December 4, 2012

December 4, 2012
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The main dining area. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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The Hakkasan bar. Photo courtesy Onelove Photography.

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The interior. Photo courtesy Onelove Photography.

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The stir-fried lobster. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Braised pork belly with buns. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Dana Massey-Todd. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, international Chinese restaurant chain ~HAKKASAN~ is coming to San Francisco. Actually, they’re already here—they officially opened Monday December 3rd. The group, which originated in London, has locations in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Mumbai, among other global cities. Locally, they brought on Richard Toshio Miyashiro (of Kitchen Door, Jardinière, Twenty-Five Lusk, and Public House) to run West Coast operations. Like other chains from elsewhere opening outposts here that feature a cuisine that’s already familiar to locals, Hakkasan has been careful to emphasize their commitment to respecting the Bay Area’s regional traditions. Much of the management and staff has been brought on locally, and they’ve worked hard to demonstrate their understanding of, and adaption to, San Francisco food culture.

The kitchen is helmed by chef Ho Chee Boon, who started at the Hakkasan London location and was on board when that spot earned its first Michelin star. For the San Francisco location, he’s developed a few special dishes just for us on the contemporary Cantonese menu, including tea-smoked beef short ribs and braised pork belly in vinegar sauce. There will be more focus on seasonal ingredients here, though some of the “classic Hakkasan dishes” will be available year-round, regardless of the season.

The location, on the second floor of the One Kearny building downtown, is rather sexy (and spendy: just look at what $7 million can do). The second floor position, often a challenge for restaurants, actually serves to make the space feel more exclusive. It’s at a crowded intersection (Market, Geary, and Kearny, oh my), and the egress above the chaos feels vaguely voyeuristic and very glamorous. You are greeted at street level by a host and blue-lit counter, then whisked upstairs by elevator. The space was designed by Gilles & Boissier using a similar formula as other Hakkasan locations, but this one adapts to the space’s almost flatiron shape with a V-shaped bar that seats 25 in the center of the restaurant. The bar, like the host stand, is lit with blue. On one side is the main dining room, which seats 65, and on the other is the Ling Ling Lounge, which seats 50. Both sides of the restaurant are graced with huge floor-to-ceiling windows, which have been covered in surprisingly delicate cut wood panels that keep the space darkly glam without sacrificing natural light or the view.

The bar is front and center here, unlike other Hakkasan locations, in a nod to San Francisco’s, ahem, healthy and thriving cocktail culture (yes, we like our drinks). The wine and sake lists were curated by the in-house team of Roberto Loppi and Gian Carlo D’Urso to pair with the food. You can take a look at the cocktail list here, and plot which sip you’ll need to keep you going the next time you’re downtown shopping.

Take a look at the full menu here. There are a variety of dim sum options, from prawn and chive dumplings to scallop shumai. The Hakkasan classic crispy duck salad features duck with pomegranate, pine nuts, and crispy shallots. The main courses include stir-fried monkfish in a spicy black bean sauce, which is creatively served in a squid-ink noodle basket, a lobster in a sweet and spicy sauce with cashews, and a killer pork belly braised in aged vinegar, served with steamed buns and plenty of scallions. Go ahead and make yourself a little pork bun sandwich, you won’t regret it—and sop up the sauce. There are desserts, too, which aren’t really intended to be Chinese, but rather to complement the food. There are macarons, coconut pudding, and a peanut butter and jelly cake. After such a richly flavored meal, though, the exotic fruit platter might be just about enough.

Hakkasan is open everyday for dinner from 5:30pm-11pm, and lunch Mon-Fri from 11:30am-2:30pm. Brunch is Sat-Sun 11am-3pm.

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Pulling the noodles at M.Y. China. Photo courtesy Creative Mint.

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The bar at M.Y. China. Photo courtesy Creative Mint.

The inimitable Martin Yan opened his first restaurant in the United States yesterday, right here in San Francisco; his partners are Willy and Ronny Ng of Koi Palace (yes, the land of magical dim sum). The new spot is called ~M.Y. CHINA~ and is in the Westfield Mall’s “Under the Dome” restaurant space, just in time to help combat holiday shopping fatigue.

