April 17, 2007

April 17, 2007

So, the waiting game is (almost) over. ~FIFTH FLOOR~ (it seems) has honed in on their new executive chef: but I am not allowed to say who it is just yet because the deal isn’t final. So let’s just run this as a blind item. All I can say is that he’s French! And renovations are in the cards. Hopefully I can spill the beans soon—but the ink isn’t dry yet, so it’s as good as a rumor for now. More soon!

Okay, this is some totally sweet news. ~WILLIAM WERNER~, the former pastry chef extraordinaire from the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay (his pastry creations seriously blow my mind) has joined The Village Pub and Spruce as the executive pastry chef for both restaurants. Now yet another reason why I can’t wait for Spruce to open!

~MASA'S~
has hired a new executive pastry chef, Camal el Sherifi, to replace Keith Jeanminette, who left earlier this year after almost 14 years. El Sherifi is a graduate of the Fondation Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and was an assistant patissier at Valrhona L’Ecole Du Grand Chocolat before becoming patissier at the world-renowned and award-winning boutique, Pierre Hermé Patisserie. He was also the head pastry chef at Draeger’s, plus executive pastry chef for the Sheraton Hotel in Dubai, UAE, and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Masa’s is moving into its 25th year, so they must be pretty happy with the new hire. 648 Bush St. at Powell, 415-989-7154.

Another one who has made it through the long haul: ~EBISU~ in the Sunset is turning 25! That is something like 200 in restaurant years. So in honor of the occasion, starting in May, the restaurant will close for a month so it can have a much-needed facelift. Once it reopens, there will be more seating, a new tatami room, a new sushi bar, and a new kitchen. New new new! They will also be adding some new dishes once it reopens, and introducing online ordering at the end of May. As a clever interim solution, they will be moving Ebisu to Hotei, its sister restaurant right across the street during the construction. Also coming up, Ebisu, Hotei, and their SFO location will all begin using recycled, biodegradable containers and bags. Word. 1283 9th Ave. at Irving, 415-566-1770.

Another ~BURGER JOINT~ location will be opening: this one is just across from the ballpark on King Street. They are hoping for a July opening, and there will be about 70-75 indoor and outdoor seats available. 242 King St. between 3rd and 4th Streets.

~SEARS FINE FOOD~, home of the famous Swedish pancakes, has recently hired a new executive chef, Patricia Blecha, who is adding some upscale French-Cali cuisine to the formerly comfort food-oriented dinner menu, like Boeuf Bourguignon and lamp chops with Merguez sausage. She has cooked at Le Zinc in Noe Valley, and Forbes Island. 439 Powell St. at Sutter, 415-986-0700.

A report on upcoming openings (and closures):

~SPORK~ is opening today, Tuesday the 17. For a reminder on what this groovy spot is all about, click here for all the details. 1058 Valencia St. at Hill, between 21st and 22nd Streets, 415-643-5000.

Another cutie in the Mission that is set to open soon is ~BAR BAMBINO~, which will be ready to welcome the public with a full menu on April 26. Click here for the earlier write-up. 2931 16th St. between Mission and South Van Ness, 415-701-VINO.

Opening this Saturday, April 21, is ~JONES RESTAURANT~ in the former Marina Sports Bar & Grill space, a project from the One Industry Group. Gone is the sports bar vibe, and it’s going to be more of a lounge and an upscale American eatery serving classics with a twist. Prime steaks are the main feature, and other dishes include crab corndogs with homemade ketchup, Kurobuta pork chops with polenta and mustard greens, and there’s even a PB+J sammy made with homemade peanut butter, pinot noir grape jelly, organic Texas toast, and it comes with a shot of milk. (Make mine a double.) The young chef is 24-year-old Jamaal Taherzadeh who has worked under Kerry Simon.

