The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
August 13, 2019
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The tropical chic style of Nari. All photos: Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Plants abound in the airy, open dining room.

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The Kinnari cocktail, named after a half-bird/half-woman character in Thai literature.

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The outstanding gaeng gradang snack (fried bites of Northern Thai headcheese).

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Mah hor snack with stone fruit.

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The spicy squid and sticky pork jowl dish.

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The turmeric-scented rawaeng curry, with a whole Cornish game hen and roti on the side.

Last week, I was thrilled to be invited to a friends and family preview dinner at ~NARI~, the latest restaurant from chef-owner Pim Techamuanvivit of our city’s much-adored Kin Khao (and Nahm in Bangkok). It’s a spacious step up from Kin Khao’s casual atmosphere: Nari is a 100-seater in Japantown’s recently renovated Hotel Kabuki, with a chic, tropical 70s style (UPDATE: this was my impression of the aesthetics, but after reading my piece, Pim shares the 70s weren’t a part of the design plan—but they did want to invoke a sense of dining in a tropical garden or greenhouse). It’s from Lundberg Design (Mourad, Hard Water, and Maum)—founder Olle Lundberg is a big fan of Kin Khao, and Pim worked closely with designer Caroline Nassif from Lundberg. There’s also a bar and lounge on the mezzanine upstairs (with room for up to 40), and a private dining room (room for up to 30).

The airy space is full of plants and natural light, with plenty of nooks and booths for larger parties, which reflects the family-style format of the menu. There are beautiful wood tables of reclaimed teak from old Thai houses, bench seats made from reclaimed floorboards from homes and boats, and banquettes upholstered with a shimmery silk from Jim Thompson Fabrics, truly a Thai classic. There are French light fixtures from Constance Guisset that look like flowy hats, and birdcages that remind me of dining in Thailand. While the overall style and atmosphere is more upscale than Kin Khao, there’s some fun energy with the upbeat music and friendly service.

Nari is Thai for “women,” and the Bangkok-born Techamuanvivit is honoring the women in her life who taught her so many traditional recipes and dishes, which she really has more room to explore here with the significantly larger kitchen. She is working with chef de cuisine Meghan Clark and bar manager Megan Daniel-Hoang (Whitechapel) upstairs, whose cocktails are named after female characters in old Thai literature and stories. Nari is a celebration of women in many forms and touchpoints throughout the experience.

The heritage-driven menu is based on Thai dishes, techniques, and preparations, but also integrates California seasonality and Pim’s own modern and personal updates. (The mah hor snack exemplifies this perfectly: wedges of pluot are topped with a delightful paste of pork, shrimp, peanuts, garlic, coriander root, and coconut sugar, an amazing version of this dish which I fell in love with in Thailand.) Pim is known for her painstaking sourcing and commitment to making everything by hand, from her sauces to curries to pastes. The plating here is elegant and appetizing, served on pottery from Nathiya Prathnadi (a local Thai ceramicist), and colorful pieces from Sven Ceramics.

You’ll want to try as many of the snacks on the menu as you can (there are six in all), from the beautiful and delectable miang (betel leaves adorned with a treasure of ingredients, like stone fruit, cured trout roe, Makrut lime, coconut, cashews, lemongrass, and more; $14); outstanding and crispy veal sweetbreads glazed with an incendiary sriracha-tamarind sauce ($9); and the can’t-miss gaeng gradang (fried bites of Northern Thai headcheese; $10). The snacks were a perfect match with the Kinnari cocktail (tree sap liqueur, fino sherry, blanc vermouth, gin bitters; $14).

All of the snacks are available in the upstairs lounge, and psssst, there are a few larger dishes upstairs you can’t get in the dining room, like sai ua (Northern-style sausage; $23) and tom yum with rice noodles ($22), a family favorite dish from Pim’s childhood, with her grandmother’s chile jam. (Quite perfect if you live in the neighborhood and just want to swing by for something a little substantial for dinner and a drink.) Check out the bar menu here.

Five starters range from $15-$19, and include a winning spicy squid and sticky pork jowl dish that is like it came over from Kin Khao and graduated into a new form, as well as khao tung and some vegetable dishes. The pricing of the mains will remind you they are meant to be shared, from the turmeric-scented rawaeng curry—a whole Cornish game hen, so succulent and savory, served with irresistible roti ($47)—to a massaman gae curry of lamb shank, grilled onions, and nectarines ($52). There are some dry curry dishes, and if you want to get down with some Thai funk, there’s the kapi plah plate ($25), with seasonal vegetables you dip into a smashed Gulf prawn and shrimp paste relish—this is definitely an advanced Thai dish.

The cocktails are very food-friendly, and Thai spice-friendly too. You’ll find a section of sessions cocktails (low-proof), large-format punches ($45), and zero-proof as well, which cost as much as the sessions cocktails ($14). Many feature Thai ingredients, and range from bright to spiritous.

