February 28, 2006

February 28, 2006

This week is all about some casual dining spots popping up around town.

Two of my favorite folks in town, Will Linn and Monika Milk Bernstein, are mostly known for their event-producing work as Blasthaus, and for their hip lounge/art space, RxGallery. But on March 20, they will be opening ~BOCA~ (Bar of Contemporary Art) in SoMa on the newly developing Jessie Street at 5th Street. Boca, as you Spanish speakers are well-aware, means "mouth," and BOCA will be offering plenty of opportunities to fill it. The sociable space will be a combo café/gallery/club, with a tasty menu of gourmet pizzas, panini and salads; chef Eric Hopfinger of Cozmo's in the Marina is crafting the menu. They'll also have a new concept for a European coffee bar, where you'll be able to sample different kinds of gourmet coffee-- the unimpeachable local darlings, Blue Bottle Coffee Co. will be one of the coffees in the grinder. The space has a liquor license (yay) so it'll be a cool space where you can swing by for lunch or a snack, and dip into some cocktails in the evening. They should be getting an after-hours permit soon, too. Talk about fully loaded. And then there's the art: monthly exhibits of tech-driven/robotic/video art/mechanical/new media-oriented work. Yes, different. The opening week is going to have a slew of events, check out the line-up, and I can hardly wait for when Jessie Street becomes the pedestrian-only area it's slated to be within a year or so. There will be outdoor seating, the SF Museum across the street in the old Mint building... good stuff, Maynard. 414 Jessie St., open Mon.-Sat., hours TBD but looking like 11am-2am, closing earlier during the week.

Meat lovers will be mourning the closure of ~WORLD SAUSAGE GRILL~ at 2073 Market St. as of Sunday, March 5. Actually, the vegetarians will be sad too, because this place reportedly had an amazing vegan dog (I wouldn't know, I'm too much of a bockwurst and brat-lover myself). The owners were too busy on their new project to keep both businesses going, which is the San Francisco location of the much-awaited and weirdly-named ~BEARD PAPA'S~, a chain from Tokyo known for their cream puffs. The cream puffs are filled on the spot with flavors like green tea, chocolate, and of course, vanilla custard. Wicked-- who needs cookies? I'll take a dozen, please. It will be opening by April or May on Yerba Buena Lane, the new walkway between Mission and Market and 3rd and 4th Streets. Moving into its place will be a seafood restaurant called ~WOODHOUSE FISH COMPANY~ from Dylan Woodhouse MacNiven, the son of Jamis MacNiven of the cult-like Buck's
of Woodside
; the Woodhouses have four generations of fishermen in their family tree. The restaurant will be a fast-casual destination for Dungeness crab, prawns, lobster, and all other delicious seafaring creatures we want to eat but don't want to go to the Wharf for. They will be giving the space a total facelift, and expect to open in May with a pier-side restaurant/New England diner look.

Residents in the Western Addition (and vegetarians) will be fired up to know a second location of the somewhat healthy and popular Mission taqueria, ~PAPALOTE~, is opening in a couple weeks in the former "Tango 20!" space at 1777 Fulton St. at Masonic. Helllllllo fish tacos.

I for one will not lament more Peruvian food in town. Bring on the aji amarillo. So the latest is a new place called ~INKA'S~ that moved into the former Strayfish Sushi spot at 3299 Mission St. at 29th. (Before Strayfish, it was Rock Soup-- it's a funky space that used to be a bank). They supposedly are cranking out some roast chicken-- let's see if some chicken wars start between them and Goood Fricken' Chicken across the street. Open for lunch and dinner Tue-Sun, closed Monday. 415-648-0111.

Well, since Tita's Hale 'Aina is closed, some folks are down a Hawaiian restaurant where they can get their SPAM groove on. Not like there are a lot of those people, but they do exist. Ends up the former greasy spoon (and coffee cup, and plate, and...) JT's Diner is under new ownership, and reopened as ~JT'S ISLAND CAFÉ~ in the beginning of the month. The new owners are Burton and Melinda Louie (she was a former manager at Star's). And check this out: it's open for 24 hours. So you can say mahalo to some macadamia nut pancakes or hula with some furakaki chicken or giddy up with some cowboy short ribs at whatever hour you please. Only bummer is it's waaaay out near 19th Ave., but who knows, you might find yourself all bleary and hungry out there some night. 901 Taraval St. at 19th Ave., 415-661-3303.