April 16, 2013

April 16, 2013

Sangria; photo © 2013 FrankenyImages.com.


The communal table in the main dining room (during an opening party). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Open as of Saturday April 13th is ~COQUETA~, the stylish new Spanish concept from chef Michael Chiarello on Pier 5. The former Lafitte now has a rustic-chic look by architects Alberto Rivera and Michael Guthrie (complete with cowhide rugs and leather banquettes), views of the water, and an outdoor, glass-enclosed terrace room (called Bar 5) that is reserved for walk-ins hungry for tapas and cocktails. The primary space allows for bites at the 10-seat tapas bar, or groups can enjoy family-style dining in the main dining room (called the “cocina”), either at the communal table or regular tables (which are a bit taller than usual so you can enjoy the views). There are also 16 seats on the patio. I had a chance to speak with Chiarello’s wife, Eileen, who mentioned they were looking for the right spot for a couple of years.

The open kitchen includes a custom wood-fired grill that will be put to use to prepare hot tapas like grilled razor clams ($14), duck albóndigas ($11), and calçots (which Chiarello is having grown especially for the restaurant). Chef Ryan McIlwraith is also making larger family-style dishes like fideuà (vermicelli pasta cooked like paella with shrimp and lomo Iberico, $24) and fabada Asturiana (fabada bean stew from Asturias with chorizo, pork belly, and morcilla, $24)—look for regional dishes from Madrid, Catalonia, the Basque country, and beyond. Take a look at the menu (and cocktail list) here!

The wine list has plenty of Spanish and California selections, plus an extensive small-production sherry collection. There’s a lot of buzz about the inventive cocktail list—created by Joe Cleveland (who previously worked for José Andrés)—with selections ranging from gin and tonics to sangria. Open nightly for dinner; Coqueta will launch their bar menu and hours this Saturday (from 3pm-5pm) and lunch starts on Monday (hours will be 11:30am-3pm) .


El Delfín’s storefront. Photo courtesy La Movida.


Construction at La Movida. Photo courtesy La Movida.

So there is some action going down on 24th Street in the Mission that we’ve had to keep under our hat the past month, but now we can release the hounds. Not only is ~PAL’S TAKEAWAY~ moving, but it’s joining a new project at a new location: ~LA MOVIDA~, a restaurant and community kitchen serving small plates and wine. The project comes from Michael Meadows and will be taking over the former El Delfín space, whose owners decided to retire and move to Mexico to enjoy their golden years. The food, which comes from consulting chef Larry Piaskowy of 15 Romolo and Bar Jars, will be seasonal and designed to share, with a focus on some of the neighborhood’s unique offerings. Tamales will be made in-house with masa from La Palma and bread pudding made from ingredients by Jelly Donut (fingers crossed that means day-old donut bread pudding). During the day, lunch will be from Jeff Mason and Pal’s Takeaway, which will be able to stretch out into the larger space and expand their menu, plus offer seating for dine-in customers.

The beverage program will focus on wines from California, with some Oregon and Washington bottles in the mix, as well. There will be 12 wines on tap, with an additional 50 available by the bottle. For beer, you’ll find 3 local brews on tap, plus 15 by the bottle.

The space, which is currently under construction, is designed by Carolyn Rubuffel and will include plenty of space for new, start-up businesses to utilize the community kitchen. Eventually, they hope to offer classes through neighborhood organizations out of the kitchen, in addition to pop-up meals and events. Right now, they’re aiming for a June 10th opening, though construction can be tricky. We’ll keep you updated! 3066 24th St. at Treat, 415-425-2392.


Tacos at Don Pisto’s (photo from website).


The Steps of Rome Caffe. Photo from Yelp.

As noted in the Scoop: ~NICO’S TACOS~ has shuttered. What they didn’t report is who is taking it over: none other than the very busy Pete Mrabe of Don Pisto’s. He will be opening ~PISTO’S TACOS~ in its place on Thursday May 2nd, and taking all but one or two of the tacos off the menu at Don Pisto’s. He said it’s getting too hard for the busy upstairs kitchen to keep up with the taco orders along with everything else—look for a new “taqueria” section on the Don Pisto’s menu, which will have one or two tacos, and other dishes, like street corn. There will now be a raw bar, with more oysters, ceviches, and cured and smoked items as well.

