October 16, 2012

October 16, 2012
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The Aziza interior. Photo from Facebook.

After ~AZIZA~ chef-owner Mourad Lahlou’s plans to open a Jackson Square restaurant fell through, it was just a matter of time before a new location would present itself. Scoop shares that Lahlou is going to open a project in the fabulous Art Deco Pacific Telephone Building in SoMa. (Yelp is also in the building, which is currently undergoing a massive renovation that is scheduled to be finished in September 2013.) Whether it will be called Aziza or something else, that remains to be seen, but Olle Lundberg is the architect behind the 6,000-square-foot project, which will feature 19-foot ceilings, 12-foot street-facing windows, 110 seats inside, a bar and lounge area, private dining, and a garden courtyard. As for the food, there won’t be a tasting menu, and the cuisine “will likely be more approachable than what’s currently served at Aziza.” The Outer Richmond location will remain, but the concept could also change. Expect more details in coming months; the projected opening is a year out (fall 2013). 140 New Montgomery St. at Mission.

Meanwhile, Grub Street posted a rumor that the other restaurant to open in the second downstairs space (2,400 square feet) may be a project from Bar Agricole—no confirmation on this yet.

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The Roku interior. Photo by Michael David Rose for Urban Daddy.

There’s a new izakaya in town: ~ROKU~, the brick-and-mortar location from the folks behind the JapaCurry food truck. Eater reports that they opened softly over the weekend, with a grand opening scheduled for tonight, October 16th. Their new location is in the former Hunan Garden space on Market Street (near Destino and Pisco), and the space is rather spare but comfortable. The menu, which you can find on Grub Street, is well edited and features izakaya classics like ramen, fried dishes, and rice with green tea. They’ll be open Tue-Thu and Sun 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. 1819 Market St. at Pearl, 415-861-6500.

Scoop reports that Eric Ehler of the Seoul Patch pop-up will be opening a permanent location later this fall. The new spot will be called ~GUNG HO~, and it is moving into the former Rockstar Sushi location in the Design District, the neighborhood tucked between SoMa and Potrero Hill. You can take a look at a sample menu here, and look for their opening November. 680 8th St. at Brannan, no phone yet.

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The former Joe’s. Yelp photo by Zell C.

Details have emerged about what’s opening in the old-school ~JOE’S 24TH STREET CAFÉ~ in Noe Valley. New co-owners John Dampeer and Brendan Rees will be reopening the place as ~CRAFTHOUSE~ pretty soon, targeting November. Eater has the details, including a sample menu of tavern-inspired fare (sandwiches, hand-rolled pretzels, housemade sausage, and eight beers on tap) and some details on the decor (surprise: wood, gunmetal stools, and Edison bulbs). 3853 24th St. at Vicksburg.

A reader writes in to tell me ~DOLCE AMORE~ has opened on Van Ness (the soft opening was last Friday October 12th, and the grand opening is slated for Saturday October 20th). There are sweet things like gelato, pastries, and Norman Love chocolate, plus breakfast and lunch options—and miniature art. Open Mon-Sat 7am-9pm, Sun 11am-9pm. 1477 Van Ness Ave. at Pine, 415-674-7716.

Another reader writes in: “It looks like ~MARTHA & BROS. COFFEE COMPANY~ is opening in the very long-shuttered Daily Dose spot at 401 Irving Street (at 5th Avenue) in the Inner Sunset. A neighbor says that the previous cafe closed in August 2001! It has been empty ever since.”

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Look at all those beautiful jars at Spice Ace. Photo by by Daniel Bahmani, courtesy The New Fillmore.

This place would be awesome, even if the holidays weren’t just around the corner. But what could make better host gifts than beautiful spice jars? The ~SPICE ACE~ is now open on Steiner Street in Lower Pacific Heights, hawking a serious array of spices in truly adorable little jars. According to the New Fillmore, the spot was opened by Olivia Dillan and Ben Balzer, who decided to open a spice shop while on their honeymoon in Italy (the “bel paese” can be inspiring that way). They’ve got 250 different kinds of herbs, spices, salts, and peppercorns from all over the world, and are really excited to help customers pick out the perfect blends. They’re open Mon-Sat 10am-6:30pm and Sun 11am-5pm. 1821 Steiner St. at Sutter, 415-885-3038.

