April 29, 2014

April 29, 2014
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The (often crowded) patio at Hog Island Oyster Bar. Photo by Ed Anderson Photography, courtesy Hog Island Oyster Co.

Here are the first details and menus for the brand-new and expanded ~HOG ISLAND OYSTER BAR~ at the Ferry Building Marketplace, although the opening date is still a bit up in the air due to a snag with the ventilation system (it’s “early May” for now). As we previously mentioned, the popular oyster bar took over the Ferry Plaza Seafood space and has therefore doubled in size, and now has a full bar, with executive chef Christopher Laramie leading the kitchen (prior to this, he was chef and owner of Brasa and eVe in Berkeley, and his cooking background includes Blue Door in South Beach’s Delano Hotel, Everest in Chicago, and 1515 restaurant in Denver).

The menu will continue to have cult classics like the clam chowder and the grilled cheese sandwich, with new additions like an oyster po’boy on a special baguette-style roll developed with Acme Bread (a good neighbor to have), plus a spin on a Caesar salad with crispy white anchovy “croutons” and a creamy oyster-based dressing. There will even be steak frites! You’ll be able to enjoy the bay view while noshing on the house-smoked potted sturgeon and fried smelts, and of course there will be plenty of oysters (here’s an initial oyster list, plus some specials). All the seafood is sustainably raised and harvested, with many small fish that are low on the food chain, and even the produce and herbs come from their own gardener near the oyster farm in Marshall.

Designed by Cass Calder Smith Architecture, the expanded space now has 65 seats inside and 65 outside. There are three bars: a 16-seat oyster bar facing the bay, an 8-seat cocktail bar, and an 8-seat chef’s counter with mirror-reflected bay views (ooh, trippy), plus communal tables too. You’ll see lots of recycled materials, with oyster shells in the concrete and an oyster bar top by Bohemian Stoneworks, and the shelves at the cocktail bar are from an original 1880s redwood foundation at the Hog Island farm in Marshall. Nautical elements include a hull-shaped ceiling of wood and rope and kelp sculptures woven by Lina Prairie (an Inverness artist).

The cocktail list is by Scott Beattie and Michael Jack Pazdon of St. Helena’s Goose & Gander. Look for spirits from Bay Area small-batch producers and lots of fresh produce; drinks range from $10-$12. There are also West Coast wines, including a couple of custom collaborations, plus five microbrews on tap, a cider, and Boylan natural sodas (also on tap)—check out the wine and cocktail list here.

We’ll keep you posted on the actual opening date and will hopefully have some images to run next week. Happy hour will continue on Mon and Thu from 5pm-6pm, with chef’s choice of half-price oysters on the half shell (selection changes weekly), plus beer and wine specials. Hours will be Mon-Thu 11:30am-9pm, Fri 11:30am-10pm, Sat 11am-10pm, and Sun 11am-9pm. 1 Ferry Building, 415-391-7117.

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Yelp photo of Outerlands bread by Anthony M.

An update from the ~OUTERLANDS~ team: after letting go of chef Brett Cooper, owners David Muller and Lana Porcello have named a replacement: Greg Kuzia-Carmel. He is a new recruit from New York, where he worked at Thomas Keller’s Per Se and Michael White’s Altamarea Group; prior to that, he was part of the opening team at Governor in Brooklyn, and also spent time at Mugaritz in Spain and Toro in Boston. Their pastry chef, Brooke Mosley, will also be more involved in developing the savory menu, in addition to heading the newly expanded bakery program.

Outerlands has been closed while expanding into the space next door, and pending successful inspections, hopes to open within the next 10 days or so. They will open for midweek lunch next week or brunch that Saturday (May 10th), and will also offer a late afternoon/early evening bar menu. They will add dinner after a week or two. Stand by for a look at the new space and menu, hopefully by next Tuesday’s tablehopper.

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Chef Kevin Scott. Photo provided by Glodow Nead.

After hearing some rumors about who the chef was going to be for the ~BIG 4~, replacing longtime chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls, the official hire has just been named: Kevin Scott, formerly of Paragon, Bar Jules, and Hog Island Oyster Bar. He will be working with the Puccini Group operations team on the menu, which “speaks to classic San Francisco with a focus on local, Bay Area ingredients in simple and straightforward, no-fuss cuisine.” His menu officially launches May 23rd—Puccini Group’s culinary team developed an interim menu that will be further evolved by Scott now that he’s on board. Stand by for more details soon on the restaurant’s reopening, which is happening Tuesday May 6th. (I know, that’s next week!)

