July 30, 2013

July 30, 2013
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Seating at Cavalier. Photo by Lauri Levenfeld.

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The Cavalier team, ready to wine and dine you: chef Jennifer Puccio, James Nicholas, and Anna Weinberg. Photo: Lauri Levenfeld Photography.

After sign-off from the health department this week, Anna Weinberg and Jennifer Puccio (Marlowe, Park Tavern)—partnering with Weinberg’s husband James Nicholas—will be opening the doors to their most recent project, ~THE CAVALIER~, this Friday August 2nd. As mentioned previously on tablehopper, the team at Ken Fulk designed the inviting space (it’s in the Viceroy Hotel Group’s new downtown property, Hotel Zetta—formerly the Milano).

Here’s the first look at the menu, which is very London-inspired brasserie meets gastropub. The menu is flexible (do you just want a bite, or are you totally hangry?), and includes lamb scrumpets, a duck Scotch egg, Welsh rarebit soufflé, plus some lighter starters, like a farro salad or prawns with Marie Rose sauce. Larger plates include fish and chips, a rib-eye, and a variety of pies (like wild mushroom), and a couple of items off the rotisserie, including leg of lamb.

The cocktail menu has a Pimm’s Cup and a Royal G&T (perfect after a day of shopping), plus some “Club Cocktails,” from places like The Savoy in London (the White Lady), while the “Colony Cocktails” include a rum punch and East Indies Sling (Bombay Sapphire gin, sweet vermouth, lemon, Fernet Branca, and maraschino).

Ken Fulk has created an eye-catching space that evokes English fox hunts and pubs, with a touch of bohemian 1960s London. There are a variety of different areas, starting with the all-day bar area (the Blue Bar) in the front with room for 45. It will transition well from light-filled mornings to after-work drinks to a bite in the evening. You can plunk down in the comfortable leather banquette while the taxidermy animal heads peer from overhead, or have a seat at the loooong 27-seat zinc bar.

Pass through a set of stable-style doors into the 45-seat dining room, which offers a more formal setting, with tones of loden green and huntsman red (to go with the fox hunt scene hand-painted on the walls) and sleek brass and silk light fixtures. The team paid very careful attention to customizing the lighting—while the room will have a dark, clubby feeling, guests (and their plates) will be in a warm glow.

There is also a skinny space (the Rail Car) with 14 tables—it has the sensibility of a railroad’s dining car, complete with brass luggage racks overhead (where you can stow your Bloomingdale’s shopping bags) and eclectic artwork. It’s cozy and shiny, with long, tufted banquette seating—the light-filled room is sure to be in demand for lunch.

Coming soon will be the speakeasy-ish salon, Marianne’s (named after Weinberg’s favorite British style icon, Marianne Faithfull), accessed through a separate entrance—or, for those in the know, via a secret door. The space (dimly lit, natch) will feature club chairs and Moroccan touches and little nooks. Fulk says, “I admit that I had ulterior motives while designing this space. Our studio is just a few blocks away so I imagined a place that I could thoroughly enjoy. I could see myself having breakfast meetings here or just reading a magazine in one of the corner booths.”

Hours for now are dinner only 5:30pm-11pm (bar opens at 5pm). From October 1st onward, breakfast will be served in the Blue Bar (7am-10:30am), and lunch will be added as well (11:30am-2:30pm); the Blue Bar will also have an all-day menu available. 360 Jessie St. at 5th St., 415-321-6000.

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The interior of inoVino. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

Here is your first look at ~INOVINO~, the upcoming wine bar and enoteca opening in about a month or so in Cole Valley (in the former Hama-Ko). As previously noted in tablehopper, owner Claudio Villani was the wine director at Perbacco, so you can expect some great (read: very drinkable) Italian wines to be poured, with a particular focus on Alpine and volcanic wines of Italy. These are going to be wines that also offer an excellent value, ranging in price from $25-$50 per bottle. (Villani will also include a small selection of Californian and French wines.) You can explore the wines in 3- and 6-ounce pours, plus 12-ounce carafes and flights (the 6-ounce price will range from $8-13).