The wine list is a collaboration between Kin Khao’s wine director Sam Zelver and GM Caleb Taft, who you may recognize from Arlequin. The list includes wines from female winemakers and female-owned wineries, with a focus on small producers, and some non-intervention and biodynamic picks, but you can also find a classic white Burgundy and rieslings too. The by-the-glass selections range from a mineral Serbian corvina from Maurer to a rosé from our own County Line (both $15). You can also explore some cider, beer, and soft drinks.

Open Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm. Lunch will be coming soon, like in a couple months. And yay, parking in the Japantown Center Garage is super-cheap and easy, just take the elevator up to the Hotel Kabuki. 1625 Post St. at Laguna.

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Tosca’s open kitchen, flanking the dining room. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

In the last tablehopper, locals were reeling over the news of the sudden closure of ~TOSCA CAFE~, and now we have news of who the new owners are: Nancy Oakes (Boulevard, Prospect), Anna Weinberg (Big Night Restaurant Group: Marlowe, The Cavalier, Leo’s Oyster Bar—although Weinberg is working outside of the restaurant group on this project), and designer Ken Fulk, a frequent collaborator on Weinberg’s restaurants. The Chron reports they plan to reopen the beloved North Beach landmark, which dates back to 1919, this winter.

It couldn’t be in better hands, really. It ends up Oakes grew up in North Beach, and she’ll be bringing some authentic nostalgia for the neighborhood to the menu development, which will remain Italian American, leaning on classic Italian simplicity and great ingredients, with daily updates.

The dining room will have a few refreshed touches, like reupholstered booths, and will potentially be widened a little. The private back room, which is full of memorabilia, will most likely remain the same as well. But Fulk will be having some fun with the small, upstairs private dining room—start placing your bets on whether there will be his trademark taxidermy in there or not. Perhaps a little fox in its den. And there’s no word on plans for the former Lusty Lady, also part of the deal.

Stand by for more. I know I’m not the only one exhaling over this news—I’m glad this storied business is back in some good hands.

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Great Gold’s tomato bread is reportedly a can’t-miss dish. Instagram photo via @greatgold_sf.

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The Nashville spicy chicken-inspired banh mi at Howard Taps. Yelp photo by Cherylynn N.

I’ve already mentioned the details on the new, modern Italian-American red sauce joint, ~GREAT GOLD~ in the former Foxsister, and hey now, it’s open. Check out the menu here. Open Mon-Sat 6pm-10pm and Sun 6pm-9pm. 3161 24th St. at Shotwell.

There’s a new Vietnamese gastropub in SoMa, ~HOWARD TAPS~, in the former Gaslamp Cafe, serving banh mi (like Nashville spicy chicken banh mi) and bun (vermicelli bowls) for now. Once their license kicks in, they’ll be serving SF microbrews, plus an expanded menu with wings, rice plates, and more. They’re all about local ingredients and products, like the espresso they use for their Vietnamese coffee. They’ll also be serving brunch (jook!), lunch, and happy hour (with tacos, 3 for $7). There’s outdoor seating (it’s pet-friendly!), and they will be playing sports on big-screen TVs. It’ll be a good spot if you’re getting your car fixed in that area. Happy hour will be 4pm-7pm. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-9pm, Sat 10am-10pm for now. 1599 Howard St. at 12th St., 415-812-1863.

Also in SoMa, the fast-casual ~SOWL BOWLS THAI STREET FOOD~ has opened in the former Split Pea Seduction, serving Thai-style rice bowls (with white rice, brown rice, garlic rice, or garlic noodles as the base), sticky rice burgers, and satays. There’s also a party spread for three people ($22.75), lemme know if you want to party! :) Open Mon-Fri 11am-5pm. 138 6th St. at Minna.

There’s a new South Indian spot in the Mission that has a good-lookin’ menu, ~ADITI INDIAN CUISINE~. The menu includes dosas, vadas, frankies, and there’s a pomfret fish fry that’s catching my eye. Let me know if anyone dines here before I have a chance to check it out! Open Tue-Thu 5pm-1am (check out those late hours!), Fri-Sun 11:30am-3pm and 5:30pm-1am. 1101 Valencia St. at 22nd St., 415-401-8959.

Over in the Marina, there’s a new chicken and waffle spot called, easily enough, ~CHICKEN N WAFFLE PLACE~. The hormone-free chicken is soaked in buttermilk and breaded and fried to order. There are other breakfast and lunch items on the menu as well, from omelettes to waffle sandwiches. Open Mon and Wed 7:30am-2pm, Thu-Fri 7:30am-2pm and 5pm-8:30pm, Sat-Sun 7am-3pm. 1968 Lombard St. at Webster.

A third location of ~STREET TACO~ has opened in Potrero, serving their classic Mexico City-style tacos with housemade tortillas. Open Mon-Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-8pm. 980 16th St. at 7th St.

And another location of ~SUPER DUPER BURGERS~ is now open in SoMa. Breakfast sandwiches, Mr. Espresso coffee, burgers, shakes, they’ve gotchoo. Open Mon-Fri 8am-10pm and Sat 10am-9pm. 117 New Montgomery St. at Minna.

