October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011
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View of Wo Hing from the mezzanine. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Chef de cuisine Michelle Mah. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Bar manager Brooke Arthur. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last week, Charles Phan gave media and friends a sneak peek of ~WO HING GENERAL STORE~, his project opening in the original Slanted Door space on Valencia Street. The name pays homage to Charles’ uncle (Wo) and father (Hing) who emigrated from China to Vietnam in 1951, where together, they opened a general store. The opening is this Friday October 28th.

Phan and chef de cuisine Michelle Mah will be presenting a menu of Chinese street food and bar food, from dumplings and noodles to jook and rice plates, all featuring seasonal ingredients from local purveyors. Some highlights: slivered yuba and mixed mushroom salad, pork and shrimp wontons in chile bean sauce, Westlake beef jook, braised oxtail with dry yuba, ginger chicken, steamed catfish with black bean sauce, and Chinese long beans and Alba mushrooms with chile bean sauce and shallots.

Like other Charles Phan restaurants, Chucky Dugo will be behind the desserts. Bar manager Brooke Arthur (Prospect, Range) is in charge of the craft cocktail program, with refreshing picks like a piña colada, an Iceberg Daiquiri, and Dry Sherry Punch. Look for some quirky glassware—some of the pieces are vintage. Another item of note: there will be a variety of imported Chinese teas, and plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options.

It was fun to return to a spot where I had very fond memories of dining at back in the day, but Olle Lundberg has definitely created an updated look for the 95-seat restaurant. It’s all about using repurposed materials (like the space: what is old is new again). There’s cool art, clever overhead lights made from woks, the downstairs bar is from a bowling alley, and the upstairs mezzanine remains, enclosed with panels from a MUNI bus shelter. The later hours should be a hit, serving food until 12 midnight (last seating at 11:45pm; limited menu later in the evening) and cocktails until 1am. Lunch will be coming soon, but for now, the restaurant will open at 5pm.

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Chef Ron Siegel. Photo provided by Ritz-Carlton San Francisco.

Here’s the latest on what is replacing The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco: the restaurant will be ~PARALLEL 37~, as in the latitude that crosses near the Bay Area and wine country. Chef Ron Siegel’s menu of contemporary American cuisine will be all about the local ingredient scene, and even the wine program will be focused on regional California wines.

EDG Interior Architecture + Design is behind the new sleek and modern look, and as mentioned previously, a big addition will be a bar and lounge with room for 46. The bar/lounge will include communal table seating, and in the main dining room, there will be a chef’s table that will open off the kitchen, and a semi-private room for small parties.

Want to see how it’s all going to look? tablehopper has an exclusive first look at the floor plan of the restaurant. Elements include glass wall treatments, a dramatic glass entranceway from the lobby, natural materials, and a glowing glass graphic panel of California oaks. The tablecloths will be gone, replaced by free-edge wood tables and plaid-embossed leather seating. Yup, it’s going to be a totally different and chintz-free scene. The opening is currently planned for December. Stand by for a menu and more in coming weeks.

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Yelp photo by Robert P.

Earlier this year, when it was announced the Red Vic Movie House was (sadly) closing, the San Francisco Bay Guardian revealed ~THE ALEMBIC~ was potentially going to be expanding into the space. I got a chance to catch up with Betsy Rix, one of the original four founders of the Red Vic, who owns the building with her husband, Jack Rix. She said part of the plan is for The Alembic—which is just to the left of the movie house—to expand their bar into the lobby, but she also mentioned wanting to do something similar to 331 Cortland Marketplace: rent space to four-six food-related, start-up entrepreneurs and retail businesses that aren’t ready to have their own brick-and-mortar location yet. For now, the project’s working title is ~1727 HAIGHT~. She said they want to have a nice mix of businesses, ones that align with the Rixs’ social mission, which is to change the current food system. This all won’t be happening until well into 2012, but interested parties should watch the Red Vic website in a few weeks for details on how to apply for a space.

Betsy mentioned she wants to have the location be a CSA drop-off spot, and they will also have a small 49-seat event space in the back for rentals to musicians, filmmakers, and other artists. They are currently cleaning the space (there are 31 years of memorabilia and furnishings to sort through), and they look forward to the project taking shape in coming months. 1727 Haight St. at Cole.

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The imported German tables. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

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Seeded pretzel with mustard and horseradish. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

As of last week, the next member of the Proxy shipping container project in Hayes Valley has opened: ~BIERGARTEN~ from the Suppenküche crew. Like the name sounds like, it’s a beer garden, with numerous communal and very authentically German tables on a patio—all in all, there’s room for 100 beer-drinking folks.

