The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
November 18, 2014

Chef Aaron London. Photo: Daniel Dent.

We have been patiently waiting to release the news for the past month about former Ubuntu chef Aaron London’s upcoming location for his restaurant, and now that the ABC wires have rippled with some transfer information, it’s time to say where: the current location of the South End Grill ‘n’ Bar on Valencia. While London was known for his sophisticated touch with vegetables, this new project will not be a reprise of what he was doing at Ubuntu—there will be some seafood and meat, too, on the mostly vegetable-leaning menu. London does hint that since Ubuntu was such a big part of his life, there will be some reincarnations of favorite dishes on the menu. The targeted opening of the 49-seat restaurant in early 2015; construction is slated to begin at the end of this year. We’ll have more details to share soon. 1499 Valencia St. at 26th St.


A feast at Hawker Fare. Photo: ©

Oakland chef James Syhabout is coming to San Francisco, Scoop reports. Specifically, he’s opening a second location of ~HAWKER FARE~ in the very large former Amber Dhara space on Valencia. The space comes with a full liquor license, as well as an upstairs mezzanine, so it’s possible he’ll end up doing two different things with the two spaces—think a bar/lounge upstairs, with the dining room on the main floor.

He’s also starting to think more about the roots of his food. After a trip to Thailand, when he spent a great deal of time in the northeastern province on Issan, near Laos, he’s shifted his culinary focus a bit. He’ll be exploring more of the regional flavors of Issan—som tum, larb, and sticky rice are some of the region’s more recognizable staples—and Laos. Right now, the opening timeline is still being worked out but early 2015 is the goal. 680 Valencia St. at 18th St.


The view of Rintaro from the courtyard. Photo from Facebook.

As reported earlier this year, the former home of Chez Spencer (which was damaged in a fire) has been taken over by Sylvan Mishima Brackett of Peko Peko. Mishima Brackett, who also worked at Chez Panisse before moving to Japan to study the cuisine there, is calling the new restaurant ~RINTARO~, which means “woods boy.” The space has been completely renovated, with help from Mishima Brackett’s father, who runs a Japanese architecture and design company called East Wind. The front courtyard many will remember from the Chez Spencer days is still there, and the dining room features a bar on one side with open beams on the ceiling and booth seating in the dining room. The space seats 60 altogether, plus a private dining room that can take additional diners or be rented out for special events.

As for the food, Mishima Brackett is sourcing his ingredients impeccably, as one would expect from a Chez Panisse alum. The menu will change regularly, of course, but you can check out the opening menu right here. A significant portion of the menu is devoted to yakitori (individual skewers range from $5-$6), including many different preparations of chicken (gizzard, liver, and skin are on there, offal lovers), or you can opt for the chef’s choice six-skewer set ($15.50). There is also a section of the menu devoted to vegetables and fried items. For main or “final” dishes, check out the uni donburi, with uni from Santa Barbara, fresh wasabi, yuzu, and toasted nori ($8 for one person or $15 for two).

For now, they aren’t taking reservations, but should be soon. There are also plans in the work to open for lunch, but for now hours are Mon-Thu 5:30pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-12am. 82 14th St. at Folsom, 415-589-7022.


The dining room at Crystal Jade. Photo by Drew Altizer.


The bar at Crystal Jade. Photo by Drew Altizer.

We already covered quite a few details of the 20,000-square-foot ~CRYSTAL JADE JIANG NAN~ at Four Embarcadero Center in a previous piece, but we wanted to follow up since it’s now open. To recap, Ken Fulk designed the space (hello, $14 million renovation), which includes a huge outdoor terrace and multiple private dining rooms, plus the Liu Ling bar and lounge.

The menu features regional dishes from south of the Yangtze River (covering Szechuan, Jiangsu, Hunan, and Zhejiang cuisines) for lunch, cocktails, and dinner. You can look at the main menu here and the dim sum brunch menu too. Hours in the dining room are Mon-Fri 11am-3pm and 5pm-11pm, Sat-Sun brunch 10am-3pm, Sat dinner 5pm-11pm, Sun dinner 5pm-10pm. Bar daily 11am-11pm, and Singapore To-Go hours daily 11am-8pm. Four Embarcadero Center, Drumm St. at Sacramento, 415-399-1200.


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


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


The interior at L’Emigrante. Photo courtesy L’Emigrante.


A look into Tap 415. Photo courtesy of Tap 415’s Facebook page.

Way back in August of last year, we reported on ~PICNIC ON THIRD~, and now it’s finally open! It comes from partners Leigh Loper (formerly of Quince) and Natalia Bushyager (previously at Camino and Chez Panisse) and is offering lunch for dine-in or takeout and packaged dinners to go. The space is charming and cute in a vintage eclectic way, with nice wood floors, brass light fixtures, a pressed tin ceiling, and wooden tables made with pipe fittings. The kitchen has a neat storage wall of spices made by screwing Mason jar tops into the wall—it’s all downright pleasant.

The menu is inspired by a different place or theme every day, and three dishes are offered: two meats and one vegetarian. Here is a sample menu that shows the format, though note those dishes are no longer available. Tomorrow’s menu (Wednesday November 19th), for example, is inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi and includes lamb and beef meatballs with barley mujadara and serpent cucumber salad; Ottolenghi’s chicken, roasted acorn squash, and roasted cauliflower; the vegetarian plate is composed of the barley mujadara, cucumber salad, acorn squash, and cauliflower. You can take a look at upcoming and past menus here. In addition to the composed “plates,” you can also order the components in larger quantities à la carte. They’ve got beer and wine too. Pour-over coffee from Chicago’s HalfWit Coffee Roasters and espresso from Contraband is available, along with pastries from Sandbox, Heartbaker, and Little Bee. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, with lunch available beginning at 11am. 493 3rd St. at Bryant, 415-590-7121.

As reported on tablehopper last month, Irfan Yalcin of Potrero’s Pera has a new wine bar in the Mission: ~L’EMIGRANTE~. The new project, which is named after the Italian film, is now open! The wine list, which you can check out right here, is very affordable, with bottles ranging from $20 to $50, and 85 percent of them are less than $35. Most of the wines are also available by the glass, or in a 2 1/2-ounce pour for tasting. There are reds, whites, rosés, and sparkling options, plus eight beers on tap.

As for the menu, it’s all about casual snacking to go with that wine. There are bruschette with a variety of toppings to choose from, including kale with burrata and golden raisins. There’s a large selection of salads, or you can go the cheese and charcuterie route. There are also sandwiches and a larger plates section of the menu, where you’ll find the Pera Talas Böregi, smoked chicken and vegetables in curry sauce baked into phyllo dough. Take a look at the whole menu here. Hours are Sun-Thu 12pm-12am and Fri-Sat 12pm-1am. 2199 Mission St. at 18th St., 415-525-2284.

Now open in the Westfield Centre (near M.Y. China) is ~TAP 415~, the new project we mentioned was coming from Chad Bourdon and Matthew Dolan of Twenty Five Lusk. This modern beer garden (designed by Cass Calder Smith) features 18 beers on tap and two on-tap cocktails, plus adult milk shakes, like the Smoke in the Morning, with smoked Scotch, coffee ice cream, whipped cream, and hazelnut brittle. The American menu features 12 bar bites, so the next time you’re shopping and you need a snack, the Reuben tater tots should do the trick. There are also salads, burgers, housemade links, and sandwiches (like wild mushroom with smoked burrata and nettle pesto), plus some heartier dishes, like steak frites. There is also a kids menu. Hours for now are Mon-Fri 11:30am-9pm. 845 Market St., 4th floor, 415-266-7900.

Another week, another ramen shop. This time, it’s in Bernal and is called Coco’s Ramen. We called to find out who this Coco might be, but were unable to get any details. However, the menu looks good, with broth choices including tonkotsu, miso, shoyu, curry, and vegetarian. Chashu and pork belly can both be added as well. There is a small selection of appetizers, including grilled shishito peppers served with garlic sauce and chicken wings. Hours are Sun-Mon, Wed-Thu 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-10:30pm. 3319 Mission St. at 29th St., 415-648-7722.


Fab neon at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Photo courtesy of Aaron Caddel.

Throwing open its doors at 7am this Saturday November 22nd will be ~MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE~, offering fans of Aussie Ry Stephen’s awesome baked goods a place to enjoy the full range (you have probably tried some of his baked treats at Saint Frank, Beacon, and other cafés around the city). He has been baking in this Larkin Street location since July, but now the retail portion of the biz is ready to be unveiled.

You will be able to try a variety of goods—Stephen has been working on all kinds of goodies, like twice-baked almond croissants (that take three days to make!), doughnuts, tarts, cookies. There will be some Danishes too, either savory (like ham and cheese with mustard and béchamel, or mushroom and caramelized onion with sumac, za’atar, and fontina) or sweet (like sour cherry with custard). Yeah, it all sounds great. There will also be brewed coffee available. Oh, and for Thanksgiving, they are delivering pies on Thanksgiving morning. You can order them through the website ($44 for delivery and $34 for pickup).

Hours to start will be 7am-2:30pm; they’d like to eventually stay open until 6pm, but will need to see how it goes. 1042 Larkin St. at Sutter.


Beets with burrata at Le Marais. Photo courtesy Le Marais.

Eater caught the news that chef Casey Thompson has left ~AVELINE~ in the Warwick Hotel in Union Square. According to a follow-up with Scoop, the split is actually between Thompson and the hotel—she’ll take the name Aveline with her, though perhaps not the concept. It sounds like the split was mutual, since she says, “We decided to go separate ways…It just wasn’t the right fit. For them, for me.” She may decide to open Aveline somewhere else—and we hope that’s the case, because those crab macarons are gonna be missed something fierce, damn it. Of course we’ll keep you updated on her next move and whatever moves in to the Warwick. 490 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-345-2303.

In the Marina, ~LE MARAIS BISTRO AND BAKERY~ has a new chef, Max Snyder, after the departure of Nicolette Manescalchi. Snyder has previously worked at Quince, Saison, and Coi in San Francisco, as well as Eleven Madison Park and Marea in New York and Qui in Austin. His bistro menu is a bit more classic, with a cheeseburger, black cod en papillote, and Caesar salad appearing alongside more contemporary dishes like beets with pomegranate, black olive, and burrata, or a chicken dish with smoked confit, chickpea, radicchio, and citrus. 2066 Chestnut St. at Steiner, 415-359-9801.


The note at Chenery Park. Tipster photo from Emily A.

We were sorry to receive a note from ~LOCAL’S CORNER~ that they will be closing at the end of the month. After more than two years in business, the seafood-focused restaurant apparently struggled to stay busy, despite good reviews. The restaurant also became a bit of a lightning rod for concerns about gentrification recently, and clashed with an organization called the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Ensuing protests and vandalism certainly didn’t help, though the note cites those issues as taking more of an emotional toll than a financial one. Some key staff members are moving on, including chef de cuisine Timothy Malloy, who is headed to Seattle, and the combination of financial difficulties and staffing made it seem like the end of the line. The last dinner service will be Saturday November 29th. As for what’s next for the space, they hope to find a new operator to take over and will offer the space for pop-ups and special events in the meantime.