The spot will feature a mostly open kitchen, so diners can watch executive chef Tony Wu do his stuff, plus some hand-pulled noodle drama and live-fire wok action (yes, this is where you want to sit). The spot has 181 seats, a cast-iron bell from China (which almost weighs 2,000 pounds!), and lots of unique Chinese artifacts and ephemera.

There will be seven different kinds of noodles, from the traditional La Mian hand-pulled noodles served in soup or with sauce, plus hand-cut Dao Chow-style stir-fried noodles and hand-formed noodles traditionally referred to as “cat’s ear” noodles.

For now, they are just open for lunch. You can check out the lunch, and dinner menus, and they’ve also got a full bar with smaller plates. There will also be a full list of dumplings. Here’s the cocktail list and bar food menu.

This week, M.Y. China will only be open for lunch Tue-Fri 11am-2pm and Sat-Sun 10am-2pm, but beginning Monday December 10th, the hours will be Mon-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri 11am-9:30pm, Sat 10am-9:30pm, and Sun 10am-9pm. In 2013, the CCA will start teaching special Chinese noodle-making classes at the site too. 845 Market St. at 4th St, Westfield Centre, 4th Floor, 415-580-3001.

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The ground level of the restaurant (with the mezzanine up in the back). Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux.

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The beastly J&R smoker in the basement. Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux.

It’s time for a look at the progress of ~HI LO~, the upcoming barbecue restaurant from Scott Youkilis (Maverick, Hog & Rocks), Eric Rubin (Tres Agaves Products), and Dave Esler (Hog & Rocks). And it’s a big ‘un: 2,300 square feet, and it’s just across the street from Hog & Rocks. The lofty space has a dining hall vibe: there will be 80-90 seats, with a mezzanine level, big communal tables (along with two- and four-top tables), and a bar.

Executive chef Ryan Ostler (previously of Broken Record, Boulevard, Range, and Google) will be overseeing the menu of smoked and grilled meats, plus fish and vegetable dishes. Which is when the name starts making sense: Hi Lo refers to high heat (on the grill) and low heat on the smoker, as in low and slow. In the basement, there’s an epic cherry-red smoker that was built from scratch by J&R Manufacturing in Mesquite, Texas. Yeah, it’s the real deal. Some meats can be ordered at the counter by the pound (like most classic barbecue joints in Texas), but don’t look for just one style of ‘cue (although you can be damn sure the meats will be quality).

There will be a list of “adult refreshments” by Scott Beattie and Michael Lazar. The trick is to create cocktails that will complement (rather than compete) with the bold barbecue flavors. And, of course, there will be beers. Look for an early 2013 opening. Hours will be daily for lunch and nightly for dinner. More details coming soon!

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Last night I got a tip from a reader that the Tacolicious crew had just signed a lease on a new space for a rotisserie chicken spot. I got a call back from partner Joe Hargrave just after today’s Inside Scoop article posted with some details. It’s going to be called ~MF CHICKEN~ and will be opening in the Hahn’s Hibachi space at 1305 Castro Street in Noe Valley. It will primarily be a takeout spot, where you can pick up a half or whole chicken (they’ll be using Mary’s chickens) and Mexican-inspired sides, like beans, rice, and La Palma Mexicatessen tortillas. Telmo Faria, the chef of Tacolicious, will also be the chef here.

Hargrave and his family live just a few blocks away, so he really wanted to create a business that offers wholesome prepared food that’s family-friendly, delicious, and healthful (side note: the menu is actually gluten-free). They are actually working with CUESA for tips on how to make the business as sustainable and local as possible.

It’s a small spot (25-30 seats), and there will be beer, wine, and aguas frescas. Timing is looking like February or March—they take over Hahn’s at the end of January. 1305 Castro St. at 24th St.

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Gung Ho’s ramen; photo from website.

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The famous falafel of Sunrise Deli; photo via Facebook.

