February 14, 2012

February 14, 2012
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EOS exterior. Photo from Facebook.

A tablehopper reader tipped me off to some changes at Cole Valley’s ~EOS~ last week, and owner Scott Holley did in fact confirm for me the 15-year-old restaurant is going to close at the end of February. He wanted to wait until after Valentine’s Day for the news to be released, but since SFoodie broke the news today, let’s discuss.

Holley is closing the restaurant after service on Saturday February 25th, saying, “It’s been a great restaurant and location, but after 15 years, the concept ran its course. It had a good legacy in the neighborhood.” Holley is currently working on two different restaurant-internet projects, so stand by for more on that.

As for ~PAPAZOTE~, the Mamacita/Tipsy Pig/Umami/Blue Barn crew (Nate Valentine, Sam Josi, and Stryker Scales) are excited about the opportunity to open their Mexican project in the neighborhood (Valentine lived in Cole Valley for six years, and really loves the area). As for the name, saying “papazote” to a good-looking guy is like the equivalent of calling a hot woman “mamacita.” Valentine says Papazote is going to be a more refined version of Mamacita. They are working on menus now, but some additions include more in-house salsas, three kinds of chilaquiles, four kinds of enchiladas, and the opportunity to choose from a variety of proteins (say, carnitas or scallops) and have them in a street taco, or crispy taco, or fajitas, or quesadilla. They will be making tortillas to order (both flour and corn). They plan to be open for lunch and dinner, with a few brunch items thrown in. Valentine also alludes to serving something that isn’t being offered here in SF. Hmmmm.

The team (which also includes Jordan Dunn, who has worked at Mamacita as a GM) is currently working with the landlord and neighborhood on their needs, and they are also trying to secure a full liquor license for the location. Since that may take a while, they might open the wine bar part of the location first. There are lots of moving parts and variables, but potential timing could point to a July or August opening. Welcome to this side of town, gents. 901 Cole St. at Carl, 415-566-3063.

Last Monday I spoke with chef-partner Danny Bowien of ~MISSION CHINESE FOOD~ about the rumor I heard that MCF was opening a location in New York. He said they were still in negotiations and asked me to keep it on the DL, but according to this article in The New York Times yesterday, it’s a done deal. MCF will reportedly be opening in the Rhong-Tiam Garden location (154 Orchard St. at Stanton) in the Lower East Side in the spring.

When Bowien and I spoke last week, he said he was excited to offer a mid-range restaurant for New York, a niche he thinks MCF would fill nicely. The Times piece mentions MCF will continue their charitable focus, donating 75 cents from every food and drink item.

Okay New York, you have our Blue Bottle and now Mission Chinese Food. Whatcha got for us, huh? I think Russ & Daughters would be nice (bagels included). And Xi’an Famous Foods. Come on!

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Jake’s dining room photo via Eater by Molly DeCoudreaux.

Now “softly” open, ~JAKE’S ON MARKET~ is welcoming walk-in diners in the former 2223 Restaurant space in the Castro (the restaurant will start accepting reservations on Wednesday). Long-time Castro residents Tim Travelstead and Brad Becker named the place after their son Jake, and have brought on chef Erik Hopfinger. The menu includes 50-plus dishes (um, whoa), ranging from starters like onion rings and mussels and clams, to pizzettas, build-your-own pasta dishes (pick your sauce and pasta), salads, a ground-to-order burger, homey dishes like fried chicken and pot pie, and a variety of steaks and chops. There’s also a kid’s menu, and weekend brunch. The price-point is meant to be at an affordable level, while still using seasonal, local, and sustainable ingredients. There’s a full bar with house cocktails, plus 19 wines by the glass (with 4 on tap), and 12 beers.

Jim Maxwell of Architects II is behind the refresh, which includes new booths, a completely redone bar with a white marble top and red aluminum chairs, and mid-century pendant lighting fixtures (Eater has some nice pics over here). Dinner nightly 5pm-10pm, late menu Sun-Thu 10pm-1am and Fri-Sat 10pm-2am. Brunch Sat-Sun 10am-4pm; lunch launching later. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-431-0692.

