August 7, 2012

August 7, 2012

The oyster bar, with those cool rotor lamps. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The second-floor deck. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


Watch the container ships while you enjoy your beer and oysters. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

A report by Dana Massey-Todd: As previously reported on tablehopper, ~MISSION ROCK RESORT~ is coming to Dogpatch this month. Owner Peter Osborne, of Golden Bear Restaurants (MoMo’s, Pedro’s Cantina, Pete’s Tavern), led me and other media types on a sneak-peek tour last week and, boy, does it look swell. It fills the space formerly occupied by Kelly’s Mission Rock, and the face-lift is unfussy but excellent. Osborne teamed with MBH Architects and Kathy Bloodworth Interior Design for the redesign and remodel. The space is darn huge (10,000 square feet!), with seating inside for 162, plus 23 at the oyster bar and an additional 160 spots outside. There are two levels, each with floor-to-ceiling windows that emphasize the view, and rightly so, because it is quite the view. You can see the cranes and hills of the East Bay in the distance, but closer in are the dry docks of San Francisco and the city’s oldest boatyard. It’s a cool, tucked-away part of San Francisco, and it still feels like an industrial part of town, not just some hip nod to an industrial past. And rather than shy away from this, Osborne and his team have decided to embrace it, much to their credit.

Each level also features a large deck lined with heaters, for though this area is magically fog-free most of the time, the wind still picks up and gets chilly. There will also be a cocktail garden in front, with a living seawall of plants where boozehounds can sip and hang out. The space boasts some great industrial details, in keeping with the location and view. The bar and front façade are both made from reclaimed wood from the bleachers of Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, and the row and seat numbers are still stamped in. Over the bar are some pretty sweet lamps made from old car rotors, and at the top of the stairs on the second floor hangs a chandelier designed by Kathy Bloodworth that’s made from old soda bottles. Check for messages!

On the first floor will be the daytime cafe, where diners will be able to order breakfast and lunch at the counter all day long, and then enjoy it where they please, whether it be inside by the fireplace or outside in the sunshine. Then, at 3pm, the whole restaurant will open for happy hour and dinner. No official word yet on what the happy hour specials will be, but there is an oyster and raw bar on the top floor, and you can check out the cocktail, wine, and beer lists now. The dinner menu is seafood-focused and features something for everyone, from shoestring fries and rib-eye to ceviche and sea scallop crudo. Chefs Sam Ehrlich and Tony Flier plan to change the menu seasonally. There will also be brunch on weekends. The space will be available to accommodate large groups of up to 50 people for your next grand event. Opening is officially set for August 10th. Terry A Francois St. at Illinois, 415-701-7625.


The perfect place to enjoy a dry cider and watch the Polk Street madness go by. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


Cheers to dry cider! Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

A report by Dana Massey-Todd: Well, we’ve seen beer elevated to the status of fine wine, but over in the old Ozone space some adventurous folks are bucking that trend in favor of cider. ~UPCIDER~ is now open on Polk Street, and they are serving some excellent and hard-to-find ciders from all over the world. Co-owners Ozzie Gundogdu and Omer Cengiz worked together at the Jazz Bistro at Les Joulins for five years before they decided to open their own place, and they decided on cider because they felt it was an underrepresented niche in our fair city. They signed Tony Carracci, formerly of Cha Cha Cha and Ace Café, on as chef, and voilà! Upcider.

The menu is well-executed bar food with a twist, with generously portioned and rather delicious sliders, and a variety of share plates, salads, and flatbreads. There’s also a whole section of the menu devoted to potatoes, which is fine by me. All of the food is intended to pair well with the broad variety of ciders Gundogdu and Cengiz have brought in from all over the world. There are some really cool cider offerings, like the Astarbe cider from the Basque region of Spain, which is aged in whiskey barrels and has the dry tang of sour beer or kombucha. On the other end of the spectrum is the sweeter, fruit-infused Fox Barrel from Colfax, California, with blackberry and pear, which makes for a refreshing dessert. They are also trying to highlight and encourage California cider producers, like Two Rivers in Sacramento, Ace in Sebastopol, and Julian Hard Cider Co. in Julian. In the future, they may be able to host cidermaker dinners, with cider and food pairings.