Now (softly) open in the Design District is ~GUNG HO~. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the project is from Eric Ehler of the Seoul Patch pop-up, along with Lisa Aoki and Alex Baker-Lubin. The menu is “San Francisco-style Asian food,” with lunchtime dishes like the Seoul Patch fried chicken sandwich, a tofu katsu sandwich, ramen, and bibimbap. Lunch will be Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. A happy hour menu (5pm-8:30pm) will feature oysters, pork buns, wings, and kimchi pancake (yup, all the things I love). Follow Gung Ho on Facebook or Twitter for updates on soft opening hours and permanent hours (which will include breakfast service). 680 8th St. Suite 170 at Brannan, 415-864-2771.

Grub Street is all over the news of a new pierogi spot coming to the Mission called ~STUFFED~. Owners Dana Sacco and Andy Schoengrund are from the Midwest and plan to serve pierogi and some Midwestern beers (I know, yay). The menu includes some twists on a traditional pierogi (although you can get that too), like a lamb version with Mediterranean spices and a goat cheese center, a pulled pork version, and even a breakfast pierogi with plain potato or chorizo-potato filling that’s topped with eggs and hollandaise, like eggs Benedict. Eater reveals it was the former Mission Sub, and the new look will include a long oak wooden bar, and bar-style seating outside. Look for a mid-January opening. 2788 Mission St. at 23rd St.

Opening today is the fifth location of ~SUNRISE DELI~, famous for their falafel. Open daily 11am-8pm for now, but that may change. 1671 Haight St. at Cole, 415-355-1555.

For the next three Tuesdays, swing by ~WING WINGS~ in the Lower Haight from 6pm-10pm for kick-ass food from the ~HAPA RAMEN~ crew. This Tuesday December 4th (today), the pop-up menu will feature a “chicken katsu tonkotsu” (think chicken katsu, katsu sauce, and cabbage on top of tonkotsu broth, bring it ON), while December 11th will feature an all-chicken ramen (an homage to the chicken HQ they’re cooking at), and December 18th will have tsukemen (“dipping noodles”) with handmade noodles. Collect all three!

This Wednesday evening, ~EASTERN ADDITION~ kicks off their series of Filipino dinners at ~VINYL COFFEE AND WINE BAR~. Behind the stoves will be Tim Luym (Attic Restaurant/The WOW) and Dominic Ainza (Mercury Lounge), showcasing a nouveau twist on classic Filipino style. Frozen Kuhsterd will also be custom making an avocado frozen custard topped with condensed milk! 6pm-11pm. To make a reservation, email or call 415-952-6198. 359 Divisadero St. at Oak, 415-621-4132.

Have you swung by to snarf on a ~KRONNERBURGER~ yet? (For more on what that is, click here.) I went by Sunday evening, and got to commune with a delicious burger slathered with a white cheddar aioli. So wrong, yet so right. Hours are adjusting a little bit: since it’s so damn dark so damn early, dinner service on Sunday and Monday will start at 5pm. You can also swing by for “happy hour” service, which is Fri-Sat 4:30pm-8pm. 2379 Mission St. at 20th St.

This could be dangerous news: ~WISE SONS DELI~ is now offering free delivery for breakfast and lunch (does not include catering) through TCB Courier for a $45 minimum in the Mission (approximately 45-60 minutes). There is a $5 delivery fee for downtown (approximately 90 minutes). Check out the map here. Call 415-787-DELI to order.

File this one in the developing folder: it seems ~SOLSTICE~ is currently in lease negotiations with their landlord. Things are a bit up in the air, so stand by for news about the fate of the location (although their lease does extend through May). 2801 California St. at Divisadero, 415-359-1222.

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The front seating at Cocotte. Photo courtesy Cocotte.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, ~HYDE STREET BISTRO~ has become ~COCOTTE~. The owners, Aurore Martinez and Mikael Audry, remain the same, but they’ve revamped the spot to be more French rustic. The front now opens to the street, providing a neat spot to sit on a nice day and watch the cable cars and people go by.

The menu focuses on classic French dishes, with roast chicken as a particular highlight. Bwok. They’ve also got a nice family-style rotisserie to-go menu for those of you needing a quick dinner plan. Open Wed-Mon 5:30pm-10pm. 1521 Hyde St. at Jackson, 415-292-4415.

