May 8, 2012

May 8, 2012
1-stvincent-davidlynch.jpg

Owner David Lynch. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

2-stvincent-interior.jpg

An early-evening shot of the dining room. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

3-stvincent-kitchen.jpg

View from the back (by the kitchen) facing the front. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

4-stvincent-eggs.jpg

Pickled eggs. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

5-stvincent-dumplings.jpg

English pea dumplings with sea urchin. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Saturday evening, I was fortunate to be invited to a preview/test dinner at ~ST. VINCENT~, David Lynch’s New American tavern that opened last night in the Mission. Lynch, previously at Quince and Cotogna, has transformed the former Heart wine bar into a welcoming wine-centric restaurant. As soon as you walk in, you’ll note the hefty wine cabinet; the space has deep green walls, tables with wood benches (made from the previous tables at Heart), a communal table with a cherrywood top, a custom rolling cart, and seats at both the zinc bar and the open kitchen in the back (featuring white subway tile).

Running the full kitchen is chef Bill Niles, previously at Bar Tartine, who is integrating a bit of his East Coast sensibility into the seasonally influenced New American menu. You can start with some great bar snacks like the technicolor pickled eggs (either curry or beet, $3 each) and buttery hand-rolled pretzels ($5) with cumin and cultured butter. The roasted bone marrow ($14) was perfection, featuring the kick of smoked chiles—I was also happy to note the accompaniment of Bar Tartine bread (hey, former membership has its privileges)—and the Dungeness crab with Carolina gold rice ($14) is another tasty option. Larger plates include English pea dumplings ($22) with brown butter and sea urchin, while the showstopper dish is the house dry-aged lamb ($45), a bountiful plate for two, with leg, riblets, loin, tender farmer’s sausage (cooked sous vide), and turnips. Sure to elicit many a joke is the spotted dick ($7) for dessert, a British classic that is given a different rendition here. There will also be a good selection of cheeses to choose from.

As for the name, St. Vincent was the patron saint of wine and vinegar makers—you can read more here. Lynch’s wine list is what you’d expect from the James Beard Foundation Award-winning sommelier, wine expert, and author. There’s a list of 100 wines all priced under $100, plus an extensive reserve list reflecting Lynch’s signature passion for and expertise in Italian varietals. Guests also have the option of ordering half-bottles of wine; Lynch will open any bottle from the list of 100 and charge half the price—be sure to ask your server what’s already open.

Another exciting thing to note is certified Cicerone (beer sommelier) Sayre Piotrkowski (Monk’s Kettle) is on staff—he assembled a rotating selection of California craft brews on tap (from Firehouse Brewing, Linden Street Brewery, Pacific Brew Labs, and more) as well as a variety of international beers by the bottle, including large-format selections. Yeah, every sommelier and server in town is going to be calling this place a second home. Open Mon-Sat 5:30pm-11pm.

1-centralkitchen-diningroom.jpg

A glimpse of the dining room’s wall panels, wood tables and chairs, and concrete floor. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

2-centralkitchen-thomasmcnaughton.jpg

Chef Thomas McNaughton in the walk-in. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

3-centralkitchen-lisalu.jpg

Pastry chef Lisa Lu. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

4-centralkitchen-dessert.jpg

Dessert: honey chiboust, pistachio streusel, Meyer lemon sorbet, dried apricot purée. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

6-centralkitchen-salumeria-exterior.jpg

Salumeria is the corner building, and Central Kitchen surrounds it to the right and left. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

This past Saturday, I took a tour of ~CENTRAL KITCHEN~, slated to open its doors for dinner this Thursday May 10th. Partner-chef Thomas McNaughton will be overseeing a menu of Northern California cuisine with refined plating and a natural sensibility, working with chef de cuisine Michael Gaines (Manresa, Gary Danko, In de Wulf in Belgium, and Mauro Colagreco’s Mirazur in France). McNaughton’s partners in the project, David Steele and David White, are also behind flour + water, just a couple blocks away.