A tipster wrote in before we went dark to let us know that Glen Park’s ~CHENERY PARK~ has closed after 14 years in the neighborhood, and Scoop confirms the news. A sign in the front window offers little in terms of explanation. We’ll be keeping an eye on the space. 683 Chenery St. at Diamond.

As reported in September, there are some changes coming to Bernal: ~EMMY’S SPAGHETTI SHACK~ has moved to the former El Zocalo space. The previous location is now closed, but you can still get your spaghetti and meatballs in the larger space just down the street. As for the original location, they’re still deciding how to utilize it, so stay tuned. 3230 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-206-2086.

A reader tweeted us about this last week, and the Scoop caught some additional details: ~PASÍON~ in the Inner Sunset has closed, but not for long. Owner José Calvo-Perez will reopen it as the fourth location of his mini-chain, ~FRESCA~. The menu will be the same as the other three locations, with home-style Peruvian food, and there will be a full bar. They are currently closed for cosmetic updates and plan to reopen the first week of December. 737 Irving St. at 9th Ave., 415-742-5727.


A look into the shiny, new La Capra Coffee. Photo courtesy of Mitchell Rosenthal.


Photo courtesy of Hearth.

A few months ago we broke the news about the new coffee and café project from Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal (Town Hall, Anchor & Hope, Salt House), ~LA CAPRA COFFEE~. To recap, they partnered with Hanna Suleiman of Caffè Greco to create their own Italian-inspired roast. Well, the coffee has been finalized, and the café is now open in the Financial District (designed by Sagan Piechota Architecture), which has a little bit of seating.

You’ll also find a variety of baked goods and pastries from Starter Bakery and Neighbor, including kouign-amann, croissants, coffee cake, and chocolate-almond twists, and there are also freshly made salads (like smoked duck with fennel, baby kale, and a citrus-mustard vinaigrette) and sandwiches (including egg salad with pickled jalapeño, cucumber, radishes, and frisée). You can check out the entire menu here. Hours are Mon-Fri 6am-6pm; lunch begins at 10:30am. 50 Fremont St. at Mission.

Another new café has soft-opened, this time in the Castro: ~HEARTH COFFEE ROASTERS~ (previously mentioned here). The owners are Ariana Akbar and James Kafader, previously of Brown Owl Coffee. They are roasting their own coffee (special, single-origin beans on their Probat L12) and making their own baked goods as well (the head baker is Megan Bovis, previously at Fournée). One hundred percent organic pastries include a classic French butter croissant, plus baba au bourbon with coffee (bourbon-infused brioche with coffee-infused crème) and a chocolate-caramel mousse with a crispy brown butter cookie.

Instead of classic tea service, you’ll find coffee service, with items like a caramelized banana-hazelnut scone and a prosciutto, Brie, pickled fig, and arugula sandwich on a country loaf. There are also coffee flights (a sampling of single-origin coffees side by side) and coffee pairings (single-origin coffees paired with treats, snacks, or meals). Beer and wine and small plates start this Thursday November 20th, and since Ariana is a certified sommelier and James is an accomplished home brewer, expect good things. Hours (starting Sunday): Mon-Tue 7am-2pm, Wed-Thu 7am-9pm, Fri-Sat 7am-10pm, Sun 7am-9pm. 3985 17th St. at Market.

If you’re up in the North Bay, ~EQUATOR COFFEES & TEAS~ has opened a flagship café in downtown Mill Valley. There will be espresso-based drinks, batch-brewed drip coffee, and single-origin pour-overs, as well as some unexpected soju cocktails, including an Irish Coffee and Bloody Mary. Chocolate egg creams for the kiddies, check, and shakerato for mom, also covered (theirs includes almond butter and coconut milk, wow!). The food menu includes savory and sweet waffles, salads, and more. Boor Bridges Architecture designed the modern rustic space. 2 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, 415-485-2213.


The brunch sandwich at Souvla. Photo by Luke Beard via Souvla.

~SOUVLA~ has kicked off its weekend brunch service on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-2pm. Their Greek-influenced options include a breakfast sandwich on their pita, with lamb, scrambled eggs, radish, tomato, onion, avgolemono, garlic yogurt, and feta cheese, or “Greek” toast, a spin on French toast made with pita, sour cherry syrup, and frozen Greek yogurt. You’ll also find coffee, pitchers of Greek brunch punch, and carafes of Greek rosé. Take a look at all the offerings here.

Looking for a good Monday night supper? ~TOSCA CAFE~ is now open Monday evenings from 5pm-2am. Their menu is the same, and remember they take reservations now too. To recap, hours are now seven nights a week, 5pm-2am, with the kitchen open until 1am.


Dungeness crab ready for the pot at The Hall. Photo from Facebook.


Dungeness crab season is open, and that’s a wonderful thing. There are a couple of ways to celebrate around town, starting with an all-you-can-eat crab feast at ~THE HALL~ on Sunday November 23rd and 30th from 1pm to 5pm. The deal is pretty sweet: tickets are $70 per person, which includes all the crab you can handle, bottomless mimosas, micheladas, and shandies, along with garlic noodles, salad, and sourdough. 1028 Market St. at Golden Gate.

Don’t want to cook the day before Thanksgiving? Head to Oakland’s ~HOMESTEAD~ for a prix-fixe family-style crab feed. The menu includes grilled crab (one half per person), along with salad, Brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes, and housemade sourdough. There will also be lots of sauces and, for dessert, pomegranate sorbet. Reservations are available from 3pm-9pm, and the dinner will likely cost $45 per person (though it could fluctuate depending on market price), not including tax and tip. 4029 Piedmont Ave. at 40th St., Oakland, 510-420-6962.

As of November 9th, ~JACK’S OYSTER BAR & FISH HOUSE~ is offering a special Sunday seafood supper every Sunday evening. The prix-fixe three-course menu will change every week and includes choices of appetizer and entrée. Previous options have included Dungeness crab Louie, shrimp bucket with cocktail sauce, and sautéed sand dabs. The suppers are $34 per person, not including tax and tip. The special menu is available every Sunday evening beginning at 5pm, in addition to the regular dinner menu. 336 Water St. at Franklin, Oakland, 510-271-7952.

The only thing better than a crab boil is a boozy crab boil. And luckily, Aviation Gin, Imbibe Magazine, and ~ABV~ are hosting exactly that on Sunday December 14th, from 12pm-2pm. The brunch event includes a menu highlighting crab, as well as cocktails from Aviation Gin, including a Tuxedo (Aviation Gin, sherry, orange bitters) and the Red Snapper (Aviation Gin, tomato juice, lemon, spices). Tickets are $65 and include food, drink, and a copy of Imbibe’s new book, Cocktails for the Holidays: Festive Drinks to Celebrate the Season. 3174 16th St. at Guerrero, 415-400-4748.

And now let’s switch gears to chocolate lovers, who don’t want to miss the Fifth Annual Fall Chocolate Salon on Saturday November 22nd from 10am-5pm at Fort Mason. The annual event includes tons of producers and makers of chocolate confections to get you in the mood for the holiday season. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Fort Mason, Building A, 1 Fort Mason Blvd. at Laguna.


A Farm Burger. Photo by Antoinette Bruno via Facebook.

Georgia-based chain ~FARM BURGER~ has opened their first West Coast location in Berkeley. As previously reported, the chain currently has three locations in Georgia, as well as one in North Carolina.

They serve relatively inexpensive burgers (starting at $7.50) using quality meats and salads and sides using local produce. For their first foray into California, they’ve partnered with chef Jamie Lloyd, who previously worked at Golden Gate Meats, and will be offering meat from BN Ranch. If you’re not feeling the beef burger, they also have a quinoa and bean patty, a chicken patty, and a pork patty instead. There are also fries, salads, lots of fun toppings, and milk shakes (the Doughnut Dolly Foster, made with ingredients from the neighboring shop, sounds like a must-try). (Our intrepid copyeditor reports it’s also kid-friendly, with a little tyke play area!) Check out the menu here; hours are Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm. 1313 9th St. at Gilman, Berkeley, 510-705-1485.


The interior at Rasa. Photo from Facebook.

Manresa’s chef-owner David Kinch, head baker Avery Ruzicka, and partner Andrew Burnham have found a brick-and-mortar location for their ~MANRESABREAD~. The bread project, which has appeared at the Palo Alto and Campbell farmers’ markets as well as weekly pop-ups, will be opening in December in Los Gatos. When they open, look for bread loaves including levain, polenta sourdough, and cinnamon raisin loaf, as well as both sweet and savory pastries. In addition to the storefront, they will also be operating out of a nearby commissary kitchen, which clocks in at more than 3,000 square feet. With all that space and a new TMB Tag gas deck oven from Italy that can bake more than 100 loaves at a time, you can expect to see some additional locations crop up after this first one is open. You can still catch them at the markets; follow along on Twitter for updates. 276 North Santa Cruz Ave. at Bachman, Los Gatos.

~RASA~ has opened its doors in downtown Burlingame. The new restaurant, from Ajay Walia of San Carlos’ Saffron Indian Bistro, is focused on the food of Southern India. On the menu, look for dosas, of course, as well as seafood, uttapam, and myriad vegetarian options. There is also a selection of small plates, including their interpretation of idli chaat with steamed then fried rice cakes, whipped homemade yogurt, pomegranate arils, mint, and tamarind. Hours are lunch Wed-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm; dinner Sun-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm. 209 Park Rd. at Howard, Burlingame, 650-340-7272.

November 4, 2014

The spacious 1542 Broadway, the future home of OK Falls. Photo courtesy of Doug Washington.


Another look at the space. Photo courtesy of Doug Washington.

Restaurateur Doug “Mr. Hospitality” Washington (Town Hall, Salt House, Anchor & Hope, Grand Fare) has just signed the lease for a space at 1542 Broadway and will be opening a new restaurant called ~OK FALLS~ in spring 2015. The “OK” stands for Okanagan, a beautiful agricultural area in British Columbia where Washington’s parents and relatives all currently live—his grandparents lived and farmed there (they had orchards). You’d never guess from Washington’s last name that all of his mother’s side come from Udine (in Northern Italy), which is an important component to this very personal project.

The cuisine is going to be focused on homey Italian-American cooking, with executive chef Rebecca Boice leading the kitchen. Boice also has some Italian roots—her grandfather was a first-generation immigrant who ran a butcher shop in Morgan Hill called Stephen’s Meats. Boice worked at Zuni for 10 years and was most recently the executive chef at Toast Kitchen + Bar. Expect a strong focus on California seasonality and sustainability to ripple throughout the menu. Sample dishes include beef carpaccio with rosemary chips; grilled bruschetta with Tuscan-style chicken liver pâté, smashed cannellini beans, and long-cooked greens; yellowfin tuna conserva with roasted sweet peppers, red onions, and sultana raisin salsa verde. Rustic Italian dishes, like housemade sweet Italian sausage with all-day red sauce and spaghetti, and Marsala-braised chicken with 40 cloves of garlic sauce will also be on the menu. Oh yeah, and a house specialty will be lasagna.

