ is moving in. The small Bay Area chain has locations in Palo Alto and San Carlos, with a fourth headed to Burlingame. No word on the exact opening; we’ll keep an eye out. 1608 Polk St. at Sacramento.


Wood-fired pizza for lunch at Gitane. Photo from Facebook.

As of January 26th, ~GITANE~ is open for lunch Monday through Friday. The new lunch menu is focused on utilizing the kitchen’s wood-fired oven, with thin-crust pizzas, a selection of salads, and larger entrées. The menu will change frequently, but current offerings include a Romanesco pizza with pickled onion, nettle pesto, and goat cheese ($14); roasted chicken salad with butter lettuce, radish, bacon, and Green Goddess dressing ($14); and squid ink pasta with crab, chile oil, and bread crumbs ($22). The full wine list and beer menu will also be available. Lunch is served Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm.

The newly opened Dogpatch restaurant and garden ~STEM~ is now open for dinner Monday through Saturday. The new dinner menu has a large selection of shareable dishes including a charcuterie board ($18), pork and beef meatballs ($12), and roasted cauliflower with farro in citrus vinaigrette ($12). There are also larger dishes including a grilled pork chop ($26) and a selection of pizzas. They’ve also expanded their cocktail program for the evening hours, with new drinks like the Dogpatch Sunset (209 gin, fruit extract, sparkling wine) and the Vin 09 (housemade chai, rum, cream, mint). The restaurant’s beautiful edible garden and heated patio will offer seating, as well as the inside dining room. Dinner is served Mon-Sat 4pm-9pm, with happy hour Mon-Fri 3pm-4pm. 499 Illinois St. at 16th St., 415-915-1000.

According to a post on Cole Valley SF Blog, local porky purveyor ~BACON BACON~ is now going to be open later and into the evenings. Along with the expanded hours come some new menu items (rumors are even swirling about vegetarian options) and beverage choices. Hours will now be Tue-Sat 7am-7pm, Sun 8am-3pm, Mon 7am-2pm. 205a Frederick St. at Ashbury, 415-218-4347.


The pastrami sandwich from Shorty Goldstein’s. Yelp photo by Vicente G.

Jake Godby of Humphry Slocombe fame is launching a bakery project with partner Jewel Zimmer of {cocoa}, called ~PRESS 12~. The Bold Italic caught the news, and reports that they will be popping up outside Four Barrel on Saturdays from 11am through 2pm until they find a permanent home. Their first pop-up included such inventive and over-the-top choices as duck fat Chex Mix, double-chocolate togarashi cookies, and Elvis monkey pie (with stout, honey, caramel, and cornmeal). As for that name, apparently it refers to the nickname “Press 12 Girls” that Condé Nast employees used for Vogue employees, who resided on the 12th floor of the Condé Nast building in New York. Follow along on Twitter for updates. 375 Valencia St. at 15th St.

Downtown’s ~SHORTY GOLDSTEIN’S~ is popping up at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays, now through April. The menu offers a few breakfast selections, including a gravlax bagel ($10) and challah French toast ($10), along with sandwiches for lunch. Look for pastrami ($11), corned beef ($11), and schmaltz-poached turkey ($10) (bonus: you can add foie gras to any sandwich for $10, or make it a Rachel!), along with classic sides like matzo ball soup and latkes. Take a look at the full menu here. They’ll be there 8am-2pm. Ferry Building Plaza at Embarcadero.

Emily Lai, a local chef who used to work at Fatty Crab and Sam Mason’s Tailor in New York and now owns The Rib Whip food trucks locally, has a pop-up on Wednesday February 4th at ~BIONDIVINO~. It’s called Masak Masak and is focused on Lai’s Malaysian-inspired cuisine. Dishes include a stuffed tofu curry with shrimp, and chawanmushi; here’s the menu. Biondivino’s Ceri Smith will be offering wine pairings by the glass, as well, which you won’t want to miss. The pop-up will be from 5pm-10pm. 1415 Green St. at Polk, 415-673-2320.


Crabs! Photo courtesy of The Whole Beast and Bernal Supper Club.

The fourth annual Shrimp Boil is coming to ~ANCHOR & HOPE~ on Wednesday February 11th. The partnership with Beer Week is a shrimpy fest, with all the shrimp you can eat and all the beer you can drink. Participating breweries include Fort Point, Golden Road, Thirsty Bear, and SF Brewing Co., offering plenty of suds to keep you going. The party is only $40 per person, with two seatings (5pm and 7:30pm); reservations can be made by calling 415-501-9100.

Dungeness crab season is still going strong, and ~AMERICANO~ is the place to get crackin’. From now until Sunday February 8th, they’ll be hosting Dungeness Crab Week, with a special menu including crabby treats like crab salad sliders ($14) in the bar area and whole Dungeness crab with butter, salsa verde, and chicory salad ($28) in the dining room. Poseidon Vineyard’s pinot noir “Rosé for the Bay” will also be available by the glass or bottle. Fifty percent of proceeds from Dungeness Crab Week sales will be donated to San Francisco Baykeeper to support their work on behalf of local clean waters.


Homestead’s Liz and Fred Sassen, ready to host you (sans tips, thank you). Photo via Facebook.

Another local restaurant is doing away with tips, and this time it’s ~HOMESTEAD~ in Oakland. East Bay Express reports that they are raising prices about 20 percent across the board and banning tips on March 2nd. Ultimately, partners Liz and Fred Sassen hope that the overall cost of dining out will be the same, and that it will equalize the take-home pay of the floor and kitchen. 4029 Piedmont Ave. at 40th St., 510-420-6962.

Speaking of restaurant trends, ~HAVEN~ has reopened after a brief closure, with a new (and au courant) menu format and revamped interior decor. According to Oakland Local, chef Charlie Parker is now offering a family-style prix-fixe that encourages diners to interact, not unlike the restaurant’s original format under Kim Alter. The menu will change nightly, with meat-focused and vegetarian options. The bar area will serve cheese, charcuterie, and pastas à la carte. Take a look at a sample menu here. The dinner menu is $45 per person Monday through Thursday, $60 per person Friday through Saturday. Hours are daily 5:30pm-10pm.

We’ve been tracking this for awhile, and now it’s open. Sean Asmar, who runs the kitchen at Bender’s Bar in San Francisco, has a new spot in Oakland called ~ANALOG~. Instead of focusing on newer technologies, Analog (as the name suggests) is all about celebrating VHS tapes and record players. The menu, much like the kitchen at Bender’s, is all about simple comfort food, with some surprising twists. There are sandwiches, like the pulled pork with smoked gouda. Vegans and vegetarians will find something, too, with their selection of meatless sandwiches like a vegan “Rachel”; here’s the menu and beer list. Hours are Tue-Fri 10am-2pm and 5pm-2am, Sat 5pm-2am, Mon 5pm-10pm. 414 14th St. (at Franklin), 510-682-1824.

Emily Day is opening a second location of her darling Nob Hill bakery ~FLOUR & CO.~ in Berkeley this summer. The new location will continue to offer her pastries and baked goods made with “the good stuff” (that would be flour, eggs, butter, and quality produce), but the larger kitchen means she’ll be able to try out some new things too. Here’s more in her blog post about the expansion. Congrats, Emily! 1398 University Ave. at Acton.