For now, the menu is on the smaller side. They plan to add some happy hour food offerings in the future, and the menu should change every few months to reflect the seasons. They may also be able to host live music and larger events, as soon as they get their entertainment license. There will be an official grand opening party in September too. Their Facebook page should have lots of updates. Bar and kitchen hours are Sun-Thu 4pm-12am and Fri-Sat 4pm-1am. 1160 Polk St. at Sutter, 2nd floor, 415-931-1797.


An antique egg poacher, one of the many odd and cool finds we’ll miss from Culinaire. Photo from Culinaire website.


The future home of Blue Fog Market. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. ©

At the end of last week I heard word that ~BOULETTES LARDER~ was expanding, but before someone would confirm it, it looks like the Scoop got the phone call. Amaryll Schwertner and business partner Lori Regis are taking over the former Culinaire space next door in the Ferry Building and will be opening ~BOULI BAR~. Look for 50 seats, lunch and dinner, and a wood-burning oven (yes, there will be pizza). The opening date is targeted for February 2013. Note that Boulettes Larder will also close in January for a month of freshening up.

Eater mentions Marco Senghor of Bissap Baobab and Bollywood Cafe in the Mission has opened the loungey ~ATAYA~ in the Bollywood space, serving African “tapas” until late (2am) on Fridays and Saturdays.

tablehopper intern Rebecca Kinney alerted me that the closed liquor store Nob Hill Beverages is transforming into a second location of ~BLUE FOG MARKET~. A call in to the location on Gough reveals the new location is about three months out and will have the same menu and offerings. 1685 Sacramento St. at Polk.


Machine Deli’s Axle sandwich, with roast beef and provolone. Photo: ©


The Crème Brûlée Shop. Photo by Curtis Kimball via Eater.

Some Downtown updates for you: first, ~MACHINE COFFEE & DELI~ is having its grand opening/ribbon cutting this Thursday August 9th with Mayor Ed Lee. And then it’s time to release the sandwiches, featuring meats from Foreign Cinema’s in-house charcutier, Peter Temkin. The sandwiches feature house-smoked, natural meats including ham, turkey, pork loin, pastrami, and sirloin roast beef (try The Axle, with roast beef, provolone, spicy broccoli rabe, and onion jam, or the Reuben-like Drill Press). The coffee drinks (made with Four Barrel coffee) include pour-over, French press, and espresso. Open daily 8am-5pm. It’s worth noting that the Machine Deli pop-up lunch will continue at Laszlo Bar, adjacent to Foreign Cinema, serving sandwiches Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 1024 Market St. at Golden Gate, 415-913-7370.

More sandwich action: opening today in the Metreon is ~SPLIT BREAD~, a new quick-service concept from Andrew Swallow and David Silverglide of Mixt Greens. The highlights: made-to-order sandwiches featuring rotisserie meats (porchetta, rib-eye, leg of lamb), freshly baked artisanal breads, and chef-made condiments, plus organic salads, side dishes, and desserts. The place will also be completely cash-free: you either pay by debit, credit card, or via some cashless payment technology they have (you can order online). Yes, the future is here. Hours are 11am-10pm daily. 145 4th St. at Mission, 415-603-2000.

Eater announced Curtis Kimball of Crème Brûlée Cart fame is opening his ~CRÈME BRÛLÉE SHOP~ on Friday August 10th; he’s opening in the former Goody Goodie Cream & Sugar window next to Vega in SoMa. Hours will be 12pm-6pm to start on August 10th and 11th; check his Twitter feed for updates. 1246 Folsom St. at 8th St.


The bar at Mortimer. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


A cozy lounge corner. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

Details have emerged about ~THE MORTIMER~, the new Union Square bar that has opened in the former Cortez and Bar Adagio space in the Hotel Adagio (which just finished a multimillion dollar renovation). The hotel dates back to 1929, so look for elements of its Spanish Colonial Revival architecture to be revealed, like the 16-feet-high Moorish-influenced windows (design firm Parker-Torres is behind the hotel’s new look). The bar and lounge features an LED-lit bar and some communal seating.