With food like that, it’s a good thing the space will have 90 seats. There’s also an 18-seat bar and a private dining room. Oh, and did we mention the cabin? Yeah, there will be a cabin. It’s a fantastic feature to the entire project: a wood-shingled cabin in the middle of the room will host everything from private dinners to talk-worthy art installations, which will border on performance art some evenings. And it’s not a tiny one: we’re talking 21 feet by 21 feet. Inside, it will have clean white walls, wood floors, and chandeliers. It’s going to be quite the hot ticket for private events (and peeking through the windows).

The bar is another focal point, with Jamal Robinson (Town Hall) curating the cocktails and consulting on the menu. There will be a stainless steel counter behind the bar, giving it more the feeling of a kitchen workspace. Look for handcrafted syrups and tinctures, fresh ingredients, and quality spirits. One of the cocktails is the Pasquina, an homage to Washington’s grandma.

There’s a great team assembled, including wine and spirits director Haley Moore (Bacar, Spruce, and now the wine director for the Stock & Bones Company, which includes Town Hall, Salt House, and Anchor & Hope, plus Irving St. Kitchen in Portland). Her wine list will have many Italian selections, but will also represent California and other European countries too. The project will eventually serve morning coffee and lunch, but dinner to start, six nights a week.

Stand by for some sneak peeks and more in coming months—the project is going to have an urban-rustic look and a really artistic component to the entire experience (I look forward to sharing more). For now, check out the great bones of this huge space—it has fantastic brick walls and vaulted ceilings with a skylight. 1542 Broadway at 16th St., Oakland.


A table and menu at Cámara’s Contramar in Mexico City. Yelp photo by Paula G.

Gabriela Cámara, the restaurateur whose Contramar in Mexico City redefined modern Mexican cuisine when she opened it 16 years ago, is opening her first restaurant in the United States right here in San Francisco. It’s moving onto the block of Fell Street between Van Ness and Franklin, Hoodline reports. Though Cámara is still working out the concept for the new project, it will likely be seafood-oriented, with a sustainable focus. She definitely has a way with seafood: the tuna tostadas on the menu at Tacolicious are an homage to the signature dish at Contramar.

Cámara currently owns several other restaurants in Mexico in addition to Contramar, and if you’d like to read a bit more about her and her impact on Mexican City’s food scene, check out this article in The Los Angeles Times from 2005. Right now, the new project has neither a name nor a timeline, though Diana la Cazadora (Diana the Huntress) is a possible name and she’s definitely aiming to open in 2015, possibly as early as the spring. 149 Fell St. at Franklin.


The dining room at Game. Photo by Hardy Wilson.


A corner of the dining room at Game. Photo by Hardy Wilson.


The squid salad at Game. Photo by Hardy Wilson.

As reported in February, Sachin Chopra of Michelin-starred All Spice in San Mateo is taking over the former Masa’s space with his wife, Shoshana Wolff. The new restaurant is called ~GAME~ and is opening on Thursday November 6th. Zach Freitas, an All Spice alum, is serving as executive chef, with Rodrigo Ormachea on pastry (a Peruvian native who has worked at Dry Creek Kitchen, Revival Bar + Kitchen in Berkeley, and Plum and Haven in Oakland) and Conor Carroll (most recently at Burritt Room + Tavern) as sommelier.

The menu offers two choices for dining: you can order à la carte or go with the chef’s five-course tasting menu. Whatever you decide, the kitchen is focused on game, including duck with pan-seared polenta, yogurt, and blackened alliums ($35), and a roasted venison with trumpet mushrooms, pumpkin, and watercress ($36). There is also a freekeh porridge (which is officially a trend item, it would seem) with charred cabbage, boletes, and palm. You can also try an elk burger ($21), but there are only 21 available every day (a nod to the game blackjack). Take a look at the menu here.

As for the storied space, it has been opened up to include an expanded bar, and a front window allows more light into the dining room. Designer Michael Brennan’s original paintings of animals playing cards adorn the walls, giving the space a whimsical feel reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie. (We’re happy to see Masa’s toile-upholstered chairs have stayed put.) The dining room seats 50, in addition to a private dining room for 12.

As for wine, Carroll and Wolff worked together on the wine list. Carroll also developed the cocktails, which will adhere to classic recipes, but with some unexpected savory ingredients incorporated into the drinks. Hours are Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm. 648 Bush St. at Powell, 415-874-9481.


Seating along the wall, with a mural by Andrew Schoultz. Photo courtesy of Tender.


Glassware and taps, ready for you. Photo courtesy of Tender.

Last week we shared news of the opening of Huxley at 846 Geary, and now it’s time to shine the light on their next-door neighbor at 854 Geary, ~TENDER~. We previously mentioned this wine and beer bar project was from Miriam Lipton, who is opening in a space that has been vacant for more than 40 years.

She has brought on Mickey Clevenger (whom many of you will remember from Bacar’s glory days) as a partner and wine director—he is overseeing the 21 wines on tap, plus there are three beers from Drake’s and some sparkling wines in bottle too (you can see the beverage list here). A big advantage to wine on tap is they can pour all kinds of sizes, from tastes to carafes. You can enjoy a flight of any three (with 3-oz. pours) for $15, and there’s a happy hour flight for $10.

There are also many kinds of cheeses and charcuterie available (from Zoe’s Meats in Santa Rosa and Fabrique Délices in Hayward) for $6 each; all plates are served with sliced baguette from Jane (also a neighbor), cornichons, and whole-grain mustard. There’s Brillat Savarin, Crottin d’Antan Poitou (a goat cheese), and truffle mousse and saucisson sec. You can choose three items for $15, five for $25, and seven for $35; at happy hour you get a choice of three for $10. There are also some side items like Marcona almonds, fruit, and XOX truffles from North Beach too.

You’ll find some seats at the bar, while the majority of the seating is at high-top tables with metal stools along the wall. Some cool features include a mural by artist Andrew Schoultz (known for his trees), and the roll-down door features a great piece by Ben Eine—oh, and check out the brass taps.

Hours are Sun 4pm-11pm, Mon-Wed 5pm-12am, Thu-Sat 5pm-1am. 854 Geary St. at Larkin, 415-589-7879.


The exterior of the new Crêpe-Madame. Photo courtesy Crepe-Madame.

Crêpe-Madame, a crêpe restaurant from French native Laetitia Verdeaux in SoMa, is opening on Friday November 14th. Verdeaux has been running a catering business out of a small commercial kitchen for the last two years, and her new space will allow her to continue her catering operation while also offering crêpes for dine-in and takeout. There will be savory buckwheat crêpes (which are gluten-free), almond-infused sweet crêpes, and a salad bar. 685 Harrison St. at 3rd St., 415-513-9252.

According to Yelp, Portola diner ~BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S~ has reopened. As reported in June, the popular spot closed last year after the owner passed away, but new owners have taken it over. It sounds like they’ve made some changes to the space, but kept the menu the same. Unfortunately, the phone is not connected yet, so we weren’t able to get additional information. 2499 San Bruno Ave. at Thornton.


Cocktails at the Bon Appetit Grub Crawl in New Orleans. Photo from Facebook.

Did you miss the tablehopper’s evening with Cover last week? Well, here’s a chance to get out and do something similar! Bon Appetit magazine is in town hosting Grub Crawl on Saturday November 8th. There are actually two crawls: an early one through Hayes Valley that begins at 11am and an evening one through the Mission that begins at 5pm. The Hayes Valley crawl includes stops at Souvla, The Boxing Room, and Nojo, while the Mission crawl includes Craftsman & Wolves, St. Vincent, and Tacolicious. Each crawl includes food and drink at every stop, and tickets are $149 per person, but tablehopper readers can get 15% off with code BAGC15. Hayes Valley crawl begins at 11am at La Urbana, 661 Divisadero St. at Grove; Mission crawl begins at 5pm at Tacolicious, 741 Valencia St. at 18th St.

Dana Tommasino and Margie Conard of the recently closed Woodward’s Garden are doing two special nights of dinners on Wednesday November 12th and Friday November 14th at a private studio. The Harvest Feast dinners will include four courses of seasonal, Middle Eastern-inspired dishes, including braised duck with quince, honey, cinnamon, roasted brussels sprouts, and couscous with lemon and kabocha squash. Both dinners from 6:30pm-9:30pm and are BYO; tickets to the Wednesday dinner are $75, and for the Friday dinner are $85. Location will be shared upon ticket purchase.

‘Tis the season for freshly pressed olive oil (“olio nuovo”) here in California, and Séka Hills in the Capay Valley is celebrating their harvest with a special dinner at ~BENCHMARK PIZZERIA~ in Kensington on Wednesday November 12th. In addition to highlighting Séka’s olive oils, they will also be featuring produce from River Dog and Full Belly Farms, also located in the Capay Valley. From 5pm to 9pm, you can order from the special menu à la carte, with dishes like housemade mozzarella on toast with rapini and Séka oil, linguine with Séka oil, garlic, pecorino, and chile flake, and a selection of pizzas. 1568 Oak View Ave. at Curtis, Kensington, 510-647-9724.

Here’s a sweet evening for your radar: bakers Rose Levy Beranbaum, Emily Luchetti, and Alice Medrich will be at the ~JCCSF~* on Tuesday November 18th, in conversation with none other than *Sunset Magazine’s Margo True. The group (who between the four of them have published over 25 books on baking, by the way) will be talking about cookies, cakes, chocolate, pastry, and all things dessert, starting at 7pm. Oh, and of course sweets will be served! Tickets are $25 for general admission, $35 for premium seating, and 10% off for JCCSF members. 3200 California St. at Presidio.

Looking to Do Gouda this holiday season? You can taste some special, award-winning domestic cheeses and raise money for Farms for City Kids on Friday November 14th at Frankeny Images Studio. The evening includes six different cheese tastings, including selections from Jasper Hill, Spring Brook Farms, and Achadinha, along with meats and baked goods from Olympic Provisions, La Quercia, Marla Bakery, and Miette. There will also be beverage pairings. The evening begins with a reception at 6pm, followed by tastings from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Reservations can be made here, and a donation of $40-80 is suggested. 439 Bryant St. at 2nd St.


A sandwich from Grilled Cheez Guy. Photo from Facebook.

As of today, Tuesday November 4th, Grilled Cheez Guy will have a regular pop-up at Rickshaw Stop every Tuesday and Wednesday from 11am-3pm. Owner Michael Davidson wants to be sure to include other local producers in his business, so look for products like Santipapas Salsa, Quiche & Carry, and Brown Dog mustard. Everything will be available for takeout or dine-in, and delivery should be coming soon. 155 Fell St. at Franklin.