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Bar at Hecho. Photo by Naseema Khan.

Longtime San Franciscan sushi lovers will fondly remember chef Sachio Kojima during his time at Kabuto A&S on Geary, who sadly sold the business and headed to Mount Shasta when his wife’s health was failing. Years later, Kojima has returned, and Scoop reports Joseph Manzare has hired Kojima as his chef for ~HECHO~ near Union Square. Ends up he’s already been there a while—am sure many people will be happy to see him doing his magic at the counter. 185 Sutter St. at Kearny, 415-835-6400.

With chef Sarah Kirnon’s departure from ~HIBISCUS~ in Oakland, the restaurant decided to close for remodeling, and a post on Facebook mentions the new “culinary team of Jordan Medina and Christian Baker of Radius Cafe fame as our new restaurant partners,” while Eater reports the new chef is Gregory Leon (Mirtille, Poesia). The new menu direction will reportedly be “a focus on California cuisine with a heavy nod toward the South,” with dishes like “shrimp with stone-ground grits and pork belly, bbq cooked on the smoker out back, a Southern fried chicken sandwich for lunch and he’ll be making his own cornbread and biscuits in house.” Stand by for a reopening date and more; in the meantime, the restaurant’s Rock Steady bar is offering a “7 for $7” bar and late-night menu.

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Awwww, Guido! Photo from Guido’s Facebook page.

Many years ago, I used to throw a happy hour at ~VERTIGO~ on Polk Street, and one of the bartenders (Derek Burke) and I would share stories of how we missed Italy, the cuisine, and la dolce vita. He’s an avid cook, always sending me pictures of homemade pastas and braises he’s cooked up with his delightful girlfriend, Stephanie Magalhaes, another total Italophile. Burke has been in the restaurant and bar business all his life, and Magalhaes is currently a server at Just For You Cafe in Dogpatch.

Flash forward to present day, and the two of them are going to be hosting a pop-up dinner twice a week at Just For You called ~GUIDO~. The menu is all about homey, simple, well-made Italian dishes, the kind of dinner you want in the middle of the week (and without spending $100). As the couple explained to me, “Guido is the husband who doesn’t want anything fancy, but he’s finicky. He just wants casalinga (“housewife”) cooking—the kind of good food his wife cooks.”

The menu includes a few antipasti, all under $9 (Caesar salad, polpette, or involtini of eggplant with housemade ricotta); pastas include lasagne, ravioli with Swiss chard and ricotta, or spaghetti and meatballs (plus pasta for the kiddies); and meatier mains like pollo alla cacciatora (braised chicken legs with polenta, $16.95) and osso buco ($18.50) with polenta. Ingredients are market fresh, and many of the dishes are well-suited for take-out. Dinner is Wed and Thu from 5pm-9:30pm or so (this week is the soft opening), and there are plans to offer an early dinner special at 5pm (stand by). Wine and beer available. Cash only. Follow Guido on Facebook for updates on the menu, specials, and more. Just For You Cafe, 732 22nd St. at 3rd St., 415-647-3033.

There was an explosion of news yesterday about chef Ravi Kapur (formerly Prospect) popping up at ~CITIZEN’S BAND~ this coming Monday February 20th. Since the seats for his 10-course, Hawaiian-inspired supper ($65, including tax and tip) are sold out, stand by for an announcement of the next one (you can follow him on Twitter here). There are a few seats that will be available at the counter for walk-ins if you want to give it a go, starting at 5:30pm.

