November 22, 2011

November 22, 2011

Passion Café exterior; photo provided by Passion Café.

After The Tender announced earlier this year that the beloved ~DOTTIE’S TRUE BLUE CAFE~ was going to be relocating, the big question was: where? I heard rumors a month or so ago, and today I received a call from chef-owner Kurt Abney, who says he is picking up the keys to the beautifully restored ~PASSION CAFÉ~ on Sixth Street, and hopes to reopen in the space come mid-December. The last day in the current 522 Jones Street location remains TBD—it could be around the first week of December (I’ll keep you posted).

The new location is going to have double (or more!) the amount of seats—plus the upstairs patio—which is going to call for some serious scaling up in the kitchen and staff. While Sixth Street is always, uh, exciting, this kind of news bodes well for the corridor, with Pearl’s as a neighbor, the new Monarch opening down the street, and other upcoming projects percolating. 28 6th St. at Market.


Former interior of Heart. Photo: ©

I recently heard some rumblings about Quince/Cotogna’s wine director, David Lynch, doing a project in the Mission, and according to this story in the Inside Scoop, he is taking over the ~HEART~ space and opening a restaurant. Heart’s current owner, Jeff Segal, is moving back to New York for personal reasons, and Lynch will then launch his own project, ~ST. VINCENT~ (who is the patron saint of wine growers). The ink on the deal should be done in mid-December; Heart will close on Saturday December 10th. No word on what is going to happen to all those Mason jars, heh.

Fortunately the remodel is going to put a full kitchen in the space. As for edibles, the concept is being described as “American osteria,” and Chris Kronner will be consulting on the menu (think pub-inspired fare, with some family-style plates).

Lynch is putting together a list of 100 bottles, all under $100—and will be selling them as half-bottles for half the price. Yup, the master of Cotogna’s $40 wine list had more tricks up his sleeve. And while his passion is for Italian wine, it’s not going to be an Italian list. Look for an opening in the first few months of 2012. And in the meantime, Lynch will continue in his role as wine director at Quince and Cotogna; we’ll see what happens next. 1270 Valencia St. at 24th St.


Gordon Drysdale. Photo by Ed Anderson.

The Inside Scoop was provided the news first, but a just-released press release confirms that partner Gordon Drysdale (formerly of Bix, Gordon’s House of Fine Eats, Caffe Verbena) has left Bacchus Management Group after 10 years with the group.

Drysdale worked on the Café des Amis opening, and most recently was executive chef to the four Pizza Antica locations, which Mark Sullivan (Spruce, The Village Pub) will take over. Scoop reports that “Drysdale’s famous Brussels sprouts will stay on the menu,” so don’t freak out. Drysdale plans to spend more time with family and focus on his own projects.


Ken Ken Ramen; Yelp photo by Genevieve Y.

~KEN KEN RAMEN~ is already trying out some soft opening nights in their new brick-and-mortar space in the Mission, previously mentioned here. They plan to be fully open in a week or two, but will only be serving three or maybe four nights a week, Thu-Sat (maybe Sun) 6pm-10pm or 11pm (hours TBD). The 49-seat restaurant will be focused on serving five kinds of ramen (including miso, shoyu, and vegan) with a few appetizers, plus a special ramen each month, like a Hokkaido version with crab, or one with miso butter. Follow them on Twitter for updates on soft opening nights and more. 3378 18th St. at Mission, 415-967-2636

Meanwhile, permits reveal some activity for downtown’s ~KATANA-YA~: ends up they are currently constructing a separate private dining room (with a kitchen) just a few doors down. The size is TBD, but they hope to open the space in early 2012. (There is a private dining room downstairs from the main location with room for 10, but this new PDR will be a bit larger.) 422B Geary St. at Mason.


Hong Kong Lounge’s Peking duck. Photo: ©

One of the city’s most popular places for dim sum on the weekends (and family dinners), the three-year-old ~HONG KONG LOUNGE~ at 5322 Geary is opening a second location in the Pot de Pho space. The hours will be the same (lunch Mon-Fri 10:30am-2:30pm, Sat-Sun 10am-2:30pm, and dinner daily 5pm-9:30pm), but since the second location is a third of the size of the original location, the menu will be a bit edited (don’t worry, dim sum and the Peking duck will be on there). They are aiming to open in December. 3300 Geary Blvd. at Parker.


Bistro Unique exterior. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. ©

Over in Cow Hollow, ~BISTRO UNIQUE~ is scheduled to open today. Eater has been tracking the project, but we have a few additional details for you, like a preliminary menu. It’s a familiar French bistro menu, with a variety of salads, mussels, cassoulet, and steak frites ($25 at dinner), with omelets and croques for brunch. Hours will be Mon-Fri 11am-3pm for lunch, Sat-Sun 9am-3pm for brunch, and 5pm-11pm for dinner nightly. 1849 Union St. at Octavia, 415-218-4136.