But it’s not just a wine bar, no signore. This enoteca is going to have quite a number of delicioso things to eat, starting with an array of crudi, a variety of toppings on crostone and bruschette, and hello, three different presentations of mozzarella (all these items will be available as single items, or in flights for the ultimate in grazing). There will also be a couple of panini, and a choice selection of cheeses and salumi, plus two or three piatti del giorno, featuring plates like baked pastas and braised meats. You can take a first look at the preliminary menu here—some items may change, but it should give you a good idea of what’s coming.

As you can see, the look is contemporary and very clean, with a Carrara marble bar, sleek metal wine racks along the wall, and some splashes of red from the lighting. There are also vintage Italian black-and-white photographs on the wall, which give the modern look a bit of throwback glamour. Eventually, the plan is to add two large wooden tables to the center of the dining room to create a warm, communal dining area for groups. The enoteca seats 30, and there will be five tables outside eventually, permits pending.

The plan is to open at the end of August or beginning of September. inoVino will be open at 4:30pm every day except Monday, and will eventually start lunch on Sat-Sun. 108 Carl St. at Cole.

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Photo of Corey Lee by Blair Sneddon Photography.

A couple of months ago, I heard a rumor that culinary badass Corey Lee of Benu had a new project in the works (actually two—we shall see). The first one has been partially revealed through an ABC license that points to a location in Hayes Valley (it’s a new building and buildout—so I am assuming it’s going to be the restaurant in the new 300 Ivy project). Based on a rendering I saw awhile back for the mixed-use project, the restaurant space is slated to be 2,900 square feet. The DBA (which could be temporary) is Monsieur Benjamin. Scoop caught up with Lee, who isn’t revealing any details right now (the deal isn’t final just yet). But Corey Lee + full liquor = intriguing. Very. 451 Gough St. at Ivy.

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The many, many salad topping options at Blue Barn. Photo via Facebook.

Two years ago, we mentioned that popular salad (and sandwich) shop, ~BLUE BARN GOURMET~, was opening a second location in the former Yabbie’s Coastal Kitchen on Polk. Since the team (Sam Josi, Nate Valentine, and Stryker Scales) has their latest project (Padrecito in Cole Valley) up and running, it’s now time to release the salads: Blue Barn Gourmet on Polk is due to open on Tuesday August 6th.

The space is a lot larger than the original on Chestnut Street—there will be 44 seats plus 9 at the wine bar—look for some outdoor seating to come later too. Partner Nate Valentine said he wants it to be more of a space where people can sit and enjoy their meal over a glass of wine, while the Chestnut location is more grab-and-go. The opening menu will be pretty similar to the Chestnut location, with some additions later, like maybe a few proteins. We originally mentioned in tablehopper that there was going to be rotisserie chicken, and that still remains a possibility. There are local beers and wines (five reds, five whites), and all the wines are made by people the team personally knows. Initial hours are Tue-Sun 11am-8pm, and will be adjusted as needed (Mondays will be added later too). Follow their web page for confirmation on the opening before heading over. 2237 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-655-9438.

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Rancho Gordo’s new shingle at the Ferry Building Marketplace. Photo via Facebook.

Congrats to Steve Sando on opening his ~RANCHO GORDO~ shop in the Ferry Building Marketplace (in space 14)—according to Facebook, today is the soft opening. As we mentioned earlier, the shop will give Sando the opportunity to offer some additional products without the California-grown restriction of the farmers’ market, so look out for additional bean varieties grown in Mexico, as well as clay cooking pots, tortillas made from heirloom corn, and chiles. Hubba.

The third ~COFFEE BAR~ location we mentioned a few weeks ago is now open on Kearny. 433 Kearny St. at Pine.

As mentioned in last week’s tablehopper,~ALIMENT~ was due to open soon on Bush Street. According to posts on Yelp and Eater, it’s now open; Yelpers mention twists on classic American dishes like fried chicken, hanger steak, short ribs, plus spaetzle and a kale salad. Since the owners seem to want details to remain sparse on this one, that’s all we’ve got. 786 Bush St. at Mason.