Jason Lund of Hal Jr.’s Bar-B-Q is doing his third pop-up at Mission Minis on Saturday November 8th from 7pm-10pm. Lund is from the Midwest, where he perfected his Kansas City-style barbecue. He uses a dry rub, smokes his meat for hours, and makes all his sauces and sides from scratch. Plus, he’s been working on a couple of new menu additions. We’ve been wanting to find time to check this one out, let us know if you go! 3168 22nd St. at Capp.


Burmese Kitchen. Yelp photo by Steph L.

It looks ~BURMESE KITCHEN~ in the Tenderloin is closing at the end of November. According to a note on their website, they’ve lost their lease “due to the changing nature of San Francisco.” Eater caught up with owner Dennis Lin, who says that they will try to find a new, affordable location, although that is proving to be difficult. In the meantime, Lin is hoping to offer some pop-ups, so sign up to receive updates if you want to follow along. 452 Larkin St. at Turk, 415-474-5569.

Noe Valley Blog reports that the 24th Street location of ~PASTA POMODORO~ has closed. Apparently, the landlord is making some major renovations to the building, including seismic upgrades, and the restaurant does not appear to be moving back in after the construction. 4000 24th St. at Noe.


Pie at A Dora Pie. Photo from Facebook.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that the husband-and-wife team of Christopher Blue and Jess Steeve of Chocolatier Blue has opened a new bakery in the former Slow restaurant space, called ~A DORA PIE~. As the name suggests, it is a pie shop, and they also serve coffee from Flying Goat, cookies, and meringues. Pie flavors are seasonal; current options include meringue, pecan, pumpkin, and chocolate silk. In the future, look for evening hours with savory pies, beer, and wine, but for now, hours are 10am-7pm. 1966 University Ave. at Miliva, Berkeley, 510-529-4191.

We heard from the team at ~THE GROWLER’S ARMS~ in Oakland that they have officially opened. Originally, the space was slated to open in October, and we reported lots of details then. After a few delays, they are now open and serving gastropub fare, classic cocktails, and artisanal beer. For some nice images of the space, check out this slideshow at UrbanDaddy. The bar opens at 4pm (with snacks), and the kitchen opens at 5pm. The space will be open nightly until 10pm, closing at 9pm on Sunday. Look for weekend brunch to launch in a month or so. 4214 Park Blvd. at Glenfield, Oakland, 510-328-1315.

October 28, 2014

Time to acquaint yourself with the meat and three. Photo via Brenda’s Meat & Three Facebook page.


Mural by Mural Arts at Brenda’s Meat and Three. Photo courtesy Jennifer Larzul.

And look at that, miracles do happen! A project is actually opening ahead of its initially projected date. Hold. The. Phone! Originally slated to open in mid-November, ~BRENDA’S MEAT & THREE~ is potentially opening on Thursday October 30th (if the construction gods cooperate)! Friday may be more likely. Let’s just say by the weekend, shall we?

To recap our original story, Brenda Buenviaje and her partner Libby Truesdell (Brenda’s French Soul Food, Libby Jane Café) are opening this project in the former Blue Jay Cafe (they didn’t buy the business from the current owners, André and Jennifer Larzul, but they are now majority/part-owners of the business).

It’s going to be a classic Southern diner, with stuffed johnnycakes, calas fritters, and a one-eyed jack (i.e., toad in the hole), with an egg inside of one of Brenda’s famed cream biscuits (with creamed gravy) for breakfast (check out the brunch menu here).

Lunch brings low-country gumbo, a Bibb lettuce and fried oyster salad (with buttermilk dressing, bacon, and cherry tomatoes), and a great lineup of sandwiches, including pulled pork, a seafood po’boy, spicy fried chicken, and fried bologna with pimento cheese (I am excited for that sandwich, I am the first to admit it). Check out the lunchtime menu glory here.

Supper is all about the meat and three action, which will be listed on a board. You can choose from five or six proteins, like fried chicken, oxtail, fried catfish, and country ribs, and then you will pick your three sides, with up to 15 in all, like bacon fat fries, smothered green beans, mac and cheese, creamed biscuits, and some seasonal sides, too, with plenty of vegetables (vegetarians will be able to make a meal of sides). The meat and three combos will range from $18-$22. Other items on the supper menu include the picnic board (bread and butter pickles, pimento cheese, ham jam, tiny biscuits, crackers) and rock shrimp hush puppies.

The place got really cleaned up in the remodel—there’s a new paint job, new counters, and check out that fun mural of a pig (by Mural Arts). The horseshoe counter is still with us (yay) but it got trimmed a little bit in the back to make more room for seating, so now it’s more of a “J” shape. There are some antique/distressed mirrors on a wall, and you’ll find new yellow chairs on the back patio. It’s looking cute.

Hours are Wed-Mon 8am-10pm. During weekdays, breakfast will be served 8am-3pm, lunch 11am-5pm, and dinner 5pm-10pm. On the weekend, brunch will be 8am-4pm and dinner 4pm-10pm. 919 Divisadero St. at McAllister, 415-926-8657.


Window seating at Huxley. Photo courtesy Huxley.


Seating in the back corner at Huxley. Photo courtesy Huxley.

A cozy and casual new joint is opening in the TL called ~HUXLEY~, and it has quite the pedigree of talented folks behind it. Kris Esqueda (Saison, Sons & Daughters) brought on Brett Cooper (Outerlands, Coi, and the upcoming Aster) to consult on the opening menu, which will be casual and rustic, with bistro-style dishes designed to be shared. He collaborated with exec chef Sara Hauman (formerly a sous at Bar Agricole), who will be running the kitchen. Take a look at the menu for dishes that include butter beans and leeks with fried egg and bottarga ($14) and larger dishes like a beef short rib “potpie” ($23) should hit the spot as our fall weather starts to roll in.

One more thing to note: the bread is custom-made/baked by nearby Jane on Larkin for the restaurant. Oh, and the wine list has some choice selections from Burgundy, Austria, and small, boutique domestic producers; look for some quality craft beers in the bottle too.

The Bon Vivants’ Design+Build (Nick Roberto and Colby Thompson) are behind the vintage-inspired interior, which has lots of wood used in a playful style (like planks in a vertical pattern on the walls), hand-etched mirrors that help the space seem bigger than it is (the floor-to-ceiling windows also help), and there are some touches of bright cobalt blue on the tables. There’s also a bar and counter area by the windows, with 10 seats on olive-colored stools and a spiral staircase up to the mezzanine. There are just 25 seats in all, so don’t expect to dine here with a big group of people. (Managing expectations!)

They hope to open tonight (Tuesday October 28th), but it might not be for a couple of days due to some issues with the hood. Call before heading over. Hours are Tue-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. No reservations. 846 Geary St. at Larkin, 415-800-8223.


Cafe du Nord. Photo from Facebook.

By Dana Eastland. As previously reported on tablehopper, the Café du Nord and Swedish American Hall space on Market has a serious new lineup of partners getting ready to reopen it this winter. Dylan MacNiven and Enrique Landa have paired up with the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group and the Bon Vivants, and they’ve released some details on the new restaurant moving in. It will be headed up by newly minted Ne Timeas partner Ryan Pollnow and called ~AATXE~. It’s inspired by the Basque region of Spain (and pronounced aah-CHAY), with a menu of plates ranging in size from pintxo-small to large and hearty.

To be clear, this is a restaurant component of the project, which will be upstairs on the right when entering the larger, 1907-built building. The downstairs entertainment venue is also coming from Ne Timeas and the Bon Vivants, but isn’t the same restaurant project as Aatxe, which will be more intimate and focused on functioning as a restaurant. Everybody got that? Okay, let’s proceed.

Spanish drinking culture will be celebrated here, with the bar at the center of the restaurant. The Bon Vivants are in charge of the cocktail menu, and you’ll find fun, sophisticated drinks with an eye toward sharing. An aperitivo section of the menu will include a cappelletti aperitivo with dry vermouth, red pepper, and almond bitters, and another section will offer beverages by the carafe, like a gin and tonic on tap. Since Spanish bars have been largely responsible for the resurgence of that particular bevvie, it’s rather fitting. The wine list will be exclusively Spanish, with mostly whites (and a few reds) from small producers.

Stellah De Ville is designing the new space, and will of course take lots of inspiration from Spanish architecture, including Moroccan and Moorish influences. The unique space already has an old-world sensibility to it, which will be respected and enhanced with some modern touches, like a white oak chevron-patterned floor. The dining room will seat 50, with an open kitchen with counter seating for 8. Right now, the plan is to open in late 2014; we’ll keep you updated on their progress. Hours will be Sun-Thu 5:30pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-12am. 2170 Market St. at Sanchez.


A bowl of ramen from Orenchi. Yelp photo by Food E.

~ORENCHI BEYOND~, the San Francisco outpost of famed Santa Clara ramen shop Orenchi is now open on Valencia, Eater notes. As we reported last year, the new location is serving the same ramen soups found in Santa Clara, including tonkotsu, shoyu, and shio ramen. For now, their famed tsukemon is not available but may turn up on the menu next year, and they’ve added lots of new starters and side dishes to check out. The fryer is definitely cranking, with lots of deep-fried appetizers like shishito age (deep-fried shishito peppers), age takoyaki (fried octopus fritters), and spicy chicken karaage. They’ve got a beer and wine license and are serving beer, wine, and sake, as well as some soju-based cocktails. For now, hours are Tue-Thu 6pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-11:30pm, Sun 5pm-8:30pm, though later hours may be added. 174 Valencia St. at Duboce.

I was running an errand in the FiDi over the weekend and noticed there was a much larger and brand-new ~RAMEN UNDERGROUND~ that has opened on the opposite side of Kearny (RU moved out of their original hole-in-the-wall). The additional seating is a bonus, but Yelpers report prices have gone up, and it’s still cash only. 356 Kearny St. at Pine, 415-999-2503.


The front entrance of Great Hunan. Yelp photo by Ed U.

ABC license activity points to something brewing from Stones Throw’s Ryan Cole and Jason Kirmse (also of Fat Angel). The project is listed as Trestle on the license (name TBD, obviously) and is going into the Great Hunan space in the FiDi. The team isn’t ready to talk about anything at the moment, so we’ll let you know when some details emerge. 531 Jackson St. at Columbus.


Luna Park on Valencia. Yelp photo by Andrew K.

~LUNA PARK~ is closing by the end of the year and turning into a bar, according to Uptown Almanac. The new buyer is none other than Gaslight Café Partners, the LLC that owns PlumpJack Wines and was founded by Gavin Newsom. There isn’t yet any word on what might be moving in, exactly, but Luna Park’s owner AJ Gilbert says it will be bar and that the current staff will be invited to remain.

