May 20, 2014

May 20, 2014

Traci Des Jardins with Reylon Agustin (center) and Robbie Lewis (right). Photo ©


The bar. Photo ©


Striped bass. Photo ©

Open today in the Presidio is the new restaurant from the Presidio Trust, Traci Des Jardins, and Bon Appétit Management Company: ~THE COMMISSARY~. As we mentioned before, this destination restaurant is opening on the Main Post in the former mess hall in the Montgomery Street Barracks, which were built in 1895.

The historic structure will integrate many elements from sites around the former post, including the tabletops made from a salvaged 125-year-old Douglas fir and lighting fixtures reclaimed from a historic Army gymnasium. It’s meant to have a simple and American look, with lots of light, and there’s even a shaded front porch where you can dine. Additional seating options include more tables inside, a communal table, bar seating, and a chef’s counter that looks into the open kitchen (there are 112 seats total). There’s also a private dining area (up to 20 guests) and there’s a semi-private space in the open kitchen.

Working with Des Jardins will be culinary director Robbie Lewis, who first worked with her at Rubicon back in 1993, and for five years at Jardinière as her executive chef. Rounding out the team is executive chef Reylon Agustin (previously at Jardinière, he was also the opening chef de cuisine for Des Jardins at Manzanita at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe).

The menu will be Spanish-influenced Californian, with smaller dishes like sardines escabeche, cured tuna with radish and fennel pollen, and octopus with potatoes, olives, and pimentón; larger plates include striped bass with clams and toasted almond-garlic picada, and a fennel and baby artichoke paella. Check out the opening menu here.

There’s a full bar, and you can survey the cocktail list and wines by the glass here.

You can get coffee and a light breakfast in the morning, and there are both dine-in and takeout lunch options, with full dinner service in the evening.

Soft opening hours (have some coffee before reading this): Tue May 20th-Sat May 24th dinner 5:30pm-9:30pm; Memorial Day/Mon May 26th-Sat May 31st: lunch 11:30am-2:30pm, bar and limited menu 2:30pm-5:30pm, dinner 5:30pm-9:30pm; closed Sunday June 1st.

Regular hours (beginning Mon June 2nd): Mon-Fri coffee and light breakfast 8am-10:30am, lunch 11:30am-2:30pm, bar 2:30pm-5:30pm, dinner 5:30pm-9:30pm. Sat dinner 5:30pm-9:30pm. Sun brunch (begins June 8th) 10:30am-3pm.

101 Montgomery St., on the Main Post of the Presidio of San Francisco, 415-561-3600.


A look into the spacious bar area. Photo: Michelle Min.


Front entrance area. Photo: Michelle Min.


Brewing equipment and high-top tables. Photo: Michelle Min.


Lounge area in the front. Photo: Michelle Min.


The back dining room. Photo: Michelle Min.

On Saturday evening, I checked out a test dinner at the brand-new ~BARTLETT HALL~ in Union Square, which is open today. The building dates back to 1914, and it was where former Kennedy White House chef René Verdon opened Le Trianon in 1972. It was most recently Santorini (not like anyone you knew went there, well, I hope) and has been massively transformed by Michael Brennan into a dark 140-seat tavern, with some industrial elements that remind me a bit of the Restoration Hardware aesthetic (there are glass globes with lights inside, plus steel columns and many other metal touches).

You’ll find a masculine lounge area with low-slung chairs and a fireplace in the front, and a truly massive bar. Farther back are exposed brewing equipment, a few different dining areas (including high-top tables, booths, and a room with regular tables), and an area that can be made into a private room. There are a number of TVs behind the bar and throughout the space, but it’s not about mindlessly having a bunch of TVs on—it’s more about airing sports events when it’s relevant.

Executive chef Eman Eng, most recently at Maverick, has crafted a menu that is tavern-like but creative, with a touch of California chef food on there too (from roasted bone marrow in one dish to pickled fiddleheads in another). Here are the lunch and dinner menus. Small plates include chicken wings ($12) with fermented pepper sauce and caramelized kimchi, some really delicious miso- and maple-glazed ribs ($12; be sure to swipe them through the cauliflower Vermont curry sauce on the plate), and English pea and smoked ham soup ($10).

There are a variety of flatbreads with a semolina crust ($15-$20), ranging from one with duck confit and caramelized onion, arugula, maitake mushroom, and smoked mozzarella to a carbonara one with bacon—perfect to share. Large plates include a farro risotto with seasonal vegetables ($21) and a fried chicken sandwich ($13). Fans of the infamous butter burger at Maverick will be happy to see it live on here ($16)—it’s almost like a cheesesteak, with cheddar and stout rarebit and crispy onion strings on top. (You can hit the gym tomorrow.)

Brandon Presbury, previously at Locanda and Beretta, is in his first bar manager position here, and is already barrel-aging a Manhattan and Improved Whiskey Cocktail for your drinking pleasure. Look for some other tasty concoctions, like the 49er Gold Rush, with bonded bourbon, lemon, honey syrup, and Fernet Branca.

There are a number of local beers on tap (including Humboldt Brewing and Lagunitas) and some from farther away too. House-brewed beers will be coming soon (they will probably start with two beers); Chris Wike will curate the beer program. There’s a good array of California wines that hover around $10-$12 by the glass. Mike Pierce (Maverick) has been helping with the opening, so I expect he has had a hand in the list.

Hours are daily 11am-2am, with lunch from 11am-2:30pm, happy hour from 2:30pm-5:30pm, dinner from 5:30pm-10pm, bar menu (including snacks, pizza, and burger) from 10pm-1am, and snacks only from 1am-2am. 242 O’Farrell St. at Powell, 415-433-4332.


