April 1, 2008

April 1, 2008

Some big news out on Church Street—I've been hearing rumblings that Joseph Manzare's and Eddie Maiello's ~PESCHERIA~ was closing, and it looks like it's actually happening this weekend, on Saturday, April 5th (the building was sold). Instead, the restaurant concept will be moving into a much more central location: the big building that is being constructed over the old Bahia Cabana lot, at 1600 Market Street, near Zuni. One of the partners in the project is Brian Spiers, who is behind the Conduit project on Valencia. Another crossover with Conduit: the architect is Stanley Saitowitz. Should be a ways out, I've heard a couple years. Will reveal more when I get some additional details about the building, and the restaurant.

In the meantime, the Pescheria staff is being transferred over to ~MOOSE'S~, which by the way is still open and serving dinner and drinks until the new Joey & Eddie's project launches, so you can swing by and say farewell to Moose's before it closes. Jerry McGinnis is now the executive chef of Moose’s/Joey & Eddie's, and his sous at Pescheria will be leading the Pescheria kitchen when the new spot opens. 652 Stockton St. at Union, 415-989-7800.

Folks in the Polk area have been wondering what the story is on ~BOOTH~, the project moving into the former Polk Street Station Diner. Isaac Mogannam is behind the project, and in case the name looks familiar, yes, his cousins own Bi-Rite, and his father started the Burgermeister empire. Booth will be a contemporary California twist on a vintage diner concept, with breakfast classics (pancakes, French toast, omelettes) and lunchtime staples (salads, corned beef sandwiches, cheesesteaks) served all day—and perhaps late into the night (they are considering late-night hours for the weekends). Ingredients will follow the local/organic/sustainable credo when possible, but especially with any proteins and vegetables. There will also be beer and wine, so you can get a mimosa with your eggs, or a microbrew with your burger. The atmosphere will be casual, with around 60 seats, and some fun design elements, like lighting made with vintage coffee pots, a modern take on a diner island, and the kitchen will be slightly obscured by a semi-translucent wall. And yes, there will be one large and assuredly coveted booth, with room for six–eight folks. The firm Naylor and Chu is doing the design and build-out—you can look at some renderings that are posted in the windows if you're curious and happen to be in the neighborhood. The optimistic opening will be happening in June or so. 1356 Polk St. at Pine.

Some changes at ~SOUTH~ in SoMa—opening chef de cuisine Nicole Ferguson is returning to Luke Mangan's Glass Brasserie in Sydney, or perhaps heading to his restaurant Salt in Tokyo. Assuming her position will be Joshua Woodall, the opening sous chef of South, and formerly a sous at the Four Seasons. Glass Brasserie executive chef Joe Pavlovich came out to supervise the transition (Mangan likes to keep a close watch on the execution of his vision). More news: South has launched its new e-commerce site, where you can join one (or both) of two wine clubs, steal ($39.95 a month) or splurge ($69.95 a month)—both will focus on wines that are hard to find in the U.S. Check this out: any tablehopper readers who sign up for one of the clubs will get a free bottle of South olive oil. Cheers, mate. (You can read more on South in this week's fresh meat.)

A couple closures around town: first, ~SPICES ON FILLMORE~ at 1325 Fillmore Street closed (don't worry, all the other locations are intact), and ~ANDALE~ at 2150 Chestnut Street in the Marina also closed a few weeks back (I heard their lease was up); their new downtown location at San Francisco Centre remains open.

According to a post on Chowhound, Civic Center workers will note that Sultan Kebab changed into ~SOL DE MEXICO~, with tortas, burritos and, on weekends, birria and menudo. 637 Larkin St. at Ellis, 415-931-8444.

And true to schedule (at last), ~CHEZ PAPA RESTO~ opened last night in Mint Plaza. You can check out the menu of French Provencal bistro-inspired fare from executive chef David Bazirgan (most recently at Baraka, Chez Papa Bistrot, and La Suite); there are also 23 wines by the glass/150 selections on the list. John Michaud of Find did the interior, featuring lots of black, orange (Halloween or Giants colors?—you decide), faux candle Murano glass chandeliers, rosewood burl tabletops, a spacious bar, and a chef's table made of antique glass. There is also outdoor seating for 88—should be at least climatically pleasant when they get the heat lamps in, or in the warmer temperatures during the day when they start serving lunch in a week or so. Dinner nightly 5:30pm–11pm (10pm on Sunday). 414 Jessie St. between Mission and Market near Fifth, 415-546-4134.

