January 4, 2011

January 4, 2011
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After the plans for ~ORGANICA CREPE HOUSE~ fell through, the former liquor store is now in the hands of Emily Summers and chef Adam Horndeck, who will be opening ~RADISH~ by mid-February. The concept is a casual neighborhood eatery for breakfast and lunch, serving seasonal New American cuisine. Breakfast will include some classic American dishes, like eggs Benedict and pancakes, along with a croque-madame (featuring Marin Sun Farms ham), migas, and a Spanish-style tortilla. Oh yeah, and donuts with ice cream. Lunch will bring soups like spicy kale stew and potato leek, salads, and a variety of sandwiches, like turkey and cranberry, a catfish po’ boy, pork belly, and three vegetarian options. In the evening, there will be small plates, street food-inspired dishes, and craft beers (some local) and local wines on offer (along with some lunch dishes that will carry over). There will also be special Sunday dinners held once or twice a month. Chef Horndeck worked at Fido in Nashville for five years under chef John Stephenson; he also attended the CCA in San Francisco, and staged at various places including Ana Mandara, La Folie, and Weird Fish.

There will be 40 seats, with a curved horseshoe bar with room for 15, and banquette seating along the wall with two-tops, plus a communal table. The color scheme will be black, white, and maroon (radish inspired!), with curving shapes, and wood floors. Since it’s on a corner (just across the street from the Lexington Club), it should be a sunny spot. Hours will be 8am-10pm daily, and until 11pm on the weekend.

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Chef Mark Sullivan. Copyright © 2011 FrankenyImages.com.

Five months after his promotion to executive chef, Ben Cohn at ~SPRUCE~ has stepped down as the executive chef for personal reasons and to spend time with his new baby and wife. Mark Sullivan remains in the kitchen, as before, and will continue to be the culinary leader as chef-partner. There is no word at this time about looking for a replacement for Cohn.

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Chef Liza Shaw at SF Chefs.

One of my favorite female executive chefs in the city, Liza Shaw at ~A16~ is leaving the restaurant after being there when it opened in 2004, according to the Scoop. Shaw is off to do some traveling (she said in an email to me: “I’m doing a guest chef event at Seresin Winery in NZ in February, but for now I think I might go stay with my brother for a while in Switzerland. He lives in Bruson, near Verbier, which is very close to the Italian border so it will be a good home base for lots of trips.”). Buon viaggio, signorina Shaw. Chef de cuisine David Taylor will be promoted to exec.

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The pizza oven at Quattro Stagioni.

After a number of delays, ~QUATTRO STAGIONI~ has opened in the Financial District in the former Pasta Paradiso spot. The Giuseppes (Scoppetta and Spinoso) of Café Tiramisu and their other Belden Place properties are behind the project, their fourth (hence the “quattro”). They’re doing authentic Italian pizzas (thin crust with 00 flour), using fresh mushrooms and artichokes on their quattro stagioni, plus quality ingredients like buffalo mozzarella, bresaola, and prosciutto. Spinoso has a brother in Bologna with two pizzerias, who said carpaccio and arugula is the new hot (yet cold) topping, so you can check that out as well. The pizzas range from $10 for the margherita to $14 for the quattro stagioni pizza.

There are also pastas like bucatini all’amatriciana, linguine with clams (all around $10), plus lasagne, a few sandwiches, chicken parmigiana with spaghetti ($13), and a pork chop Milanese ($16). Desserts include a housemade pear tart and cannoli. There are affordable wines on the list as well, by the glass or carafe. It’s petite (about 30 seats), with some outdoor seating on Kearny Street (you can also enter through Belden). Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, and dinner from 5pm until 9:30pm or so, and Sat 5pm-10pm. 318 Kearny St. at Bush, 415-956-4056.

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Photo from Hayes & Kebab.

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Photo from Hayes & Kebab.

Let the falafel wars begin. After splitting from their space at 406 Hayes, ~HAYES & KEBAB~ is now reopened a couple blocks up Hayes in the former art gallery space at 580 Hayes and Laguna. Problem is, Kebabs of Hayes Valley, the business that opened when Hayes & Kebab left, is still in business. And now there’s Mazzat, a Lebanese cafe just a few blocks away, at Fell and Laguna. Anyway, the kind Kurdish folks at Hayes & Kebab had plenty of fans before they had to leave their original location, and are hoping to gain their audience back in this new spot. Well, one way they’re going to do it (and gain new fans) is with this big bonus: there’s free parking for restaurant customers! Yup, there’s a spacious parking lot, as rare as bluefin tuna in this town. They eventually hope to have a large outdoor patio and art garden in the lot.