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A pic of Tsuta Ramen (via Tsuta Philippines on Facebook).

A few things to look forward to: last year, word came out that ~TSUTA~ ramen was opening in The Metreon, and they have now set the opening for mid-September. The Michelin-starred restaurant (the first ramen restaurant to earn a star) originates in Sugamo, Tokyo, and has two locations in Singapore. Chef-owner Yuki Onishi has created a signature shoyu soba: the soy base is from a special blend of shoyu that includes his housemade, custom-brewed shoyu from Wakayama Prefecture and a specially sourced white shoyu sauce. He blends it with the dashi and finishes it with a black truffle sauce. He will be creating a San Francisco-specific dish, stand by for more. 135 4th St. at Mission.

A tablehopper reader noticed a sign in the window in the former Schmidt’s in the Mission (no, it’s not a sign from the angry neighbor upstairs). The sign mentions ~BASE CAMP NEPAL~ is coming soon, featuring Nepali tapas from the Dancing Yak folks (located at 280 Valencia). I reached out for details, stand by. Hopefully the landlord isn’t gouging them like they did to the former Schmidt’s owners. 2400 Folsom St. at 20th St.

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Jay Foster doing his magic at Isla Vida. Photo: Melissa de Mata.

Damn, am so sorry to report ~ISLA VIDA~ has closed in the Fillmore after a year of giving it their all. Co-owners Jay Foster, Matthew Washington, and Erin Traylor were turning out some mighty tasty Afro-Caribbean food and tropical vibes, but unfortunately operational costs proved to be too much for them to stay open, plus slow foot traffic, and other challenges. You can read more in the Chronicle piece. Sorry it didn’t work out, there was a lot of heart in this project, and pride in opening a black-owned business in the Fillmore. 1300 Fillmore St. at Eddy.

Broke-Ass Stuart reports on the closure of SoMa’s ~CREPES A GO GO~, which has gone gone. Sorry, late-night crêpe fans! (Their North Beach location, which opened earlier this year, is open.)

A couple remodeling updates as well: shocker of shockers, beloved hole in the wall ~YAMO~ is currently closed for a refresh. No word of when one of SF’s best bargain meal counters is opening back up (oh, those garlic noodles!), hopefully soon (the phone line is just endlessly busy). 3406 18th St. at Mission, 415-553-8911. [Via Hoodline.]

And just in case you’re wondering when your Champagne headquarters is coming back, ~THE RIDDLER~ is closed for a mandatory seismic retrofit, and is taking the opportunity to refresh a few things. Look for a reopening after August. 528 Laguna St. at Fell.

July 30, 2019
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The elegant exterior of Selby’s. Photo: Ed Anderson.

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The limestone fireplace (with original artwork by Rob Delamater). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The inviting style of the downstairs dining room. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The swanky bar at Selby’s (with green mohair underneath). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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One of the three golden arches, containing rare Scotch, eau de vie, and Chartreuse. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The upstairs Balcony room. Photo: Ed Anderson.

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Hokkaido scallop and Kaluga caviar. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The magnificent roast crown of duck for two. Photo: Ed Anderson.

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The fabulous midnight chocolate cake. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

The Bacchus Management Group (The Village Pub, Spruce) has really done it this time: now open in Atherton is their latest project, ~SELBY’S~. Open in the former Chantilly, the location has been home to fine-dining restaurants since 1937, and the swanky style feels like a throwback to that era. The group spent over two years on the project, and it shows in all the exquisite details.

Interior designer Stephen Brady, who designed Spruce, took inspiration from Hollywood’s glamorous dining scene of the 1930s and 1940s. The 10,000-square-foot space has two levels, with room for 48 in the main dining room, and 40 in the bar and lounge. There’s also a private card room, with room for 8 (you can dine in there and then a felt topper for the table comes out when it’s time to play cards—they can also hire a dealer for you); the balcony room seats 40, and there’s additional seating for up to 70, with many private dining options.

Walking through the original doors, you’ll note luxurious touches like forest green mohair walls (they provide great acoustics, and founding partner Tim Stannard tells me they have bought all the green mohair that exists in the world, for the moment), tobacco saddle leather chairs, black paneled wainscoting, and some stunning lighting, including a custom chandelier by Magnus Schevene. The welcoming design is eclectic, both modern and vintage, and is meant to make you feel like you want to linger. The Bacchus team is known for their top-notch service, only adding to the desire to stay awhile.

The bar is such a looker—I felt like I was having a cocktail in Manhattan—with three arches inlayed with gold foil, a white Carrara marble bar top, and wraparound leather chairs and bar chairs. There are over 110 American whiskies, and ask about their Blanton’s barrel reserve. There’s also an extensive selection of eau de vie from Austria, and select Chartreuse too.

The artwork is a seminal part of the décor, featuring original artwork by Rob Delamater of Lost Art Salon, who also curated over 175 pieces of vintage and contemporary artwork, hung salon-style throughout the space (I particularly fell in love with the large pieces by Bay Area abstract expressionist Jack Freeman hanging by the dramatic white marble staircase).