Just because I like to be a tease, things are getting verrrry close on a new project moving into ~54 MINT~, the old El Balazo space. Looks like Bulow/Maktub is not longer involved with the project; instead, an Italian restaurant will be moving in from a New Yorker who already has a restaurant back east. Look for an actual name and details from me next week, but for now, it's looking like July, and full liquor is still intact. I'm also hearing about a steakhouse moving into the ~418 JESSIE~ space, just next door to Chez Papa Resto. Stand by!

Was bummed to miss the opening party last night of ~BERETTA~ (someone had to finish her column) but it opens to the public tonight. Get your pizza on. Late. Open daily 5:30pm–12am. 1199 Valencia St. at 22nd, 415-695-1199.

~MYTH~ has had a stay of execution, pushing its closing date to April 12. 470 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery, 415-677-8986.

Opening in a new development in (98 for-rental units) right next to Whole Foods, will be ~EPICENTER CAFÉ~. According to the site, there will be "hot coffee and yummy pastries whenever you need a fix." (No mention of where to go for a crack fix. But it'shttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif not too far, I imagine.) 766 Harrison St. at 4th.

Friday night I had the pleasure of attending an experimental temporary restaurant called ~OPEN SOIL (A RESTAURANT AS SOCIAL SCULPTURE)~ at New Langton Arts in SoMa. It was a thoughtful and intimate event, a "social sculpture," with a delicious three-course meal for only $35 (they roasted a whole pig earlier that day on the street!), along with farmers, folks from the industry, and happy diners all serving and seated at handmade tables around a mini garden that was installed in the middle of the gallery space. There was a cool Plexiglas compost bin full of vegetable remnants, a video installation, a soil comparison (which you'd sniff and swirl in wine glasses—a perfect time to comment on terroir), and a huge handwritten piece from Laura Parker listing the thousands of microorganisms found in soil. It got our table talkin' dirt, and was a great primer before my road trip through the fields and farms on my way to Pebble Beach the next day. OPEN is a project of Jerome Waag and Sam White, who both work at Chez Panisse in Berkeley while pursuing individual artistic practices. I heard Alice Waters was even spotted at the first seating. Produce was highlighted from Tairwa'-Knoll Farms and Cannard Farms. Sign up for the New Langton Arts mailing list to keep up on any future OPEN events—it was a special evening. 1246 Folsom St. at 8th, 415-626-5416.

If all this got you thinking about ~CHEZ PANISSE~, there are still a few spots left for the Chez Panisse dinner in honor of Cecilia Chiang and her new memoir, The Seventh Daughter: My Culinary Journey from Beijing to San Francisco, this Thursday, April 3rd. Cecilia has been one of Alice Waters' great mentors and is credited for bringing real Chinese food to America. It will be an extraordinary dinner, with Dungeness crab spring rolls, red-cooked pork belly, Cecilia's minced squab in lettuce cups, steamed black sea bass with ginger and green onions, and Sichuan crispy duck. $95 per person. For reservations, call 510-548-5525.

Or, if you want to stay in SF, you can think green next Wednesday, April 9th: ~CITIZEN CAKE~ is hosting a springtime green-themed dinner, with bottled emerald, nettles, fiddlehead ferns (one of my favorites), asparagus, and green tea on chef William Pilz's menu. And no, it's not just vegetarian: there will also be Maine lobster and local lamb as part of this seven-course menu. $65. 399 Grove St. at Gough, 415-861-2228.

Let's get cheesy this month. First, the ~CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~ (here's more in an article I wrote about it for San Francisco magazine) is holding Drop-In Night: Meet the Cheesemaker, this Friday, April 4th, in Support of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. There will be lots of wonderful cheeses and cheesemakers showcasing their goods, plus wines and accompaniments. Drop-In Nights are an open-house alternative to the more structured setting of scheduled classes, with no formal presentation, but with several of California's most celebrated cheesemakers on hand to chat and answer questions. Advance registration is not required, and participants can come late or leave early. It's casual, yo. 6pm–9pm, $30 per person. 2155 Powell St. at Francisco, 415-346-7530.