~OTTOMAN~ is now open in the Financial District, serving Turkish dishes like kofte and kebabs. Grub Street originally noted this was the Basil Leaf Café. Open Mon-Fri 7:30am-9:30am for breakfast, and 11am-2:30pm for lunch. 584 Washington St. at Columbus, 415-391-8228.

Some buzz has been building about ~GOURMET & MORE~, a new specialty shop in Hayes Valley that reportedly has a pretty spiffy cheese room, with more than 250 choices in all. There are also vinegars, oils, macarons, and more. The owner is a gourmet food distributor in the Bay Area who decided to open a store, hence the good prices. Tue-Sun 11am-8pm. 141 Gough St. at Page, 415-874-9133.


Almond soufflé; Yelp photo by Susy C.

Via a tip on Chowhound, there’s a new dessert place and café in Chinatown called ~SOUFFLÉS CAFE~. The speciality is, you guessed it, soufflés. There are 10 flavors to choose from—ranging from almond to red bean-coconut to sesame to orange—for $9.75. Egg puff fans will also be pleased to find those on the menu, plus salads and sandwiches. There are beverages like coffee, tea, and fresh juices available as well. It’s a tiny spot, with 10 tables, but open late. Open Sun-Thu 11:30am-11:30pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-1am. 1401 Powell St. at Broadway, 415-399-1687.


The famed Chubby Noodle fried chicken. Photo: ©

Well, that was fast: ~THE CHUBBY NOODLE~ is back in pop-up business at Amante. 570 Green St. at Stockton.

A tablehopper reader was lamenting over the closure of ~CHAI-YO THAI~ on Polk, but further sleuthing reveals the restaurant is just in the midst of a renovation, and will be reopening around January 15th. 1331 Polk St. at Pine, 415-771-2562.

Over in Cow Hollow, the owners of ~UNWIND ON UNION~ closed and reopened the space with a new concept, look, and name: ~4 CORNERS~. Eater mentions a menu of “new Southwestern cuisine” put together by Foreign Cinema chef de cuisine Kevin Davidson (and Aziza barmen Christopher Longoria and Brian Galli created a revised cocktail list). 1875 Union St. at Laguna, 415-931-3436.

Flanking Dolores Park, ~LILAH BELLE’S~ is returning to its roots as a delivered organic meal service only, starting on Wednesday November 23rd. They deliver healthy food in the Bay Area and the Peninsula on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of each week. 3801 18th St. at Church, 415-255-2433.


Yelp photo by Autumn B.

~JOEY & PAT’S ITALIAN BAKERY & CAFE~ is now open on Folsom Street at 21st, and according to a post on Chowhound, “the baker Joey makes everything fresh that day, he worked at Stella’s Bakery and other places.” So now you know where to go grab some cookies and a slice of almond torte. Open 
Mon-Sat 6:30am-6pm, 
Sun 6:30am-5pm. 
2499 Folsom St. at 21st St., 

Over in the Dogpatch, neighbors have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Michael Recchiuti’s storefront in the former Piccino Café space; The Feast broke the news it’s going to be called ~RECCHIUTI CHOCOLATE LAB~, serving savory and sweet items, but it won’t be opening until May. In the meantime, there is the Recchiuti Little Nib Pop-Up shop, carrying the same delicious treats you can find at his Ferry Building Marketplace shop. You can pick up the famed fleur de sel caramels, dragées, new chocolate bars, dessert sauces, and more. Hours are Thu-Sun 11am-6pm. 807 22nd St. at Tennessee.


Brunch at Canteen. Photo: ©

Fans of brunch at ~CANTEEN~ need to know chef-owner Dennis Leary is discontinuing Saturday brunch service, according to Scoop. Fortunately Sunday brunch service will remain, and hours are being extended from 8am-3pm, so you can get your eggs Benedict fix whenever you roll out of bed.

~BOXING ROOM~ in Hayes Valley has kicked off weekend brunch, available Saturday and Sunday starting at 11am. The menu includes grillades and grits made with beef cutlets and stone-ground grits ($15), and a crawfish and tasso omelet with Creole sauce and Brabant potatoes ($15). There are also some clever breakfast beverages, like Bayou Beer made with Abita Jockamo IPA, housemade bloody Mary mix, and pickled vegetables ($7), and First Call made with Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, sugar, and chilled chicory coffee ($5).


The new Espressamente illy; Yelp photo by Johnny O.

Now open in the Financial District is the first freestanding ~ESPRESSAMENTE ILLY CAFÉ~ in the United States, funnily enough in a former Starbucks. Not only will you be able to take your pick of espresso drinks, but Joyce Goldstein consulted on the savory menu (random trivia: her Square One restaurant was San Francisco’s first restaurant to offer illy starting in 1985). The initial menu includes panini like grilled Fontina cheese with prosciutto, and mortadella from Bologna; salads like a Caesar and farro salad; along with frittatas, seasonal fruit salads, pastries, and desserts. Look for some cool design as well, including a chandelier made from 96 espresso cups—and there’s free Wi-Fi. Hours are Mon-Fri 6am-6pm, Sat 8am-2pm. 123 Battery St. at Pine, 415-544-9960.