Many of you know what a fanatic I am for vintage restaurant history, menus, and ephemera, so I was pretty smitten with the entire dining experience they have crafted here. Bacchus executive chef Mark Sullivan really enjoyed researching vintage dishes, and has updated them with a California seasonal lens (and lightness). I’m calling it Cali-Continental, and it’s elegant without being fussy, luxurious without being gauche. Some media outlets have fussed over the Black Label $50 burger (with Époisses and black truffle), but I think that’s missing the point of the menu. (And, by the way, if you want a burger, the Selby’s burger is just $21, served with Comté.)

Starters include a lobster consommé with seafood mousseline ($19); a Russian salad (based on the recipe for salad Olivier, which dates back to the 1860s at the Ermitage in Moscow), lightened up with seasonal vegetables from SMIP Ranch and a creamy dill dressing, $17; and if you feel like splashing out with a friend, get the cured Hokkaido scallop with Kaluga caviar and cream with verjus, shallot, and yuzu ($75), perfect with a glass of their Champagne from Sanger, an exclusive here in California.

I was happy to see carpaccio Cipriani ($22) on the menu (prepared tableside)—when was the last time you had carpaccio? Some burnished Gruyère popovers will hit the table, hang onto one until the end of your meal so you can surreptitiously scoop up sauces like beurre rouge. Oh, and the china! The Ginori porcelain dishes are so beautiful, what a treat to dine off of such lovely china.

Mains include an elegant and lightly cured halibut ($41) adorned with little scales of thinly sliced potato, and you’ll want it with a side of Robuchon potatoes (there is nothing creamier on this earth), $17.

The duck is what got chef de cuisine Jason Pringle the job—here, it’s dry-aged for 17 days, and served tableside as a roast crown of duck for two ($98)—the exterior has a fantastic seasoning. Order the La Tur Robiola ravioli ($19) to share on the side, they were charmingly inspired by Lucca Ravioli (RIP). You’ll also see a variety of prime steaks from Holstein cattle, dry-aged exclusively for Selby’s by Flannery’s Beef. Plus sauces (bring on the béarnaise)!

Dessert from executive pastry chef Janina O’Leary (previously Per Se and Del Posto) is fantastic—the midnight chocolate cake ($13) with salted caramel and fudge sauce is best in class (she uses Valrhona chocolate, and there’s also olive oil in it). I’d travel here just for it and eat a slice at the bar, I’m not kidding. Beautiful mignardises at the end of the meal, like peach Bellini bonbons!

Of course wine and spirits director Andrew Green has pulled out all the stops with Selby’s. The cellar has one of the most substantial opening wine lists in the United States, including 3,000-4,000 wines from first-class producers around the world, and focusing on vintage Italian, Spanish, French, and California wines. (They’re gunning to acquire their third Wine Spectator Grand Award.)

There’s also some really fun tableside action with their Martini Cart (you can see it in action in my post on Instagram), serving two variations of “The Coldest Martini on the West Coast,” a classic martini and Vesper (they use frozen spirits only, without shaking or stirring, so it’s potent!).

Enjoy more pics here and here. Dinner nightly 5pm-10pm. Book your table soon (yes, even if you live in SF, you’re going to want to come down to the Peninsula for this experience!), and hey, tech bros, leave the Patagonia at home for a change, would ya? 3001 El Camino Real at Selby, Atherton, 650-546-7700.

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The dining room at Tosca. Photo by Sonya Yu via Tosca.

Big news from over the weekend: North Beach’s ~TOSCA CAFE~ closed after service Saturday night. Eater reports chef-owner April Bloomfield is keeping the bar open for a bit, but no word for how long. In a follow-up statement to Eater, Bloomfield states, “Tosca Cafe will close temporarily as I prepare to transfer this iconic restaurant to new management. The conversation is still in-progress, so I can’t comment further, but I expect the restaurant to return to full operation in the near future.”

According to Eater, it sounds like Tosca has had financial troubles of late. Shame that Bloomfield and Friedman didn’t transfer it to chef Josh Even and Dana Katzakian when they made an offer. But, I’m glad there’s new management taking over—here’s hoping they bring armloads of sage to smudge the fuck out of that place, which I haven’t had much of a desire to return to since Isaac Shumway was let go back in 2015. I’m glad this treasured location will stay with us, but hopefully the next operators will do right by it, and our city that loves it so.

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San Francisco’s beloved champion of Italian wine, Shelley Lindgren. Photo: Frankie Frankeny. © FrankenyImages.com.

Some big news over at ~SPQR~: managing partner Shelley Lindgren, who co-founded the Fillmore restaurant in 2007, has divested ownership in it. She will continue to focus on A16’s SF and Rockridge locations, and A16 is going to have an upcoming location in the Oakland airport. She is also busy researching and writing “The New Italian Wine,” with Kate Leahy, coming out with Ten Speed Press in spring 2021.