I am kind of fired up to try ~RICE VALLEY SHANGHAI BISTRO~ in Sunnyside, which Chowhounders mention has replaced China Wok. The xiao long bao get a shout-out, so that’s enough for me to want to check this one out soon. 667 Monterey Blvd. at Gennessee, 415-494-5048.

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Tim Archuleta “directs” traffic at their new space. Photo courtesy ICHI Sushi.

Per the news we broke back in November, Tim and Erin Archuleta of ~ICHI SUSHI~ are opening a second location in Bernal, just across the street from their current one. They just got the final stamp on all their construction permits (woo!), and we have an update today on their plans for both spaces.

The original ICHI location, at 3369 Mission Street, was originally slated to become omakase-only. However, they were able to fit an omakase counter into the new location (more on that later), so now the plan is to turn the original location into a raw bar. They’ll offer oysters, clams, crab, mussels, and some other small bites that will be different from those offered at the new location. Tim is planning an expedition to eat around Tokyo in a few weeks to get some ideas on how to craft the menu. There will be expanded beer and wine offerings on tap, plus a heftier sake list. They are also planning on doing special sake and winemaker events out of the 23-seat space. The name will change, as well, though to what is yet to be determined.

As for the new location, at 3282 Mission Street, it will be called ~ICHI SUSHI + NI BAR~ (“ichi” means one in Japanese; “ni” means two). There will be a 30-seat sushi bar in front, plus an omakase bar that is available by reservation only, and the NI bar in the back. They’ll have a full kitchen, with the ability to serve hot izakaya dishes. They’ll start off with a beer and wine license, but full liquor and a cocktail program will come later. Look for a wide selection of sake, plus well-curated beer and wine options. They’ll be serving snacks and izakaya dishes (though not sushi) at the NI Bar for those waiting for tables. And hey, this is great news: they’ll be able to accept reservations and make room for larger groups in the new space too.

They’ve gotten some feedback that people are afraid the restaurant will change too much, but they are really working hard to keep the soul of the place the same. Lifebox Studios is the architect, and they are keeping the interior playful and sweet, just with a little more room and a larger kitchen. They’re commissioning local artists for the interior walls, as well, though that hasn’t been finalized quite yet. BALI Construction is doing the buildout, and they are aiming for a late fall opening. Tim Archuleta and sous chef Erik Aplin will head up the new location, while Erin will be running the show with the kitchen crew at the original. Also note that the original location will be closing for a quick remodel once the new spot opens up—we’ll let you know when all that happens! 3282 Mission St. at 29th St.

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Wise Sons and De La Paz at the Jewish Contemporary Museum. Photo from Facebook.

Sandwich mavens Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman of ~WISE SONS DELI~ have opened a brand-new sandwich counter inside the Contemporary Jewish Museum in SoMa. The space, which opened on Friday July 26th, offers their signature sandwich meats, including hot pastrami and roasted brisket, available as classic (just meat and bread), Reuben, or #19 (coleslaw, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing). The menu is rounded out with salads and matzo ball soup; take a look at the full menu here. All ordering is done at the counter, then you take your seat, and you’ll have to go through the museum’s security line to get in (admission not required). You can also order at the window, and eat outside on the patio. Hours are Fri-Tue 11am-4pm, Thu 1pm-4pm (closed Wed), and the takeout window is open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm. 736 Mission St. at 3rd St., 415-655-7887.

They are sharing the space with De La Paz Coffee, making this the first café to open since Four Barrel took over that brand (you’ll start seeing the new De La Paz blends and spiffy packaging around town, like at Stable). They’re pulling espresso for now, and will be adding pour-over specials; look for some upcoming custom blends (currently being discussed: a Bubbie’s Blend). Open daily 11am-4pm (hours will extend soon). 415-525-4344.

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Bao o’clock at Wing Lee. Yelp photo by Mark C.

