April 26, 2011

April 26, 2011
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Chef Anthony Strong; photo by Eric Wolfinger.

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Housemade fusilli; photo by Eric Wolfinger.

The hotly anticipated ~LOCANDA~ opens from the Delfina team this Saturday April 30th at 5:30pm. The kitchen will be led by Anthony Strong, who has worked at Craig and Annie Stoll’s Pizzeria Delfina locations for the past six years. At Locanda, you will encounter an osteria-style menu of dishes inspired by authentic Roman cuisine and integrating local and seasonal ingredients. Strong recently spent two months staging in (primarily) the kitchen of Osteria di San Cesario—twenty minutes from Rome’s center—and gained a good understanding of the dishes and cuisine of Lazio (the region).

Look for classic Roman pasta dishes ($14-$18), like bucatini all’amatriciana, casarecce alla carbonara, and tonnarelli cacio e pepe (these classics will always be on the menu), along with rotating pastas like fusilli with sardines, fennel pollen, currants, and breadcrumbs; all 11 pastas will be rolled or extruded in house. The menu will include some items off the Universo wood-fired grill and rotisserie, like guinea hen leg and lamb scottadito ($19-$28), and there’s a Quinto Quarto section (the fifth quarter), a section of offal dishes, like tripe and oxtails alla vaccinara ($9-$24). The sole “pizza” on the menu is pizza bianca, a Roman flatbread dressed with olive oil and sea salt (read: not pizza); it will be served as guests are seated. And it’s a good thing it’s artichoke season—you’ll find two Roman preparations on the menu (alla giudea and raw/crudo).

There’s also the added bonus of having a full liquor license. The bar program—which was originally going to be run by Brian MacGregor—was ultimately put together by consultant Eric Alperin of The Varnish in Los Angeles. Look for small production spirits and cocktails that reference Rome. As for the vini, wine director Chris Wright (AQUA) has put together a list that includes California, France, and all regions of Italy, so don’t be surprised when you see the Palmina dolcetto next to a Pieropan soave on the list. There are also five glasses of bubbly by the glass, so you know what section I’ll get to know well.

Envelope A+D (Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina, Contigo) is behind the modern and comfortable osteria-by-way-of-the-Mission look, which includes an undulating coffered ceiling, a hand-laid mosaic wall, and an expansive walnut bar. There are 80 seats total, with an open kitchen, and look for the custom refrigerated case full of house-cured salumi. Hours are daily 5:30pm-1am.

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The famed Mission Burger. (I think it took two years off my life.)

Remember that six-lane bowling alley that I mentioned was coming to the Mission? Well, here’s an update about the project with some exciting details for you. It’s going to be called the ~MISSION BOWLING CLUB~, and is opening in spring 2012 at 3176 17th Street, near South Van Ness. And here’s who is going into the restaurant portion of the project: Anthony Myint (behind Mission Street Food, Mission Burger, Mission Chinese Food, and Commonwealth). His menu will feature the Mission Burger (you remember that bad boy he cooked up with chef Danny Bowien at the Duc Loi supermarket?) and other “technique-driven comfort food.” And true to Myint’s form, a portion of sales will go to local youth-related charities.

To recap, Sommer Peterson and Molly Bradshaw (mini bar SF) are behind the project, which is opening in a converted warehouse. There will also be a spacious bar, a dining room with a mezzanine overlooking the lanes, leather couches situated lane-side, and rotating shows of local artwork. There will also be a sunny outdoor patio and covered bicycle parking. Hours will be Mon-Fri 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun 12pm-2am. (Family bowl will be from 12pm-7pm on weekends; 21+ on weekdays.) Now we just have to wait until next spring…

I’ve been wondering who was behind the upcoming project in the closed ~BAGDAD CAFÉ~ location in the Castro. It ends up it’s chef Randy Lewis, who is going to be opening an “innovative, casual comfort food neighborhood restaurant.” (Remember that he used to be the chef at MECCA down Market Street.) He was too busy to call me back before my deadline, but considering he’s hiring staff right now, I’d say it’s close. Stand by for more. 2295 Market St. at 16th St.

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The Rebel Within; photo by William Werner.

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The Rebel Within, the money shot; photo by William Werner.