Executive chef Matthew Accarrino, who has been in that role since 2009, will be assuming more oversight of the restaurant operations.

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A corner of the dining room. Photo courtesy of Coffee Manufactory.

SF is losing a talented chef: executive chef Christa Chase is leaving ~TARTINE MANUFACTORY~ on August 20th. She helped open the restaurant in 2016, and became the exec in 2017. She says she’s going to enjoy a break (so well-deserved), and will be part of a new project by the end of the year in Oakland (no details to share yet, but at least she isn’t going too far). Thank you for feeding us such fresh, flavorful, craveable dishes!

Over at ~COI~, chef Daniel Patterson is taking the helm once again (he left the kitchen in 2016). Over the weekend, chef Erik Anderson announced his departure in an Instagram post, and alludes to a new project in Northern California, so he isn’t going far.

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Of course there is some fun tile happening at Cow Marlowe. Instagram photo via @annaweinbergmarlowe.

I’ve been hearing from multiple sources about changes happening at the eight-month-old ~COW MARLOWE~ in Cow Hollow, and got an update from Big Night Restaurant Group’s Anna Weinberg. They’re making some updates to the kitchen, and decided to lighten up everything overall, which includes the menu, cocktails, and interior from Ken Fulk (Anna sent me a pic of the in-progress paint job, and it’s looking much more airy).

Cow Marlowe is due to be closed until August 22nd, I’ll keep you posted on the changes and timing. 3154 Fillmore St. at Greenwich.

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The BLT at the new Seven Stills Mission Taproom. Photo by Seven Stills via Yelp.

After the closure of Almanac Tap Room in the Mission, local brewer (and distiller) ~SEVEN STILLS~ has moved into the space and is now open as a taproom.

You can check out the tap list, and there’s a rather extensive and affordable menu of snacks that includes Padrón peppers, deviled eggs, roasted garlic hummus, a BLT, fried chicken sandwich, and, of course, a cheeseburger.

Brunch includes loco moco, a masa waffle, and special brunch drinks/low-ABV cocktail options. The space got a bit of a refresh, with a new mural, and don’t forget there’s that awesome back patio. Hours: Mon-Wed 5pm-10pm, Thu 12pm-10pm, Fri 12pm-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-9pm. 2704 24th St. at Potrero, 415-658-7661.

North Beach residents were dismayed with the closure of Tamarind Hall, their sole Thai restaurant, but a new Thai place has opened, ~NEW THAI ELEPHANT~, with a menu of Thai standards, from apps to rice plates to noodle soups and dishes. This is their second location, their first is in San Mateo. Open daily 11am-9:30pm. 393 Bay St. at Mason, 415-818-8999.

Downtown’s ~HOMAGE~ has opened a second location in the FiDi, offering breakfast, coffee service, lunch, and twilight/happy hour service. There’s housemade bread, seasonal soups and salads, and well-chosen wines and vermouths. Check the site for menus. Open Mon-Fri 7am-9pm. 214 California St. at Front, 415-658-7732. ​

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Tiffani Faison and Shangela on the GastroMagic stage in 2018. Photo: Cal Bingham.

This Thursday August 1st, over 70 Bay Area restaurants and bars are taking part in a fundraiser called Abort the Ban, the first annual Bay Area Fight for Abortion Rights event! Womxn’s reproductive rights are under attack, and a team of womxn working in the Bay Area restaurant industry want to do something about it! Their goal is to raise $40,000; all funds will be donated to Planned Parenthood.

Please consider dining at participating restaurants this Thursday, whether you’re picking up bagels at Daily Driver to checking out the new AL’s Deli. (Many thanks to the sponsors who are helping to make this happen.) You can also visit their CrowdRise page for donations. Follow them on Instagram for more at @bayareafightforabortionrights.

I can’t believe Outside Lands returns next weekend (August 9th-11th), where did the summer go? Do you have your food and drink hitlist lined up? Take a look at my post from last month about what’s new, and now the GastroMagic programming has been announced. This year, they’re partnering with Bon Appétit as a curating stage partner, who is bringing a bunch of their staff (including editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport, and super cutie senior food editor Andy Baraghani).

We’re also getting some L.A. talent up here: Jessica Koslow of Sqirl and Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Too Hot Tamales (she’s even donating her time and performance fee to The Los Angeles LGBT Center). Local talent will include returning guests Brenda’s French Soul Food (beignets and bounce!), Rich Table (porcini doughnuts!), and Chris Cosentino, with new appearances from Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz, Michael Solomonov of Zahav in Philly, rapper CupcakKe, and more.

July 16, 2019
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The exterior of the new Tartine Inner Sunset on 9th Ave. Photo: Paige Green.

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The interior dining area and counter. Photo: Paige Green.

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Summertime means BLT panzanella. Photo: Paige Green.

Right on schedule, ~TARTINE~ on 9th Ave. is now open in the Inner Sunset. It’s designed to be a casual, all-day restaurant, almost a hybrid of Tartine Bakery and Tartine Manufactory. You can enjoy Tartine’s beloved pastries, croissants, and breads, alongside an extensive offering of breakfast, lunch, and brunch items, like smørrebrøds, salads, and soups (they plan to launch dinner service by late summer).