The menu includes six draught beers, some bottled selections, wine, non-alcoholic selections like Bionade, and a variety of beer-friendly vittles, from bratwurst to pretzels to chive and lardo on brown bread, plus some sandwiches and a trio of salads (potato, beet, and kraut). And you can finish the night with a bottle shot of Underberg. Enjoy the Indian summer evenings while you can. Tue-Sun 3pm-9pm. 424 Octavia St. at Linden.

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The bar at Claudine. Photo by Bruce Damonte.

Opening Tuesday November 1st is ~CLAUDINE~, the latest project from Franck LeClerc (Gitane, Café Claude, and 5 Claude Lane gallery). It’s a combination eatery, wine bar, and gourmet market, with 31 seats for those of you who want to sit down for lunch or dinner (or just an afternoon snack), or grab a seat at the circular wine bar pouring local beers and wines on tap, selected with the help of Saison/Vinyl’s Mark Bright. LeClerc is known for his cool-looking projects; the sleek space was designed by Elmer Lin of Consortium (Bocadillos, 5 Claude Lane gallery).

Chef Bridget Batson (Gitane) has created a seasonal, frequently rotating menu of a dozen or so items that includes daily crudo (tablehopper got word about a diver scallop crudo with fennel confit and lemon), oysters, along with soups, salads, and small plates like meatball, kale, and fregola soup with Parmesan and olive oil; crispy pork salad with golden delicious apples, radicchio, and banyuls vinegar; and chicken liver mousse with fig compote, port gelée, and brioche. There are a few mains like New York strip loin with heirloom tomatoes, garlic confit, and tomato butter, and olive oil poached albacore with orecchiette, Gypsy peppers, capers, and lemon (the price range will run $7-$18).

Consulting pastry chef Hili Revzan (formerly with Range) is behind the playful desserts, which include s’mores in a jar and housemade Oreo cookies. You can also grab packed-up meals to go (perfect for you eat-at-your-desk types), and the market includes local olive oils, culinary gadgets, and be sure to take a peek at the book selection (you’ll recognize a bright blue one on the shelf). Lunch and dinner service to start; weekend brunch service to follow. 8 Claude Ln. at Sutter, 415-362-1988.

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Former Azul entrance; photo from Hops & Hominy on Facebook.

After numerous attempts to get some information about the mysterious ~HOPS & HOMINY~ opening in Union Square’s Azul, kudos to Eater for getting some fricking details—I had given up.

The main points: chef and co-owner David Baeli (he’s from Florida) will be serving a Southern-inspired, American menu using local ingredients, plus there will be a raw bar, barbecued and smoked meats, an extensive American microbrew program from partner Adam Edwards, and hello Southern fried chicken. The architect and designer is Said Eghbal (Monk’s Kettle), who will be installing a wall of glazed tiles, a tin-panel ceiling, brick walls, and a hot-rolled steel bar. The current targeted opening is January. 1 Tillman Place at Grant.

After watching the front of the former Stars/Trader Vic’s become a homeless hangout, I’m happy to hear a new restaurant is going to open in the space: ~MAESTRO~. The Inside Scoop announced the operators are behind La Bohème (WARNING: website with tango music) in Burlingame. They are planning to open in December after a quick remodel, and will serve lunch and dinner, with a pâtisserie and café featuring French pastries and more. 555 Golden Gate Ave. at Van Ness.

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The dining room. Photo: Laiko Bahrs.

Just last night, ~PATXI’S PIZZA~ (say pah’-cheese) opened their Irving Street location (in the former Darla’s). This is the fourth Patxi’s location in San Francisco from founders Patxi Azpiroz and Bill Freeman, featuring their trademark Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. There are four styles of pizza (stuffed, pan, thin, extra-thin), including vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options, plus craft brews on tap and a reasonably priced wine list.

The grand opening of the new Patxi’s Irving will be Thursday November 3rd at 5pm, which means you can swing by for complimentary tastes. The 36-seat restaurant (by R3 Builders) will also offer delivery to the Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods. Open Sun-Wed 11am-10pm, and Thu-Sat 11am-10:30pm. 822 Irving St. at 9th Ave., 415-759-9000.

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Exterior photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

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Interior photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

Due to (softly) open this Wednesday is San Francisco’s second location of ~PEARL’S DELUXE BURGERS~, smack dab on the corner of Market and 6th Street, keeping Show Dogs company just across the street. The grand opening is Tuesday November 1st. The project received financing from the Central Market Cultural District Loan Fund, an $11.5 million fund to encourage retail and arts businesses to locate on Market Street, and from the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s “Six on Sixth” revitalization program. The 40-seat space is rocking a colorful look described by co-owner Sylvia Yi as “comfortable diner meets Star Trek.”