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The McCrory’s clan’s soda bread. Photo courtesy Andytown.

There’s a new coffee roaster in town, or will be soon. ~ANDYTOWN~ is coming to the Outer Sunset, hopefully in the summer of 2013. The owners are husband and wife Michael McCrory and Lauren Crabbe. They’ve both got a well-caffeinated pedigree: he worked at Java Beach and helped open Beachside Café, and she’s worked at Hollow and Trouble Coffee, and was most recently lead barista at Blue Bottle’s Ferry Building location.

They’ll be roasting their own coffee on a tiny roaster in-house, and serving food inspired by McCrory’s childhood in Belfast, Ireland (recipes are in development now—check out that soda bread!). The name of the spot is taken from the neighborhood he grew up in, and they’ll be using his family recipes, made with California ingredients. They are also applying for a beer and wine license. They’ve only just signed the lease, so details are still emerging, but we’ll keep you updated as they get closer to opening up. 3655 Lawton St. at 43rd Ave.

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

Some closures around town: a reader sent me this “final note” from the first-time owners at ~JAKE’S ON MARKET~. Yup, some customers were nice, and others can shove it. The restaurant closed last week. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez.

Also in the Castro, Eater mentions the Cuban ~CHAN CHAN~ closed November 30th. 4690 18th St. at Clover.

Over in the Excelsior, seems the weekly pop-up ~PIZANS ITALIAN SEAFOOD~ and ~DOCTOR’S LOUNGE~ have gone their separate ways, and not very harmoniously. Pizans mentions they will be in North Beach next. 4826 Mission St. at France, 415-586-9730.

And this is just a temporary closure: Hayeswire mentions ~MOMI TOBY’S REVOLUTION CAFÉ & ART BAR~ in Hayes Valley has new owners, and they are closing the café for some renovations. The new owners seem very keen to keep the vibe the same, although they will be tweaking a few menu items (making it more seasonal) and changing the coffee supplier. Momi Toby’s should reopen around Monday December 17th or thereabouts. 528 Laguna St. at Hayes, 415-626-1508.

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La Cocina’s 2011 Gift Bazaar. Photo from Facebook.

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Looking to spend some of your holiday shopping money somewhere local? There’s no better spot than at the ~LA COCINA~ Gift Bazaar at the Crocker Galleria on Friday December 7th. Support local artisans and producers, and stock up on all sorts of delicious goodies to gift or just serve at your holiday party. There will be a raffle for all sorts of edible prizes, plus live music. Oh, and best of all: yours truly will be there, selling my awesome vintage T-shirts and books. Come by, say hello, and take a look at these bad boys. They were specially selected to be soft, comfortable, and well fitting. Yeah, I like to keep you lookin’ and feelin’ good. The bazaar is free and runs from 1pm-7pm. 50 Post St. at Montgomery.

Then, on Saturday December 8th, head down to ~SPEAKEASY~ for Indie Mart. From 12pm-6pm, more than 45 vendors and food trucks will congregate to hawk their locally produced wares, plus there will be workshops, a “dirty Santa” booth (goodness), and DJs playing music. And obviously you can get yourself some beer to sip on too. The event is free, and there are $3 shuttles that will take you straight there from various locations around town; check the website for details. 1195 Evans Ave. at Keith.

Lastly, save the date: on Saturday December 15th, ~THENWBLK~ (that’s “The New Black”), an abfab retail environment (think furnishings, fashion, and more) in the Mission will be hosting a holiday pop-up, BLK Saturday, and tablehopper has curated some local edibles to be part of the partay! You’ll be able to pick up treats from Starter Bakery, Socola Chocolates, Nana Joes Granola, the brand-new Sideshow from Nicole Plue, and more! Tango & Stache will be slinging tacos (11pm-4pm), and there will be bubbles and musique! Be sure to come on by for some swell holiday gifts (and partying). 10am-6pm. 1999 Bryant St. at 18th St.

