July 14, 2009

July 14, 2009

For me, the biggest bummer last week was the news that Katharine Zacher and Ryan Ostler are no longer running their kitchen in the back of ~BROKEN RECORD~ in the Excelsior. I had a chat with them and learned it was just too much of a grind for them to be running the kitchen seven days a week. And with all the labor they were putting into it, let's just say the remote location made it challenging to be a sustainable business model for them to keep going. They're going to take the next couple months off to do a variety of things, from travel and work in Utah, to some potential travels to Europe and the South. Will of course keep you posted. Here's hoping their Buffalo wings and 'cue and other delicious treats are back in the City soon, I know they will be missed. (FYI, a new kitchen staff and menu will be led by James Moisey at the Broken Record starting on Saturday July 18th.) 1166 Geneva Ave. at Naples St., 415-963-1713.

Bravo's ~TOP CHEF SEASON SIX~ (which takes place in Vegas, baby) is airing on Wednesday August 26th. Of the 17 contestants on the show, here's our local talent who will be appearing: Mattin Noblia of Iluna Basque in North Beach, Laurine Wickett of Left Coast Catering, and from Google HQ, we have Preeti Mistry. You can peek at the line-up of contestants here. (Oh yeah, and the villainous food critic Toby Young will be back, muah hua hua.)

You want your shot at getting on TV? ~THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR~, Food Network's culinary reality series, is currently casting for its 2010 season. The SF casting call is on Sunday July 26th from 10am–4pm at the W San Francisco (181 Third St.). For applications, contest rules, and submission instructions, read more here.

A new "pop-up" restaurant is happening at Stable Cafe in the Mission each week: chef Joshua Skenes (of the upcoming Carte 415) and sommelier Mark Bright, both Michael Mina alums, are going to be hosting ~SAISON~ every Sunday evening (they plan to eventually extend it to five nights a week). They will be offering a, you guessed it, seasonal prix-fixe menu. It's set at $60, with wine pairings offered for an additional $30. Their goal is to offer delicious food and wines in an unpretentious and comfortable setting. The opening menu includes garden vegetables (bagna cauda, crème fraîche); Monterey abalone (seaweeds, poularde bouillon, foie gras); Four Story Hill Farm poularde; and Santa Rosa plum tart. In case some of you are familiar with the space or have been there for parties, they are hosting Saison in the gallery space in the back of the building—there will be a large communal table in the gallery room. It flanks the spacious and comfortable community kitchen and a heated garden patio. Dinner starts at 5:30pm, with the last seating at 8pm. Call for reservations. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-828-7990.

Who let the dogs out? ~SHOW DOGS~ near the Warfield is open. You can get your corn dog, 4505 dog, Fatted Calf dog, all kinds of dawgs (and all of them hawt) from Mon–Fri 11am–8pm for now… 1020 Market St. at Golden Gate, 415-558-9560.

And ~CANE ROSSO~ just opened. To recap, this Ferry Building Marketplace project is from chef-owner Daniel Patterson and chef de cuisine Lauren Kiino of COI, with chef Doug Borkowski. Let me paint a picture for you: pasture-raised meats (chicken, porchetta, and more) on the rotisserie or braised overnight, local ingredients, lots of vegetables, sandwiches, salads, and soup. Breakfast (mmm, a fried egg panino) and lunch are served, plus early supper. It's all kind of home-cookin' in style (if your mother was Italian and only shopped at the farmers' market), with primo ingredients, and it's easy to take home. As for the name, it's inspired by Kiino's three-legged and totally precious red dog, Cody. Woof. There are 10 seats at the counter inside, 25 in the hallway, and 30 outside. Kiino will now be busy focusing on Bracina in Oakland, which is looking like the end of the year (more on that project later). Open Mon–Sat 8am–8pm, and Sun 10am–8pm. 1 Ferry Plaza, 415-391-7599.

The last item in this dog-related roundup: while my sister and I were on an evening walk Sunday night, she pointed out an alley to me next to Nickie's where they were serving hot dogs on Saturday night. (I loved the homemade hot dog sign.) Anyway, a peek behind the tarp showed it's a real stand, called ~HOT DOG ALLEY~. Has anyone eaten there yet? I'll investigate soon. Haight St. at Fillmore.