You can review all three menus (breakfast, brunch, lunch) here. Yes, the coddled eggs with trout roe are on there, plus a grilled cheese with mornay sauce, and a BLT panzanella salad (the seasonal menu will highlight some produce from producers at the year-round, Inner Sunset PCFMA Sunday farmers’ market). Susanna Ok is the executive chef, and most recently was the executive chef at The Battery SF for the past six years.

You can enjoy Coffee Manufactory coffees, wine and beer, and Tartine’s famous country loaves and sprouted rye bread will be for sale. There will also be a case of sandwiches, salads, and other offerings for picnics since they’re right by Golden Gate Park.

The airy 3,000-square-foot space was designed by Studio BBA (also behind the new Tartine Manufactory in Los Angeles), and includes 45 seats inside, and 10 on the outdoor patio. No reservations, and “café seating [is] available for guests after they have ordered and paid at the register.”

Service will be 7am-4pm daily (breakfast is 8am-11am, lunch is 11am-4pm) and brunch will be all day on the weekends from 8am-4pm. 1226 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-742-5005.

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The cheerful and colorful interior of AL’s Deli. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.

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Smokey brisket pita sandwiches should be the first thing you order. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.

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Meet the new hot pocket. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.

A couple weeks ago, I shared a bunch of details about ~AL’S DELI~, the fast-casual spot from Aaron London’s (AL’s Place) opening in the former Izakaya Yuzuki space on Guererro. Well, it’s now open, and you’re going to want to dive into that menu that pulls influences from Israeli street food and East Coast Jewish delis.

There are a variety of housemade pita sandwiches (shawarma-spiced chicken, blistered eggplant and cauliflower, spicy and tender falafel, and you won’t believe the smokey brisket, an homage to Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal, a favorite of London). The sandwiches ($12-$14) are thoughtfully composed, full of textures and bright flavor. You can also order them as a salad for $1 more. Or order some items as a main, like one pound of smokey brisket ($25) or the shawarma-spiced rotisserie chicken ($23), all served with marinated cabbage and three sauces (schug, amba, ranch-ish, garlicky, or green tahini—you’re gonna want to get a side of fries to dip in those). You can see more in my pics on Instagram.

Inventive bites like falafel corn dog bites ($7) and a potato hot pocket ($12) filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, and capers will be found in “Crispy Crunchy Things.” The sides include a creamy hummus ($6), served with cracked cucumber and lemon vinegar, and a beautiful salad ($13) of tomato, cucumber, chile-long pepper oil, smoked watermelon, and mint; dessert features frozen labneh ($5-$6) with toppings, like halva and black sesame crumble.

Wine director Justin Roberts curated a small but eclectic list, currently four Old World wines, plus beers and some canned options, like a Hoxie spritzer. The airy space is so stylin’, with bright color accents, Moroccan tiles, and flamingo wallpaper in the bathroom. Wait until you see the bright French blue rotisserie. Hours are daily 11am-9:30pm, with delivery and pick-up with Caviar. 598 Guerrero St. at 18th St.

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The Summer Elote Corn pizza at Square Pie Guys. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The refreshed interior of Square Pie Guys. Photo: FotosByFlee.

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Dry-fried Szechuan chicken wings. Photo: FotosByFlee.

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The Buffalo chicken Parm sandwich—it’s saucy! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The exterior of Square Pie Guys. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Finally, you can get a square meal with the opening of the first brick-and-mortar location of ~SQUARE PIE GUYS~ in SoMa. I became a fan of Marc Schechter and Danny Stoller’s Detroit-style pizza when they were a pop-up at Vinyl on Divis, and now they’ve moved into their very own digs, with a fryer, in the former The Board on Mission.

The menu is pretty extensive: you’ll want to start with their dry-fried Szechuan chicken wings ($11), and there’s Buffalo-style too, and they make a downright awesome chilled bowl salad ($12), with shredded kale, shaved broccoli, cherry tomato, spicy sunflower seeds, avocado, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, and gigante beans (it’s vegan!).

I tried their Buffalo chicken Parm sandwich ($14)—with a fried thigh, Buffalo red sauce, fresh mozzarella, shredded kale and romaine, Green Goddess Caesar, grana, and mayo schmear on a brioche roll—and I’m already looking forward to having it again (you can also order it as a salad). There’s even a double cheeseburger, and a cheeseburger salad! (Lordy.)

As for the main event, their trademark Detroit-style pizza is baked in 8-by-10 rectangular pans, with a cheesy, crispy crust around the edges. (They’re hearty and leftovers warm up like a dream.) There are nine kinds to choose from ($16-$22), like their Mean Green Sausage Machine (with garlic ricotta cream, Italian sausage, roasted broccoli, chile flake, and Mike’s Hot Honey) and the Don’t Go Bacon My Heart (with red sauce, marinated kale, cherry tomato, and smoky bacon). Of course, you can go for a classic, like the 6x8 (red sauce with exactly 48 Pavone pepperoni cups).