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You’ll find lots of housemade bitters at Dirty Habit. Photo: Eric Wolfinger.

After completing its run of preview parties for local tech companies (including Uber and Twitter), the (unfortunately named) ~DIRTY HABIT~ is opening to the public this Thursday May 1st. The former Fifth Floor in the Hotel Palomar has been converted into this bar-centric project, led by chef David Bazirgan and bar manager Brian Means. Bazirgan’s menu is focused on shareable (and very appetizing) small plates, like steamed buns with fried lamb belly and peanuts, pork croquettes with pickled mustard seeds and raita, and squash blossoms with ricotta and romesco. There are a few larger plates as well. You can look at the menu here.

As for beverages, look for some unique touches (like corn tea), barrel-aged cocktails, large-format drinks for groups, cocktails served tableside, and fun vintage glassware. The list has an emphasis on rare brown spirits, with 300-plus rare spirits and whiskeys available. Emily Wines is behind the wine list—look for some rare pours from the cellar (using Coravin). You can look at the beverage and wine list here.

The space was given a film noir-esque style, with a dark color palette. A highlight is the new heated outdoor patio, with room for 50. There are also private dining areas for events. Hours are Mon-Sat 5pm-12am. 12 4th St., fifth floor, at Market, 415-348-1555.

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Flickr photo by Thomas Hawk.

After literally years of false starts and false hope (and some really wacky window signs), it looks like ~LA RONDALLA~ in the Mission may finally be ready to reopen, according to Scoop. The current opening date is Thursday May 1st (yes, just in time for Cinco de Mayo), and they’re even taking reservations on OpenTable. The menu will remain largely unchanged, with the addition of elote, carnitas, and shrimp cocktails, but classics like enchiladas will remain as staples. And yes, their margaritas will still flow freely.

The space is a bit pared down, with fewer string lights and a little less kitschy stuff on the walls. But it’s still brightly painted, and lots of paintings and fun touches remain. There will still be live music, but instead of the full mariachi band you’ll now find a three-piece band on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. There will also be a happy hour Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm. They’ll be serving lunch 11:30-am-3pm Tue-Sun and dinner Tue-Thu 4pm-2:30am, Fri-Sat 4pm-3:30am, and Sun 4pm-12am. Closed Mondays. 901 Valencia St. at 20th St. 415-829-8444.

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The “Grubbin’ It” sandiwch from, yes, Grubbin’. Photo from Facebook.

Here’s a trio of new restaurants with funny names that want to get you fat. First up is ~ADAM’S GRUB AT CHUG PUB~. It looks like food truck Adam’s Grub now has a permanent home at Chug Pub in the Sunset. The menu is the same as the truck; think Asian-inspired and hefty sandwiches like the Falkor (that’s panko-crusted fried chicken with pepper jack, bacon, and Asian slaw on a brioche bun) or the Sho’nuff Hot Dog (a beef dog with jalapeños, Asian slaw, wasabi avocado, pepper jack, and bacon bits). Check out the whole menu here, and note their late-night hours: Mon-Fri 4pm-2am and Sat-Sun 12pm-2am. 1849 Lincoln Way at 21st Ave., 415-242-9930.

Eater caught the news that ~HOMESKILLET~ is now open in the former Pearl’s Burgers location on Market. The new project comes from John Chow, who also owns nearby Little Griddle, and has a diner-inspired menu. There are burgers with lots of toppings at lunch; at breakfast, look for lots of hotcakes, egg dishes, and Benedicts. They’re pouring Equator coffee too. 1001 Market St. at 6th St., no phone.

There’s also a new sandwich spot in Parkside, according to Eater. The new spot is called ~GRUBBIN’~, and is owned by Emily Truong. It’s a classic sub shop, with some rather visceral names for their specialty (from Droolin’ to Savorin’) and a signature “grub sauce” on all of them. There’s also a daily special, hot wings, fries, and tater tots. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-7pm and Sat-Sun 11am-6pm. 1404 Taraval St. at 24th Ave., 415-688-7116.

