June 19, 2007

June 19, 2007

Have you ever been to the ~AXIS CAFÉ~ out at the base of Potrero Hill, on 16th Street? It’s a friendly little spot, good for a mid-week sandwich out on the often-sunny and enclosed patio. (You can check out their menu here.) It’s looking like the cafe will most likely close for a little bit in mid-July to expand the kitchen, putting in a full grill, some hood vents, and a stove and burners so they can really rock it. When it reopens, expect a bigger menu (it will keep a seasonal focus), plus a full-service dinner will be added as well. They also now have a beer and wine license. Open Mon­­­–Fri 7am–7pm, Sun 9am–3pm. 1201 8th St. at 16th St., 415-437-2947.

So I had a chance to get more details from the owner of Le Metro Cafe about the new Nepalese concept they are launching. The name will be ~METRO KATHMANDU~, serving a limited menu of Nepalese small plates with Indian influences, such as momo, which are like Chinese pot stickers filled with spicy chicken and served with chutney, plus chhoila (smoked lamb salad), a couple of curries, kebabs, plus some vegan friendly dishes. The Nepalese chef is Bishnu Chaudhary. As I mentioned last week, everything will be under $10. Drinks will include an international wine list to pair with the spicy food, plus tap beer and soju and sake cocktails. They hope to open by early July. And yes, brunch will continue to be served—the spacious back patio is a prime spot where you can enjoy it. Open Tue–Sun until 1am. 311 Divisadero St. at Page.

Seems ~FRJTZ~ will be opening its second location on Valencia (in the former Amira space) some time the week of June 25. I can’t really tell you a lot about it because no one ever calls me back. All I do know is you’ll find their Belgian fries and crepes, plus mussels will reportedly be on the menu too. Late hours and brunch are supposed to be in the works as well. 590 Valencia St. at 17th.

Changes around town in wino land:

Chris Wright is no longer the beverage director at ~AQUA~—taking his place is Aaron Elliott, formerly of TRU in Chicago and The Peninsula Chicago. I’ll let you know where Wright lands when that news is final! (Yes, that was a thinly veiled reference/pun to the Wright brothers, har).

Also, Carl Grubbs is no longer managing the beverage program at ~SCOTT HOWARD~—he is now bartending at Globe by day and working the floor at night at Quince. Busy guy! Go say hi!

After a quick renovation to the kitchen and downstairs, ~BACAR~ reopened just last week. They are also starting up the cool-sounding Sommelier Suppers, led by wine director Mickey Clevenger. He will be on hand to pour and discuss two dozen different wines for guests to sample, all informally set up in bacar's new downstairs wine salon. And with over 1,200 eclectic wines from all over the world, bacar’s collection has always been one to ogle. An intimate group of guests (say 25-30 people max) will be able to hang out and taste the wines, and then move upstairs to the mezzanine level to dig in to a family-style dinner by executive chef Robbie Lewis. Cost is $55, not including tax and tip. The next Sommelier Supper is Sunday, July 15th. 448 Brannan St. at 3rd, 415-904-4100.

Some closures to report around town:

~ANDREW JAEGER’S HOUSE OF SEAFOOD AND JAZZ~ in North Beach will be closing at the end of June. Sadly, it seems the restaurant was just hitting its stride, figuring out what the local dining public wanted and was doing some better numbers, but their rent getting raised to $25k a month, coupled with the weekend ruckus in North Beach drove their decision to close—the weekends have been having the opposite effect on their business, translating into fewer walk-ins and less volume at the bar. I hope the efforts to mellow out the weekend scene (rowdy crowds and aggressive police) in North Beach meet with some success soon, especially with Enrico’s slated to open next month, and `E Tutto Qua open just across the street. I spoke with Rhoda, Jaeger’s wife, who wanted to express how grateful they are to the SF community for teaching them so much about quality food and good service, and they look forward to bringing their learnings back with them to Louisiana; Andrew is a partner in a new restaurant project on the Amite River in French Settlement Lousiana. Best wishes and good luck to them.