Have you ever had one of their burgers? They’re tasty, and made with grass-fed beef patties, or you can order turkey, veggie, or buffalo burgers. Am also a fan of their hand-cut onion rings. Beer and wine will be served. Open daily 11am-9pm to start—hours will expand after the soft opening period. 1001 Market St. at 6th St., 415-861-1605.

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Pizza pizza! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

If you live in North Beach, this may be a blessing or a curse: ~TONY’S PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ and ~TONY’S COAL-FIRED PIZZA & SLICE HOUSE~ is launching delivery this Wednesday October 26th. ~TONY’S A GO GO~ is available Wed-Sun from 12pm-10pm, with a $20 minimum for all delivery orders and a limited delivery area (it’s going to be about a mile, but it sounds like it’s on a case-by-case basis).

You can order a selection of Tony’s favorites, from classic American pies to pizza Romana to Sicilian style to coal-fired to Detroit style (my personal favorite is the Jersey tomato pie). You can also sink your teeth into New York delicatessen-style subs and Chicago’s original Italian beef sandwiches, including a Reuben, meatball sub, and chicken parm. In honor of the electric delivery bikes, guests who want to go green can order a pizza from the electric oven and receive $1 off. Delivery orders can be made by visiting tonyagogo.com, or by calling 415-835-9888 or 415-835-9889.

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Whoa, that’s a lot of water. Photo from chef Eddie Blyden.

Due to a truck backing into a fire hydrant on Saturday morning, ~MISS PEARL’S JAM HOUSE~ in Jack London Square was flooded and is temporarily closed. The spewing water flooded the second floor balcony and then came into the building—chef Eddie Blyden tells me the restaurant was like a tropical rain forest. At least it happened the day after Bourdain’s visit (see the starlet for more on that!). And fortunately chef thought quickly and was able to donate most of the contents of the walk-in to St. Vincent de Paul. Hmmm, I’d say the name of the cross street didn’t bode particularly well … 1 Broadway at Water St., Oakland, 510-444-7171.

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Bao from a Dumplings & Buns test lunch. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Yeah, the word dumpling caught your eye, didn’t it? Starting Monday November 7th, ~DUMPLINGS & BUNS~ is hosting dim sum cooking classes every Monday. You’ll learn ingredient-buying techniques, knife skills, and how to prepare authentic dim sum dumplings and buns to bring home. $55 per person. Share a glass of wine (or tea), and receive a 25% discount on specialty Asian sauces and condiments. The two-hour classes are offered at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm; maximum five people per class. Reservations required. 2411 California St. at Fillmore, 415-292-6209.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday November 8th, ~OZUMO OAKLAND~ is hosting a sushi rolling class. It includes instruction by a chef, a light dinner, a kanpai sake shot, and a sushi rolling tools gift bag. $60 per person. 6:30pm. Seating is very limited, and reservations are required. Email or call 510-286-9866. 2251 Broadway at Grand, Oakland.

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Art by Miguel Blázquez; image from ARTdeezine.com.

Celebrate the style and culture of SF neighborhoods through food and art on Saturday November 5th at the sixth annual ~ARTASTING PARTY~ featuring “Bottle Art” and the Evolution of a Local Brand. For $25, guests over 21 will receive four tickets to taste award-winning wines from local vendors, and each guest will take home a 2012 art calendar featuring local wine label designs. Complimentary snacks will be served upon arrival, and Chile Lindo empanadas will be available for purchase.

tablehopper readers get 20% off tickets by using discount code “Tablehopper” here. 6pm-10pm, The Women’s Building, 3543 18th St. at Lapidge, 415-828-1618.

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On Tuesday November 1st, some very talented chefs will discuss the prominence of Italian cuisine and its influence on the Bay Area. Panelist chefs will include Suzette Gresham (Acquerello), Donato Scotti (Donato Enoteca), Jen Biesty (Scala’s Bistro), Ruggero Gadaldi (Beretta, Delarosa, and Pesce), and Chanan Kamen (Osteria Coppa). The roundtable discussion will also celebrate the launch of the 2011 edition of The Silver Spoon. Emilia Terragni, The Silver Spoon editor, will host the panelists. Cocktail hour and Silver Spoon bites will follow the discussion. 6pm, The International Culinary Center of California, 700 W. Hamilton Ave. at San Tomas, Campbell, 866-318-2433.