All the sourcing will be Californian, working with upwards of 30 farms throughout the year. The menu will have small plates like raw halibut dressed with fennel juice and Meyer lemon topped with mint and poppy seeds; larger plates include spring lamb with carrot purée, dandelion, and roasted radishes.

There will also be a five-course tasting menu, which will feature three or four canapes to start, four savory courses, pre-dessert and dessert, plus mignardises and a treat to bring home, all for $79. Everything will be served on a range of plates by Heath to custom-made pottery to elegant bowls by Rene Ozorio. Bread and butter will be made in-house, and pastry chef Lisa Lu (Jardinière) will be making desserts like the one pictured here for Central Kitchen, in addition to Salumeria, and consulting for flour + water.

The layout of the restaurant is unique: there’s a 900-square-foot courtyard shared by Central Kitchen and neighboring Salumeria during the day. It features a partially retractable roof, planters by Paxton Gate, shou-sugi-ban wood slats (the Japanese technique of burning wood, then soaking it, and then oiling it), a water feature, concrete-heated floors with an acid wash that’s the same in the dining room, and a 12-seat communal table. The vibe is meant to strike that note of quintessentially Californian casual-elegance. The music will be all vinyl (don’t be surprised when you hear Led Zeppelin over the sound system).

The 36-seat dining room has doors that open up onto the courtyard, so there’s a real indoor-outdoor feeling, and is designed to be comfortable year-round. Paxton Gate is behind the look—the dining room’s walls are made of lightly colored cement fiberboards, and the ceiling is from a reclaimed school gymnasium floor. There’s a counter for five that faces the dining room, along with wood tables and chairs; the room is anchored by the custom kitchen in the back, designed by Alec Bauer. It’s unlike any other in the city, with a custom suite by Jade, special refrigerated storage for mise, a built-in circulator, and other special features. There’s also a wood-fired grill and rotisserie that will roast items like lamb and porchetta for Salumeria (more on that soon).

The dedicated pastry area in the back is spacious; there’s also a room upstairs for aging meats, an area for making sausage and breaking down whole animals, and plans to have a soft-bed garden on the roof with herbs and a greenhouse. The well-thought-out project is ambitious, exciting, and so very San Francisco.

John Paul Henaff is behind the beverage menu, featuring both old-world and new-world wines. There will be three beers and four wines on tap, with coffee service by Mr. Espresso. Dinner will be served nightly, 5:30pm-11pm.

Next week, I’ll share some info about Salumeria, opening in about three weeks. Details about Trick Dog (the bar by the Bon Vivants) and The Parlour by Humphry Slocombe are forthcoming.

TheProgressTheater1911.png

Last year, when I was touring the ~STATE BIRD PROVISIONS~ site on Fillmore Street before it opened, I noticed a huge and empty space next door. Owners Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski mentioned that they had plans for this adjacent spot, but were going to keep quiet about it while they focused their energy on getting SBP up and running. Well, it seems The New Fillmore was reading the mayor’s notes very closely after a recent Fillmore District walkthrough, and so a little bit about the new project has been released.

The new project is going to be called ~THE PROGRESS~, in homage to The Progress Theatre that was on the site from 1911-1925. Brioza said they are still finalizing plans and details are going to be released this summer about the Progress concept, so stand by for more. For now, Brioza says, “We’re having so much fun with State Bird Provisions, and look forward to having the opportunity to share more this summer.”

bask-png

The front room. Photo from Eater by Molly DeCoudreaux.

The fourth Basque restaurant to open in the North Beach and Jackson Square area is ~BASK~, in the former Pickles/Clown Alley location. You can check out the menus on their site: lunch includes a variety of salads and sandwiches (ringing in around $14), plus a few entrées like a roasted chicken thigh ($19) “in a finger-licking Basque sauce (red and green bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes) with rice.” Dinner has a full array of hot and cold tapas (chorizo puffs, croquettes, stuffed piquillo peppers), in addition to an extensive list of larger plates. There’s also weekend brunch. Hours are Mon-Wed 10:30am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10:30am-11pm, Sat 10:30am-2pm and 5:30pm-11pm, and Sun 10:30am-2pm. 42 Columbus Ave. at Jackson, 415-392-BASK (2275).

tonygemignani.jpg

Pizza master Tony Gemignani. Photo from Facebook.