Awww, after being open since 1977, the ~WELCOME HOME RESTAURANT~ in the Castro has closed. 464 Castro St. at 17th.

Owls are already rather weird birds, so I guess it follows suit that there is some serious weirdness going down at ~C. BOBBY’S OWL TREE~. I heard from a tablehopper reader someone stole all the owls from the bar, but then caught this story in the SF Weekly about some family strife and some crazy mixed in too. For now, the hutch is closed while things hopefully get sorted. Hoot. 601 Post St. at Taylor.

Another old school bit o’ news: ~LITTLE JOE’S~ is officially moved and open in its fifth location, since opening back in 1965 in North Beach. It’s moved into the Pickwick Hotel on 5th and Mission, a historical building, so that fits nicely. You can get some classics like chicken parm and pasta dishes, plus there’s a full bar, open until midnight or later. Breakfast is 6:30am–10am, lunch 11am–4pm, and dinner 4pm-11pm (open until 10:30pm on Sunday). 85 Fifth St. at Mission, 415-433-4343.

Here’s an interesting food-related project that floated into my inbox: ~REPLATE~. Some local chaps are encouraging people to leave their resto-leftovers on top of trashcans to help reduce food waste. Have questions? I did too. Here’s their FAQ. So maybe the next time you don’t finish that honking carne asada super burrito, or maybe your dinner wasn’t that good but you don’t necessarily need your leftovers thrown away, you know where to put that doggy bag.

Another interesting project starting up will be ~THE CULINARY ARTS STUDIO~, a flexible space opening across from the Moscone Center this winter that will function as a full-service rental kitchen and event space with its own show kitchen. The 2,000-square-foot rental kitchen will be able to be used by culinary professionals, catering companies, private chefs, and food and event folks, for daily, weekly, or monthly rental. The event space is 4,000-square-feet, with its own kitchen and staging area, ideal for cooking demos, cooking classes, dinners (room for 200-250 for sit down), and cocktail receptions (300+ people)—it’ll also have some tricked-out LED lighting. The project is from chef Jesse Branstetter and chef and restaurateur Chris Pastena, with an eco-friendly design by Architects II. Folsom St. between 3rd and 4th.

And now for some fun ways to keep you wined and dined (and cooking!):

I heard ~FRISSON~ is hosting some groovy Monday night menus for $30. You get three courses with a glass of wine, hello. Next Monday’s menu (June 25) has frisee and chopped endive salad with bacon vinaigrette and a fried duck egg; herb-roasted baby chicken with spinach and wild mushroom gratin; and lavender-scented pannacotta with peaches and saffron sable for dessert. Score. 244 Jackson St. at Battery, 415-956-3004.

In case you prefer to drink your dinner, Monday nights at ~AMERICANO~ would be the time to do it. Now through August 31 is Martini Mondays, when they are pouring martinis featuring a different liquor sponsor each Monday on the updated outdoor patio. There’s also an olive bar where guests can choose from a variety of olives, including goat cheese olives, almond stuffed olives, ginger olives, and bell pepper olives. Just so you don’t go totally without dinner, chef Arenstam also features a toasted brioche across the top of the martinis. 8 Mission St., 415-278-3777

Now, if you are as fired up as I am with all the fab produce in the farmers’ markets right now, but feel like you are too busy to cook, you should swing by the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for some inspiration with ~EASY MARKET MEALS~, a new culinary program from CUESA. Every other Tuesday this summer, you can attend a free cooking demo designed for the busy home cook. Each featured dish can be prepared in about 20 minutes using the fresh ingredients found at the Tuesday farmers' market. Every attendee leaves with a sample, a recipe, and a suggested shopping list. Easy Market Meals will take place in the north side of the market on June 26, July 10 and 24, and August 7 and 21. Demos begin every 30 minutes, at 11:45am, 12:15pm, 12:45pm, and 1:15pm. Get cookin’!

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