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Breakfast pastries from Neighbor Bakehouse at Trou Normand. Photo via Facebook.

~TROU NORMAND~ is now serving breakfast Mon-Fri from 8:30am-10:30am. You can sit in one of their tufted leather booths and enjoy table service, or order at the takeout counter. In addition to Four Barrel espresso and drip coffee, there’s a breakfast sandwich on the menu with pancetta, egg, and cheddar ($8), or yogurt with housemade granola ($6). Here’s the menu, plus they’re serving pastries from Neighbor Bakehouse. 140 New Montgomery St. at Natoma, 415-975-0876.

Hoodline reports that ~KATE’S KITCHEN~ is now serving dinner Tue-Sat from 5pm-9:30pm. The previous plan for dinner with chef Thomas Martinez is no longer in play, so the dinner menu is focused on Southern-influenced comfort food, not unlike their current breakfast options. Look out for fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy ($13.50), pork chops with carrots, leeks, parsnips, and watercress ($15.50), and wild shrimp tostadas ($13.50). 471 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-626-3984.

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Mmmmm, SunnySide biscuits. Photo from Facebook.

At ~FIREHOUSE 8~ there is a new opportunity to check out some brunch. On Sunday May 4th from 11am-3pm, SunnySide Biscuits will be popping up with their signature biscuits. Options include a brisket biscuit (do not try to say that before coffee) on a cheddar biscuit with yogurt horseradish, or a biscuit Benedict with egg, bacon, spinach, and hollandaise. Check out all the menu choices here. Their beer and wine bar will also be open, with mimosas and Bellinis. 1648 Pacific Ave. at Polk, 415-890-4800.

A reader let me know there’s a new chef at Lorenzo Logoreci’s ~ALA ROMANA~: according to a Facebook post, chef David Taylor has been replaced by Philippe Routhier, whose background includes Anzu, where he was chef de cuisine, and Ame (executive sous). Weekend brunch has also been added. The menu’s atrocities against the Italian language and its spelling continue to remain. 1098 Jackson St. at Taylor, 415-292-3699.

Carolyn Jung, who is also known as Food Gal on her blog, is hosting a dinner to showcase some of the locals celebrated in her cookbook, San Francisco Chef’s Table. Join her at ~BAKER & BANKER~ on Saturday May 10th for a multicourse lunch. Chef-owners Lori Baker and Jeff Banker will be cooking their recipes that are featured in the book, and the book’s photographer Craig Lee will be in attendance, as well. Lunch begins at 11:30am and costs $65 per person, including a copy of the book. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 415-351-2500.

~SECOND ACT MARKETPLACE~ has a change coming: Community Craft bakery is closing (so bummed, I will miss many of their tasty treats!), and in its place Eatwell Farm’s Ice Box is moving in with their seasonal soft-serve ice cream. They make their own cones with real butter, and recent flavors have included chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and melon. 1727 Haight St. at Cole, 415-713-0270.

I heard some rumblings about ~POPEYE’S~ on Divis being put on the market, and sure enough, Hoodline confirms it’s available for a long-term sublease. Popeye’s has been holding down the corner of Hayes and Divis for 28 years, so we’ll have to see if someone wants to take over the business, or put in their own concept—the space still has 22 years on the lease. I can’t imagine the neighborhood without that particular Popeye’s perfume, and not finding discarded chicken bones in the one-block radius around it. 599 Divisadero St. at Hayes.

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Cheese at The Cheese School. Photo by Mia Nakano courtesy The Cheese School of San Francisco.

Here’s a new happy hour for your antennae, and this one involves cheese! Now that the weather is nicer, ~THE CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~ is offering a special Cheese Makes Me Happy Hour every Wednesday from 5:30pm-8pm. Tickets are $20 in advance ($25 at the door) and include a plate of cheese and a glass of wine or a beer. For those of you who haven’t checked out their new digs, which includes access to the former Saison courtyard, this is a great chance to do so for minimal moolah! 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-346-7530.