A seasonal pie on offer right now is the Summer Elote Corn, with garlic ricotta cream, roasted local corn, cotija, taco seasoning, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro-lime crema. So good! You can also make your own (I asked the guys to make me one, “pizzaiolo’s choice” LOL, and they went to town with grilled chicken thigh, smoky bacon, scallions, and house ranch!), and there’s the option to sub vodka sauce on any pie. Speaking of vodka sauce: there’s an off-menu pie called the Spicy Ellen, with vodka sauce, Italian sausage, and chile flake, finished with basil, grana, and olive oil, and it’s a winner. They also developed a gluten-free dough, and offer vegan cheese.

Did you save room for dessert? Not likely, but there’s monkey bread made with pizza dough and served with salted caramel dipping sauce, and a couple other options. The beer list features local beers on draft or fun ones in a can (including PBR), natural wine on tap or in half-bottles, spiked seltzers like White Claw, non-spiked ones like Sunwink, and more.

You can dine in (the space got a paint job and cute pizza neon sign) or order delivery (soon), and they also have a mobile ordering system and will offer office catering. Look for weekend brunch and daily hours in the future. For now, they’re open Tue-Sat 4pm-10pm. 1077 Mission St. at 7th St.

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The colorful new exterior of Namu Stonepot on Dolores. Photo courtesy of Namu.

After closing ~NAMU GAJI~ for a mandatory retrofit, the Namu team of brothers (chef Dennis, Daniel, and David Lee) decided to turn the location into a ~NAMU STONEPOT~ (just like the location on Divisadero). You can still get the Namu Gaji Kids menu, and they are adding some family-style “picnic baskets” for Dolores Park, and a rotating beverage program curated by Trac Le of Bi-Rite. You can’t miss the colorful exterior, featuring a mural by Victor Reyes. It’s now open Mon 5pm-10pm, Tue-Thu and Sun 11:30am-4pm and 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-4pm and 5pm-11:30pm. 499 Dolores St. at 18th St., 415-431-6268.

As for Namu Gaji, it’s going to be moving to SoMa and taking over the former The Perennial’s digs, stand by for more on that soon. 59 9th St. at Market.

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The red booths and collage artwork at Foxsister. Photo courtesy of Foxsister.

After breaking the news in the last tablehopper issue that Foxsister will be closing to make the transition to a spin on a modern, Italian American, red sauce joint, ~GREAT GOLD~, I received an update from partner David Steele (Ne Timeas Restaurant Group—flour + water, Central Kitchen, Trick Dog, Salumeria) with more details. Foxsister’s last service is August 2nd, and it will reopen as Great Gold on Friday August 9th (they won’t be making many changes to the space, hence the zippy turnaround).

Joining chef-partner Brandon Kirksey is chef de cuisine Timmy Malloy (Local’s Corner, Radhaus, Seattle’s Tavolata), who, like Steele, is from Philadelphia and has some ingrained nostalgia for red sauce joints. But here, they’ll be sourcing local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients, with pasta made in-house daily. They will also be supporting carbon neutral farming efforts through participation in Anthony Mynt’s non-profit ZeroFoodprint.

The menu has a big Caesar and chopped salads, a variety of spaghetti preparations, handmade cavatelli cauliflower cacio e pepe, eggplant parm, chicken al mattone, and Great Gold cioppino with local seafood. I also asked them why there wasn’t a veal Parm on the menu, and after some discussion, they added it back on, along with veal Milanese, so, you’re welcome.

You’ll see three versions of family-style meals meant to be shared by the entire table (and no, the Marcia is not me, it’s Kirksey’s grandma), and Sundays bring a family-style lasagna night.

Sam Bogue, the sommelier and wine director for flour + water and Central Kitchen, was brought in to consult on the wine list that focuses exclusively on wines from Italy, as well as local wines made by those who specialize in using varieties of grapes that originate in Italy.  There will be many wines from small and independent winemakers, and most will be reasonably priced. Stand by for more details at opening. 3161 24th St. at Shotwell.

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Karaweik’s green chile-lemongrass fish. Photo courtesy of Karaweik.

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Thep Eatery’s frilled butter head river prawn, served with rice and Thai seafood dipping sauce. Photo: Thep Eatery.

Some new openings around town include ~KARAWEIK BURMESE CUISINE~, the only Burmese restaurant in the Marina. The menu includes royal tea leaf salad, vegetarian samusa soup, green chile lemongrass fish, paratha with coconut curry, chicken keema paratha, and mango papaya salad. According to a post on Yelp, the owner is from the former Sapphire Asian Cuisine in the Financial District. Open Tue-Thu 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-9pm, Fri 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-9:30pm, Sat 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-9:30pm, and Sun 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-9pm. 3317 Steiner St. at Lombard, 415-922-1892.