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At Wexler’s: seared diver scallop with smoked salmon roe, crème fraîche, and melted “slaw.” Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last week I had a chance to preview a new tasting menu by chef Charlie Kleinman at ~WEXLER’S~ in the Financial District. He’s calling the first menu “Paris, Texas,” (so clever, and one of my favorite films) featuring classic French bistro dishes through a barbecue lens, like celery root soup with crispy ham hock, cornbread croutons, and sauce verte; a phenomenal smoked mackerel escabèche with frisée, bacon, and fingerlings; seared diver scallop with smoked salmon roe, crème fraîche, and melted “slaw”; duck confit with smoked lentils (a fun play on smoked beans), roasted apple, aigre-doux; and for dessert, you’ll have to make some room for roasted sweet potato pot de crème and rosemary sablé. It’s a very fulfilling dinner for $55, and wine pairings are $30. If you haven’t had a chance to visit Wexler’s lately, here’s a good excuse to return. You can keep up with upcoming menus on their Facebook page and Twitter.

And one more special menu for your radar: since our months to enjoy foie gras are numbered, ~BAYWOLF~ is offering A Farewell to Foie Gras menu on Sunday February 26th. It includes gougère with duck liver flan; salt and pepper-cured foie gras salad with escarole, walnuts, and caramelized apples; foie gras ravioli with double duck consommé; and foie gras-stuffed duck breast with peas, greens, and fava beans. $85. (If you can’t make it, they will be doing a “Farewell to Foie Gras Reduxx Dinner” in April.) 3853 Piedmont Ave. at Rio Vista, Oakland, 510-655-6004.

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Breakfast treats from Venga Empanadas; photo from Facebook.

Some new eats for your radar: first, the Mission’s fabulous empanada maker, ~VENGA EMPANADAS~ is now open for breakfast, starting at 8:30am. Swing by for a breakfast empanada fresh out of the oven, or a medialuna-Argentine croissant in plain, chocolate, or membrillo (quince). And this week only: buy a breakfast empanada and get a free cup of Rodger’s coffee. 443 Valencia St. at 15th St., 415-552-5895.

A tablehopper reader tipped me off about the “freaking amazing brunch” they enjoyed over the weekend at ~CEDAR HILL~ in the Marina: “Smoked bbq hash, Deep fried french toast, smokehouse breakfast for the gluttons. Plus, bbq michelada with tall boy of pbr.” Here’s the menu, which also includes huevos rancheros, biscuits and gravy, and a breakfast sandwich. Eater mentions brunch is served Sat-Sun 10am-3pm. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut, 415-834-5403.

Over in Hayes Valley, ~BAR JULES~ is opening for lunch on Tuesdays starting next week, on February 21st at 11:30am.

In Dogpatch, ~SERPENTINE~ is doing Taco Tuesdays for lunch, currently serving a trio of tacos with pan-seared true cod, green mango slaw, radish, cilantro, lime, and tomatillo salsa for $10 (and there’s a $5 margarita to go with them).

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Chomp N’ Swig. Photo from The Richmond SF blog.

According to The Richmond SF blog, ~CHOMP N’ SWIG~ has replaced Cafe Mereb, serving coffee and pastries starting at 7am, and sandwiches and beer as the day goes on. Happy hour is Mon-Fri 3pm-7pm. Open Tue-Wed 8am-9pm, Thu-Fri 8am-11pm, Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 9am-9pm. Oh, and there’s a deal on Scoutmob right now if you want to go check it out (the menu is listed, too). 1541 Clement St. at 17th Ave., 415-683-5946.

Reader Jason B. lets me know about ~ROLLING OUT~, a café in the Sunset that recently opened in the former Greenhouse Cafe space, serving a variety of inventive housemade pastries, organic coffee, and sandwiches on housemade bread. 1722 Taraval St. at 27th Ave., 415-513-6054.

According to Scoop, ~ROAM ARTISAN BURGERS~ is planning to take over the ~OSAKA~ space on Fillmore and open a second location. If the deal goes through, the plan is to open this summer after a redesign. 1923 Fillmore St. at Pine.

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Telegraph exterior; Yelp photo by Jason S.