William Werner’s ~TELL TALE PRESERVE COMPANY~, which was slated to open this year on Maiden Lane, is sadly no longer going to open in that location. The amount of work that was going to need to happen to the space (oh, like major electrical work) was going to drive the project way over budget, so it’s been, uh, canned. Werner tells me he’s looking for another place around town for his pâtisserie, and it doesn’t need to be very big, or even downtown for that matter—he just wants a place with some character where he can sell his tasty wares. (Feel free to contact him if you have a lead!)

In the meantime, you’ll be able to keep getting your Rebel Within fix at his stand at the Tuesday and Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, in addition to his distribution to Sightglass, Four Barrel Coffee, and Coffee Bar, and his “trunk show” pop-up at Big Daddy’s Antiques in Potrero Hill (1550 17th St. at Wisconsin).

Speaking of pop-ups, a very cool project coming up is The Rapha Cycle Club, temporarily opening in a corner space at 2198 Filbert Street at Fillmore. The shop, which will sell Rapha’s pretty dang spiffy cycling clothing and accessories, will also be serving Four Barrel Coffee (there’s a big square table in the shop) and Werner’s pastries. You’ll be able to read cycling magazines, and check out an art gallery of cycling photography. They will also be projecting race coverage of the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France on a wall, and organizing club rides. So cool, right? Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-7pm and Sat-Sun 7am-6pm, and it will be open from May 5th-July 31st.

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Rendering of the entrance.

Since my hardhat piece on ~BLUESTEM BRASSERIE~, there are some new details to release about the project. The restaurant is slated to open in early summer, and has named Sean Canavan as the executive chef. He was the executive chef at Left Bank in Larkspur, creating cuisine grand-mère, and prior to that, was executive chef at O’Reilly’s Holy Grail in San Francisco. His local restaurant background also includes Kokkari Estiatorio, Jeanty at Jack’s, Pacific Restaurant at the Pan Pacific Hotel, La Folie, and Chapeau! Bistro, and he was chef de partie under Gray Kunz at Lespinasse Restaurant in New York City. He will be putting together an all-day brasserie menu, with an emphasis on using the whole animal. I look forward to seeing Olle Lundberg’s design in coming months… The 190-seat space is going to be one to see.

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Out the Door Bush.

I’d be a big fat liar if I didn’t say I was bummed to learn chef Grace Nguyen is leaving ~OUT THE DOOR~ Bush Street at the end of the month. Inside Scoop reports she’s going to be the executive chef at Asian Box (oy, really?) in Palo Alto, a casual restaurant from Frank Klein and her fiancé, Chad Newton. It’s due to open in August in the Town and Country Plaza (where Mayfield Bakery & Cafe is also located). The offering: diners can create take-out boxes of Asian dishes, made to order with quality ingredients. As for her replacement at OTD, no word yet. Sigh.

Over at ~FOG CITY DINER~, Scoop reports Daniel Sudar has been named executive chef. Many know him for his time at Betelnut, and he was also at Redwood City’s Red Lantern. Look for his fully updated menu in a couple months.

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Rock star sushi at ICHI. See, it’s shiny.

Starting in May, ~ICHI SUSHI~ in Bernal Heights will expand their hours to include lunch. Now you can have the same fab fish you’re used to at dinner for your mid-day meal. Sushi chef Taka Tozawa (Tsunami Sushi, Tokyo Go Go, Kiji, Tamasei Sushi), who’s been working on-and-off with chef-owner Tim Archuleta for years, will head up the lunch service. Some of the lunch options will reflect dishes they’re carrying over from the newly closed ICHI Lucky Cat Deli, like bento-style lunch combos and the ever-popular tonkatsu pork sliders. Follow their blog or Twitter feed for upcoming details. Lunch will be available Tue-Fri from 11:30am on; dinner will continue to be available Mon-Sat.

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The Bar Tartine interior. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

Just in case you had your heart set on a bite at ~BAR TARTINE~ this week, please note that it’s closed until dinner service this Saturday April 30th. Construction is underway for the sandwich shop next door, which will hopefully be up and running this August. It ends up that Chad Robertson’s hefty bread oven that is coming from Italy piece by piece required a sturdier foundation, so construction is a bit more involved than originally planned (isn’t it always?). They’re taking part of the wall between the two spaces, so they’ll be able to handle overflow seating.

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Photo by Yelp’s Stacy D.

Now that chef Michael Hung has taken the helm over at ~BUSHI-TEI~, one of the first changes to be released is the expanded beverage program, with 27 wines by the glass, and his sous chef, Nicole Lou, is creating a sake/shochu cocktail list (look for ingredients like umeboshi and genmai, the toasted brown rice used in teas). The new drinks ($9-$11) will be unveiled this Wednesday April 27th, along with a special appetizer menu to accompany the new beverages, available to guests sitting at the communal table.

