July 26, 2011

July 26, 2011
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The interior of the former Bistro 9; Yelp photo by B. W.

Exciting news for Inner Sunset dwellers: later this year—say, October or November—~NOPALITO~ will be opening a second location in the former Bistro 9 space on 9th Avenue. The lease was just signed last week on the space, which is going to offer a significantly bigger kitchen for the team, and more seats for you: about 80 total.

The larger kitchen means the masa and other items will probably be made at this location for both restaurants; and there’s a basement, which will allow more room for nopa and Nopalito’s whole animal program. There’s also talk of a smoker, and possibly a grill in the outdoor patio space (which won’t be used for seating). All this means Nopalito chefs Gonzalo Guzman and Jose Ramos will have more opportunities to experiment and expand the menu’s offerings. There will be beer and wine to start, although full liquor may enter the program as well. Is the Inner Sunset thirsty for mezcal? Time will tell. Construction is going to be a bit extensive, so stand by for updates. 1224 9th Ave. at Lincoln.

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Exterior rendering of M.Y. China.

I was waiting on a rendering of Martin Yan’s upcoming Westfield Centre project before writing about it, so here we go. Slated to open in February 2012 is ~M.Y. CHINA~, a restaurant that will span modern and traditional Chinese cooking. Yan is working closely with rock stars Willy and Ronny Ng of Koi Palace in Daly City, who will oversee the day-to-day culinary operations. It ends up the team has been traveling to China the past two years for research, culling inspiration, menu items, and more from their trips.

The menu is going to feature three primary categories: hand-pulled “longevity” noodles, dim sum, and wok-fired entrées. But don’t expect a mile-long Chinese menu: M.Y. China will focus on serving 10-15 dim sum selections; the noodle section will feature traditional la-mein (hand-pulled) or “longevity” noodles served in soup or with sauce, along with hand-cut stir-fried noodles (like dan-dan noodles with sesame butter, braised cabbage, fennel, and trio of peppercorns). Other dishes include sautéed Gulf shrimp with gingko nuts, wolf berries, and yellow rice wine glaze, and mandarin orange-glazed Peking duck served two ways: crêpes with crispy skin and fluffy lotus buns stuffed with duck breast, spring onions, cucumber, and hoisin plum sauce.

And since the restaurant will feature an open exhibition kitchen and is all about visibility (instead of keeping things on the “ancient Chinese secret” tip), diners will be able to watch the noodle chef twist and pull noodles and see dumplings being made. Baldauf Catton Von Eckartsberg—the architecture firm behind the San Francisco Ferry Building Marketplace—will lead the design, which will feature a white stone façade and a contemporary look inside, with wood block counters and die-cut walls. The 200-seat restaurant is part of the Restaurant Collection Under the Dome on Level 4 at Westfield San Francisco Centre, with “outdoor” tables for 50 under the historic dome.

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Back in April, I mentioned changes were afoot at the Capri restaurant space in the Castro. Taking its place will be ~CANELA~, a Spanish-style restaurant from owners Mat Schuster (who has run cooking schools at Draeger’s and Whole Foods Markets), and Paco Cifuentes (who is Spanish, and will be featuring recipes from his mother).

The menu will include small plates of traditional Spanish dishes, like tortilla de patata, gambas al ajillo, croquetas de jamón, Spanish clams, albondigas, and meat and cheese platters, plus cocas (Spanish-style flatbreads)—but they will be making them with cheese, with toppings like Spanish sausage or sofrito. Because Lord knows, we all love some cheese. There will also be sandwiches, like grilled chicken and Manchego with smoked paprika aioli, and lomo (pork loin) with aioli and pickled onion; vegetarian options will also be available. Salads will range from the healthy to the hearty, and homemade soups will always be on the menu. Gazpacho, you know it. There will be an in-house baker responsible for all the bread doughs, plus not-very-Spanish treats like cakes, cookies, pie, and other sweets.

Lunch and dinner will be served daily, but the owners also want the space to be available to people who just want to swing by for a coffee (both espresso and pour-over coffee will be available) or tea, or perhaps a small bite. To go along with your meal, there will be a number of cavas and cava-based cocktails, along with Spanish and California wines. The 49-seat restaurant is getting new tables and all new surfaces, including recovered banquettes and wallpaper, and will feature a communal table and a bar counter. Look for an opening in about six weeks. Hours will be Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12am (hours subject to change later on). 2272 Market St. at 16th St., 415-552-3000.

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View of the bar and one of the communal tables at Jasper’s.