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The corned beef Reuben from Old World Food Truck. Photo via Facebook.

Hanukkah is December 8th-16th this year, bringing light and Jewish comfort food into the darkest time of the year. Oh yeah, and the dreidel song! To celebrate, join the ~OLD WORLD FOOD TRUCK~ at Coffee Bar for special pop-up dinners on Saturday December 8th and Sunday December 9th at 6pm. Tickets are $55, and wine pairings are available for an additional $15. 1890 Bryant St. at Mariposa.

~BAKER & BANKER~ will also be doing special Hanukkah dinners this year. From Tuesday December 11th through Sunday December 16th, they’ll be serving a special four-course Hanukkah menu, available as a prix fixe for $55, or à la carte. Wine pairings are available for an additional $35. Prices do not include tax or tip, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 415-351-2500.

Want to host your own Hanukkah dinner but don’t have time to grate a ton of potatoes and braise a brisket for a gajillion hours? ~WISE SONS DELI~ has a special Hanukkah catering menu, available beginning Friday December 7th. Check out the menu and preorder here.

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The Kronner Burger. Photo via Facebook.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, Chris Kronner (previously of Bar Tartine, Serpentine, Slow Club) has launched a pop-up next door to Bruno’s with his rather notorious burger. He’ll also be burgering up a storm at a party at ~BAR TARTINE~ on Monday December 10th. From 11am-10pm, you can stop by for a burger, fries, and a milk shake (with ice cream from Humphry Slocombe no less). The party is a benefit for the Conductive Education Center of San Francisco, and there will also be a raffle with some pretty sweet prizes, like a dinner for eight at Bar Tartine or a dinner for six at Tacolicious. Burgers are $10, or get a burger with a shake for $15. Raffle tickets are $5 each, or five for $20. You can check out the full list of prizes and buy raffle tickets and food tickets here, or at the event.

On Thursday December 6th and Friday December 7th, Iso Rabins of the Wild Kitchen and ~FORAGESF~ will be putting on two Holiday Underground Dinners. The menu will feature local foods, with a focus on the wild and foraged variety, with wine pairings from Two Mile Wine. The full menu and tickets can be found here. The dinner begins at 6:30pm and costs $150, including wine. 2128 Folsom St. at 17th St.

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A “fish cutter” sandwich at Miss Ollie’s. Photo via Facebook.

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One of the dining tables at Miss Ollie’s at a test dinner. Photo via Facebook.

Great news: Sarah Kirnon opens ~MISS OLLIE’S~ today (December 4th) in Swan’s Market in Old Oakland. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, Kirnon named the project after her grandmother, and the concept is a lot like the “one-stop shops” of her native Barbados. She’s launching with lunch to start, until her full liquor license kicks in.

Menu items include a chopped salad (with hearts of palm, cucumber, avocado, radishes, hen egg, red onions); Creole ham with sweet potato salad, olives, capers, and aioli; lamb patties; salt fish and ackee with plantains; and piri piri pork shoulder. Lunch specials include her famous fried chicken on Tuesdays, curry goat on Wednesdays, oxtail on Thursdays, and fish on Fridays. Can’t wait to check it out—Kirnon knows how to rock some serious flava. Mon-Fri 11:30am-3:30pm. 901 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-285-6188.

Kirnon is going to have a nice neighbor at Swan’s Market, Romney Steele, the author of My Nepenthe and Plum Gorgeous, and known for opening Café Kevah at Nepenthe in Big Sur. According to Diablo Dish, Steele is going to be opening ~THE COOK AND HER FARMER~, a “café, oyster, and wine bar” with her partner Steven D. Day (the farmer in the name). There will be po’boys, big salads, and some dishes that nod to Day’s Memphis roots (like black-eyed peas with ham hock). Look for an opening in the spring of 2013.

And since we’re at it, ~ROSAMUNDE~ is still targeting December to open its location in the former Suruki space. 911 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland.

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Mani Niall’s cookies at Sweet Bar Bakery. Photo from website.