Chowhounders are fired up with the news that ~CHAMPA GARDEN~ is opening a location in San Francisco’s Ingleside neighborhood. The Laotian restaurant is most known for its rice ball salad and noodle soups. Chowhounders report that the owners had hoped to open sooner, but it looks like the space needs more work than they anticipated. We’ll keep an eye out and let you know what’s happening. 613 Faxon Ave. at Ocean.

Looks like cheap Clement Street dim sum purveyor (and home of one of my favorite baked chashu pork buns) ~WING LEE~ (at 501 and 503 Clement) is looking to open in the former Chapeau! space, and is trying to expand the space to include the former retail store next door (124 Clement St.) as well. Stand by for what this means (and if the original locations will stay as they are). Looks like I need to go get some baked barbecue pork buns and find out. Heh. 124 and 126 Clement St. at 2nd Ave., 415-668-9481.

Incoming! Castro Biscuit mentions this Thursday August 1st is the day we’ll learn if Les Natali gets approval from the city to finally reopen ~THE PATIO~—the Bay Area Reporter released the news months back that Natali didn’t have the necessary permit for an addition that flanks the sidewalk (it was formerly a retail space) and needed to get approval on a conditional use permit. We’ll see soon enough if the classic brunch space (which has been closed since 1999) will be one step closer to reopening. 531 Castro St. at 18th St.

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A Kitchenette spin on a cheesesteak. Photo via Facebook.

Popular Dogpatch lunch spot, ~KITCHENETTE~, closed back in May for a “restructuring.” While we have all been anxiously awaiting the return of the Dogpatch Millionaire sandwich to our lives, sadly, it won’t be happening anytime soon. Kitchenette was basically a roll-up lunch window off of LRE Catering’s kitchen, and the catering outfit has now moved into a bigger location. Which means Kitchenette (at least at its Dogpatch location) is no more—well, for now (its future is hazy).

Partner Douglas Monsalud has stepped away from LRE Catering to pursue a few other projects that he has percolating in his mind—in the meantime, he’s the chef in the kitchens at the Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville. I’ll just have to keep you posted on what Monsalud plans in the future. As he said in an email to me: “When I first rolled up the warehouse door in a weird industrial location on the edge of the city, I never really intended or expected the reaction that we got…I’m sure the concept could work in another incarnation. Right now I am contemplating another location…possible more ‘permanent’ and if I do open I will definitely make it a little more ‘realized’ concept with more offerings and a new personality.” So that’s that. Thanks for all the great sandwiches! 958 Illinois St. at 20th St.

I was very sorry to read shortly after last week’s column went out that ~O CHAMÉ~ in Berkeley was closing after 23 years of serving its delicious, heartfelt, and clean Japanese cuisine. Scoop reports chef-owner David Vardy is working on a new business, designing porcelain ovens that cook like a wood-fired oven. As for who is moving into the space, we’ll find out soon, but it’s reportedly someone Vardy respects, so that’s good. 1830 4th St. at Hearst, Berkeley.

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The outdoor area at All Good Pizza. Yelp photo by Mark C.

On Saturday August 17th, ~NAKED KITCHEN~ wil be hosting chef Val Cantu’s Californios dinner. The dinner features modern Mexican cuisine from the Sons & Daughters alum, with seven courses and an opening cocktail from Mo Hodges of Big; check out the menu here. There are seatings at 6pm and 9pm, and each is limited to 10 people, so get your tickets now. The dinner costs $87, and is BYOB. 945 Valencia St. at 20th St.

On Sunday August 4th, join ~ALL GOOD PIZZA~ for an afternoon pop-up market with the Bayview Mercantile. Batter Bakery will be the special guest at the event, with their shiny new ice cream cart, plus you can get pizza, local jam, Earl’s Bread and Brittle, and wine, all from merchants in the Bayview neighborhood. The party runs from 11am-4pm. 1605 Jerrold Ave. at 3rd St., 415-846-6960.