Opening this Wednesday July 27th is ~JASPER’S CORNER TAP & KITCHEN~, a new bar and modern tavern in the former Ponzu space. (It’s named after one of San Francisco’s first surveyors, Jasper O’Farrell.) Bar manager Kevin Diedrich (previously rocking things over at the Burritt Room) is joined by dining room manager Matthew Meidinger, and chef Adam Carpenter.

Chef Carpenter’s tavern-inspired menu of bar snacks, small bites, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and main dishes includes a warm soft pretzel ($4/$8) with smoked Gouda and cheddar fondue; shrimp salad roll ($15) with vegetable rémoulade, bacon, brioche-style roll; fish ‘n’ chips ($13/$21) with wild true cod with polenta crust, tartar sauce, mushy peas; and shepherd’s pie ($16) with minced lamb, and aged white cheddar potato crust.

There will be some stellar handcrafted cocktails (additional bartenders behind the stick include Jacques Bezuidenhout, Allison Webber, and Brian MacGregor), along with 18 beers on tap, and more than 25 beers by the bottle. Additional bonus: Master Sommelier Emily Wines designed the wine program, featuring 29 wines available by the taste, glass, carafe, or bottle, and 6 wines will be offered on tap. Take a look at the initial beverage menu here.

It’s not a small space, with 137 seats, two levels, and seating at a bar, in the lounge, and in the restaurant. There are two communal tables, along with four televisions in the lounge. Breakfast (Mon-Fri 6:30am-10am, Sat-Sun 7:30am-11am), and dinner (5pm-10pm daily) will be served for now. Look for lunch and weekend brunch to start shortly. The bar is open Sun-Wed 5pm-1am, Thu-Sat 5pm-2am. 401 Taylor St. at O’Farrell, 415-775-7979.

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Dungeness pad Thai; Yelp photo by Jason A.

All the way back in 2008, I mentioned a third location of Thai House Express was supposed to open on Valencia Street near 16th Street. After yeeeaaarrrssss of permit delays, a license reveals the project is finally getting warmer. Set to open some time in mid-September, ~HOUSE 530~ will seat about 80 guests for lunch and dinner. Owner Paul Meeriyagerd is putting together a menu that will include some of the Thai favorites served by his parents at THE, but will also let in quite a bit of California influence and local ingredients. With a bit of bar seating and a modern atmosphere, the idea is to be a little more House and a little less Express, though takeout will be available and delivery is a possibility somewhere down the line. 530 Valencia St. at 16th St.

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Noodle Theory exterior; Yelp photo by Ameer N.

Permits reveal ~CEDAR HILL~ is opening in the former Noodle Theory space in the Marina from chef Jon Rietz and Emily Lai. Inside Scoop reveals Rietz is a Texas native who was recently at Memphis Minnie’s, and will be installing a smoker from Texas. The Southern menu will range from classics like brisket and pulled pork, and there’s talk of doing their own bacon and smoking fish. That’s right, folks—the city is awash in smoked meats. The 50-seat space will offer counter service during the day, with table service in the evening, and there will also be a few sidewalk tables as well so people walking by can see you chow down on smoked pork chops. The current targeted opening date is reportedly around Labor Day. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut.

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Photo courtesy of Nom Nom Truck.

Another week, another truck pulling up somewhere to take your money or your business. KIDDING. Well, not entirely—you still have to pay to eat. Firing up the engine this week is L.A. import, the ~NOM NOM TRUCK~. On the menu: Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches and Vietnamese tacos, and later this summer, you’ll also see some strawberry basil popsicles and cucumber mint lemonade. Partner Misa Chien tells me the debut schedule is as follows: Thursday, Off the Grid Upper Haight at Stanyan and Waller, 4:30pm-8:30pm; Friday, on Sacramento Street between Montgomery and Kearny, 11am-2pm; and Saturday, Proxy Hayes Valley at 432 Octavia Street, 5:30pm-9:30pm. Follow them on Twitter for more.

SFoodie brings word that Off the Grid will be hosting trucks on Mondays at a new location, St. Mary’s Square Garage (at Kearny and California). You’ll be able to snag your lunch from 11am-2pm, and don’t forget you can find a seat in the park above the garage.

SFoodie mentions another new truck gathering, ~TRUCK STOP~, which is on a privately owned alley off Mission Street between 1st and Fremont Streets. Sounds like there will be three trucks there (like the new Kasa Indian Truck and Chairman Bao) Mon-Fri 11am-2pm; check the calendar for updates.

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Photo from Super Duper.

