March 22, 2011

March 22, 2011
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Floorplan for the bowling alley.

There has been some talk lately of some bowling alleys coming to San Francisco, including the Lucky Strike Lanes opening in the former Borders location in SoMa, and rumors of New York’s Brooklyn Bowl coming to the Mission. But there’s a third project in the mix: the ladies of mini bar on Divisadero are opening a ~SIX-LANE BOWLING ALLEY~ in the heart of the Mission.

Sommer Peterson and Molly Bradshaw’s project will also include a restaurant and full bar at the location (the cocktail program will be creative and down to earth). Plans are in the works to lease the kitchen to a seasoned professional or restaurant ready to expand (check out the listing in this week’s Matchmaker!). Peterson explains the food concept they’re looking for: “Take the tired and bad-for-you bowling concession-style food and turn it on its head with quality ingredients and healthy options.” The design will be comfortable (no 60s kitsch) with warm furnishings and plush seating at the lanes. There will be a sunny outdoor patio for dining, which will also provide a generous area of covered bike parking. With only six lanes, the owners look forward to being a personal neighborhood business. They hope to launch in early Spring 2012. (I can’t release the name and exact address at this time—but hopefully soon!)

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A tuna ceviche on one of the earlier menus at Don Pisto’s.

Chef-owner Pete Mrabe of ~DON PISTO’S~ is going to be launching a second business in North Beach (because he’s just not busy enough, ha), a noodle/raw bar. He tells me he’s going to focus on Southeast Asian dishes, but look for some Mexican ingredients to make their way in there, too (the guy loves his chiles). The menu will consist of three-four noodle dishes, like pho, ramen, and wok-tossed noodles, while there will be five-six raw selections (he said look for combinations of fish, chile, lime, and salt). Mrabe, who previously worked at Betelnut, said he’s looking forward to working with flavors beyond what he’s doing at Don Pisto’s. The format will be counter service, with no servers, and should be open for dinner in about three months. Mrabe asked me to hold on the project’s name and exact location for a few weeks, so I’ll reveal those when I get the all clear/thumbs up/go-ahead.

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A couple of Nick’s insane tacos.

I was asked to keep the new tenant for the Kasa Marina location under my hat, but it looks like the cat got way out of the bag. Meow! It’s Nick Fasanella, the original founder of Nick’s Crispy Tacos on Polk Street—while he’s no longer involved in that project at all, his numerous fans have been able to enjoy his kick-ass tacos at The Taco Shop at Underdogs in the Sunset for the past few years. As for this new venue, of course he has plans for a taco joint in this location. It’s going to be called ~TACKO~, a play on the ACK airport code for Nantucket, which is where he’s going to be opening a second location in 2012, according to the Inside Scoop. The new look is also going to reflect an East Coast sensibility; look for a May opening. 3115 Fillmore St. at Filbert.

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Bar Bambino interior (photo from website).

~BAR BAMBINO~ will be opening their nearby ~PRONTO BY BAR BAMBINO~ café, bakery, and kiosk at the newly renovated ODC Theater (at 17th and Shotwell Streets in the Mission) on May 22nd. The café will have 20 seats inside, plus room for an additional 25-30 guests outside with heated seating. Aidlin Darling Design—the architects behind Bar Bambino’s design—will also be designing the café.

The menu will include baked treats, panini, bruschette, salads, soups, egg dishes, and many items on the current lunch menu at Bar Bambino, along with their boxed lunches to go (currently $12 for a panino, salad, and cookies). Wine, beer, and other beverages will also be available, plus coffee service using Sightglass coffee on a Kees van der Westen espresso machine (fan-cy!). Pronto will serve breakfast (with pastries from Bar Bambino’s pastry chef, Alyce Shields—she will also be doing treats for the theater), lunch, and a light dinner daily from 7am-8pm.

And now for the bad news: in order to prepare for the expansion, Bar Bambino will be discontinuing their lunch service, effective today, March 22nd. (But you can still order their box lunches.)

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Photo from Haighteration.

~GREENBURGER’S~ is now open in the former Bistro St. Germain space in the Lower Haight. The menu includes salads, a variety of burgers, wings, and homey entrées like meatloaf, “Thanksgiving dinner” with turkey and mashed potatoes, and barbecue short ribs (all items $14.95 and under). Oh, and there’s a milkshake and ice cream sundae bar. (Trouble.) Husband and wife Matthew Nudelman and Stefanie Greenberg Nudelman are committed to using local and sustainable ingredients, but have managed to keep things nicely affordable for the neighborhood. Haighteration has a very detailed report about the details of the space, check it out. Open daily Wed-Mon 11am-10pm, with plans to launch brunch later. 518 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-829-2491.

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Test meal photo from Bun Mee’s Facebook page.

A while back, I mentioned a Vietnamese place was moving into the Tango Gelato spot on Fillmore Street. Here’s an update for you: it’s going to be called ~BUN MEE~, and true to its name, will be serving banh mi-inspired sandwiches, along with appetizers, rice bowls, salads, sides, and desserts. Owner Denise Tran worked with a few consulting chefs from Culinary Edge and, of course, her mother, Mama Tran, to pull the menu together. A preliminary peek at the menu includes nine kinds of banh mi, from five-spice chicken to pork belly, plus smoky eggplant and sardine variations—most hover around $6. (And fortunately one of them includes pâté.) While the menu reads to be pretty lunchy, it will be open for both lunch and dinner (11am-10pm). The opening is slated for early April. 2015 Fillmore St. at Pine, 415-800-7696.

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On March 24th, ~FLOUR + WATER~ is temporarily closing for a refresh of the interior (refinishing, fresh paint, and the like). When it reopens on Monday April 4th, here’s some carb-tastic news for you: chef Thomas McNaughton will be upping the number of daily pastas from five to eight.