23 wines will be available by the glass and some big-ticket wines will be available by the bottle as well. Drinks are on the higher end: $12 martinis and $10 craft cocktails made with quality ingredients and fresh fruit; personally, I need to try the Southern Peach since Peach is one of my nicknames, and yes, this drank has bourbon in it (Makers Mark Bourbon, Crème de Peche Liqueur, Peach Puree and OJ)! They have added a formal dining area, and a VIP area for large parties. The look is high-end meets roadhouse, with an array of Jack Daniels bottles above the bar (it sounds like I have already been there!), and chicken wire around the DJ booth. Sports will be broadcast on the TV screens when it’s a big game day, and they will also have Sinatra Sundays with Rat Pack tunes, and Cowboy Wednesdays, with country music and westerns. Hours are 4pm-2am, with happy hour 4pm-7pm; the kitchen will open around 5pm, and serve until midnight. Brunch will be coming soon. 2400 Lombard St. at Scott, 415-440-2000.

~VISIT~ has opened in the Lower Haight, serving Thai food for lunch noon-4pm and for dinner (until midnight). It has a pretty striking contemporary look, especially considering what most Thai places in the city look like. 518 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-626-6262.

~CORTEZ'S~ reopening has now been pushed to May 1, but it’s looking pretty solid date-wise. 550 Geary St. at Jones, 415-292-6360.

~JUNI TEPPAN AND SUSHI~, the teppanyaki space in the Lower Polk, has closed. 1217 Sutter St. at Polk.

Another closure to report, this one is in cocktail land (a great place to live!). After 11½ years of business, the ~RED ROOM~ will be closing in July. I used to get my big fishbowl martinis here in the mid-90s—I blurrily remember it fondly. You may remember the Commodore Hotel was recently purchased by the Academy of Art, and was transformed into dorms for its students. The Red Room’s lease is up, so they are opting to close—being a bar in a college dorm is not the best business model. (The Red Room’s closure does not affect the neighboring Canteen, which still has three years on its lease.) Thanks for all the boozy nights, Red Room! 827 Sutter St. at Leavenworth, 415-346-7666.

Now, this is my kind of week. Buckle up, people, for ~SAN FRANCISCO COCKTAIL WEEK~ (the site should be up soon). In celebration of World Cocktail Day (which is May 13), some of San Francisco’s top bartenders and mixologists, including Jeff Hollinger of Absinthe, H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir, and Duggan McDonnell of Cantina, have organized a weeklong celebration (May 14-21) of San Francisco’s cocktail scene that will culminate on Monday, May 21, at Absinthe Brasserie and Bar.

Beginning Monday, May 14, over 30 of the most popular bars, restaurants and lounges will participate in San Francisco Cocktail Week by featuring two limited-edition cocktails, one classic recipe and one original cocktail created by each location’s “Cocktail Champion” especially for the event. The whole week is being sponsored by. Participating bars and restaurants will include: Absinthe, Elixir, Cantina, Bourbon & Branch, Alembic, Range, Eastside West, Citizen Cake, NOPA, Slanted Door, Tres Agaves, Le Colonial, Presidio Social Club, and many others. On Monday, May 21, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar will host a celebratory evening combining both traditional and creative cocktails with an array of appetizers. Gary Regan will be guest bartending. Tickets will be $45 per person. The event is designed to benefit Tales of the Cocktail, an organization that celebrates the history of the cocktail in New Orleans and assists in the revitalization of the city’s hospitality industry. For tickets to the May 21 event, contact Vanessa Harris at vharris [at] absinthe [dot] com or call 415-551-1453.

Brunch alert: ~PRES A VI GLOBAL CUISINE AND WINE BAR~ has begun serving weekend brunch from 10am-2:30pm. They have that sweet 80-seat outdoor patio which will be gorg on a nice sunny morning. Some menu items will include an herbed goat cheese omelet, corned beef and Anaheim chili hash, Dungeness crab cakes Benedict (wow, that sounds light!), and French toast. One Letterman Drive, near the corner of Lombard and Lyon Streets, 415-409-3000.

Just in case some of you night owls planned to head to ~NOPA~ for a bite this week, they have closed for one week to honor their one-year anniversary, in addition to celebrate the marriage of owners Laurence Jossel and Allyson Woodman, which just happened on Sunday. (Congrats all.) NOPA reopens on Thursday the 19th.

And be sure to tune in to the Food Channel on Sunday at 9pm, because it’s local boy Cosentino (from Incanto) versus Batali on ~IRON CHEF AMERICA~. More details here.

Oh, and one last thing: I thought you’d like to know the spring issue of Edible San Francisco is out! Click here to see where you can pick one up!