We checked in with PlumpJack’s PR team and got this quality piece of spin: “While it is premature to discuss the future of Luna Park in detail, PlumpJack Group is always looking for opportunities to maximize their investments and add to their dynamic collection of hospitality and lifestyle businesses in Northern California. Luna Park is one of the properties they have looked at; however, it would be premature to discuss plans at this point. We look forward to discussing further as appropriate.” So, that’s one big stand by for now. 694 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-553-8584.

On Union Street, ~LA CUCINA~ has closed after 46 years. Owner Bebe Stavrinides is retiring after opening the café in 1968 (we’d say she’s earned some time off) and has sold the restaurant to Mick Suverkrubbe (Circa, Cosmopolitan), John Jasso (Gary Danko, Fifth Floor), and chef Claudio Marchesan (E’Angelo). The new team plans to open a pizzeria in the space, along with salumi and a wine bar. 2136 Union St. at Webster.

Hoodline reports that the Castro location of ~BRANDY HO’S~ is closing. Today, Tuesday October 28th, is their last day in business. Reportedly, the building sold, but there isn’t any word yet on what’s moving in. The location in North Beach is still open. 4068 18th St. at Hartford.

This isn’t quite a closure, but is worth noting: Off the Grid Fort Mason will be closing for the winter after their market on Friday October 31st. Don’t worry, they’ll be back in March and will be throwing an end-of-season and Halloween party this Friday, with a costume contest, special decorations, and a special menu. Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd. at Laguna.


Lina Toracca juggling platters at the Original U.S. Restaurant. Photo courtesy Peter Mrabe.

By Dana Eastland. North Beach lost an icon last week, when Lina Toracca passed away on Wednesday October 22nd. Toracca was an iconic waitress at the Original U.S. Restaurant for more than 35 years. She was born in 1926 in Genoa, Italy, and began working at the Original U.S. in the early 1960s, where she had a reputation for being tough and stern with her customers, but loving too. If you couldn’t decide what to order, she’d go ahead and choose for you. Or maybe you were fooling around—she’d grab you by the ear and put you in your place. She worked the morning shift, from 5am until 1pm, and served many of the neighborhood residents their very first restaurant breakfast.

Because of her tough but loving demeanor and no-nonsense attitude, Lina was a maternal figure for many in the neighborhood. Her son, Giovanni Toracca (a name many will recognize), says that people would sometimes tell him that she reminded them of a different era; she “reminded them of the way the world used to be.” As for her own breakfast order, she enjoyed artichoke frittata or a bowl of oatmeal with lots of chocolate.

Lina Toracca passed away surrounded by family. Our thoughts are with them, and the many North Beach locals who knew and loved her.


Sugar skulls at Copita for Dia de los Muertos. Photo from Facebook.

Dia de los Muertos is here, and ~COPITA~ in Sausalito has a special menu to celebrate. Dia de los Muertos is all about remembering the dead, but it’s also about celebrating life—part of why it’s such a poignant festival at this time of year. From Friday October 31st until Sunday November 2nd, Copita will have a special menu of orange dishes symbolizing life and black dishes symbolizing death. Orange dishes include a pan-roasted lamb with mole amarillito, fire-roasted root vegetables, smoked onion, and fried chochoyotes; or cochinita pibil with sour orange and achiote adobo with pickled onion and habanero xnipek. Black dishes include a ceviche negro with calamari, scallops, lingcod, lime, prickly pear, and cilantro; or chile relleno with mole prieto, huitlacoche and shredded beef, pickled onion, fried plantains, and queso añejo. You can also try the Smoking Gun cocktail, with mezcal, lime juice, agave, grapefruit juice, and St. Germain. The restaurant will be specially decorated, as well, and a chalk artist will be drawing on the sidewalk. 739 Bridgeway at Anchor, 415-331-7400.

I also have a personal affinity for the holiday because I was born on November 1st, “Il Giorno di Tutti i Santi” (or Ognissanti), and I learned there were even special treats on my birthday when I was living in Venezia. Cool! Gary Rulli at ~EMPORIO RULLI~ is keeping the tradition alive by offering “pan dei morti,” a special spice bread with raisins, almonds, orange peel, and pine nuts. You can pick them up for $3, and enjoy them on November 1st and 2nd, All Souls’ Day (Il Giorno dei Morti). Various locations.


The colorful interior at Juhu Beach Club. Photo: ©

~JUHU BEACH CLUB~ will be serving brunch on Sundays from 11am-3pm, starting November 9th. The menu includes a version of croque-madame called croque memsahib with two eggs, chai-spiced bacon, spicy jack cheese, and tamarind ketchup, along with a new special item called the “Doswaffle.” It’s a cross between a Belgian waffle and Indian dosa (and it’s gluten-free), and will be served in several varieties. There’s a sweet version with Nutella, sautéed bananas, and cardamom cream, or a classic version with sambar, coconut chutney, and masala potatoes. It can also be ordered in a chicken and waffles version with green chile chicken. Um, hello, get in my belly right now. There will also be mango mimosas and other brunch beverages, plus we heard rumors that they won the liquor license lottery and will have cocktails coming in 2015, sweeeeeet.

Berkeley’s ~TOWNIE~ is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2:30pm. Menu options include eggs with polenta and bacon and brioche French toast. You can also partake of their full bar’s cocktail list or try one of the 16 beers on tap. 1779 University Ave. at Grant, Berkeley, 510-356-4903.

Beginning Saturday November 15th, ~HOG’S APOTHECARY~ will be open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-3pm. They’ll be serving chicken and waffles, a beef and pork burger, and lots of housemade bacon, along with their choice selection of beer. Oh, and starting Tuesday November 18th, they’ll be open for dinner seven nights a week. 375 40th St. at Opal, 510-338-3847.

October 21, 2014

Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz. Photo courtesy of The Perennial.


The greenhouse at The Perennial’s aquaponics partners, Viridis. Photo courtesy of The Perennial.

The altruistic and visionary duo of Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz (Mission Chinese Food, Mission Street Food, Commonwealth, Lt. Waffle) are working on a new restaurant and bar in SoMa: ~THE PERENNIAL~. There’s a lot of ground to cover with this concept, so let’s dive in.

The restaurant will have a strong eco and environmental perspective, unlike anything in the city, with an aquaponic greenhouse in Oakland (scraps from the restaurant kitchen will be used to feed fish, whose waste will then provide nutrients for the plants) and a focus on perennial agriculture and a farm-to-table and “table-to-farm” cycle (read: how to deal with waste). You should take a look at the Kickstarter video for more from Anthony Myint on aquaponics—it’s definitely the direction things need to be going in. (And maybe kick down a few bucks while you’re at it.)

The dining room will have a display of live plants that will be used on the menu à la minute (how’s that for fresh ingredients?), plus there will be large planters on the roof of 55 Ninth Street. The kitchen will be energy efficient (through consultation with the Food Service Technology Center), and the team will also be working closely with and donating a portion of proceeds to nonprofit Zero Food Print, a foundation that promotes restaurants (and diners) minimizing their environmental impact, and educates and enables restaurants to reduce their carbon footprints.

Pretty exciting stuff. This is the next wave, people.

The chef is Chris Kiyuna, currently chef de cuisine at Mission Chinese Food SF. He recently trained at Noma and has also cooked at Coi, but keeps things real, too (he was at Front Porch as well). This is a first time for me to see this on a press release: “the chef will serve accessible yet refined climate-conscious California cuisine.” Read on.

There will be “climate beneficial meat,” from cattle that graze “on compost-treated rangeland [which] encourage[s] the growth of perennial grasses whose longer roots sequester carbon beneath the soil, keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere” (the team is working with the Carbon Cycle Institute). And another cool thing: the restaurant “will work with Chad Robertson (Tartine) and Wes Jackson (The Land Institute) to offer bread and baked goods using perennial alternatives to traditional wheat, such as Kernza, a naturally bred intermediate wheatgrass, which boasts high-yield, root-based carbon sequestration, and pest resistance.”

Cocktails will be from Tin Roof Drink Community: Chad Arnholt (Trick Dog) and Claire Sprouse (ABV). And since everything will be eco-minded, you sure as hell won’t be seeing any plastic straws here. Not only will Paramo Coffee be served (you can read the original post on tablehopper here about them), but there will also be a daytime kiosk.

The 65-seat restaurant is being designed by Paul Discoe (Ippuku, Greens). The Perennial is going into a new apartment building called AVA 55 Ninth (the restaurant and café will be on the ground floor). Lunch and dinner will be served six days a week (à la carte dinner entrées will run $18-25). They are hoping to open in February 2015. I look forward to this one taking shape in the new year. 59 9th St. at Market.


Noodles at Crystal Jade Jiang Nan. Photo from Crystal Jade website.

Four Embarcadero Center’s newest tenant ~CRYSTAL JADE JIANG NAN~ (music warning on that link) is opening Tuesday November 18th after a $14 million renovation. As we reported last year, this is the first outpost of the Singapore-based chain outside of Asia. Local restaurateur Gus Murad, previously of Medjool, is also involved in bringing the project to San Francisco.

The food is from the Jiang Nan region of China, which is south of the Yangtze River and includes Szechuan, Hunan, and Zhejiang cuisine. They will also offer some roasted Cantonese items, and dim sum brunch on weekends. There is even a full bar, the Liu Ling bar and lounge area, and a takeout counter called Singapore To-Go.

It’s a huge space, clocking in at 16,000 square feet, with an additional 4,000-square-foot terrace. Local designer Ken Fulk (Jane, The Cavalier) did the space, with an eye toward the landscape of the Jiang Nan region. The view of the bay is the focus both in the restaurant and on the terrace, along with British-Chinese imports and chinoiserie touches intended to evoke a British gentlemen’s club. Hours in the dining room will be Mon-Fri 11am-3pm and 5pm-11pm, Sat-Sun brunch 10am-3pm, Sat dinner 5pm-11pm, Sun dinner 5pm-10pm. Bar hours will be daily 11am-11pm, and Singapore To-Go hours daily 11am-8pm. Four Embarcadero Center, Drumm St. at Sacramento, 415-399-1200.


The exterior of 20 Spot. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

There have been some changes at Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, the company behind Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, and Salumeria. Chef Ryan Pollnow, who has previously worked as the chef de cuisine at Central Kitchen, has been promoted to partner of the group. That means he’ll now be overseeing various culinary teams and working closely with executive chef Thomas McNaughton. Pollnow’s previous experience includes sous chef at Mecca and sous chef at Il Cane Rosso; he joined Central Kitchen in 2013. Chef Mark Bolton, who began at Central Kitchen in 2013 after working at Chicago’s Tru, will be taking his place as chef de cuisine.

After chef Caleb Jones left ~20 SPOT~, Todd Corboy has signed on in the kitchen. Corboy’s experience includes time in the kitchen at Delfina, as well as a stint in Vienna and as the private chef on a yacht. His small and medium plates have a seafood focus, with choices like ahi tuna poke with avocado, inamona, and seaweed, or steamed savory clams with chorizo, grapes, and toast; you can check out his menu here. 3565 20th St. at Lexington, 415-624-3140.