Are you a fan of the lounge at ~COI~? Well, you have until April 2nd to swing by for your last bowl of udon off the à la carte menu, because according to the Scoop, chef-owner Daniel Patterson is converting it into a second dining room. When the restaurant reopens on April 7th (its fifth birthday), only the tasting menu will be available throughout the restaurant.

And in the permanent closure department, SFoodie noted that ~PUDONG~, the Shanghaiese brasserie that opened in the former Mecca in the Castro, has closed after just three months of business. Don’t even get me started on the unfortunate name.

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Photo by Robin Jolin.

The Forage SF Night Market is returning to Public Works this Saturday March 26th, offering international food, music, performances, and a full bar. The event will run from 11am-2am, with everything from chicken and waffles from Angry Man Eats, to grilled cheese from Grilled Cheese Guy, to Vietnamese imperial rolls from Little Knock. You can check out the full list of food vendors here. Music will range from scratch guitar to Genie Love to Hard French DJs hitting the decks later into the evening. Woot woot. There will also be free workshops on topics like fishing, whole hog butchery, and homebrewing.

The event will be split into two shifts: the first (11am-4pm) will be focused on “take-homeables” like jams, produce, soaps, desserts, etc., although hot food will also be available.

The second shift (6pm-2am) will be mainly hot food that’s ready to eat (and a crowd that’s ready to party). The workshops will be in one room, a dance party in another, and there are two full bars. The last market reportedly drew over 3,000 folks, with all the vendors selling out by 10pm (yeah, bummer). This time they’ll have two whole floors filled with more vendors and food.

In order to enter the market, everyone has to sign up for a free membership to the SF Underground Market. If you’ve signed up in the past, no need to reapply.

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Exterior photo by Craig Lee.

Remember when I told you guys about the amazing Devil’s Gulch rabbit my dad and I prepared at home a couple months ago? Well, here’s your chance to try a variety of ingredients from Devil’s Gulch Ranch, when Jeff and Lori Baker of ~BAKER & BANKER~ host a dinner with rancher Mark Pasternak on Tuesday April 5th. Proceeds from the evening will go back to support Devil’s Gulch Educational Services, whose most recent project focuses on aiding those in Haiti.

Beginning at 7pm, the evening will include a four-course menu paired with wines by Scherrer Winery (Fred Scherrer will also be in attendance). The menu includes: pork charcuterie plate, rhubarb and strawberry mostarda, grilled housemade bread; rabbit and black truffle sausage, shaved asparagus salad, deep-fried farm egg; lamb pot au feu, broth raviolo, roasted baby artichokes and carrots, preserved lemon; and peanut butter blondie with bacon brittle ice cream. $75 per person. Call 415-351-2500 to make a reservation. 1701 Octavia St. at Bush.

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Commis kitchen Flickr photo by star5112.

While I was in Austin eating my body’s weight in BBQ, Grub Street was busy breaking the news about a new project from chef-owner James Syhabout of Oakland’s Commis. He’s opening a new casual, Southeast Asian street food restaurant called ~HAWKER FARE~ in the former Manyda Thai location, where (charmingly) his mother previously ran a Thai restaurant for seven years.

Everything will be $10 or less, ranging from rice bowls to spicy fried chicken wings and the like, all made with local and organic ingredients. The chef is Justin Yu, who has been at Commis, but has also worked at Momofuku Ssäm Bar in New York and Quince. The music will be lively, and the vibe will be casual. There will be 60 seats, and lunch and dinner will be served. It’s about a month out. 2300 Webster St. at 23rd St., Oakland, 510-832-8896.

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Photo from UrbanDaddy.

Kim Alter’s ~PLATE SHOP~ isn’t the only new thing to open in Sausalito: just around the corner is the new ~BAR BOCCE~ from the Real Restaurants Group. As I’ve mentioned earlier, the executive chef (and partner in the venture) is Robert Price (Buckeye Roadhouse, Bungalow 44). You can check out the menu here, although the font looks like “crackhead” or “crazy ex-girlfriend” instead of an easy-to-read Helvetica. The sourdough pizzas include one with potato, egg, and smoked bacon, and another comes with meatballs, while there are also some, uh, creative pies, like Dungeness crab, Meyer lemon, avocado, and crème fraîche. There are plenty of snacky items, salads, sandwiches, and winesicles for dessert (adults only on those). The patio dining and outdoor bocce court are sure to be popular once this rain blows outta here. Open daily for lunch and dinner. 1250 Bridgeway, Sausalito, 415-331-0555.

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Owner Enzo Rosano and chef Antonio Verdicchio.

Down in San Carlos, my dad’s Calabrese buddy, Enzo Rosano of San Mateo’s AcquaPazza, is opening ~LOCANDA POSITANO~ in early April. The chef is Antonio Verdicchio, an award-winning pizzaiolo from Naples (he was most recently at Gusto in Barcelona). Yup, the Peninsula is getting authentic Neapolitan pizzas, although the oven is a custom-built gas oven (a Vesuvio) instead of a wood-burning one, an environmental decision. The oven can still reach 800°F, cooking a pizza in just over a minute. There will be some seafood dishes from coastal regions, along with some featuring Tuscan ingredients, like ricotta al forno with seasonal wild mushrooms, pappardelle al cinghiale wild boar ragu, and crostini toscani e olio nuovo (crostini with Tuscan beans and arugula). The former bakery is being converted into a 70-seater, with an open kitchen, a bar in the center of the restaurant, and banquette seating along one wall. It will be open Tue-Sun 11:30am-10pm. 617 Laurel Ave., San Carlos, 650-591-5700.

Oh, and Peninsula residents, take note: AcquaPazza is hosting a fundraiser dinner for the San Mateo Public Library Foundation on March 31st, details here.

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