The 44-seat space was constructed in an eco-conscious fashion (they’re applying for LEED certification), with many reclaimed materials (like the wood counter), plus suspended Moroccan lamps, and pillows along the banquette. The former menu will be in effect, with items like falafel, gyros, kebabs, couscous, and moussaka, along with some new additions like kibbeh and flatbread. There will also be brunch service on the weekend. Their beer and wine license had one protester, so they’re currently waiting to see what the outcome of their hearing will be. Open Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat 10am-11pm, and Sun 10am-10pm. 580 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-861-2977.

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Yelp photo by Nicole G.

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Photo from Haighteration.

Last week, Haighteration broke the story that Lower Haight’s ~BISTRO ST. GERMAIN~ had closed after less than two years of business. According to an anonymous note from a tipster, “A young couple with more than 12 years of cooking experience in the city will be taking over the space and creating an American food menu that is sure to enthuse the neighbors. More details to come soon about name, menu, etc.” Scoop chimes in with this, “It will be open for lunch and dinner, six days a week. Eventually, they expect to be open for Sunday brunch as well…They’re staying mum on the chef’s identity, too, aside from saying he’s been cooking in San Francisco for the last 10 years, but this will be his first solo venture. The new restaurant is hoped to be open in 30-60 days, after a quick remodel.” 518 Haight St. at Fillmore.

Meanwhile, while riding “The Wiggle” on my way home, cycling past the former Burger Joint, there’s a new sign up for ~PALMYRA~. Haighteration has additional details: “On Monday, reader Zach J. encountered the new restaurant’s owner as he was putting up signage outside the location. The owner told Zach that the restaurant, dubbed ‘Palmyra’ after a Syrian city, will serve Mediterranean food, and should be opening in about two weeks.” 700 Haight St. at Pierce.

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Ocean trout sashimi at Nombe.

With the departure of chef Nick Balla from ~NOMBE~, replacement chef Vincent Schofield and culinary director Mari Takahashi are currently in Tokyo doing research for Nombe’s new menu. Schofield will be cooking at some izakayas in Tokyo, as well as touring some market districts (Takahashi plans to post some trip updates to the restaurant’s Facebook page). The restaurant will be closed for these first two weeks of January while they make some renovations to the dining room, and partner Gil Payne is making some updates to the sake and wine list.

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Photo from La Boulange.

The Inner Sunset will no longer be getting a new ~LA BOULANGE BAKERY~ in the former Bistro 9 space—they have withdrawn their application, according to the December 16th planning board’s minutes. The process was ultimately going to be too involved, and the team decided the location wasn’t worth the trouble. No word what is going to try to go into the space next. 1224 9th Ave. at Irving.

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Crab tagliolini.

Just when I didn’t think ~COTOGNA~ could become any more tempting, they had to start offering Saturday brunch and extended daytime service. Yeah, you know that kitchen is going to do some evil things with eggs, like poached farm eggs “fricco caldo” with Montasio cheese, potato, and speck; plus a huckleberry, crème fraîche, and semolina short stack with housemade pancetta; and hello, spaghetti carbonara. Buffalo “Buffy” LoGrasso has also put together some specialty brunch cocktails, like a blueberry-maple gin fizz with fresh cream and cinnamon, and a Bloody Mary with Aleppo pepper and bottarga salt. Saturday service starts at 11am, running continuously through to dinner, which is from 5:30pm-12am.

And I couldn’t resist mentioning this new spot in the Richmond: ~LOL CAFE~. There’s coffee, espresso, tea, sandwiches, smoothies, free Wi-Fi, and the funny vegetarian menu items reader Jason B. brought to my attention (“NOT Chicken” and “NOT Turkey” and “NOT Roast Beef”). Hilarious! They also manage to get two mentions of bathroom humor in one sentence on the website: “Sometimes life isn’t only about working, eating, sleeping, and … going to the toilet, it’s also about enjoying the small things around us that make us chuckle and laugh our behinds off.” (Stop it, you guys! That’s too funny!) But, according to some Yelp posts, the long waits have not been funny. Growing pains, I imagine. Ya know, baby colic. Open Mon-Fri 6am-7pm, Sat-Sun 8am-7pm. 6050 Geary Blvd. at 25th Ave., 415-592-8918.