Not too long ago, some hawk-eyed folks on Twitter noticed that one of the chefs at ~MARUYA~ had left, and now Scoop reports both Masaki Sasaki and Hide Sueyoshi have departed. The new chef is Shinichi Kawaguchi. 2931 16th St. at S. Van Ness, 415-378-6667.

~MKT RESTAURANT-BAR~ in the Four Seasons has a new executive chef, Alexander La Motte. La Motte’s previous experience includes db Brasserie in Las Vegas, Café Boulud, and the French Laundry; most recently, he was at the Four Seasons Westlake Village. 757 Market St. at 3rd St., 415-633-3838.

Joyce Conway has taken the helm as executive chef at ~ZERO ZERO~, replacing Colin Dewey, who left in mid-August. Reportedly, Conway has been running the kitchen since Dewey’s departure and has been at Zero Zero since it opened. Before that, she was at Bruce Hill’s Bix. She’ll be working on cycling in some new dishes for fall.


The beginnings of a feast at Sam’s Grill. Photo: ©

~SAM’S GRILL AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~ has reopened after a hiatus and refresh, according to Scoop. To recap, the old-school spot (and hopper fave) was saved from an uncertain future by a group of regulars, while owner Phil Lyons transitions toward retirement. Its building was recently sold, and only three years remain on their current lease (let’s hope they get a good renewal worked out). In the meantime, though, they’ve got new paint, curtains, and some other polish. The menu is mostly the same, too, though it’s been a bit edited to make sure offerings are sustainable and high quality. Hours are still Mon-Fri 11am-9pm.

The beautiful Garden Court at ~THE PALACE HOTEL~ is now open again at night, after a decade of closing in the evenings. The hotel, which opened in 1909, will be serving bites, desserts, cocktails, and wine under the historical glass domed ceiling every evening from 5pm-10pm. Cocktails include the 1909, with bourbon, lemon, housemade ginger syrup, and Lagavulin, or the Landmark 18 with Spirit Works sloe gin, Bummer & Lazarus gin, orange juice, and housemade almond bitters. 2 New Montgomery St. at Market, 415-512-1111.


The gorgeous pastry case at Sixth Course. Photo from Facebook.

~SIXTH COURSE~, a truffle and dessert shop from owners Bridget Labus and Gianina Serrano that has been in the works since 2011, is now open in the Mission. The ladies are famous for their truffles, including a boozy line with offerings like one infused with St. George single-malt whiskey, though the shop has branched out and you can also find items like modern cakes and pastries. Yelpers mention a lemon thyme tart (yes please) and fruit verrines. Plus, they’ve got late-night hours for dessert after dinner. Sweet! Hours are Wed-Thu 2pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 3pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. 1544 15th St. at Capp, no phone.

As previously reported on tablehopper, popular macaron maker ~CHANTAL GUILLON~ has moved to a larger kitchen location in SoMa and has officially added a storefront and opened for business. The new location joins one in Hayes Valley and another in Palo Alto, and offers a changing roster of seasonal and classic flavors. Hours are daily 11am-7pm. 1309 Howard St. at 9th St., 415-864-2400.

The Marina has a new spot for Mexican vittles: ~BONITA TAQUERIA Y ROTISSERIE~. The menu includes tacos, fajitas, and burritos with various protein choices like carnitas, rotisserie chicken, and vegetarian. Initial Yelp reviews are generally positive, with mentions of fresh flavors and quality ingredients. 2257 Chestnut St. at Scott, 415-801-5599.


The Italians salumi platter at La Nebbia. Photo:


The semolina gnocchi at La Nebbia. Photo: ©


The new pulled pork sandwich at Lookout. Photo: Wes Rowe.

Last week I got the chance to preview the updated menu at the nine-month-old ~LA NEBBIA~, and I’m here to report there are some smart new additions on there, 15 in all. First, owners Massimiliano Conti and Lorella Degan have rounded out their already amazing list of salumi with new salumi flights, giving you a chance to try a selection of three or more at once, paired with some tasty antipasti and pickled items. Take your pick from the Italians spread—pictured, with four kinds of glorious pig: prosciutto di Parma (18 months), San Daniele (18 months), speck, and coppa—or try the Spaniards (with 18-month Iberico that looks like A5 wagyu, and feels like it on your tongue).

I particularly enjoyed new starters like artichokes with shavings of Moliterno cheese ($9), and the napoleon of baked eggplant ($10) with scamorza, tomato, and the punch of pecorino. There are some new pizzas to try (if you read Friday’s tablehopper, you know one of them), and another one that is Lorella’s favorite: a pizza bianca with mozzarella, soppressata, radicchio, and pecorino (I especially loved it with a little of the spicy peperoncino-infused balsamic they let me taste). There are some new hearty dishes like semolina gnocchi ($11), bubbling with butter from its time in the oven, with chard underneath. Oh yeah.

Since the menu is full of owner Massimo’s interesting and unique wine selections, why not be able to take them home? Starting Friday October 24th, La Nebbia will launch a new wine to go program, with all the wines on the list available to take home. That “Derthona” timorasso from La Colombera, I will be back for you! One more thing: newly extended hours are now Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm and Sun 4pm-9pm. You can also make reservations on OpenTable. 1781 Church St. at Day, 415-874-9924.

Meanwhile, over in the Castro, ~LOOKOUT~ is celebrating its seventh anniversary by bringing on Wes Rowe (yes, that Wes, of the famed Wes Burger) to update and consult on the menu. As of tonight, it now features elevated bar snacks and drink-friendly bites, all made with some really delicious ingredients and a sense of humor (see: dirty balls, the nutsack). There’s Tex-Mex style queso, buffalo wings, and sandwiches like fried chicken, pulled pork, a burger (Wes knows a thing or two about them), and grilled cheese, all on a Pinkie’s challah bun with sides included, like tots or fries. You can still get a pizza, and there are now tacos too. Check out the menu, you may want to save room for the deep-fried bourbon shots, which entail pound cake that is soaked in bourbon and you guessed it, takes a ride in the fryer.

Bartender Michael Breshears, who has poured me too many shots to count over the years, has updated the cocktails, and has added fresher ingredients, housemade syrups, and other touches. 3600 16th St. at Market, 415-431-0306.


The exterior of Woodward’s Garden. Yelp photo by Ann L.

Based on some ABC license activity, it looks like Jason Perkins—managing partner of Parish Entertainment Group, which operates Place Pigalle in Hayes Valley and Brick & Mortar Music Hall in the Mission, plus a couple of Oakland spots—is planning something for the former Woodward’s Garden space. A call into Parish Entertainment Group didn’t yield any details just yet about what Perkins is planning for the space, but we were promised an update soon. 1700 Mission St. at Division.

Since we’re noting license activity, ~BOXING ROOM~ has a full liquor permit lined up, which would be so great for that space. Hopefully it happens soon. Bring on the Sazeracs!


The new coffee and tea kiosk at Rainbow Grocery. Photo via Twitter.

The city continues to keep on cranking in the café department. This Friday October 25th, ~RAINBOW GROCERY~ will be opening its coffee and tea shop in the area in front of the store, serving Stumptown Coffee Roasters and a variety of teas. Come by this Friday for snacks and samples. Hours are Mon-Sat 8am-6pm and Sun 9am-3pm. 1745 Folsom St. at 13th St., 415-863-0620.

Hayes Valley has a new project brewing (sorry, har): ~ARTÍS COFFEE~ in Berkeley is going to be opening a second location on Octavia Street. Artís Coffee is known for live-roasting coffee on the spot (and to your taste). Or you can just grab an espresso or coffee and be on your way. Hoodline reports Artís will be opening in the former Reliquary space in 2015. 537 Octavia St. at Ivy.

Eileen Hassi Rinaldi just finished revamping ~RITUAL COFFEE ROASTERS~ on Valencia, and next she’s going to be opening a new location at Haight and Central in the Upper Haight (in a former cleaners). This one is a long way out—Hoodline reports we’re looking at July 2015 or thereabouts (permits and renovations take time). There will be outdoor seating too. Looking forward to it. 1300 Haight St. at Central.

A reader wrote in to tell me that ~TULLY’S COFFEE~ on Fillmore is reportedly closing on Sunday October 26th due to a severe rent increase. 2455 Fillmore St. at Jackson, 415-929-8808.


Celebrating Diwali at Dosa in 2012. Photo from Facebook.


Devoto cider, ready for pairing. Photo by Bry Photography via Facebook.

Celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali at ~DOSA ON FILLMORE~ on Thursday October 23rd. There are two seatings, one from 5:30pm-8pm and the second from 8:15pm until closing. Reservations include a three-course, family-style South Indian feast complete with dosas, uttapam, and curries, plus live music, henna tattoos, and traditional Diwali sweets. The second seating also includes a Bollywood and bhangra dance party after dinner. The first seating is $45 per person, and the later seating is $65 per person. Call 415-441-3672 for reservations and more information.

Catch the latest in the Eat Like a Chef, Drink Like a Somm dinner series at ~STONES THROW~ on Monday October 27th. The husband-and-wife team of chef Maria Sinskey and winemaker Robert Sinskey will be at the restaurant, preparing a special, autumnal five-course dinner with wine pairings—check out the menu here. Tickets are $75 per person including tax and tip, with wine pairings for an additional $50 per person, and reservations can be made from 6pm-8:45pm. All proceeds benefit the SF-Marin Food Bank, and if you can’t make it this time, next month the series will feature a savory menu from pastry chefs William Werner (Craftsman & Wolves), Matt Tinder (Meadowood), and Bill Corbett (Absinthe Group) on Monday November 17th.

~MILLENNIUM~ is hosting a five-course dinner with Devoto Orchards Cider and Wait Cellars on Wednesday October 29th from 7pm-10pm. The dinner, which is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, will be paired with pinot noir from Wait Cellars and Devoto’s excellent dry and semi-dry ciders. (Seriously, have you tried them? Do yourself a favor and grab a bottle of their Cidre Noire to toast the last sunny days of October.) Dessert even includes a cider-based cocktail pairing—how very fall is that? The dinner costs $80 per person and includes all food and drink pairings, but not tax and tip. For reservations, call 415-345-3900, ext. 13.

On Tuesday November 4th, enjoy a special farm dinner at ~SEVEN HILLS~ with David Little of Little Organic Farm in Petaluma. The five-course menu includes produce sourced almost exclusively from Little’s farm, along with other ingredients from Marin and Sonoma counties. The dinner is $90 per person, including a box of produce from the farm, but not including drinks, tax, or tip. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. (Psssst, there will be a sunchoke cappuccino with white truffle from Alba.) 1550 Hyde St. at Pacific, 415-775-1550.


Gabrielle Hamilton. Photo courtesy Random House.


New York’s amazing chef and author Gabrielle Hamilton will be in the bay next month, promoting her new cookbook, Prune. There are a few ways to catch her; don’t miss one of these delicious events. First, she’ll be at March on Sunday November 9th from 12pm-2pm, signing books and talking about her recipes. Email for more information. 3075 Sacramento St. at Baker, 415-931-7433.