Details from Tony Gemignani’s PR team about his upcoming ~CAPOS~ have been sparse, but leave it to Gianni Mola of North Beach to uncover some news and share it on his blog. He mentions: “A beautiful custom-built wood Art Deco bar is in place on the left just inside the front door and red leather banquettes sensually line the opposite wall in the dining area. … A while ago I noticed a wood-burning beehive pizza oven in the open kitchen.” Gianni also mentioned “Chicago deep dish and stuffed pizza” and that “pasta dishes will be baked and steaks roasted on a rack in the beehive to impart a smokey [sic] flavor.” The oven, however, isn’t actually a beehive oven; it just looks similar, but it is made in Naples. Am so looking forward to trying Tony’s version of a Chicago deep-dish pizza—and it sounds like it’s going to be soon. 641 Vallejo St. at Columbus.

Details have been released about what is taking the place of ~SILKS~ in the Mandarin Oriental. The new concept is ~BRASSERIE S&P~, opening on the lobby level (where the MO Bar was); the name takes its inspiration from the hotel’s location at Sansome and Pine Streets. The bar and lounge area will blend into the 90-seat restaurant, with floor-to-ceiling windows, leather banquettes, velvet lounge chairs, and “boldly designed carpeting” (although nothing will ever top Fifth Floor’s previous zebra carpet, heh). The bar will feature a curved Italian white marble bar top, where you can order off a menu of gin and tonics along with other cocktails; beverage manager Priscilla Young is behind the gin-centric menu. Look for a strong wine selection as well.

The new executive chef is Adam Mali (Nick’s Cove), offering a menu of “brasserie-style, San Francisco cuisine,” with dishes like baked Drake’s Bay oysters with ginger and hijiki butter and roasted Liberty Farms duck breast with cracked English peas and preserved Meyer lemon. Breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner will be served. 222 Sansome St. at Pine, 415-986-2020.

pressclub-deviledeggs.JPG

Blackened, deviled Glaum Ranch eggs at Press Club; photo by Aubrie Pick.

Chef Chris Borges of Taste Catering is partnering with ~PRESS CLUB~ and helping to expand the menu. New additions include small bites like blackened, deviled Glaum Ranch organic eggs served with caramelized Hobb’s bacon, and fried Castelvetrano olives stuffed with eggplant purée, plus local duck and pinot noir sausage with Anson Mills farro verde and Heirloom Organics baby kale. The beer and wine program was extended last month, now amped up with more than 60 wines from around the world and 27 beers. Check out the menu and pairings here. 20 Yerba Buena Lane between Market and Mission Streets, 415-744-5000.

The Inside Scoop announced chef Robert Leva has left ~SALT HOUSE~ after five-plus years there, and will be opening his own restaurant. Taking his place is Vernon Morales, who has been at ~TOWN HALL~ since 2009; he’ll be making changes to the menu in a month or so. Taking Morales’ place is his second-in-command Max Hosey, who has been working with Morales at Town Hall.

Up in Pt. Reyes Station, chef-owner Christian Caiazzo of ~OSTERIA STELLINA~ has brought on Brian Bowen as chef de cuisine.

lahorekarahi-fish.jpg

Say farewell to Guddu’s tandoori fish at Lahore Karahi. Yelp photo by Ziyan C.

Some quick updates around town: first, tablehopper tipster Jason B. let me know Fat Angel is going to be opening a second project in the neighborhood in the fall, ~CITY GRANGE~. Stand by for more details soon.

Also in the neighborhood, ~PRIME DIP SANDWICHES~ on Larkin Street will be opening a second location at 1515 Fillmore Street in the former Jubili.

Jason also mentioned ~PHARAOHS MEDITERRANEAN SANDWICHES~ has opened in the former Juice Zone space on Geary, serving Mediterranean wraps, and it has an extensive Egyptian breakfast menu. 608 Geary St. at Jones, 415-292-7271.