I’m beginning to imagine a huge burger mothership over the city, beaming down its progeny into each neighborhood. The next burger outpost is going to be zapped into the Marina, with ~SUPER DUPER~ opening another location in the Johnny Rockets on Chestnut Street. A couple eagle-eyed tablehopper readers sent in rumors and pics, and now a liquor license filing confirms it. Timing will be revealed once partner Adriano Paganini returns from a trip to Italy. 2001 Chestnut St. at Pierce.

Things are moving along for the second SF location of ~PEARL’S DELUXE BURGERS~, which is due to open in late August on the corner of 6th and Market in the former Chinese deli. Co-owner Sylvia Yi tells me the look will be “comfortable diner meets Star Trek”—but not too stereotypical or nostalgic. There will be some exposed duct work and industrial elements, melding the modern with the traditional. 40 seats total, and the space is big enough to warrant selling beer and wine. 1001 Market St. at 6th St.

Eater reveals all the details about ~BURGER URGE~, opening on Haight Street in the former Soul Patch tattoo parlor from co-owner Sam Sirhed. The 75-seat spot will be fast-casual, with around 10 burgers to choose from made with Niman Ranch beef, plus a turkey burger, and a vegetarian burger, along with sandwiches, soups, salads, and beer and wine. Late October is the current target. 1599 Haight St. at Clayton.

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Photo of the first Dux meal by Jesse Friedman.

A few special menus for you to take note of, starting with the second installment of chef Eddie Lau’s ~DUX~ at ~THE SUMMIT~. The next menu will be an homage to summer ingredients, seven courses in all, for $70. Upcoming dates are Sunday July 31st, August 7th, August 14th, August 21st, and August 28th. Check out the menu and make your reservation here.

Attention K-Mart shoppers: now through the end of August, ~JARDINIÈRE~ has introduced 
La Lumière Bleue Spéciale, a special and limited dish for $25 that isn’t listed on the menu. Tuesday is porchetta
, Wednesday is fried chicken
, Thursday is cassoulet
, Friday is cioppino, 
Saturday is prime rib (want!)
, and Sunday is pork chops. Come early and tell your server you saw this online.

And on the morning of Sunday August 7th, pastry chef Belinda Leong (AQUA, Gary Danko, Pierre Hermé, Manresa) will open a pastry pop-up shop at ~FLOUR + WATER~ from 9am-noon. She will be introducing her new line of pastries, which includes unusual items like bostock (twice-baked, soaked brioche with almond frangipane and passion fruit), and kugelhopf (a specialty from Alsace, France, a yeasted dough with raisins and almonds), plus simpler items like coffee cake and bacon-cheddar-chive scones. Guests can eat in or take food/beverages to go.

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Pal’s banh mi; photo by Blair Sneddon Photography.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you: ~PAL’S TAKEAWAY~ is now offering sandwich delivery to the greater Mission, Bernal, Castro, and parts of SoMa via TCB Couriers. There’s a $25 minimum order for delivery. Follow Pal’s on Twitter for inspiration, and call 415-203-4911 to order ‘em up!

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Here’s a unique way to support some local non-profits and small businesses that are doing good work in SF: ~THE 7 SQUARED PROJECT~, created by filmmakers Amber Crosby and Kyle Garrett, will create mini-documentaries to showcase seven non-profits and seven businesses doing purposeful, socially responsible work, and they’re crowdfunding the project on IndieGoGo, where you can earn some cool perks for donating by August 14th.

Five of the featured places are food-focused—Four Barrel Coffee, Heart of the City Farmers’ Market, La Cocina, Mission Pie, and the San Francisco Food Bank—so you can get some tasty prizes by donating to their films, prizes like exclusive bags of coffee or a cupping session and roasting class from Four Barrel, free drinks and NeoCocoa truffles at the SF Street Food Festival, a Mission food tour with the staff of La Cocina (all expenses paid), and free pie or a “Pie Subscription” for a year (one whole pie a month) from Mission Pie. They’ll need $3,500 per video ($49,000 total for all 14 in the series), so what do ya say? Let’s show our fave places some love.

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Photo from Elizabeth Falkner’s website.

Who better to learn from than the pros who do the food thing every day for a living? Some upcoming classes are offering just that, check it out. Rachel Saunders, founder of the Blue Chair Fruit Company and author of Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, will be talking about fruit preserving at the Tyler Florence Shop on Wednesday July 27th (Napa) and Thursday July 28th (Mill Valley), 6pm-8pm both days. Two more perks: there’ll be wine pairings by John Anthony Vineyards, and you get 20% off your other purchases the night of the event (excluding antiques and gift cards) when you buy a copy of Blue Chair Jam Cookbook. Call or email to RSVP with the store location. 59 Throckmorton Ave. at Miller, Mill Valley, 415-380-9200; and 710 Main St. at 4th St., Napa, 707-254-9977.