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Radius dining room; photo from Yelp.

~RADIUS~ is now serving brunch on Sundays from 10:30am-2:30pm. The menu, which you can take a look at here, features some good brunch staples and fresh oysters. Coffee is from Ritual and mimosas are, of course, available. Seating can be had either in the dining room or on the sunny back patio, and reservations can be made by calling 415-525-3676.

Across the bay in Oakland, ~FUSEBOX~ is now open on Saturdays with their Korean plates and sandwiches. Their hours are 11:30am-2:30pm, but they sometimes close on Saturdays for their daughter’s soccer games. (So. Freaking. Cute.) Check their Facebook page or Twitter feed to make sure they’re open. 2311A Magnolia St. at W. Grand, Oakland, 510-444-3100.

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Bistro Unique exterior. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

A couple bistros in the city have some special offers. First, ~BISOU~ in the Castro (yes, the place with the lipstick kisses all over the signage and windows) is offering a new Monday night special: a three-course dinner with unlimited house red or white wine for $35. Yup, while dining on French onion soup, seared day boat scallops, and Black Mission figs with vanilla ice cream, you get to pack a serious buzz on as well. 2367 Market St. at Castro, 415-556-6200.

Meanwhile, over in Cow Hollow, ~BISTRO UNIQUE~ has launched a late-night menu, serving $1 oysters, charcuterie plates, a croque monsieur, and a classic burger after 10pm nightly (some nights they stay open until 1am, customers pending—just be sure to call before heading over). 1849 Union St. at Octavia, 415-218-4136.

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Alton Brown, culinary science investigator. Photo from Facebook.

Fans of science and food should definitely put Saturday October 27th on their calendars, because Alton Brown will be giving a presentation at the Castro Theatre that evening at 7pm. He’s appearing as part of the Bay Area Science Festival, and he’ll be doing his “Ten Things About Food I Feel Pretty Sure About” presentation, which should be pretty cool. He’ll be tackling a bunch of interesting topics, like what actually constitutes healthful eating and how to conduct safe at-home kitchen experiments. There’s a question and answer session planned for after the show too. Tickets are $35. 429 Castro St. at Market.

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CommonWealth is back in business. Photo from Facebook.

Some Oakland residents were happy to hear ~COMMONWEALTH~ has reopened after suffering a fire back in July. East Bay Dish mentions limited hours while they ramp back up. 2882 Telegraph Ave. at 28th St., Oakland, 510-663-3001.

According to Chowhound, the Mexican restaurant ~DESTINO~ is now open next to Camino. As mentioned in tablehopper, Gary Rizzo of the former Somerset is behind the project, and the chef is from Morelia. 3909 Grand Ave. at Sunnyslope, Oakland, 510-788-4152.

Eater mentioned Flora has opened ~FAUNA~, a neighboring bar with 22 seats, taxidermy heads, some Art Deco design details, and a short bar menu. 1900 Telegraph Ave. at 19th St., Oakland, 510-286-0100.

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The interior at the former Divino. Photo from Facebook.

Over in Berkeley, cheese appreciators should check out ~THE PASTA SHOP~ on Saturday October 20th. Blogger and author Kirstin Jackson will be there promoting her new book, It’s Not You, It’s Brie. You’ll be able to taste cheeses, play cheesy games, and learn a little bit more about the differences between French and American cheeses. The event goes from 1pm-4pm, and more details can be found here. 1786 Fourth St. at Delaware, Berkeley, 510-250-6004.

Berkeleyside reports that the short-lived ~DIVINO~ location has a new name and concept: ~PIZZA MODA~. Details are scarce, but it look like the owners are trying to do higher-end artisanal pizzas and plan to open in November. 1401 University Ave. at Acton, Berkeley.