January 3, 2012

January 3, 2012
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Photo from The Moss Room.

It’s a new year, which always brings a bunch of news about post-holiday closures. Inside Scoop broke the news that Loretta Keller’s ~THE MOSS ROOM~ abruptly closed January 1st, and Charles Phan is taking it over. Phan, who runs the Academy Café at the California Academy of Sciences, is reportedly “going to do something completely different in the space, but hopes to revamp and have it back open within ‘a month or two.’” No word on chef Michael Morrison’s next steps.

Over in the Mission, ~THE SUMMIT~ (aka LAPTOP CITY) released the news that it’s closing on January 31st, 2012. The plan is to reopen elsewhere soon; we’ll have to see what chef Eddie Lau does with his Dux dinners in the meantime. No word what I/O Ventures has in store for the space. 780 Valencia St. at 19th St.

Over in Chinatown, bad news for dim sum lovers. Chowhounders posted news that ~GOLD MOUNTAIN~ has closed. Yelpers mention Gold Mountain’s lease ended, and so the owners decided to close up and travel. 644 Broadway at Stockton.

After 16 years in the Castro, ~2223 RESTAURANT~ closed after service on New Year’s Day, and now the transformation into ~JAKE’S ON MARKET~ with chef Erik Hopfinger will be underway. Jim Maxwell of Architects II is leading the remodel, adding booths, a marble bar top, a new color scheme, and more. The opening is scheduled for the end of January. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez.

Scoop reported ~MISSION ROCK~ in China Basin is closing for a remodel, and new owner Peter Osborne (MoMo’s, Pete’s Tavern, Pedro’s Cantina) will be opening Mission Rock Brewery and Oyster Bar in its place, potentially by the summer. 817 Terry Francois Blvd. at Mariposa.

Over in North Beach, Scoop announced owner Scott Holley has closed ~STEPS OF ROME TRATTORIA~ (not to be confused with Steps of Rome Caffe, which remains open). 362 Columbus Ave. at Vallejo.

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Interior photo by John Glenn.

Grub Street noted some ownership and menu changes at ~CRIOLLA KITCHEN~ in the Castro, and one of the new partners in the venture got in touch with me to share an update. One of the original managing partners is moving on, and Hans Purohit (Ristobar) and Adam Wilson (Beretta, Zeki’s) are joining chef-partner Randy Lewis in the venture. Lewis and Purohit are old friends from their days at Mecca down the street, and have always wanted to do a project together but the timing was never right, until now.

Criolla will be closing very briefly for a quick facelift, potentially at the end of the month (the timing depends on permits). As for what’s in store for the menu, the intention is to take Criolla into the direction that Randy originally wanted: a neighborhood restaurant showcasing his Southern roots and time spent cooking in wine country, while using local ingredients. Click here to see the interim menu, which includes Natchitoches meat pie ($7), grillades and grits ($16) with stone-ground grits, and the chicken and waffles ($15) remains on the menu. There are also daily specials.

Some examples of dishes that Randy is working on for after the remodel include smoked ham hock rillettes, pickled okra, Creole mustard; New Orleans barbecue shrimp, slow-poached hen egg, speckled whole grain grits; and olive oil-poached tuna and “muffuletta” bread salad. Stand by for updates in coming weeks. 2295 Market St. at 16th St., 415-552-5811.

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Pineapple bun from Sheng Kee; Yelp photo by Denise W.

Just before the holiday break I received an email from Manhal Jweinat, the owner of ~MANZONI~ in Glen Park, telling me he was due to open at the end of the week. Poor guy, I tortured him for months with check-ins and questions about his opening (since 1998, to be exact). This family-style Italian place is now open in the old Bird & Beckett bookstore location. 2790 Diamond St. at Chenery, 415-334-2251.

A tipster informs me the former Beautifull! location in the Inner Sunset is becoming another location of ~SHENG KEE~ bakery, which has locations all over the Bay Area. It’s slated to open this Thursday January 5th. Hours will be daily 8am-9pm. 816 Irving St. at 9th Ave., 415-242-9200.

And in Oakland, ~FAZ OAKLAND~ opened on New Year’s Eve. Faz is open for lunch and dinner; you can peek and the dinner menu here. Open Mon-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 5pm-10pm. 1111 Broadway at 11th St., Oakland, 510-272-1111.

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The Big Nate’s BBQ location. Yelp photo by Toro E.

The day after Christmas, local pop-up ~CATHEAD’S BBQ~ announced they are moving permanently into the Big Nate’s BBQ space, opening on Wednesday January 4th. The space is getting a remodel, with new touches like reclaimed wood and fresh paint. On the menu: owners Richard Park and Pamela Schafer’s own take on barbecue, with dishes like sweet tea BBQ chicken, Coca-Cola smoked brisket, and for the non-meat eaters, cornmeal-crusted BBQ tofu. Hours will be Sun-Mon 11am-8pm and Wed-Sat 11am-9pm. 1665 Folsom St. at 12th St., 415-861-4242.

