March 28, 2006

March 28, 2006

After five months or so at ~BAR TARTINE~, it ends up executive chef Andy Kitko has left—the classic explanation of "creative differences" was stated. Taking over the helm is Tracy McGillis (YAY, a female chef—can we please see more of these?) who hails from Incanto and Boulette's Larder. McGillis also brought along her sous chef from Incanto, Kimmy Walker. The menu is reportedly showcasing more rustic touches and incorporating that famous Tartine bread, like marrow and toast; I look forward to checking it out.

And just across the street, ~RANGE~ recently hired a new pastry chef, Michelle Polzine. She's worked all over town, but a few highlights are Delfina for a couple years, Bacar, and an internship at Chez Panisse.

One of the partners of downtown's ~BLUPOINTE RAW BAR~ has left, selling his share to the other two partners. I can't seem to get a call back, but according to their website they are making some changes, adding fusion tapas to the raw bar format and no longer serving lunch (just dinner). Will let you know if I hear from them.

Folks living in SoMa near the ballpark will be fired up on the impending sushi place that's being constructed: according to a sign, it's called ~NAMA SUSHI~, at 227 King St. It's still heavy with the dust and buzz-saws, but I'll keep you posted on when it looks like it's closer to opening.

Another sushi place slated to open will be in the old MarketPlace Café space at 2353 Lombard St. in the Marina (no name yet). The owner, Eiichi Mochizuki, also owns the sleek SHABUWAY in San Mateo and #2 in Mountain View. Although this location won't have shabu shabu—it's a much bigger place (100-120 seats) and will be more of a classic Japanese sushi restaurant, so expect lots of wood and bamboo. The sushi chef hails from Osaka, and will hopefully be serving up some toro by June 1.

One very proud opening is ~FRA'MANI~, Paul Bertolli's new salumi business. I had the pleasure of sampling some Fra'Mani salumi last week at a Commonwealth Club event called "Pig Heaven," and all I can say is I was in hog heaven. For now, you can buy two kinds of Fra'Mani's fresh Italian sausage (made with Niman pork, and they are reportedly rough-cut, juicy, and perfect for grilling) at the Cowgirl Creamery up in Point Reyes, who will be acting as a wholesale division, selling the product line to restaurant chefs. But it'll be three weeks or so until the salumi start to arrive. By May 1, expect to find the cured meats at Cowgirl Creamery at the Ferry Building, and in good markets like Whole Foods, and on restaurant menus. My summer picnics just got a whole lot meatier.

Here's an update on the ~SALT HOUSE~ project, the latest from the gents at Town Hall, Doug Washington, and brother-chefs Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal, also of Postrio. Come June, this contemporary tavern will be a casual (and I imagine lively) destination for their trademark creative and flavorful food. They're currently working on a hamburger on a homemade pretzel bun with sea salt and black sesame seeds—let's see if it makes it to the menu. They're also considering adding putin/poutine to the menu, a French-Canadian dish of fries with a thin gravy and cheese (Doug should be pleased). And on the lighter side, there is also the intention to have some raw fish on the menu. All in all, it's going to be a cozy place: 65 seats in a former printing press with wood floors and brick walls, with Sheri Sheridan of Swallowtail assisting on the design. 545 Mission St. (between First and Second streets).

And now, a few closings. Looks like ~BAKU DE THAI~, on the cursed corner of 15th and Valencia and home of the impossibly cheap prix-fixe menu ($12.95) and impossibly long menu, has closed. Also heard ~PICCADILLY FISH & CHIPS~ (1348 Polk St.) has closed due to a fire. (Thanks to "The Finicky Lawyer" for the tip!) Looks like Old Chelsea further downstream at 932 Larkin St. will be picking up the overflow.

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