The menu is good for a pre- or post-theater bite, and includes a range of items, from cheeses and Wagyu sliders to larger plates like filet mignon and wild salmon, plus dessert. You can take a look at the menu here.

The cocktails range from classics with a twist, like a blood orange bourbon sour, while La Bella Vita features basil-infused vodka with coconut water, sparkling wine grapes, agave nectar, and fresh lime. There are also punch bowls for groups. Hours are Mon-Fri 4pm-12am (food 5pm-10pm) and Sat-Sun 12pm-12am (food 4pm-10pm). 550 Geary St. at Jones.


The old-school spumoni ice cream at Caesar’s. Photo from website.

Some closures around town: was sorry to learn this morning that ~ROTEE~ in the Lower Haight is closing in a couple of weeks due to some unfortunate landlord and lease issues. Damn, and this was just after I enjoyed a delivery dinner of their tasty tikka masala and onion naan last night! Rotee has been in the location since March 2004, and the partners plan to refocus their energy on their lunch express concept (they have a location downtown on Howard) and to possibly expand to more locations. Another source tells me Blowfish was going to move into the space with a ramen concept, but that’s all up in the air now. Stand by—and best wishes to the Rotee crew. 400 Haight St. at Webster, 415-552-8309.

Scoop reports ~CAESAR’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT~, the very old school Italian restaurant that has been at the corner of Bay and Powell since 1956, is closing on Friday August 31st (you can read the note here). 2299 Powell St. at Bay, 415-989-6000.

Also in the news: ~CIRCOLO~ is closed and up for sale. Owner Jon Mayeda is working on a new project in SoMa at 1161 Mission Street (between 7th and 8th Streets), reportedly a late-night spot called Thai Taste (he’s working with the owners of Million Thai at 5th and Jessie, which is also closing). 500 Florida St. at Mariposa.

The Noe Valley local blog reports that the Vietnamese ~TAO CAFÉ~ has closed down after 10 years. No word on what will head in there next, but the beer and wine license is still active and the location is a good one, so it will be an interesting space to watch. The owners of Tao Café say in their closing note that they are “searching a new home for a rebirth”; we’ll keep you posted on where they end up. 1000 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.


Tangerine exterior; photo from Facebook.

Tipster Jason B. writes in: “Went to ~TANGERINE~ for dinner tonight and they had a sign up they are moving at the end of August to a new location a few blocks away.” Still waiting to hear back from the chef-owner on where exactly that is; stand by for news on where the big brunch migration will be happening. 3499 16th St. at Sanchez, 415-626-1700.

Grub Street was first to break the news that ~CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL~ is moving into the former Home location on Market Street (in the area I like to call “Upper Safeway”). Beer and margaritas are mentioned; the opening is looking like 2013. 2100 Market St. at Church.

Grub Street also mentions the upcoming opening of ~K-POP RESTAURANT~, from sister restaurants Osaka Sushi and Barracuda. (I wonder if the music will be louder than what they play at that crazy So Good jewelry shop on Haight.) 499 Castro St. at 18th St.


Central Kitchen courtyard photo by Christopher Michel (photo via Central Kitchen Facebook).

This is interesting and unexpected news: Eater reports that chef de cuisine Michael Gaines (previously Manresa) is out at ~CENTRAL KITCHEN~, just as the restaurant completes its third month. Chef-partner Thomas McNaughton spins it thusly: “He and I have been friends for eight years. He came on to help us with the opening and now we’re helping him get his own project off the ground.” Stand by for news on where the talented Gaines is appearing next.

Meanwhile, chef Lizzie Binder at ~BAR BAMBINO~ is on a “temporary hiatus” for about three months, according to Scoop. Eater chimes in with a rumor that Binder is appearing on Top Chef. Ben Robert (who has been at Bar Bambino for three years) and Tony Florian (previously Cotogna) are now co-chefs.