Don’t miss another fabulous (and miraculously not sold out) event from Tartine Afterhours, Franny’s Crostini Extravaganza and Book Signing on Wednesday July 31st at ~TARTINE~ from 8pm-11pm. Franny Stephens and Andrew Feinberg, the authors of Franny’s: Simple Seasonal Italian and owners of Franny’s Brooklyn, will be on hand, signing books and slinging crostini. Tickets are $35 for just a ticket and $65 with a book. 600 Guerrero St. at 16th St., 415-487-2600.

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The communal table, overhead branch, and window-counter seating at Namu Gaji. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

The final installment in the Outside Lands Summer Pairings series is upon us, this time at ~NAMU GAJI~, with pairings of Magnolia Beer. On Sunday August 4th, enjoy a four-course dinner that includes duck ramen and suckling pig sisig, along with three pints of Magnolia’s delicious brews. The dinner with pairings costs $50 per person, not including tax and tip, and is available from 5pm-10pm. Please note that the regular Namu Gaji menu will not be offered. Reservations can be made through the restaurant’s website or via Urbanspoon.

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The Taste Talks teaching kitchen. Photo courtesy San Francisco Cooking School.

On Thursday August 8th, the ~SAN FRANCISCO COOKING SCHOOL~ will start its new Taste Talks with a night of discussion from pastry chefs called Stepping Out: The 21st-Century Pastry Chef. The evening opens with an open coffee and cookie bar from Pietisserie and Feve Artisan Chocolatier at 8pm, followed by a panel discussion at 8:45pm moderated by John Birdsall. Panelists include pastry whizzes Michelle Polzine (20th Century Café), William Werner (Craftsman & Wolves), and Belinda Leong (b. Patisserie). Tickets are $20, and the event runs from 8pm-10pm. 690 Van Ness Ave. at Turk, 415-346-2665.

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Homestead’s Liz and Fred Sassen, ready to host you. Photo via Facebook.

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A rendering of the upcoming Trabocco space.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, ~HOMESTEAD~ was going to be opening soon in Oakland, and the time is now: the restaurant is scheduled to open for dinner this Thursday August 1st. UPDATE: They moved the opening to August 7th. You can read the original details here, and the menu is now live. You can check out a nice slide show on Eater as well—it’s a good-looking spot (it’s in a Julia Morgan-designed building, hello). Dinner will be served Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm. 4029 Piedmont Ave. at 40th St., Oakland, 510-420-6962.

A few weeks ago we reported on the unfortunate closure of Oakland’s ~RICO’S DINER~, but What the Fork got wind of some good news: the joint is going to be reopening as ~RICO’S HI LIFE~. Pizza, gourmet sandwiches, and wine and beer are on the menu from Claudia Cabrera (Pi Bar), and get this: the plan is to be open late, serving until 2am Thu-Sat, with slices until 2:30am through a takeout window (until they’re gone). The same diner look remains, with a few pinball machines added. The opening is this Friday August 2nd. 400 15th St. at Franklin.

Alameda is going to get a new Italian restaurant: ~TRABOCCO~, from Giuseppe Naccarelli and his wife Christine. Naccarelli, a chef with Il Fornaio, will take over the 4,700-square-foot space in the plaza of the South Shore Center this fall. The plan is to serve housemade pasta and bread, pizzas from a wood-burning oven, and roasted meats and fish. Naccarelli hails from the Abruzzo region of Italy, and looks forward to combining his culinary heritage with the ingredients available in California. The name, which refers to a special fishing pier unique to the Adriatic coastline of Abruzzo, is also a reflection of Naccarelli’s heritage.

The restaurant, designed by Lev Weisbach, will be quite big, with room for 90 in the main dining room, 30 at the bar, and a private room for 16. There will also be a large heated patio that will seat 56. A tower area will get to ceiling heights of 35 feet, with a skylight and large exhibition kitchen. The restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner, plus brunch on weekends. There will also be a special happy hour menu with smaller bites and snacks for sharing. South Shore Center at Shoreline Dr., Alameda.

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