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Local Mission Eatery dining room. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Exciting news from the ~LOCAL MISSION EATERY~ crew (Jake Des Voignes and Yaron Milgrom): Grub Street broke the story that they are expanding in the neighborhood with Local Mission Market and Local’s Corner. The market will feature handcrafted and local products, and the Local newsletter shares more: “Every pasta, jam, pickle, spread, bread, cracker, hot sauce, spice rub, extract, marinade, cured meat, smoked fish, sausage, and more would be made on-site, in an open kitchen, using the same ingredients—and only the ingredients—available on our shelves. By ingredients, we mean local vegetables, fruit, grains, fish, meat, cheese, beer, wine, and spirits.” Grub Street adds there will be a “cheese counter, butcher, dry goods, and fresh produce, all either made in-house or sourced from Northern California farmers and producers.” Construction is beginning in February in a historic industrial building on Harrison Street (at 22nd St.), just a few blocks from the restaurant. The plan is to open in the summer.

Local’s Corner (2500 Bryant St. at 23rd St.) is two weeks into construction, and the plan is to convert a Mission corner market into a restaurant (pending approvals by the city) with outdoor seating and serving beer and wine. Breakfast will be served, and the evenings will feature a menu dedicated to local, sustainable, head-to-tail fish and seafood, plus several draught beers and wines by the glass. Stay tuned for more details—the current targeted opening is spring.

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The communal table awaits you. Photo from 18 Reasons.

Slated to open in the new ~18 REASONS~ space on 18th Street is the 18th Hour Café, happening every Thursday evening. From 5pm-9pm, you’ll be able to swing by for wine, beer, cheese, charcuterie, and other snacks (like Tartine bread and butter), all chosen and put together by the Bi-Rite team (the cost will range from $3-$16). Guests will be able to gather around the communal table, whether they are waiting for a pizza at Pizzeria Delfina or just want a place to hang out. There will also be music and rotating art exhibits. All proceeds from the café will support 18 Reasons’ programming and community service work. The opening is planned for Thursday January 12th, come on by.

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Bluestem dining room; photo by Angie Silvy.

I received word from the ~BLUESTEM BRASSERIE~ team that executive chef Sean Canavan has left the restaurant. He is going to pursue a new opportunity that will allow him to spend more time with his family. The Jeds are in the final interview stages and will be announcing the replacement in a few weeks. James Ormsby will be staying on as consulting pastry chef.

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Bar at Dobbs Ferry. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

A few bites for you nightowl types: ~DOBBS FERRY~ is serving a $5 meal-in-a-bowl inspired by the daily staff meal. Past meals have included pork confit and an apple-Brussels sprout salad, or fish and chips with fries. It’s served from 10:30pm-12am (Sunday starts at 9:30pm). Updates on the daily dish can be found on the Dobbs Ferry Facebook page. FYI, the bar is now open until 1:30am nightly, and there’s a late night snack menu from 10:30pm-12am.

Eater brings word ~QUICK FIX~ has opened in the Little Bird space, serving 4505 Meats sausages in Acme rolls, chili, Frito pie, and more. The project is from Jeff Pytel (a bartender next door at Whiskey Thieves) and former Little Bird employee Sam Enciso. Look for more items to be added in coming weeks. And yes, you can eat your bite at Whiskey Thieves. Open Sun-Mon 5pm-10pm, Tue-Thu 5pm-11pm, and Fri-Sat 5pm-2am.

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Dixie logo from Facebook.

A few cool dinners for your radar: first up, while chef Joseph Humphrey gets ready to open ~DIXIE~ in the Presidio very soon, he is hosting a series of sneak peek pop-up dinners at Guest Chef in Oakland from January 3rd-15th. It’s a simple two-course prix-fixe menu, with choices for each course plus a few extras for $35 per person. The menu will change every few days, so take a look at the menus here and decide when you want to go. There will also be wine pairing available, selected by Dixie’s wine director Matthew Turner. 5337 College Ave. at Manila, Oakland.

~REFORM CLUB~ is back on Sunday January 15th, with new chef/partner Eric Ehler working with Nick Rappoport. Look for more of a Korean-inspired direction; you can check out the menu online ($40), along with the wine pairings ($25) from Becky Pezzullo and Dion Jardine. Reservations are between 6pm-10pm, and guests can book through their website.

Don’t forget: ~JUHU BEACH CLUB~ pops up this Thursday at La Victoria!

The fine folks at ~THE PIZZA PLACE ON NORIEGA~ are hosting their next Farmer’s Market Dinner on Wednesday January 18th at 7pm. There will be three-four courses with fresh-from-the-market ingredients; no substitutions, so this isn’t for fussy eaters (although there is a vegetarian option available). Limited to 20 people. $50 cash, $65 with wine. Email to reserve your spot here.

And on Tuesday January 24th, chef Greg Dunmore of ~NOJO~, sea forager Kirk Lombard, and TwoXSea will be putting on a dinner to celebrate local seafood that is underutilized and underappreciated. The goal of this dinner is to raise awareness for these wonderful (and obviously delicious) creatures and to showcase their potential on Bay Area menus. The four-course menu includes rock crab fritter, chawanmushi, agedashi monkey-faced eel, and the famous Nojo sundae, plus wine pairings for each course. $125 all inclusive; tickets here. Dinner (6:30pm-8:30pm) will be followed with a musical performance by Rube Waddell at 8:30pm. F.O.C.B. Educational Center, 350 Harbor Dr. at Gate 5, Sausalito.