That evening, catch her at a dinner at Left Bank in Larkspur with Book Passage at 6:30pm. Tickets are $125 for one or $185 for a pair, and include food, wine, tax, tip, and a signed copy of the book (just one book for the pair of tickets). 507 Magnolia Ave. at Ward, Larkspur, 415-927-3331.

On Monday November 10th, she’ll be at Shed in Healdsburg, doing a special lunch with recipes from the cookbook and, of course, sharing stories from Prune. Tickets are $95 per person or $145 for a pair, and include lunch, wine, dessert, tax, tip, and one copy of the book. 25 North St. at Foss, Healdsburg, 707-431-7433.

Then, at 6pm on Monday November 10th, she’ll be at Camino sharing even more recipes and dishes. A reception with drinks, a book signing, and snacks starts the evening, followed by dinner at 7pm. Tickets are $136 and include food, wine, tax, and tip. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event. 3917 Grand Ave. at Sunnyslope, Oakland, 510-547-5035.

Marcus Samuelsson will also be in town with a new book, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home. On Sunday November 2nd, he’ll be doing a two-part event with Green Apple Books on the Park. First, from 6pm-8pm, catch him at Nopalito on 9th Avenue, where he’ll be at an intimate reception talking about the book with drinks and food from Nopalito. Tickets to the reception are $100 per person and include a copy of the book, two drinks, and all the carnitas, tacos, and pollo al pibil you can manage. From 8pm-9pm, he’ll be at the Green Apple store across the street, signing books and answering questions. The book signing is free and open to the public. Nopalito: 1224 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-233-9966. Green Apple Books on the Park: 1231 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-742-5833.


The interior of Kushido. Photo from Facebook.


The JJ burger. Photo from Yelp.

~KUSHIDO~, a new yakitori-style Japanese restaurant, is now open in Temescal. Owner Jonathan Moon’s project is inspired by the izakayas of Japan, where yakitori skewers are served alongside beer and other beverages. Think of it as a drinking place with good food, not the other way around. They’ve got a real binchotan grill that’s visible to diners, where more than 20 types of yakitori are grilled, including bacon-wrapped mochi and different cuts of chicken. They’ve also got several Japanese beers on tap, as well as sake and shochu. There are also some non-yakitori items on the menu, like sashimi and ramen. Hours are Tue-Sat 5pm-11pm. 4828 Telegraph Ave. at 48th St., Oakland, no phone.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that cats are the new black and soon you’ll be able to hang out with friendly felines at every café and restaurant in the Bay Area. Opening on Saturday (excuse me, Caturday) October 25th is Oakland’s ~CAT TOWN CAFE~, a space where you can get coffee from Bicycle Coffee Co., bagels from Authentic Bagel Co., and sweet pastries from Kitchener Collective. Within the café is the fully contained Cat Zone, where you can take your food and drink and hang out with cats of all sorts. This is not all just for fun, though: the cats at Cat Town are available for adoption through the Cat Town nonprofit, an organization that has been rescuing cats from the East Bay’s overcrowded shelters since 2011. You can even reserve a spot in the Cat Zone for a donation of $10 to the organization. Meow! Café hours are 8am-7pm and Cat Zone hours are 10am-7pm. 2869 Broadway at 29th St., Oakland, 510-915-1454.

Liquor license activity tipped us off to a cool new project opening this winter, called ~THE OCTOPUS LITERARY SALON~. Details are still a bit spare, but the space is inspired by salons and pubs in Europe, where people of all ages gather to eat, drink, discuss literary happenings, and listen to live music. Construction has started and they are targeting a January opening—of course we’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, catch one of their pop-up salons; follow along on Twitter for updates. 2101 Webster St. at 22nd St., Oakland.

Some more liquor license activity: last month we mentioned the upcoming project from Alexeis Filipello (Stag’s Lunchette, Bar Dogwood) and Matt EIseman called ~THE LODGE~, but we couldn’t quite reveal the location just yet. Since license activity has hit the wires, we can now reveal it’s going to be opening in the former Egbert Souse’s in North Oakland. It’s looking like 90 days to build out, so expect a spring opening. To recap: The Lodge will mostly be a bar with classic cocktails and some top-notch bar food/small plates (think Bay Area classics, like oysters on the half shell, plus fish fries, crudo, chowder, and salads). There’s a nice lodge setting and a patio, with about 60 seats in all. We’ll keep you updated! 3758 Piedmont Ave. at MacArthur, Oakland.

It looks like there is a new spot in Grand Lake, called ~JJ BURGER~. East Bay Express reports that the new spot has moved into the former Kung Pao Kitchen and is serving slightly elevated burger, with fresh toppings, brioche buns, and quality meat. There are also lots of patty choices, including chicken, turkey, and an ahi tuna poke burger. Hours are Tue-Sun 11am-9pm. 3415 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-451-0633.

October 14, 2014

Exterior photo by Craig Lee.

Exciting (potential) news here: if the ABC license transfer and escrow gods cooperate, it looks like Melissa Perello of ~FRANCES~ will be taking over the recently closed ~BAKER & BANKER~ space in Pacific Heights. Perello was not able to confirm or deny that she is in contract to purchase the space at this time, but based on what I was able to dig up online, it looks like that’s the plan.

Perello has been looking for a second space for some time. In an interview with Haighteration more than a year ago, she said, “I’m thinking about starting to think about Frances #2” and “I’m looking to replicate [Frances] on a larger scale. I’m just contemplating it.” Once Perello can talk about the location, we’ll have to see what her plans entail for her second project. And all of SF (and beyond) will be eagerly listening. 1701 Octavia St. at Bush.


Some news at the upcoming ~THE PROGRESS~, the second project from State Bird Provisions’ Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski that they’re opening next door: they have hired Jason Alexander as the general manager and wine director. He was most recently the GM for Meteor Vineyard and was the wine director for both Gary Danko and Cyrus (yeah, he’s no slouch in the wine department). In a conversation with Brioza, he says they have known each other for a long time, working on events together, and they were happy to herald Alexander’s return to the restaurant world.

One more tidbit: The Progress will be opening in 2014. Yay. While details aren’t really ready to be released yet, The Progress is going to be living up to its name (it’s in homage to The Progress Theatre that was on the site from 1911-1925). Brioza says the name stands for a firm foundation and can also be used in reference to what they’re going to be doing: progressing their dining style (without being pretentious). He says they aren’t reinventing the wheel, they already did that with State Bird—this will be a tribute to the past as they pave their way and look to the future. The food, wine, service style will all reflect progress; he added that they are very excited about their kitchen and front-of-house team. One big motif is the artisan role in what they do and create, so look for a continuation of many handmade elements in this next space. I’ll keep you posted in the coming months! 1525 Fillmore St. at Geary.


The new entrance. Photo by Patrik Argast.


A look into the Champagne bar and lounge. Photo by Patrik Argast.

~QUINCE~ reopened September 20th after closing for renovations in July, and here are some updates on how it looks (yes, it’s swanky!). Local designer Douglas Durkin designed the new space, which includes a private entryway, a new bar and lounge area, two new private dining rooms, a refreshed kitchen with a chef’s counter, and some new art and furniture. The focus of the renovation was on making the dining room feel more comfortable and inviting, with an eye toward both the restaurant’s former home on Octavia and the current space’s architectural past (it was built in 1907).

Metalworker Michael Bondi created the new entrance, a glass and metal structure that carries guests from the street to the dining area. In the dining room, more brick walls have been exposed and offer warmth, and the entryways have been rounded to soften the hard edges. New banquettes keep the seating luxurious. One of the most exciting additions, if you are a lover of bubbles, is the Champagne bar and lounge at the entrance. Wine director Jai Wilson is offering a selection of wines from small producers in Champagne, including many farmer-owner wineries and others that are being imported to the United States for the first time. In addition to the bottles, you can also order à la carte from the tasting menu while seated in the lounge, and an hors d’oeuvres menu will be available, along with caviar service.

They’ve added two more private dining rooms, each with seating for as many as 12 people. There are also two seats at a chef’s counter, for those looking to experience the kitchen firsthand. The renovation has allowed for a private dining room at next-door’s Cotogna, called the Octavia Room. It is situated in the kitchen, if you’re really into seeing the action up close. Quince and the new lounge are open Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm.


One of the dining areas at Mochica. Photo by Aubrie Pick, courtesy Mochica.


Another dining area at Mochica. Photo by Aubrie Pick, courtesy Mochica.

As previously reported on tablehopper, Peruvian restaurant ~MOCHICA~ is reopening on Potrero Hill, and it’s happening this Thursday October 16th. Chef and owner Carlos Altamirano has expanded the menu to reflect the additional seating afforded by the new location, and there is also a full bar. Look for small dishes like ceviches and the anticuchos de corazón (that would be beef heart skewers served with crispy potatoes and spicy salsa panchita). As for entrées, there’s a chicken stew in aji amarillo sauce with potato, botija olives, and a hard-boiled egg, or a Peruvian-style paella with seafood and a squid ink base.

As for that full bar, of course you’ll find pisco sours, along with traditional chilcanos, also made with pisco, plus ginger and lime. The space was designed by Keith Morris of Abueg Morris Architects, and it has an industrial feel, with warm wooden panels and hand-painted murals on the walls. There are two dining rooms and a bar area, with seating for groups of different sizes. Dinner Sun-Thu 4pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, weekend brunch Sat-Sun 10am-2:30pm, and happy hour Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm. 1469 18th St. at Connecticut, 415-278-0480.


The exterior of 1000 Guerrero. Yelp photo.

After changing from Tao Café two years ago, ~COMPANY~ is now becoming ~HOFFMANN’S GRILL AND ROTISSERIE~. Chef Karen Hoffmann, one of the partners from Company, is now the sole owner. The menu will be focused on simple, comforting food that reflects the seasons, with many items made in-house, including bread, pasta, and sausage. Each day will feature a rotating meat special, as well as roast chicken available by the half or whole, and a burger with smoked cheddar and grilled onions. The wine list will include four choices on tap and a selection of bottles from small producers. Hoffman’s will open on Tuesday November 4th, and hours will be Sun, Tue-Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10pm, closed Mondays. 1000 Guerrero St. at 22nd St., 415-374-7479.

A couple of readers were asking me what was going on at the 24th Street location of ~SUSHI BISTRO~—which has been closed since August—and the owners have confirmed that they sold the location. Things continue as is at their Balboa Street location, where they have absorbed some of the 24th Street staff. A reader tells me the new business moving into the 24th Street space is ~KAZAN~, which will “serve sushi and Japanese tapas,” and should be opening this week. 2809 24th St. at York.


A rendering of Klyde. Courtesy Klyde.


Cuco’s, you’ll be missed. Photo from Facebook.