Some of the many sodas that will be available at the Fizzary. Photo credit Taylor’s Tonics.

If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in luck, because there are some exciting developments in the world of candy (and soda too). In the Mission, Taylor’s Tonics of unusual soda-flavor fame is getting ready to open ~THE FIZZARY~. The Fizzary will offer retail sales of Taylor’s Tonics sodas, which include Chai Cola and Maté Mojito, as well as over 700 unusual sodas from around the world, unique local sodas, and nostalgic candies. They are hoping to branch out into house-brewed sodas and a full soda counter with taps in the future, but they need to get the space permitted first. They’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign on August 14th, to help with getting that process underway. The opening date is currently scheduled for August 16th, so stay tuned! Their Facebook page frequently has updates, including pictures of their interior design as the space gets closer to completion. 2949 Mission St. at 25th St. 831-460-4600.

Also exciting in the world of sweets is the opening of the San Francisco location of ~LITTLEJOHN’S CANDIES~ from Los Angeles. As Eater reported, the candy store will be opening its first location outside of Los Angeles at 1355 Market Street. Littlejohn’s first opened in the 1920s and then moved to the Los Angeles Farmers’ Market in 1946. Their specialty is English toffee, but there will be lots of other old-fashioned treats as well, like fudge and caramels. The opening is currently planned for October, and there are some pictures and updates of the ongoing construction on their Facebook page. 1355 Market St. at 10th St.


Lauren Kiino (left) at Il Cane Rosso; photo from Facebook.

As most of us have heard, public education has been hit particularly hard by the recession, and dwindling public funds have caused cuts to many of our public universities’ finest programs. City College’s highly respected Culinary Arts and Hospitality program has been no exception, and some of the city’s chefs have decided to take action. Jeff Hanak of Nopa and Nopalito posted an open letter on his blog encouraging donations, and now Lauren Kiino of Il Cane Rosso and Barbara Haimes of City College have teamed up.

On Saturday August 25th, ~IL CANE ROSSO~ will be hosting a benefit dinner, with all proceeds going to the program. The event will open with a cocktail hour and appetizers, followed by a three-course dinner with wine pairings. The full menu can be checked out here. The cooking will be done by current City College culinary arts students alongside Il Cane Rosso’s owner and chef, Lauren Kiino. It will kick off at 7pm and only costs $50, including food and wine but not tax and tip. The reasonable price will leave you with plenty of dough left over for buying $5 raffle tickets and donating to the program. Reservations to the event can be made by email.


The rear dining room at Atelier Crenn. Photo by Brian Smeets for Grub Street.

~ATELIER CRENN~ will continue their fascinating and poetic take on cooking on Tuesday August 14th and Wednesday August 15th when they host chef Scott Anderson of Elements in New Jersey in another installment of Dialogue: A Series of Collaborations, Creativity, and Conversations. The dinner will be a food “conversation” between Anderson and chef Dominique Crenn. The dinners will consist of ten courses, with the courses alternating between the two chefs, sort of like a culinary call-and-response game.

The cost of the dinner is $160, and wine pairings are available for an additional $100. Reservations can be made by email. (You can read more about Scott Anderson and Elements in this post by ChuckEats.)


Just some of the inspiration chef Peter McNee found in Italy. Photo from Facebook.

Peter McNee, the executive chef and partner at ~POGGIO~, has just returned from a two-week culinary trip through Italy sponsored by the government, where he was hosted by wineries and restaurants. That’s right, the Italian government partially paid for him to study the art of Roman cooking. But don’t be jealous! He has brought the fruits of his travels back with him and will be serving a special menu at Poggio for the month of August, so you can enjoy it too. Yes, he’s a giver.

The menu will not only reflect his experiences in Italy, but also will celebrate the Italian holiday of Ferragosto, the ultimate picnic day, when Italians go to the beach or the mountains to feast and take time to enjoy their friends and family. The menu includes fegatelli alla brace, or grilled veal liver; rigatoni alla gricia, which is rigatoni with guanciale, pecorino, and black pepper; and scafata, an artichoke, fava, and pea stew. These dishes are all served à la carte Tue-Sat evenings starting at 5:30pm with dinner service, until August 31st.