Also on our walk in the hood, we looked through the windows at the now-closed Metro Kathmandu. Things are moving along for the change to ~DISTRICT 5~, and it should be open July 15th at 5:30pm, serving Californian comfort cuisine with Mediterranean flavor. The chef is Jacques Rousseau, a French native who has most recently worked as a chef at Baker Street Bistro for the last five years. I took a peek at the extensive menu, and here are a few highlights: heirloom black tomatoes, cucumber, piquillos, goat cheese, and olive oil and lemon dressing ($8); pasta dishes like pennette with spicy Italian sausage and Point Reyes teleme cheese ($12); Camarguais red rice, piquillo, tomatoes, asparagus ($11); roasted chicken breast brushed with California olive tapenade on red rice ($15.50); and a hanger steak, with pinot noir red onion compote and fries ($17). Yeah, the prices are right. (The super-delicious momos are also still on the menu, yay.) And don't forget the cute patio that's open during weekend brunch. 311 Divisadero St. at Page, 415-552-0903.

Also in the nabe, ~JANNAH~ has opened in the old creepy Gabin space next to Poleng Lounge. But now it has a mural with bright blue skies and water, so no more of the illicit dungeon look. The chef is the kindly Yaya Salih, known for YaYa Cuisine on Van Ness a few years ago. The menu is affordable Mediterranean-meets-Californian, with a big patio in the back that should be open later. Open daily for lunch and dinner. 1775 Fulton St. at Masonic, 415-567-4400.

A small teaser: looks like I'll soon be able to announce a cool new project that chef ~IAN BEGG and RYAN MAXEY~ (formerly at Café Majestic) have cookin'—let's just say the eats around North Beach will continue to get better. And it's not a big restaurant project—something a bit smaller in scope. Stand by for more.

Looking for a new place to sit outside in this gorg weather? The patio at the Japanese ~UMI~ in Potrero Hill is open for lunch! Heat lamps and all that stuff for dinner are a month or so out, but in the works. 1328 18th St. at Missouri, 415-355-1328.

Another outdoor seating report: ~TRADEMARK GRILL~ is open in Belden Place, serving lunch, dinner, and a happy hour during that funky in-between afternoon time (2:30pm–6pm). Swing by for a cocktail (there's a full bar) and kick it on the outdoor patio in the alley. 56 Belden Pl. at Sutter, 415-397-8800. (Photo by Monica S. Lee.)

You know it's summertime when the tomato cart returns to ~BIX~. Or as they like to call it, the "Return of the Killer Tomatoes Cart." You can enjoy some heirloom tomatoes sliced tableside and served with hand-pulled mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil, and basil during dinner nightly, or for lunch on Fridays. $13.50. 56 Gold St., off Montgomery St. between Jackson and Pacific, 415-433-6300.

tablehopper reader John D. wrote in to let me know ~SURIYA THAI~ (of pumpkin curry fame for many years on Valencia Street) has reopened in SoMa, serving lunch and dinner. Mon–Sat 11am–2:30pm, dinner Mon–Sun 5pm–10pm. 1532 Howard St. at 11th St., 415-355-9999.

Just a block away, the former SOMA Cafe is transforming into ~SAGE~ (no relation to the restaurant near Civic Center) from owner Gabriel McWilliams and his wife Sue. This lounge/café will serve coffee (Lavazza) all day, plus healthy sandwiches and salads, and in the evening will offer desserts, and beer and wine. Sage will also be going back to the space's roots by providing a venue for local artists to perform, from live bands to DJs to poetry. The space is significantly larger, with a 1,000-square-foot addition, outdoor seating on both sides, and it's now ADA-compliant. The look is "modern glam," with crystal chandeliers, sofas, and comfy seating. If all stays on track, look for an opening for the neighbors on August 1st, and the general public grand opening on August 3rd. Hours will be Mon–Sat 6am–11pm. 1601 Howard St. at 12th St., 415-552-SAGE.

This was a sad bit that came over the Twitter wire yesterday: Little Skillet noted that pancake institution ~J'S POTS OF SOUL~ in Hayes Valley has closed. Huh wah? Wah. Yup, the number is disconnected. From what I heard, owner Laura Horne was ready to hang up her chef coat—understandable, since it was a lot of work as a one-woman show. And so, one of the last remaining bits of Hayes Valley soul is no more. Bummer. 203 Octavia Blvd. at Page.