At the new 35-seat taqueria, Mrabe will be serving small, spicy, street-style tacos with charred meat, about 10 meats in all, from lengua to grilled chicken to suadero (brined and braised brisket) to al pastor. Most of the tacos will ring in at $2, with a few at $2.80. All the tacos will come with two hand-pressed tortillas, and there will also be a smaller version of the Pisto’s burger (for $4), burritos on handmade flour tortillas for $5.50, housemade tamales, and about 40 beers (plus micheladas and potent wine-based margaritas). Hours to start will be nightly 5pm-11pm; lunch coming soon. 1310 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.

More North Beach news: owners of Vicoletto, Francesco Covucci and Peter Fazio, are taking over the Steps of Rome Caffe location, according to the Inside Scoop. They will be opening ~IL CASARO PIZZERIA AND MOZZARELLA BAR~ (casaro means “cheesemaker/dairyman” in Italian), serving Italian mozzarella, burrata, plus pizzas and panuozzo, a sandwich made with pizza dough. 348 Columbus Ave. at Grant.


The bar at Seaglass. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.


Saline clouds in the bar at Seaglass. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.


The seating and view at Seaglass. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

In case you live under a rock (or just love the molecular makeup of rocks), the Exploratorium has reopened in its new digs on Pier 15. A lot has been written about the move, including an article in The New York Times, but we’re here to tell you all about the eating and drinking that can be done in the mecca to all things science.

For your consideration: ~SEAGLASS RESTAURANT~, which, like the rest of the food at the museum, comes from local chef Loretta Keller and her partner, Clay Reynolds, of COCO500. The food is approachable and family-friendly, as is to be expected, but includes some great touches that adults can enjoy too. The space is situated in the back of the museum space, right on the water, and has pretty fantastic bay views. There is a long raw bar where you can slurp down some oysters, plus a cocktail or two, and the bar itself contains a watery exhibit you should definitely check out.

In the food department, there are a variety of sandwiches, salads, quesadillas, and tacos made with seasonally changing ingredients, plus Keller’s fried green beans and “living foods” like kimchi, sauerkraut, and Japanese pickles will make for scientifically interesting accompaniments. The restaurant has the same hours as the museum: Fri-Tue 10am-5pm, Wed 10am-10pm, Thu 10am-5pm and 6pm-10pm.


Heyday. Yelp photo by Craig V.

Now open in FiDi is ~HEYDAY~, a breakfast and lunch takeout place formerly mentioned here as Almanac—eventually you can even swing by for take-home dinners. Grub Street announces the chef is Jeremy Scheiblauer, who was at Chez Panisse Cafe for the past two years. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-3pm for now (until 7pm soon). 180 Spear St. at Howard, 415-284-4515

~THE JUICE SHOP~, which already has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it location on Union Street, has expanded with a new adorable outpost in the Financial District. The new spot opened Monday April 15th, serving organic, unpasteurized, cold-pressed juices out of the new location, which is a revamped old flower stall. There are also packages to help with juice cleanses and delivery options too. 353 Pine St. at Montgomery, 415-834-5161.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, a Mexican spot was opening in the former Jersey’s Sandwiches in the Inner Richmond. The Richmond blog announces the name is ~LA CIUDAD DE MEXICO~, and it’s now open. As we mentioned, owner Luis Bolanos was previously a manager at La Torta Gorda, so there’s a menu full of ‘em, plus other dishes. Check out the menu here. Open Mon-Fri 7am-5pm, Sun 8am-4pm. 200 6th Ave. at California.

Update on ~DANTE’S TABLE~ in the Castro for you: owner Francesco D’Ippolito informed me there has been a chef changeup. The new chef is Andrea Cesca, previously the pizzaiolo at Cotogna. They are hoping to open next week. (Previous posts here and here.) 544 Castro St. at 19th St.