Some additional openings in Oakland: East Bay Dish reports ~VICTORY BURGER~ is now open (the owner is Sal Bednarz, who also owns Actual Cafe next door). The Victory Burger has a Five Dot Ranch patty on an Acme kaiser roll with lettuce, grilled onion, and house ketchup ($8) with add-ons like chicken skin mayo (ay yi yi) and Inna Jam jalapeño jam. The menu isn’t just burgers: there’s a pork and egg arepa (with slow-roasted Eden Farms pork and a fried organic egg, $9), a veggie arepa (grilled plantains, sliced avocado, smoked marinated tofu, tamarind chutney, and slaw, $8), and roast chicken banh mi (with pulled roast chicken on an Acme torpedo roll with veggie slaw, raw jalapeños, fish sauce, and chicken skin mayo, $8). Open for lunch Wed-Sat 11am-3pm; dinner service should start in the next few weeks.
 1099 Alcatraz Ave. at College, Oakland, 510-653-8322.

The long-awaited ~SWEET BAR BAKERY~ from Mani Niall has opened on Broadway in Uptown. He’s known for Mani’s Bakery in Los Angeles, and he also was the executive chef at Just Desserts up here (oh yeah, and he was also Michael Jackson’s personal chef). To recap, the space used to be a sweets shop called MacFarlane’s Candy and Ice Cream from 1946 to 1976. Niall will serve baked goods and coffee in the morning, sandwiches in the afternoon, and beer and wine until 11pm. He wanted to create a space that is all about coffeehouse culture, where you can read the paper over a pumpkin-cranberry muffin or hang out with friends over a glass of wine (gotta love the big windows here).

Sweet Bar Bakery is an American bakery with everything made in-house, and there are plenty of gluten-free and vegan options. Be sure to look for his classic chocolate-dipped peanut butter cupcake and peach cornmeal upside-down cake (when peaches are back in season). Sweet Bar Bakery is featuring espresso from Oakland’s Mr. Espresso; the savory menu includes grilled panini, flatbreads, wine, and a local microbrew beer selection. Open Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 8am-6pm (hours will extend later on). 2355 Broadway at 24th St., Oakland, 510-788-4997.

Chowhound brings word of ~HOT POT HOUSE~, which is from the same owner of Spices 3 across the street (but no relation to Spices! I and II in San Francisco). Hot pot season is definitely here. 370-372 12th St. at Webster, 510-251-2662.

If you haven’t been able to make it over to ~FUSEBOX~ in West Oakland (like me), then this info of their Saturday dinner service should be welcome news. Starting Sataurday December 8th, dinner will be served 5:30pm-9pm. Call for a reservation. 2311A Magnolia St. at 24th St., Oakland, 510-444-3100.

One more item: ~PLUM BAR~ is now open for lunch on Monday; take a peek at the menu here. New hours are Mon-Fri 11am-close. 2216 Broadway at Grand, Oakland, 510-444-7586.

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The bar at Bull Valley Roadhouse. Photo by Darcey Swanson via Facebook.

There were Internet rumors last week that ~BOILERHOUSE~ in Richmond was closing and had new owners, but when contacted, the restaurant said that ownership would stay the same and they’d be closing on December 7th for a month and a half of remodeling.

Well, that’s certainly not the case. The Contra Costa Times (via Inside Scoop) reports that Richard Mazzera, of César, has purchased the spot and will be reopening it as ~ASSEMBLE~. They’ll be remodeling and creating a catering space so groups and private parties can take full advantage of the seriously special view. Mazzera says they’re hoping to reopen in mid-January and that they’re still interviewing kitchen staff. 1414 Harbour Way at Cutting, Richmond.

A little farther east, in Port Costa (which is totally worth a visit, if you’ve never checked it out), is the new ~BULL VALLEY ROADHOUSE~, from David William and Justine Kelly. Erik Adkins of the Slanted Door did the cocktails, which are focused on American classics. The menu has lots of comfortable pub fare and changes seasonally. They’re also associated with the Burlington Hotel next door, so make a weekend of it and really let yourself enjoy those drinks. 14 Canyon Lake Dr. at Erskine, Port Costa, 510-787-1135.