Chef Elizabeth Falkner is teaching a series of classes Saturdays 3pm-6pm in the private dining room at ~ORSON~. On July 30th, learn why air is important in desserts like mousses, marshmallows, and soufflés. On August 13th, focus on doughs and dumplings and how to get the right texture for flaky pastry, biscuits, and meatballs. On August 20th, it’s an Ice Cream Social with several types of sweet and savory ice creams. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served at all classes, in addition to what’s made in class. $100 per person per class. Contact Christina Glenn at 415-488-3747 or by email to book a class, and be sure to mention any dietary restrictions.

On Saturday August 6th, join author Aliza Green at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ for a class with the masters featured in her book The Fishmonger’s Apprentice: The Expert’s Guide to Selecting, Preparing, and Cooking a World of Seafood. They’re teaching old-world, classic skills for the modern food enthusiast, and sharing insights on how the fish get to your table. 3pm-4pm.

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Photo from Zaika website.

tablehopper reader Marc R. alerted me to the upcoming opening of ~ZAIKA~ in Berkeley, in the short-lived Meridian International Foods Cafe. This 120-seat Indian restaurant—a sister to India Garden in Pleasanton—is due to open by the end of this week or the beginning of next. Dishes will span the north and south of India, from butter chicken and lamb curry to dosas and idli, along with numerous tandoori dishes, lunch specials, extensive appetizers, and chaat, like sev puri and bhel puri. Zaika—whose name means “flavor” or “taste”—will be open for lunch and dinner, serving beer and wine. 2054 University Ave. at Milvia, Berkeley, 510-705-1343.

In mid-August, ~JOSHUYA BRASSERIE~ will be opening in the substantially remodeled space that was formerly home to Joshu-ya Sushi Bar. Executive chef/owner Jason Kwon will be serving contemporary Japanese cuisine prepared using seasonal, sustainable, and often locally sourced ingredients. Starters include a cured salmon salad with shaved daikon, fennel, Asian pear, and truffle-crème fraîche sauce, and Maine lobster sushi with Santa Barbara uni (another version of East meets West?). Mains include pork chashu (slow roasted pork belly) soba, and braised short rib sukiyaki. In addition to the 55-seat dining room, there will be a garden patio. Hours are Mon-Sat 11:30am-4pm, and nightly for dinner from 5pm-10pm. 2441 Dwight Way at Telegraph, Berkeley, 510-848-5260.

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The counter o’ treats at Paisan (photo from their website).

What the Fork announces ~PAISAN~ has opened for daily breakfast service. Their website mentions a scrambled egg sandwich with Niman Ranch applewood-smoked ham, tomato, and Vermont cheddar, plus muffins, scones, and coffee from Blue Bottle. Oh, and if you join their email list (or drop off a business card), you can score a free Blue Bottle coffee drink. Mon-Sat 8am-11am. 2514 San Pablo Ave. at Blake, Berkeley, 510-649-1031.

A post on Chowhound mentions ~REMEDY COFFEE~ has taken over operation of the café in the Berkeley Art Museum. Further details on Thrillist (beware, the annoying hi-yah sound of their videos will play as soon as you open that page) include eats like frittata sandwiches, and egg, bacon, and cheese breakfast pizzas. 2625 Durant Ave. at Bowditch, Berkeley, 510-548-4366.

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Chef Faz Poursohi.

Chef Faz Poursohi is back on the culinary scene, opening ~FAZ OAKLAND~ at 1111 Broadway in Oakland (the former Verbena space) on 11/11/11. The menu will feature “fresh Mediterranean cuisine with a twist” under the direction of head chef Saeid Mosaddad. Look for Persian dishes, a selection of kabobs, handmade-to-order pastas, and more. The restaurant will be designed by San Francisco firm Architecture & Light, and will feature an exhibition bar and kitchen (with a custom-built rotisserie centerpiece), outdoor seating in the garden, and live music performances. Faz will be open for lunch and dinner, with cocktail and appetizer specials during happy hour, Monday through Friday. 1111 Broadway at 11th St., Oakland.

And Grub Street notes via a Chowhound post that Jesse Branstetter has pulled out of the nascent ~1015 CLAY~ project.

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The Fifth Quarter stand; photo from Facebook.

Berkeleyside announced ~FIFTH QUARTER CHARCUTERIE~ from Scott Brennan (previously of Café Rouge) has started selling at Kensington’s farmers’ market on Sundays. You can get product updates on Twitter.

Reader Marc R. also writes in to let me know ~ADESSO~ is now selling charcuterie at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.

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