Al’s Beef: that dirty beef was ordered wet, hot, and sweet. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Sean Lackey, who works at Prather Ranch and is a rockin’ home cook, is starting a pop-up. His first one (called Bite Me) will be at ~TRUCK~ on Thursday April 18th from 6pm-10pm, with plates like brined soft-boiled egg with homemade Sriracha, fried lemon, and garlic aioli, and pork and black-eyed peas with jalapeño relish. Check out the full menu here. 1900 Folsom St. at 15th St., 415-252-0306.

This Friday April 19th, head to Brisbane for a neat event with author and Greens original chef Deborah Madison. She’ll be in conversation with Margo True, the food editor at Sunset Magazine, talking about her newest book, Vegetable Literacy. After the talk, lunch will be served, highlighting some of Madison’s recipes. The event is from 11am-1pm and tickets are $45. Purcell Murray Showroom, 185 Park Ave. at Valley, Brisbane, 415-330-5557.

~NAKED KITCHEN~ is back, this time with a pop-up dinner from chefs John Paul Carmona and Andrew Burnham on Saturday April 20th. The pair worked together at Manresa, and now Carmona is busy working on his new project on the Peninsula, so this is a pretty great opportunity to check what he’s been up to. The menu features six courses, and there are two seatings, one at 6pm and the other at 9pm. The event is BYO, and tickets are $125 (includes tax and gratuity). For menu details and tickets, head here.

So Schmendricks will no longer be selling its bagels in the city, but starting next Monday April 22nd, you will be able to experience the delicious bagels from Baron Baking (did you read about them in the New York Times?) at ~SHORTY GOLDSTEIN’S~. 126 Sutter St. at Montgomery, 415-986-2676.

So this is pretty far afield for my usual tablehopper coverage, but I had to mention the legendary ~AL’S BEEF~ from Chicago is in fact coming to San Jose—in fact, it opened yesterday (Monday April 15th). Get your Italian beef on. 71 Curtner Ave., Ste. 80, San Jose, 408-380-4876.


View of Wo Hing from the mezzanine. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

A slew of closures happened while I was away the past couple of weeks; please excuse if any of this is old news for ya. First, Charles Phan has closed ~WO HING GENERAL STORE~. 584 Valencia St. at 17th St.

Also in the Mission, Eater posts that ~LOT 7~ has closed. 974 Valencia St. at 21st St.

Just as I was taking off to New Zealand, an industry friend let me know ~GUNG HO~ was closing, in spite of its can-do name. Look for Eric Ehler to pop back up with Seoul Patch soon. 680 8th St. at Brannan.

Over at the base of Potrero, Scoop noted ~PIZZA NOSTRA~ has closed. The latest update is the next incarnation will be ~KITCHEN MOJO~, with David Yeung of HRD Coffee Shop and HRD Smokin Grill coming on board. Look for an opening around May 1st, with an eclectic menu of Asian, Mediterranean, Latin, and American influences. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St.

Eater announced ~TAI CHI~ on Polk has shuttered. My ex-boyfriend was obsessed with their green beans; am sure he’s not happy with the news. Permits show the same owners of Country Sky Chinese on Steiner are taking it over (who happen to be my favorite delivery for desperation dim sum and wor wonton soup when I am sick). 2031 Polk St. at Broadway.

Also noted by Eater, ~BISTRO UNIQUE~ in Cow Hollow has closed. 1849 Union St. at Laguna.

Lastly, Chowhound mentions ~BOMBAY BAZAAR~ has left its location on South Van Ness. 245 S. Van Ness at 13th St.


Photo courtesy Tribune Tavern.


Photo courtesy Tribune Tavern.


Photo courtesy Tribune Tavern.

A report by Dana Massey-Todd. As previously noted on tablehopper, partners Chris Pastena, Temoor Noor, and Tom Henderson are bringing food and drink to the former Oakland Tribune building. The new spot, appropriately named ~TRIBUNE TAVERN~, opened Wednesday April 10th in the former “Local Room,” i.e., where local reporters used to work (but now it’s a nice tie-in to our local food ethos). The menu, from Huw Thornton (previously of A16 and SPQR) runs the gamut from seasonal small plates to T-bone and rib-eye steaks, with a lot in between. Look for smaller plates like grilled ox tongue, Monterey sardines, and fried sunchokes, and larger plates like buttermilk fried chicken, a burger, and the sausage platter (for four to five good eaters—it comes with a pitcher of beer). There’s also a special section of the menu devoted to charcuterie; take a look at the full menu here.