Then on Sunday, April 20th, ~BAR BAMBINO~ will be hosting its first in a monthly series of cheese and wine events. Bar Bambino's head cheesemonger, Colin Shaff, will feature fresh goat's and sheep's milk cheeses that capture the unique flavors of spring, loaded with herbaceous notes and rich textures. Owner and Italian wine specialist Christopher Losa will select wines that complement the cheeses and provide insight. 3pm–5pm, $45 per person. Space is limited, so please contact Ryan at 415-701-VINO (8466) for further details and to reserve your place (please RSVP between the hours of 2pm–5pm Tue–Sun). 2931 16th St. at South Van Ness.

Crazy for tamales? You're not alone. ~TAMALES BY THE BAY~ is returning for its second year, on Sunday, April 13th. You'll sample a number of tamale styles, including Mexican, Yucatecan, Salvadoran, and Chilean, plus other food and wine items, like beans and salsas, plus there's a margarita competition, too. $35 for adults. Noon–4pm. Fort Mason Center.

Hey, are you planning to go out for coffee, lunch, or dinner this Wednesday, April 3rd? Please take a peek at this site and consider choosing a restaurant that is part of the fundraiser, ~DINE FOR A CHANGE~, for San Francisco Women Against Rape. More than 40 participating restaurants will be donating at least 15% of their proceeds to SFWAR—the list is a good one, including Morty's Deli, Namu, Weird Fish, Farina, Burger Joint, Atlas Café, and others.

Boozehounds, you have another bottomless mimosa option in town for weekend brunch: ~BAR JOHNNY~ is offering them for $9. And the fab Victoria Damato-Moran will be there mixing up her trademark cocktails. In case you would like to eat something beyond the complimentary New York crumb cake, you can choose from build-your-own brunch selections: two eggs, one protein and a side, all for $9.50. There is also house-made granola, French toast, or pancakes à la carte, or sandwiches. Sat–Sun 11am–3pm. 2209 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-268-0140.

To celebrate the return of the baseball season, ~JACK FALSTAFF~ is launching its baseball-friendly bar menu on Monday, April 7th, from 11am onwards. There will be several beers on tap, game day cocktail specials, a fresh local oyster and raw bar on the patio, and a bar menu (only offered on game days) that will include prime beef mini burgers, Monterey Bay calamari, Falstaff fries, hickory-smoked beef short ribs, and Kona kampachi tartare. In case you can't get up after all that eating and drinking, Giant's home and away games will play on the screen at the bar. 598 Second St. at Brannan, 415-836-9239.

And now, some news for points east and south of SF. First, I heard from a tablehopper reader that the eats at ~BELLANICO~, a new 40-seat restaurant that just opened last week in Glenview, Oakland, are downright delish. The owners are chef Chris Shepherd and Elizabeth Frumusa, who many will know from Aperto on Potrero Hill; they named Bellanico after their two girls, Gabriella and Nicoletta. The chef de cuisine, Jonathan Luce (Pearl) has put together a creative Italian menu that is as tasty as it's affordable (apps under $10, primi and secondi courses from $12–$18). Reportedly a nice wine selection as well. Open for dinner Mon–Sat 5pm–10pm; reservations available for parties of six or more. 4238 Park Blvd. between Edgewood and Glenfield, Oakland, 510-336-1180.

Churrasco is coming soon in the Peninsula: ~PAMPAS~, an upscale Brazilian steakhouse, is opening in Palo Alto in the former Q Café space in April. There will be 18 different meats on skewers to choose from, like lamb, duck, and of course some beef, all brought to the table by pasadores (servers). And it's all you can eat (all you can meat!). You can also throw back some artisanal cocktails in the sleek lounge (not all you can drink). There are also some à la carte selections, seasonal vegetables, salads, cheeses, and charcuterie that will be available. The executive chef is John Karbowski, formerly a sous chef at Mill Valley's buzz-worthy El Paseo. You'll also find GM Saeed Amini, most recently at Sens. Mark Bright is consulting on the wine list, Dominic Venegas is consulting on the bar, and Marisa Churchill is consulting on the desserts. (Hey, where's my consulting gig?) The 8,300-square-foot three-tiered space should look pretty slick, with exposed brick walls, natural timber ceiling beams, mohair sofas in the lounge, and pendant lights made from strips of rolled, coiled steel. 529 Alma St. at Hamilton, Palo Alto.

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