Chowhound and Grub Street mention ~TELEGRAPH~, a newly opened spot that took over the former Mama Buzz café. On the menu: bagels and Pepples donuts in the morning (plus espresso and coffee drinks from Mr. Espresso), and housemade sausages for lunch and dinner, like wild boar and pear or whiskey and fennel, along with beers on tap. There’s a patio with picnic tables lending a biergarten vibe. Tue-Fri 8am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. 2318 Telegraph Ave. at 24th St., Oakland, 510-444-8353.

Berkeleyside mentions the former Green Papaya is now morphing into ~THANU’S KITCHEN~—it’s still Thai, but there will now be meat on the menu. According to a post on Yelp, a sign on the door said, “Dear Customers, We apologize for the inconvenience, due to low volume of Vegan/Vegetarian consumers Green Papaya will not be able to stay open. After New Year of 2012 [2011 on sign, but I’m sure they mean 2012] we’re renovating this place into a non-vegan restaurant. Although we’re changing things up a bit here; we will still offer Vegetarians our selective menu and no worries our utilities such as pots, pans, and ingredients for Vegetarian will most definitely be separated from non-vegetarian. Hope to see you guys again once we re-open our new restaurant!!! Sincerely, Green Papaya.” 2016 Shattuck Ave. at Addison, Berkeley, 510-845-1658.

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The bar at the SF location. Photo from Facebook.

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Housemade guanciale at District; photo from Facebook.

District in SoMa is getting close to opening a second location in Old Oakland, ~DISTRICT OAKLAND~ in the former Levende East spot. Partners Jon D’Angelica, Chris Vance, and Ryan Vance—working with wine director and sommelier Caterina Mirabelli and executive chef Bob Cina—plan to open by March or April. The historic building (updated by Arcsine Architecture and Bellusci Designs) will feature a large horsehoe bar made with reclaimed Brazilian barnwood (peroba rosa), and there will also be a wine and whiskey tower that features the building’s original doorway header from 1878. Additional features: sofa beds in the lounge, a video wall showing vintage movies, a mural by Brian Barneclo, and a rotating display of works by local artists. There will be room for 85 seated, plus the option of sidewalk seating.

Mirabelli’s wine list will offer over 40 selections by the glass and in tasting flights, and over 300 reserve bottles. Since this location features a full liquor license, there will also be 40 craft whiskeys on the list, a cocktail menu with updates on classics (mint juleps and Sazeracs), and 16 beers on draught.

Cina’s menu (think contemporary California with French and Latin influences) will include wine-friendly bites ($4-$7) like mushroom pâté en croûte and chèvre-stuffed Peppadew peppers, small plates ($9-$17) like Moroccan-spiced lamb meatballs, pizzettas ($10-$16), and an extensive cheese program with housemade charcuterie. And like the SF location, a daily happy hour will offer $1 oysters. Hours will be Mon-Fri 4pm-close, Sat 5pm onward. 827 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-272-9110.

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Everyone loves a good cause—here’s a couple food-related ones for ya. Local startup ZeroCater invites you to ~FOOD-FOR-ALL~ on Wednesday February 22nd, 6:30pm-8:30pm, their official pre-party for Taste of the Nation San Francisco, with 100% of proceeds going to Share Our Strength. You’ll get tastes from Radius, Azalina’s, After Osha, Sataysfied, The Missing Link, Peasant Pies, Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe, Bona Restaurant, Three Babes Bakeshop, Belgian Street Waffles, and Peko-Peko, plus beer and wine from Lagunitas Brewing Company and Toasted Head Wines. And for a bit of fun, enter the restaurant review writing contest from Google Places—the prize is a $150 dinner at any local restaurant. $10. 875 Sansome St., 1st Floor, at Broadway.

Show some love for the ~ALAMEDA COUNTY COMMUNITY FOOD BANK~ on Thursday March 1st, when you can join other volunteers in sorting fresh produce and packaging food-drive donations, putting together thousands of meals for hungry families. The evening includes refreshments. Register online to reserve your spot; space is limited. 5:30pm-8:30pm. 7900 Edgewater Dr. at Oakport, Oakland.