Paul Christensen (of Haven, Lungomare, and Plum Bar) heads the cocktail program, which sounds pretty exciting. He’ll have access to an entire, separate kitchen, which will allow for tons of housemade flourishes like sodas, bitters, tonics, and barrel-aged ingredients. There are also four white and six red wines on tap, plus 60 bottles on the wine list, with a focus on California small-production wineries. In the beer department, you’ll find eight local choices on tap, and two are exclusive cask beers from Linden Street Brewery.

The space was designed by Jim Maxwell of Architects II and focuses on highlighting the building’s rich history (it was built in 1923). Many of the space’s new details came from local designers and artisans, while others like the marble bar are original to the building and have been restored. There’s room for 150 diners inside, with a 28-seat bar and room on the patio for 14. To start, they’ll be open for dinner Sun-Thu 5pm-10:30pm and Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. Lunch and happy hour are coming soon. 401 13th St. at Franklin, Oakland, 510-452-8742.


The Build logo.


The Pizzeria Delfina logo.


The sign at Moxy. Photo via Facebook.

Opening today in Berkeley is ~BUILD PIZZERIA ROMA~, by Lisa Holt and David Shapiro of Rustic Restaurants LLC (Milliken Creek Inn & Spa in Napa, Hotel Yountville). (This is the project that previously had the name A90, until that confusing/derivative/copycat name got shut down. Although now looking at the new goldenrod Build branding, all I can think of is Pizzeria Delfina. Like, a lot.) Anyway, the concept is build-your-own, Roman-style, thin-crust pizza; there are also side dishes, craft beers (curated by Brandon Borgel), 12 Northern California wines on tap, and cocktails by Scott Beattie. The chef is Brian Langevin, most recently the executive chef at Tony Gemignani’s Pizza Rock in Sacramento. Open daily 11:30am-late; lunch coming soon. 2284 Shattuck Ave. at Bancroft, Berkeley, 510-898-1839.

Since we’re on the topic of pizza, ~A16 ROCKRIDGE~ is looking like a late May opening for now; stand by. You can refresh your memory with the project details here. 5356 College Ave. at Hudson, Oakland.

Opening this Thursday at 5pm in Berkeley is ~MOXY BEER GARDEN~, serving burgers and beer. You can read details in the former tablehopper post here. 3136 Sacramento St. at 66th St., Berkeley, 510-547-6699.

Preeti Mistry’s new ~JUHU BEACH CLUB~ has added lunch to its lineup, so now you can score some major flavor during the day too. They’ve expanded the selection of “pavs,” which are ideal for lunch because of their sandwich-y-ness. There are also salad, soup, and pav combos—check out the full lunch menu here. Lunch hours are Tue-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm.


Manny Martinez tries his hand at slicing jamón. Photo from Facebook.

We received a pretty amazing email this week from Manny Martinez, one of the sous chefs at Twenty Five Lusk, who has a heartbreaking and amazing story to share. He’s only 23 years old and has been fighting cancer for the last nine months. After going in and then back out of remission, Manny is in hospice and is planning a celebration of his life this Sunday April 21st from 1pm-8pm. His own words say it better than we can: “Here is the real reason why I am reaching out to you. Not for pity but for you to attend a day to celebrate life…to bring everyone who has made a difference in my life, for those who stood behind me in my darkest hour and the strangers who now are friends for life that have shown me the best in humanity. I welcome you, your colleagues to join us to celebrate life.”

Manny also says that he wants to hold this barbecue to raise awareness about the many young people who face cancer every year, and “to inspire them, to let them know that a diagnosis of a few days, weeks, months, should not stop you from living the life you want to live.” Read more about Manny’s story here, and check out some details about the barbecue on the event’s Facebook page, where you can also chip in to bring something and RSVP. Stay strong, Manny, and thank you for sharing your story with us! Speedway Meadows, Golden Gate Park.