But, in the "things that make me happy" department: ~SUMMERTINI 2009~ managed to net over $75,000 (almost $10,000 more than last year) for the CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Service) program. Right on, people.

I had a delicious dinner at ~ZARÉ AT FLY TRAP~ on Saturday (such tender and juicy pistachio meatballs, and loved the braised duck legs over basmati rice with almonds and candied citrus, meow). In case you want to go check it out, I thought you should know that for the rest of the month, chef-owner Hoss Zaré is offering a 15% food discount to all patrons who bring in a canned good (which will be donated to Citymeals-On-Wheels). Must be a can for each guest at the table. 606 Folsom St. at 2nd St., 415-243-0580.

While ~SIGHTGLASS COFFEE~ continues to work on their roastery, they set up a cart for the next few months so you can start getting great espresso drinks from them. tablehopper reader Jon B. sent in this photo of the brothers, which includes the additional detail that they're using a custom blend from Verve Coffee Roasters. BUT, before you get all excited, the Sightglass kiosk is closed today during a building inspection. Otherwise, open daily 8am–5pm for now, and open at 7am soon (follow them on Twitter for updates). 270 7th St. at Folsom.

As I mentioned on my Twitter feed at some point, the ~NAMU~ brothers are not only serving their Korean tacos at the daytime street food hootenanny at the Ferry Plaza Thursday Market, but they are also serving them at their restaurant. The ingredients: "marinated short ribs, on a bed of seasoned rice folded in Korean and Japanese seaweeds topped with a pickled daikon radish and kimchee salsa, a kimchee remoulade, and homemade teriyaki sauce." Sign. Me. Up. I also learned they are serving delicious okonomiyaki (hard to find a good one in this town), kimchee fried rice, and a weekly secret menu item will be featured at the new Thursday market as well as at their restaurant. 439 Balboa St. at 6th St., 415-386-8332.

And here's a ~CAFÉ AND TAQUERIA UPDATE~ from Jason B. with handy Yelp links so I don't have to type in addresses: "E Surf Café has opened in the Café Benally spot; coffee, breakfast bagels, sandwiches, some very reasonably priced crepes and Wi-Fi. Taqueria El Sol opened in the Hawaiian Island Café spot; interesting menu. Burritos, but they also kept the burgers and American breakfast. Caffe Amici opened a second location downtown at 5th/Market; this used to be the old Café 36 spot."

~1300 ON FILLMORE~ is now offering their Sunday gospel brunch twice a month: you can experience it now on first and third Sundays. There are two seatings: 11am or 1pm for the performance and three-course prix-fixe brunch. Brunch is $39 per person, and includes a Bellini or mimosa and coffee and tea. 1300 Fillmore St. at Eddy, 415-771-7100.

Over in Berkeley, Scott Howard's ~FIVE~ is open in the historic and freshly renovated Hotel Shattuck Plaza (designed by Thom Jess of Arris Architects, design firm Ziv Davis, and historical architect Mark Hulbert)—there is both a restaurant and lounge in the spacious room. Looks pretty glam. Howard's American bistro menu includes American Kobe steak tartare with a quail egg and watercress salad; a truffled egg salad with smoked trout and brioche; slow-cooked short ribs with a white cheddar polenta and turnips; and a pork belly "pork and beans" served with a Waldorf salad. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily plus a separate bar menu. 2086 Allston Way at Shattuck, 510-845-7300.

And a new opening up in Mill Valley: Roy Lui and Chanel Liu (formerly of Morpho in San Francisco and Ikura in San Rafael) are opening ~TSUKIJI SUSHI~ in the previous Ora space. If inspections go well, it should be opening this week (so call first, yo). The menu is classic Japanese, with sushi, small plates, and specials. Lui will be working alongside Haruo Komatsu, who was a sushi chef at Sushi Ran for something like eight years. Tsukiji will be using Koshihikari rice (a super-premium rice), rice bran oil for their frying, and fish will be flown in from the namesake market in Japan. There are about 70 seats total and seven at the sushi bar. There will eventually be outdoor seating—there are two really nice patio areas in front of the restaurant, which will be open in hot weather. The hours are roughly lunch Mon–Fri 11:30am–2pm, dinner nightly 5pm–10pm, and possibly until 11pm Fri–Sat. 24 Sunnyside Ave. at Miller, Mill Valley, 415-383-1382.

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