Sad news: according to Eater, chef-owner Guddu Haider of ~LAHORE KARAHI~ has sold the business. Wah! Seriously bummed. Like, a lot.

The Richmond blog announces the opening of ~ONO GRINDZ~, a new Hawaiian restaurant with a bit of a health-conscious approach. It sounds like the husband-and-wife team are on to something good. Open daily for breakfast and lunch 8am-3pm. 832 Clement St. at 10th Ave., 415-221-4746.

Speaking of mahalo vibe, chef Ravi Kapur and his ~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~ crew have just announced new dates for the pop-up at ~CITIZEN’S BAND~: Monday May 14th, 21st, and 28th. Per usual, the feast is $65, inclusive of tax and tip; beverages are additional. Just wait until you try the smoked tako (octopus) and Korean fried quail. Reservations are only being taken through OpenTable, and it’s best if you do it through the Citizen’s Band website. If you can’t find a time you want, keep checking back since it’s very common for last-minute cancellations (um, lame!).

According to permits, ~MEHFIL INDIAN RESTAURANT~ is opening a third location at 28 2nd St. at Stevenson.

More permit action: Grub Street and Eater notice the Palo Alto-based ~SLIDERBAR CAFÉ~ appears to be the next business to move into the former Criolla Kitchen and Bagdad Café space. 2295 Market St. at 16th St.

A couple months ago, I mentioned a business called ~V-105~ (not to be confused with Alberto V05) was opening in the former Jackie’s Vinoteca space; the Scoop fills in with some details on who’s behind it. Chef-owner Daniel Martes (formerly Garibaldis) and his wife are making sandwiches on homemade bread, plus some salads, pastries, and more. Open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm; hours will expand in coming weeks. 105 Valencia St. at McCoppin, 415-525-3799.

slidershack.jpg

The Slider Shack truck. Photo from Facebook.

Starting this week, ~MISSION DISPATCH~ is a new spot that will be hosting a variety of food trucks during the week for lunch in the parking lot of the former City of San Francisco Sign Shop (where more than 200,000 of the city’s street signs were made for the past 30 years). There will be two trucks daily for lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, like Bacon Bacon, Seoul on Wheels, Pacific Puffs, Chairman Bao, and Fogcutter. And this Thursday May 10th is a special day, since it’s the launch of the Old World Food Truck, joined by 
3-Sum Eats. Follow @MissionDispatch for updates. 1975 Bryant St. at 18th St.

My pal Jason B. let me know about the ~SLIDER SHACK~ truck, serving Hawaiian sliders like Kalua pork and the moa-fried slider (chicken breast with panko), $4 each. Parked Mon, Thu-Fri at 1st St. and Howard, and Tue-Wed at Spear and Mission. 10am-2pm.

goldengatebridge.jpg

The gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I have a bunch of special menus and guest chefs and more for your restaurant radar this month. First, in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, ~PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB~ will be featuring a seafood special highlighting products that were historically sourced from the San Francisco Bay. The roasted sturgeon with a bay-style chowder will be available for $17.50 at lunch and $27.50 at dinner, while bar manager Tim Stookey has put together a signature Golden Gate #2 cocktail, $7.50. Both are available throughout the month of May.

Starting Wednesday May 9th, ~A16~ is launching a three-course, prix-fixe lunch menu for $20. Guests may select from two appetizer, entrée, and dessert options. May’s options include burrata for an app and pork meatballs for your second course, lucky you. Swing by Wed-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm.

Meanwhile, you’ll want to visit ~SPRUCE~ on Sundays for the return of Burgers & Burgundy. You can order the classic burger ($16) that comes on a housemade English muffin bun with pickled onions, zucchini, and remoulade, with add-ons like bacon for $2, an egg for $2, or smothered in Époisses for $4. You’ll be able to choose from three different selections of Burgundy available at $10, $16, and $25, or a flight of all three for $18. The selection will rotate each week.