Hastings Law students will be able to perk up at an upcoming location of ~PHILZ COFFEE~ that will be opening on the corner of Golden Gate and Larkin Streets, according to BeyondChron (via Eater).

And in SoMa, the almost-a-year-old ~SHOWPLACE CAFFÈ~ has expanded their offerings to include soups (like curried butternut squash) and housemade sandwiches (like prosciutto with Brie, sun-dried tomato, and Dijon), along with fresh bagels and pastries every day. Hours are Mon-Fri 8am-4pm (weekends hopefully someday soon). 715 Brannan St. at 7th St.


Exterior photo from Slow Club’s Facebook page.

Time warp time! Wow, it’s been 20 years! ~SLOW CLUB~ opened in 1991—and I have been dining there since I moved to the city in 1994. So many memories (so many first dates!). In honor of 20 fantastic years, they are running a special menu for $19.91 until the end of November. The menu is comprised of three timeless items that have been on the menu the very longest: the chopped Caesar salad, the famous burger and fries, and the mini chocolate pot de crème. Of course a cocktail at the fab back bar is also in order—cheers to you, Slow Club!


A plate of goodness at Shangri-La Vegan. Photo: ©

Fans of the delicious and macrobiotic ~SHANGRI-LA VEGAN~ will be happy to know they have opened a sister restaurant, ~POLATA ORGANIC~ in the former Ruen Pair space in Albany. SFoodie has more here. Open daily 11:30am-3pm, 5pm-9:30pm. 1045 San Pablo Ave. at Dartmouth, Albany, 510-528-2375.

Berkeleyside and Chowhound mention ~DIVINO~ is opening in the former Fellini space on University, serving Ligurian and Italian Riviera cuisine. 1401 University St. at Acton, Berkeley.

Over in Oakland’s Glenview, Scoop reports ~RUMBO AL SUR~ is open in the former Los Compadres space from owner Jack Knowles (À Côté). Chef Matt Colgan (chef of À Côté for the past nine years) is behind the Latin American menu, and there are plenty of tequila and cachaça cocktails to be had on the beverage list. It’s a spacious one, with 160 seats. 4239 Park Blvd. at Wellington, Oakland, 510-479-1208.

Meanwhile, in Rockridge, Knowles will be opening ~NEXT DOOR~ in the former Citron space. Scoop reports it will be “a downscale, bustling American restaurant and bar.” Timing is TBD. 5484 College Ave. at Taft, Oakland.

Grub Street and Eater broke the news about ~GUEST CHEF~, a concept that rotates temporary chefs every two weeks. Keep track of who is next on Facebook or Twitter. 5337 College Ave. at Manila, Oakland, 510-658-7378.

Diablo Mag reports ~IKE’S PLACE~ will be opening a location in Uptown Oakland next to Plum. Look for a mid-December opening. 2204 Broadway at Grand, Oakland .

More carb news: I was happy to see on ~BEAUTY’S BAGEL SHOP~’s Facebook page that they signed a lease for a space on Telegraph in Oakland. And hello, it will have a wood-fired oven. Blake Joffe and Amy Remsen should be serving their Montreal-style bagels in early 2012, according to Scoop. Here’s more: “Joffe says the plan is to be open for breakfast and lunch, when they’ll serve things like schmears, homemade jams, cured fish, chopped liver, egg sandwiches and so on. There will also be an ‘extensive’ coffee program.” 3838 Telegraph Ave. at 38th, Oakland.


The former Dish; Yelp photo by Kim D.

A couple tidbits for you North Bay dwellers: the Marin IJ mentions ~HAWK’S TAVERN~ will be opening in the shuttered Dish Mill Valley space. Co-owner Peter Schumacher (Bungalow 44, Buckeye Roadhouse) will be introducing a “welcoming” American concept in the space. Scoop chimes in with the news that Tyler Florence and his chef at Wayfare Tavern, Mike Thiemann, will be consulting on the menu of pubby fare, and TyFlo’s designer, Lori Yeomans, will be refreshing the look. The beer should be pouring in early December. 507 Miller Ave. at Reed, Mill Valley.

~MILLER’S EAST COAST DELICATESSEN~ is opening its second location in San Rafael as Miller’s East Coast Delicatessen Marin, in the Montecito Shopping Center on Monday December 19th. Get ready for heaping pastrami and lox, just in time for Hanukkah. It will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with seating for 80 inside and 30 on the exterior patio. 421 3rd St. near Grand, San Rafael, 415-453-3354.