After the Lower Haight’s Thep Phanom pivoted to the updated Janchay Bistro (after 32 years!), it looks like they are making changes again. Now, it’s ~THEP EATERY~, offering a few of Thep Phanom’s famous dishes, as well as Thai street food dishes, noodles, and more. A sampling of dishes from the menu includes garlic and pepper jumbo prawns, nuer yang medium rare ribeye served with sticky rice and jaew sauce, grilled butter head river prawns, and kao yum gai sabb (crispy chicken with spicy lime dressing). They’re also offering $1 oysters from 6pm-7pm. Open nightly 5:30pm-10:30pm. 400 Waller St. at Fillmore, 415-913-7076.

Now open in SoMa (in the former Koh Samui & the Monkey) is ~SUN & MOON~, offering some dishes from the chef’s native central Thailand, as well as Japanese-style ramen (chef Tee is a big fan of ramen). The menu features some contemporary dishes, like salmon spring rolls topped with ikura, plus classic dishes like khao mun gai and a variety of curries. Open daily 11am-2:30pm and 5pm-10pm. 415 Brannan St. at 3rd St., 415-872-9555.

~BAC LIEU RESTAURANT~ has taken the place of Lotus Garden Cuisine (after 19 years) in the Mission/La Lengua. The Vietnamese menu includes banh khot (Vietnamese savory mini shrimp pancakes made from rice flour and coconut milk, topped with shrimp, mung beans, and scallions, and served with fish sauce and fresh vegetables); a variety of rice plates, pho, bun rieu, bun bo Hue, and one of my favorite dishes: bun Cha Ca La Vong (vermicelli with turmeric fish and dill). There’s also five spice quail and dishes with banh hoi (woven vermicelli rice noodles). Open Tue-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. 3216 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-282-9088.

Last month, I mentioned that a location of ~TSELOGS~ was about to open in the Mission, and it’s now open. The Filipino comfort food spot previously had a location in Daly City (now closed) and on Jones (still open, and with awesome late-night hours). There are 49 seats and chef Gilla tells me they will be serving their regular menu, with chef specials on a daily basis, plus beer and wine. Open (for now) Tue-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-3pm. 514-518 S. Van Ness Ave. at 16th St., 415-872-9003.

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Crispy oysters and horseradish at Commonwealth. Photo courtesy of Commonwealth.

Sad news: ~COMMONWEALTH~ was unable to come to an agreement with their landlord on their lease, so the team has decided to close the restaurant after service on August 26th, after nine years on Mission Street. Eater mentions the team (which includes chefs Jason Fox and Ian Muntzert, Anthony Myint, and Karen Leibowitz) have been unable to find another location, so they’re going to take a break for a bit. Chef Jason Fox will be inviting in some chef friends for a few last dinners. What a bummer. 2224 Mission St. at 18th St.

An unexpected closure is ~IZAKAYA SUSHI RAN~ in the Castro, which originally opened as Nomica a few years ago with chef Hiroo Nagahara, and switched to the izakaya format last November after his departure to LA. Eater noticed a short note about the closure on their website, but no reason is given. Best wishes to the team—they have been so supportive of the community. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez.

After 12 years of serving Manhattans and Southern-style comfort food in the Castro, SFist has noted that ~EUREKA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE~ has closed. 4063 18th St. at Hartford.

And in the Financial District, I just received word that ~SAUCE~ is closing Friday July 26th, the last day to get their portobello fries. According to their email, “Our lease is up, and we have decided to move on, it’s time for new projects and life changes and all the things that happen after a decade or so in business.” 56 Belden Pl. at Pine.

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The checkered flag is up at Excelsior Coffee! Photo: Excelsior Coffee.

Thanks to a longtime tablehopper reader, I received word about a new café that has opened up in the Excelsior called ~EXCELSIOR COFFEE~. It’s from a husband-and-wife team who have been living in the neighborhood for the past eight years, and they kept waiting for a café to open in this underserved neighborhood. But sometimes if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself, so when they saw a café just wasn’t coming to their retail corridor, they sold their 1964 Ford Falcon in order to buy the espresso machine. It took two years of onerous permits and spending more money than they planned for (oh, SF), but they just opened June 27th.

Owner Lea Higginbotham tells me as first-generation “kids” (she’s Filipina, and hubs Andre Higginbotham is half-Mexican), they are neighborhood-focused and so welcoming to non-English speaking communities, the working class, students, senior citizens, and as parents, they’re kid-friendly too.

They’re primarily using Cento for their espresso and coffee service, and testing other coffees and blends to suit the neighborhood needs as well. You’ll find some special treats, like ube brownies, ube and pandan crinkles, ube flan, and ube tarts (from Ube Area in Oakland—Excelsior is the first café to carry their line). They are making croissants and banana bread in-house, and also getting cookies from SF’s Goody Goodie. They plan to add breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and conchas soon, and next year, they plan to add beer and wine!

Summer hours are Mon-Fri 7am-4pm and Sat-Sun 8am-5pm. 4495 Mission St. at Excelsior.