Since May is burger month, ~BOURBON STEAK~ is offering a trio of burgers and a cocktail for $20. You can get the beef short rib burger with red cabbage and horseradish slaw, the Bourbon burger with house-ground Angus beef and Nicasio reserve cheddar, and the Kobe “Double Double” with 1001 Island dressing, all paired with the Kentucky Fats cocktail (orange-infused bourbon, bacon fat-infused Angostura bitters, and FAIR. goji liqueur). This special will be available in the bar and lounge at Bourbon Steak the entire month of May.

Over at ~COTOGNA~, the Sunday Supper series is going to feature some guest chefs in May: chefs Katja and Caro Baum, Quince’s own visiting in-residence chefs from three-star Michelin restaurant Amador in Mannheim, Germany, on May 13th; chefs Evan and Sarah Rich of the pop-up dinner series Chefs’ Night Off and the upcoming Rich Table restaurant in Hayes Valley on May 20th; and chef Chad Colby, executive chef of Los Angeles’ Mozza Scuola, winner of L.A.’s edition of Cochon 555 on May 27th. The dinner is, as usual, $50 prix-fixe, but if you add the cheese course, it’s $58.

And on Wednesday May 16th, Berkeley’s ~CAFÉ ROUGE~ is going to be offering a Corsican-themed menu paired with Corsican wines from Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. The menu will include squid stew, wild boar, spit-roasted lamb, Corsican classic figatullu sausage, and ravioli with nettles. Diners can order these selections à la carte, or go for the full menu. Wines will be offered by the half glass and glass, and by the bottle.

pellegrinoandnickspick.JPG

Nick’s Pick; photo courtesy of Nick’s Pizza.

Opening today in Oakland is ~NICK’S PIZZA~, a new pizzeria from chef Nick Yapor-Cox. He grew up in North Oakland and has cooked in the pastry department back east at Eleven Madison Park and Butter, in addition to local spots Ici Ice Cream, B Restaurant, and Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria in Emeryville. Nick’s is offering “Oakland-style pizza,” with an organic sourdough crust, locally sourced and organic produce, humanely raised meats, and hormone-free cheeses.

The weekly changing menu will feature around five or six choices each day, with no customizable options; the opening menu includes a cheese version, pepperoni, a seasonal spring pizza, roasted mushroom, Nick’s Pick (prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, fresh and aged mozzarella, arugula, and Meyer lemon vinaigrette), and a vegan pie. Pizzas will come in one size and are available by the slice ($2.50 and up) or whole pie ($20-$30), along with some salads and desserts, too. Lunch and dinner will be available Tue-Sat 11am-9pm, with delivery after 5pm; eat in or take out. 6211 Shattuck Ave. at 62nd St., Oakland, 510-658-3903.

A reader writes in with this tidbit: “Wonder if you know anything about ~THE TRAPPIST~’s second location in Rockridge next door to Southie. I noticed a sign on the door of an empty storefront next to Southie for a beer and wine license for a Belgian Bier Cafe LLC—which with a little sleuthing turns up the same address for The Trappist in downtown Oakland. I am guessing that Belgian Bier Cafe LLC is Trappist’s operating company name.” Yeah, and I should hire this tipster, right? I wish all tips came in so well researched, heh. Stand by for more when I hear back from a Trappist contact—it ends up the gents I need to speak with are currently in Belgium. 6309 College Ave. at 63rd St., Oakland.

And Berkeleyside mentions the opening of ~CRUNCH CUTLET & NOODLE~, a casual spot with a menu of Korean and Japanese dishes ranging from cutlets to ramen to skewers. 2144 Center St. at Oxford, Berkeley.

Veggie-Fiesta-2012.jpg

On Saturday May 12th, vegans and omnivores alike should find a lot to like at the third annual San Francisco ~VEGGIE FIESTA~. Taking place on the football grounds of Mission High School from 11am-3pm, this family-friendly food event features food trucks, raffle prizes, music, and dancing. There’s even more to like: admission and parking are free.