On Saturday May 3rd, get even more cheese in your life at ~MARCH~ during an event with cheesemonger Chester Hastings. He’ll be signing his new book, The Cheesemonger’s Seasons, and there will also be a pop-up cheese shop from Gourmet & More, so you’ll have a chance to hear about cheese and eat some too. The event is from 11am-3pm and is free, with items available for purchase. 3075 Sacramento St. at Baker, 415-931-7433.

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AlaMar’s dining room (with the hand-washing station in the back). Photo: Nicholas La.

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The sunny bar area. Photo: Nicholas La.

Officially opening on Thursday May 1st is ~ALAMAR~ from chef-owner Nelson German—it’s opening in the former Noble Café location in Uptown Oakland. We previously mentioned the project here, but to recap, German—a New York City native—was most recently the chef at Supperclub and Marbella. The restaurant’s name means “to the sea,” so you can expect a variety of seafood dishes. The primary theme is food that is meant to be eaten with your hands, including crustacean boils with Louisiana crawfish (there will also be a vegetarian boil with vegetables), soft-shell crab, peel-and-eat Gulf shrimp, and Penn Cove mussels. There are also plenty of small plates, some meaty large dishes, and lots of sides—even dessert will be meant to be eaten with your paws. Check out the menu here.

There’s also a full bar, with cocktails by Rob Wertheimer, which will include sno-cones, punch bowls, and housemade sodas. The interior is a bit industrial, melding with some nautical elements as well. There’s a cheerful turquoise wall, a high-top communal table, an intimate bar area, and plenty of light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. One fun touch: there’s a copper hand-washing station in the dining room, good for pre- and post-meal cleanup.

Lunch service will roll out in a couple of weeks, and will feature rustic sandwiches instead of seafood boils. All-day Sunday brunch will launch shortly after. Initial opening hours will be Mon-Wed 4:30pm-10pm, Thu-Fri 4:30pm-11pm, Sat 4pm-11pm; closed Sun. 100 Grand Ave. at Valdez, Oakland, 510-907-7555.

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BarLago’s front patio. Photo from Facebook.

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A dish from a previous Comestible event. Photo courtesy Comestible.

According to a notice on their Facebook page, Oakland Italian restaurant ~BARLAGO~ is now open. The new place features a menu of Italian staples, including pizza, pasta, and entrées. Take a look at the full menu here, and look out for classics like pasta carbonara, a meatball appetizer, and a beef short rib entrée. They also offer gluten-free pasta, which is handy for some folks.

They’ve also got a full bar, with a list of specialty cocktails that incorporate Italian spirits, like the Cicciolina, with bourbon, Carpano Antica, Meletti amaro, and orange bitters. There are six beers on tap (mostly local craft brews, with Peroni for good measure), and an exclusively Italian wine list with a house red and white available by the glass, carafe, or bottle. Take a look at all the beverage choices here. There’s also a heated and dog-friendly front patio for enjoying those beverages. Hours are Tue-Thu and Sun 5pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm. Look for lunch to be added later, as well. 550 Grand Ave. at Euclid, Oakland, 510-836-2424.

It looks like Oakland Italian restaurant ~MARZANO~ has been sold to new owners, according to Scoop. Owners Justin Hafen and John Hurley (who also own Garibaldi’s in San Francisco) have moved to the Napa Valley to focus on a design business, and will be closing Marzano this summer. They’re not saying who the new takers are, though, only that they are Montclair residents and veterans of the East Bay dining scene. The liquor license transfer names the “Growler Group,” and a search of the state LLC database names Shelley Mulhall as the owner. According to her LinkedIn profile, she currently works at Gary Danko, with previous stints at A16 and Chez Panisse. No word yet on any other partners, but it sounds promising so far. 4212 Park Blvd. at Glenfield, Oakland.

Comestible Catering & Supper Club has a pop-up in Oakland on Friday May 16th and Saturday May 17th. A team of six chefs, including Allyson Harvie (chef of the the soon-to-open Township Restaurant, and previously of Citizen Cake and Ragazza), Molly Healey (Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York), and Christian McDermott (Jardinière and Spruce), will be preparing a 10-course lamb tasting menu in the future Township space. Tickets are $60 per person, with wine pairings for an additional $20. A vegetarian menu is also available. Both evenings, dinner will run from 7:30pm-10:30pm. 1545 Broadway at 16th St., Oakland.

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