An all-day café has opened in Union Square, called ~KLYDE CAFÉ & WINE BAR~. It’s inside the Hotel G, though the projects are unaffiliated. The kitchen is run by local Sam Fechheimer, the project’s executive chef, whose previous experience includes Michael Mina, Locanda, and Il Cane Rosso. The menu offers American classics, such as egg dishes like poached eggs with merguez sausage at breakfast, along with pastas, salads, and sandwiches at lunch and dinner. The wine list offers more than 60 bottles from the United States and France, many of them priced around $30. The selection of wines by the glass will rotate regularly. Hours are daily, with breakfast 6:30am-12am (that’s right, breakfast all day), lunch 11:45am-2:30pm, happy hour 3pm-7pm, and dinner 3pm-12am. 386 Geary St. at Mason, 415-654 5061.

As previously reported, San Francisco now has a second location of Los Angeles-based salad chain ~TENDER GREENS~. It opened Wednesday October 8th, according to Facebook, serving meal-sized salads, platters, and soups. Hours are daily 11am-9pm. 266 King St. at 4th St., 415-230-3141.

As we reported back in July, Haight Street burrito joint ~CUCO’S~ was in danger of eviction and closure. After weighing their options and considering legal action, the Campos family, who owns the restaurant, decided to close on Monday October 13th, according to Hoodline. Despite the closure, they may reappear as a pop-up or maybe even a restaurant in the future. Best of luck to them. 488 Haight St. at Fillmore.


Exquisite halibut with fava beans, corn, and little gems, a springtime dish at Nico. Photo: ©

After almost a year in business, Pacific Heights restaurant ~NICO~ will be changing menu formats at the end of this month. Each evening, a three-course menu will be available for $45 and a five-course one for $55 per person. Wine pairings will be available for $30 for the three-course option and $45 for the five-course one. The intention behind the change is to offer a more European-style experience, where guests can relax and let the kitchen take care of them, while continuing to be approachable. Snacks and the à la carte menu will be available at the bar. 3228 Sacramento St. at Lyon, 415-359-1000.

~PLIN~ will be offering weekend brunch as of Saturday October 18th, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am-2:30pm. In addition to an à la carte menu, you can also try a family-style prix-fixe option for $30 per person. Menu items include baked eggs with polenta; French toast with mascarpone and pecans; and eggs Benedict with a choice of sausage and bone marrow, shrimp and basil, ham, or sous vide salmon. Bottomless brunch beverages are also available, and you can catch aperitivo hour from 3pm-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays after brunch. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-644-8425.


The menu at Tiny Warrior. Photo from Facebook.

There’s a new spot in the Mission for delicious iced coffee, called ~TINY WARRIOR~. It’s a little coffee spot, with a bit of a bar bent: five different flavors of signature iced coffee are blended and shaken to order, with flavors like Moroccan (cardamom, cinnamon, and clove syrup) and Mission mocha (Tcho chocolate and smoked chile). You can add freshly muddled mint or chocolate ice cubes to your coffee too. House coffee, pour-over, and plain iced coffee are also available. Hours are Tue-Sun 7am-5pm, closed Mon. 3376 18th St. at Capp, 510-847-4754.

Observant Yelpers caught the opening of ~SNOWBIRD COFFEE~ in the former Drip’d Coffee Lab in the Inner Sunset. They offer coffee from different roasters on a rotating basis (right now it’s Wisconsin’s Ruby Roasters), including some of their own roasts. Plus, they’ve got a little bit of counter seating and free Wi-Fi. We weren’t able to find their hours, but their Instagram tells us they are closed Tuesdays. 1352 9th Ave. at Irving.


The patio at the Cheese School of San Francisco. Photo from Facebook.

~THE CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~ is hosting the annual cheesy fest for the California Artisan Cheese Guild on Thursday October 16th at 7pm, Meet the Cheesemaker. There will be 24 cheesemakers there, with tastes and stories to share, including the fine folks from Achadinha, Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, and Cowgirl Creamery. In addition, catch wine from Herb Lamb Vineyards and beer from Headlands Brewing Co. The event is a fundraiser to help educate and support California cheesemakers, so don’t miss the silent auction. Tickets are $25 for cheese guild members and $35 for the general public. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-346-7530.


The next generation of chefs at Bay Leaf Kitchen Summer Camp. Photo from Facebook.

Spark, a national organization that helps middle school students from underserved communities stay engaged in school, is having their annual Sugar Rush on Thursday October 16th at 7pm at the Sir Francis Drake hotel. The event is full of sweet treats and savory bites from local restaurants including Akiko’s, Nona Lim, and Scala’s Bistro, along with wine and beer. Tickets are $85 per person, or $150 for VIP, which includes cocktails, exclusive small plates, 6pm entry, and cooking demonstrations. 450 Powell St. at Sutter.

Support the Bay Leaf Kitchen on Sunday October 26th at ~RED DOG~ for their first annual Kitchen Harvest Dinner. The four-course dinner comes from chef Lauren Kiino along with guest chefs Laurence Jossel (Nopa), Luke Chappell (Luke’s Local), and Kate and Mac Magruder (Magruder Ranch). In addition to the four courses, there will be cocktails from Trick Dog’s Tommy Quimby, wine, and beer, along with live music and seating alongside chefs, farmers, and other producers. The evening begins with a cocktail reception at 5:30pm and runs until 9:30pm; tickets are $125 per person, or $1,000 for a table of six or $2,000 for a table of ten. 303 2nd St. at Harrison, 415-692-0211.

Help a new generation of chefs at San Francisco State University’s Hospitality and Tourism Department’s Taste of the Bay event on Wednesday November 12th. The evening, which is put on by students, takes place at the City View at Metreon and includes food from local restaurants like Café Claude, Hog Island Oyster Bar, and M.Y. China. There will also be lots of local wines and both live and silent auctions. It all raises money for scholarships and activities at the school. Tickets are $100 in advance or $150 at the door, and the party goes from 6:30pm-9:30pm. 135 4th St. at Mission, 415-405-3966.

On Tuesday October 28th, head to ~18 REASONS~ for their Teach a Community to Fish dinner from Bar Tartine’s Nick Balla and Cortney Burns. The menu is heavy on seafood (and looks delicious), and proceeds benefit 18 Reasons’ Cooking Matters program. The evening goes from 7pm-10pm, and tickets begin at $250 per person and include all food and wine pairings from Bi-Rite Market.


Don’t miss the world’s best party mash-up: a book and pizza party at ~TONY’S PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ on Tuesday October 21st from 5:30pm-9:30pm. The evening is a celebration of Tony Gemignani’s latest book, The Pizza Bible, which covers how to make pizzas from regions all over the world, including Naples, Chicago, California, and Rome. Entry to the party is free with the purchase of a book ($29.99) and includes pizza made with recipes from the book, as well as cocktails, beer, and wine. There will also be a photo booth and accordionist (we said it was a party!). Yeah, this is how you do a book party!


Bread fresh out of the wood-fired oven. Photo courtesy of The Growlers’ Arms.

An exciting update for you on ~THE GROWLERS’ ARMS~, the upscale gastropub (yet cozy tavern) from Seamus and Shelley Mulhall that’s opening on Wednesday October 22nd in the former Marzano in Oakland’s Glenview district. The duo will be offering an English-style experience with California sensibility (across the board, from the cuisine to the decor). There will be a 10-seat bar, banquette seating in a deep port color, plus some church pews, with 65 seats, and 15 outdoor seats with heat lamps.

Look for experienced service with those small touches that really make things shine—the team comes from places like Boulevard and Farallon (the Mulhalls are some serious restaurant industry vets, with Danko, Boulevard, La Folie, and Chez Panisse in their collective backgrounds). There will be old silverware (Seamus says they have been polishing it like crazy), and the room has old portraits of California icons like John Muir.

The chef is Brian Ventura, previously A16, who toured 15 Michelin-starred gastropubs in May with the Mulhalls in England and Ireland. Seamus said they were really struck with how strong a role English farming played in the cuisine: “It was just really good country food.” Look for English dishes that will be fun, and reflect and rotate with the seasons. Here’s the first look at a draft of the opening menu, which includes starters like snails on Growler toast with a fennel-parsley salad, scarlet turnips, and herb dressing, and favorites like bubble and squeak. The team is working with whole animals (pig, goat), so they will be making haggis (“not your grandfather’s!”), some terrines, and pâté—plus more goodies in their charcuterie refrigerator. They also got in the last-of-the-season local salmon and made gravlax with St. George Terroir gin. Mains include oven-roasted sole with Brussels sprout champ and Lancashire hot pot with a goat chop bonus. There are a lot of sides, salads, and more to round out the meal.

Miranda, their sous chef, has been practicing baking bread in the wood-fired oven—which is not the easiest thing. She has also been working on traditional English desserts, like spotted dick, but they’re going to opt to call it by its other name, spotted dog, just to nip all those jokes in the bud, okay? Plus there will be seasonal pies (up now: apple pie with English cheddar).

The bar manager is Linda Hare-Touye, who has most recently been at Quince, but many will recognize from her years at Aqua. In addition to classic cocktails, there will be artisan beers, with four beers on tap and ten beers and cider by the bottle. Mostly small, local craft brews with some English ones, and, of course Guinness.

The bar will open at 4pm (with snacks), and the kitchen opens at 5pm. The space will be open nightly until 10pm, closing at 9pm on Sunday. Look for weekend brunch to launch in a month or so (with some blood pudding!). 4214 Park Blvd. at Glenfield, Oakland.


Ordinaire Wine Bar. Yelp photo by Nique F.

As reported in August, you can order pizza from Boot and Shoe Service while enjoying wine at ~ORDINAIRE~ on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5:30pm-10pm. Well, turns out you can order dinner from Ordinaire itself Thursday through Saturday from 5:30pm-10pm; Chris Kronner is no longer popping up there (he has a restaurant to open!). The menu is concise and changes regularly; this week, there’s escarole salad, country pâté, and lamb breast. 3354 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-629-3944.

We tried to get some details on the opening of ~LONGBRANCH~—which is opening in the former Sea Salt—but unfortunately were told to just “follow along on Facebook and Twitter.” The background noise suggested it was open (maybe it was a test dinner), and they are currently holding some special events, but nothing could be confirmed. So call ahead before you go, but even then it might be a gamble. Our original post with a few details is here, and you can take a peek at the space here. 2512 San Pablo Ave. at Dwight, 510-984-0518.

We had a chance to catch up with Matt Burger, who we reported not too long ago is opening ~GRANGE HALL~ in the Barlata space in Temescal. Their timeline has been pushed a little due to patio and liquor licensing concerns. Barlata is still open at the moment, and now Grange Hall is aiming for an early 2015 opening. 4901 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland.

One of the owners of ~MOCKINGBIRD~ let us know that there’s been an issue with their liquor license (sounds like their landlord may have misinformed them in some way). While they work on sorting that out, they’ve voluntarily stopped serving alcohol. That’s bad news, but the good news is that you are now able to BYO with no corkage or other service fee. 1745 San Pablo Ave. at 18th St., 510-290-0331.