The tapa-sized portions will range from $5-$7, featuring dishes like American Wagyu carpaccio with miso aioli, crispy shallots, and sansho leaf; shrimp and smoked bacon chawan mushi with honey dashi and toasted rice; and wild things onigiri, with ramps and stinging nettle aioli. I am looking forward to seeing how Hung’s menu develops; I always thought the space was really unique.

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Paragon interior photo by Paige Green.

~PARAGON~ has unveiled its new look by Doug Washington, one of the three partners behind Town Hall, Anchor & Hope, and Salt House. The décor incorporates reclaimed wood from two barns in Oregon, hand-painted subway tiles, unique light fixtures, and there’s a communal table made of rusted metal and reclaimed koa wood. You’ll be able to hang your coat or purse on antique door knobs, and be sure to check out the large art piece (look for the antlered deer), designed by Washington’s wife, Freya Prowe. There’s also a new banquet room that can hold over 60 people. 701 2nd St. at Townsend, 415-537-9020.

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Say g’day to chef Curtis Stone.

I know, stop staring at his picture. Curtis Stone, the host of Top Chef Masters and the Aussie chef/TV personality, will be in town, and is creating an exclusive multi-course dinner on Saturday April 30th at Cellar360 at Ghirardelli Square. This ~PENFOLDS PREMIERE GRANGE DINNER~ will offer a preview tasting of Penfolds new wines before their global release on May 1st.

Sample dishes and pairings include: hamachi tartare, passion fruit gel, radish, toasted pine nuts, radish sprouts, and olive oil with 2010 Penfolds Bin 51 riesling; Dungeness crab, pickled petit beets, tangerine, arugula, and Meyer lemon vinaigrette with 2008 Penfolds Yattarna chardonnay; and Australian beef “tataki,” chanterelle red wine compote, horseradish crème fraîche foam, confit baby tomatoes, and micro chives with 2007 Penfolds St. Henri shiraz. Nine wines will be poured, including 2008 Penfolds RWT Barossa shiraz, 2008 Penfolds Bin 707 cabernet sauvignon, 2006 Penfolds Grange shiraz, and Peter Grago, Penfolds chief winemaker, will open Penfolds’ private cellars to share a rare sampling of some back vintage wines.

7pm. $350 (all inclusive). Limited to 40 guests. Info/reservations: email or call Lily Lane at 707-299-3252.

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On Sunday May 1st, two neighborhoods come together in their love of noodles for the second annual ~CHINATOWN AND NORTH BEACH NOODLE FEST~! Get a passport for $20 in advance, which will entitle you to three noodle samples from Chinatown, three pasta samples from North Beach, and one beverage (there will be 30 restaurants participating). There will also be live entertainment and noodle making demonstrations; be sure to check out Art in the Alley on Kerouac Alley.

Runs from 1pm-5pm on Grant Avenue (between Pacific and Vallejo) and Vallejo Street (between Columbus and Grant). Buy your ticket here. (You must bring your confirmation printout to receive your passport at the will call tables.)

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Sure, you can run around on Cinco de Mayo with a big sombrero and do God knows how many shots of tequila and Tecate chugging. Or, you can attend ~HECHO EN SAN FRANCISCO~ (“Made in San Francisco”), a benefit for La Cocina and CUESA, and have some top-notch food and drinks like the savvy gourmand you are. Tacolicious is organizing this event that will feature a spread of antojitos from 10 of San Francisco’s best Mexican restaurants and food vendors (including three from La Cocina), handcrafted cocktails from four tequila makers (Herradura, El Jimador, Don Julio, and Tres Agaves), and a choice of two Mexican beers (Victoria and Corona Familiar) and two wines (Urbanite Cellars and Caliberico). You’ll be able to taste delicious comida from: La Palma Mexicatessen, La Torta Gorda, Tropisueño, Nopalito, Tacolicious, Mijita, Rancho Gordo, Alicia Tamales Los Mayas, Chaac Mool, and Sweets Collection.

Thursday May 5th, 5:30pm-8:30pm. $50. Buy tickets here. All proceeds will go to benefit CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) and La Cocina, the Mission District-based incubator kitchen. The event will be at the Ferry Building North Arcade.

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