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Anja Voth with graham bread.

I was curious about an ad I saw on Craigslist about a North German restaurant and bakery coming to North Berkeley called ~GAUMENKITZEL~. The owners are Anja Voth and her husband, Kai Flache, who are committed to a very seasonal, housemade, and whole ingredient approach (along with sustainable, local, organic, and fair trade, natch). They will be serving a traditional and authentic German breakfast (6am-11am and until 12pm on Sundays), lunch (11am-2pm and until 3pm on Sundays), “kaffee and kuchen” in the late afternoon (2pm-4:30pm), and an evening menu (4:30pm-6:30pm)—they plan to extend hours later into the evening in time.

The menu will feature many house-baked goods, like frühstück, their homemade bread paired with a variety of toppings for breakfast (ranging from housemade jam to eggs to cold cuts), plus muesli, granola, and brötchen (open-face breakfast sandwiches). Lunch will bring delicious-sounding soups (cream of broccoli with sunflower seeds), salads, and heartier dishes like fricassee of chicken with asparagus and capers in a white sauce, served with jasmine rice. SFoodie also mentions this: “Since the couple is from Hamburg, fish will be a big presence on the menu (Monterey Fish has been tagged as the house supplier, says Voth).” German supper includes cold cuts like housemade roast beef or liverwurst with three slices of bread and butter, or oven-roasted vegetables and herbed quark, or you can choose from the lunch menu. Speaking of quark, Anja mentioned they’ll be using the smooth, fresh cheese in a variety of items, baking with it in the breads, desserts, and more. There will be beer and wine, and they are also talking about using Ecco Caffe for their coffee.

They are busy building out the expansive space which used to be a retail spot (Metro Lighting), and are hoping to open before the end of January, permits pending. SFoodie also mentioned there will be a bakery counter and “a small retail shop on the premises, selling prepackaged house cookies and jams.” Hours will be 6am-6:30pm daily. 2121 San Pablo Ave. at Addison, Berkeley.

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It’s a new year, and a new start for the Garibaldi’s/Marzano on College Avenue, which just closed for a remodel and will be reopening in a couple weeks as ~HUDSON~ from restaurateur John Hurley and co-owner Justin Hafen. Looks like running two restaurants simultaneously was proving to be too much of a strain. Hurley says, “So after a year and a half of juggling them side-by-side, we just felt the need to simplify things and bring that beautiful space back into one restaurant.” (The original Marzano location on Park Boulevard and the original Garibaldi’s location in San Francisco will remain unchanged.)

Hudson will be a modern and large New American brasserie, with executive chef Robert Holt weaving in some Italian influences, and a very seasonal/local/product-driven approach. Holt’s background includes Marzano, Primo (in Maine), Acquerello, Cetrella in Half Moon Bay, and Boulevard. The space is being designed by Jeff Jones of Atlanta, and will include “a cozy lounge area with sofas, throw-pillows, floor lamps, sexy mesh drapes, and playful light fixtures made out of reclaimed wood wrapped in colorful rope with industrial light bulbs hanging below. A similar look then carries into the main dining room, where all of the tabletops are made from beautiful old barn wood, which is contrasted on the walls by large acrylic black and white photographs (also by Jeff Jones) of the surrounding Oakland hilltops.” The head barkeeper is Alex Conde (Marzano on Park, César, and 15 Romolo), who will be creating an “eclectic” cocktail program, bridging innovation and a nod to the past. Hudson will be open nightly for dinner, Sun-Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm, and the lounge will be open Sun-Thu 4:30pm-12am, and Fri-Sat 4:30pm-1am with a separate bar snack menu. 5356 College Ave. at Hudson, Oakland, 510-595-4000.

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Photo from Amanda’s/Facebook.

Sorry, I forgot to run this last week, but better late than never: ~AMANDA’S FEEL GOOD FRESH FOOD RESTAURANT~ in Downtown Berkeley closed on the last day of the year. Owner Amanda West said, “We’ve enjoyed two and a half wonderful years in Downtown Berkeley and we will miss our customers and community in the neighborhood of Shattuck Avenue and Center Street. We look forward to seeing everyone again when we re-emerge.” Amanda’s hoped to be able to continue in the Shattuck location, but was unable to structure an appropriate lease arrangement with the landlords. Offering what I think is a really impressive gesture, the restaurant will buy back gift cards, which can also be redeemed in future Amanda’s locations. 2122 Shattuck Ave. at Center, Berkeley.