The interior of Umami Mart. Photo by Yoko Kumano.


Barware at Umami Mart. Photo by Yoko Kumano.

Now open in Oakland is ~UMAMI MART~, a spiffy new shop specializing in kitchen and barware from Japan. (Cue cool product lust now.) Owners Yoko Kumano and Kayoko Akabori have been selling their special goods online for the past couple of years, but now they have this brand-new, brick-and-mortar shop designed by their pal Anders Arhøj from Copenhagen, Denmark (they’re describing the space as “Shinto classicism meets Scandinavian modernism”).

The shop include more cocktail gear, as well as coffee and tea accessories. Look for upcoming events, art exhibitions, and demonstrations. Hours are Tue-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm.

This is a project through Popuphood, which “curates independent retail and small businesses into previously vacant storefronts and negotiate[s] free rent for them. The goal is to incubate these retailers toward signing a lease for long-term positive economic impact.” Cool, right? 815 Broadway at 8th St., Oakland, 510-575-9152.


Mark and Jason Scott, the brothers of Authentic Bagel Company, and some of their holey relics. Photo from website.


Counter seating at Haven; photo by Daniel Patterson via Twitter.

All kinds of news brewing in Berkeley, starting with an upcoming organic Greek restaurant called ~PATHOS RESTAURANT & BAR~ opening this fall. (How does it make you feel?) Diablo Dish mentions the owner is “Nicholas Eftimiou, an alum of San Francisco’s Kokkari and Palo Alto’s Evvia. It sounds like Eftimou is going for a similar Cal-Greek, ingredient-driven approach, but at a lower price point.” 2430 Shattuck Ave. at Haste, Berkeley.

~SUSHI 29~ remains closed after a minivan crashed through the front windows. Um, whoops. Fortunately no one was seriously injured and they hope to reopen very soon. 1647 Solano Ave. at Ventura, Albany, 510-559-8229.

Another closure: seems ~ZAIKA~ on University has closed; a post on Yelp hints at landlord issues. 2054 University Ave. at Milvia, Berkeley, 510-705-1343.

Here’s an article about the new ~HIPPIE GYPSY CAFE~, a moniker that seems fitting for many cafés in these parts, to be honest. Open Tue-Sat 10am-10pm and Sun-Mon 10am-7pm. 1797-A Shattuck Ave. at Delaware, Berkeley, 510-647-9114.

Berkeleyside has this detailed and interesting piece about some Chez Panisse folks taking an upcoming “gourmet global diplomacy” trip to Cuba.

A reader writes in that the second ~RED MANGO~ in California has opened at Bay Street in Emeryville, serving its popular frozen yogurt. Open Mon-Sat 10am-9pm and Sun 11am-6pm. 5609 Bay St., Emeryville, 831-450-0791.

Beauty’s Bagel Shop isn’t quite open yet, but Oakland already has more local bagels to add to the roster. Brothers Mark and Jason Scott of ~AUTHENTIC BAGEL COMPANY~ are reportedly making 90 bagels a day at their new retail shop in Jack London Square. Just Sundays from 11am-3pm for now; follow them on Twitter to keep up with updates. 463 2nd St. at Broadway, Oakland, 510-459-1201.

East Bay Express mentions Cafe Zoe in Rockridge is now ~OLD BROOKLYN BAGELS & DELI~. Seems to be a bit less artisanal than Authentic’s offering; read the article for more. Open 7am-7pm. 6000 College Ave. at Harwood, Oakland.

Seems ~VITUS~ in Oakland has closed/moved from its 201 Broadway location and is popping up at other Oakland locales; follow Vitus on Facebook to keep up with the haps.

~HAVEN~ has started serving Sunday brunch from 10:30am-2pm. The family-style menu is $25 per person (last week’s menu included housemade granola, braised bacon and slow-poached eggs, buttermilk biscuits, and strawberry “pop tarts”). There are also five different eye-opener cocktails for $10 each.