Food vendors include Alicia’s Tamales, No Worries (vegetarian Filipino food), and El Norteño food trucks. Plus they’ll have information and demonstrations for gardening, food-related games, music, dancing (including salsa dancing lessons), and children’s activities. The raffle to benefit the Nextcourse food and nutrition programs will give away dozens of prizes, many food-related, from Tante Marie, Noe Valley Bakery, 4505 Meats, and Millennium. The grand prize is a three-day trip for two to New Orleans, including a stay at the Sully Mansion B&B and an airfare voucher.

Veggie Fiesta is presented by and benefits Nextcourse, whose collaborative programs inspire people to purchase, cook, and eat healthier, locally produced foods. Nextcourse’s projects include a program for sustainable food preparation, eating, and living at Mission High School.

cajachina-chopbar.jpg

Chop Bar’s La Caja China (photo from Facebook).

Whoa, if you love pork, you’ve got your work cut out for you with these upcoming events. Come hungry. For pork.

Five is the magic number when ~COCHON 555~ returns to The Fairmont San Francisco on Sunday May 20th: five chefs, five pigs, five winemakers in a culinary competition and tasting event all about sustainably raised pigs. The five local chefs will prepare nose-to-tail menus created from heritage breed pigs, and you, the pork-eating attendees, get to vote for your favorite.

The chefs competing to represent SF at the Grand Cochon finale are Nicolas Borzee of Bouche, Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière, Jason Fox of Commonwealth, Anthony Strong of Locanda, and Thomas McNaughton of Central Kitchen, Salumeria, and flour + water. The five family wineries are Arnot-Roberts, Elk Cove, K Vintners, Matthiasson, and Scholium Project, plus additional wines from SALDO, Sokol Blosser, and Simi. Other libations include Anchor Brewing beer samples, Chinaco Tequila tastings, and the “Perfect Manhattan” Cochon 555 Bar with Daniel Hyatt of Alembic, featuring craft American spirits (Templeton Rye, Hirsch, Angel’s Envy, Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, and Hudson Whiskey’s Baby Bourbon, plus Luxardo, an interloper from Italy).

Attendees also get to check out a butcher demonstration from David the Butcher of Marina Meats and an interactive tasting contest with 2011 Grand Cochon winners Duskie Estes and John Stewart of Zazu. The event ends with a barbecue family meal by Magnolia Brewery and a 25th anniversary champagne toast to the James Beard Foundation.

4pm VIP, 5pm general admission. $125/person general admission; $200/person VIP (includes a welcome cocktail from The King’s Ginger, oysters, reserve wine tastings, artisan bacon from Black Pig Meat Co., and the chance to win a year’s supply of meat and cheese from Cochon 555 and Murray’s Cheese). The Fairmont San Francisco, 950 Mason St. at California.

~ADESSO~ is bringing back their Pig Parties, starting Sunday May 20th, 2pm-6pm. They’re spit-roasting porchetta, ham, and sausages, and serving them alongside seasonal side salads. Purchase tickets at dopo or adesso. $30 (beverages not included). 4395 Piedmont Ave. at Pleasant Valley, Oakland, 510-601-0305.

~CHOP BAR~ and ~LINDEN STREET BREWERY~ are throwing their next Pig Roast on Sunday May 20th at 4pm at Linden, with Dynamic performing a blend of R&B, hip hop, and funk. In fact, every third Sunday of the month through September, Chop Bar will be roasting Marin Sun pigs in a Caja China roasting box, and each event will feature a different Bay Area band. Sides will include cornbread, watermelon, German potato salad, and housemade barbecue sauce, tomatillo salsa, and roasted vegetable mojo. $20, beer and wine additional. 95 Linden St. at Embarcadero W., Oakland, 510-812-1264.

brokeassgourmet.jpg

Just a couple quick shoutouts here: first, this Thursday May 10th, swing by ~GREEN APPLE BOOKS~ in the Inner Richmond for the launch party of Gabi Moskowitz’s The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook, 7pm. Free food and wine!

And on Saturday May 19th, you’ll want to head to ~PURCELL MURRAY~ in Brisbane for a demonstration class and signing with Alice Medrich for her new book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts: Quicker Smarter Recipes. Info and more here. 2pm-4pm. $35.

Related Archives

« May 1, 2012 | May 15, 2012 »