The dining room and windows at Kusakabe. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The bar at Kusakabe. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The back brick wall and entry wall. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. As promised in our piece last week, we’ve now got photos and an opening date for ~KUSAKABE~, opening on Wednesday May 21st (that’s tomorrow!). To recap, it’s a 31-seater from chef-owner Mitsunori “Nori” Kusakabe, serving sushi in a kaiseki style with a focus on harmony and seasonality.

Now about the space, since it’s ready and has passed inspections. It’s intimate and comfortable, and was designed by Shaum Mehra of ArcHive Architecture. There’s an L-shaped elm bar with a live edge, with a slatted lower ceiling of eucalyptus over the bar area that matches an open slat wall that divides the entrance from the main dining room. The dining area is wood-paneled, with large windows facing the street. The space has quite a calming feeling for being in the middle of the FiDi.

The entry hallway is all exposed brick, which extends behind the bar seating and all the way to the back of the restaurant. The bar seating faces a semi-open kitchen, with special areas for sushi preparation and a block of shelving for storage.

In the dining room, elm was also used for the custom tabletops, which has been sanded and polished smooth, but not overtreated; they still retain the warm, softness of the wood. The comfortable but unfussy chairs are upholstered in soft, oyster-colored leather, and minimalist lighting fixtures add to the pared-down yet welcoming aesthetic. The official opening date, as mentioned above, is Wednesday May 21st, and reservations are available. Hours are Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm, prix-fixe only. 584 Washington St. at Columbus.


The downstairs bar at Gaspar. Photo by R. Brad Knipstein Photography.


The upstairs bar. Photo by R. Brad Knipstein Photography.


The upstairs dining room at Gaspar. Photo by R. Brad Knipstein Photography.

Restaurateur Franck LeClerc is gracing the city with another gorgeous dining room, this time it’s the chic ~GASPAR BRASSERIE~, in the FiDi’s former Hecho (in the Galleria Park Hotel building). When you first walk in, there’s a bar downstairs with tufted red panels and a few seats, plus a dining area with a deep red banquette and classic bentwood chairs. It’s the more “casual” of the two.

Climb the stairs, past the striped wall into the upstairs bar area and dining room. It has a darker look, with little flashes of brass from the rails and red from the banquettes. It’s the kind of space that makes you go, “Oooooh, this is cool.” The lighting is sexy and atmospheric (check out the different vintage chandeliers—some have a fun midcentury look), and you’ll notice many textures in the room, like the hand-painted ceiling, the patterned panels on the upstairs bar, the tiles surrounding the downstairs bar, and the screens dividing the rooms. This place is built for dates, but it’s also a handsome and classic space (not froufrou at all). There are 115 seats in all, and LeClerc worked with architect Elmer Lin of Consortium Design on the swish design.

The executive chef is Chris Jones (previously Brix and the girl & the fig), who has built a brasserie menu with some California seasonality: there are eye-catching starters (like the smoked salmon mille crêpes, which is like a savory layer cake topped with sieved egg) to a grand plateau of seafood to the more rustic lamb sweetbreads. Escargot with housemade bacon, check. Mains range from chickpea panisse cakes with marinated Roquefort to wild flounder grenobloise to an entrecôte (all less than $30). These dishes have more elegance than the classic bistro fare you typically find around the city.

If you just want to come in for a bite and an aperitif, you can do that, too—there’s quite an array of items on the bar menu (including a burger), plus plenty of cheeses and housemade charcuterie as well.

Last week we broke the news that Chucky Dugo (previously Slanted Door Group) is the pastry chef; you can look at his enticing dessert menu here.

Whether you choose the more casual downstairs bar or the upstairs bar (it’s called the Cognac Room, which is the larger bar area), you’ll have an exciting list of beverage options from bar manager Kevin Diedrich, who will be pouring a variety of “low octane” Champagne cocktails as well as higher-proof Parisian-inspired cocktails. There’s a wonderful crusta (made with a pear Calvados by Christian Drouin), and there will be some special Cognacs and other unique offerings, like the crème de noyaux by Tempus Fugit (you’ll find it in the Claret Snap and Pink Squirrel). The wine list by wine director Sarah Knoefler will highlight classic French wines, with a focus on Rhone Valley varieties, and there are a number available by the glass and carafe.

Hours are dinner Mon-Sat 4pm-11pm and happy hour Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm, with plans to open for lunch, Sunday dinner, late-night dining, and brunch in the coming months.


A rendering of Red Dog; image by Martinkovic Milford Architects.

After the opening of Fearless last month, Lauren Kiino is getting ready to open her newest project, ~RED DOG~. As reported on tablehopper last year, Red Dog is a casual place to stop by for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, with food inspired by the rustic fare from places ranging from California to France to Italy to Britain. On the dinner menu, there are hearty entrées like a chicken-fried pork chop with sweet and sour cabbage, cherries, and mustard gravy, or a house-ground burger. Vegetarians will also spot some good choices, like the Massa brown rice and vegetable bowl.

As for the lunch menu, there’s a wide selection of sandwiches, including a Italian tuna melt with burrata, and a warm egg salad. There are a couple of lunch special combos, too, with salad or soup or half sandwiches, all served with a cookie. At both lunch and dinner, there’s a selection of bar snacks, including their fabulous Scotch egg, plus trout pâté on toast and local oysters. The snacks also make an appearance on the weekend brunch menu, along with an olive oil-fried egg sandwich and griddled French toast with fromage blanc and apricot-raspberry compote.

There’s a full bar, too, though beverage lists aren’t available at the moment. Right now, Kiino hopes to be open for lunch and dinner on Friday May 23rd, with brunch on Saturday and Sunday May 24th-25th, starting at 10am. They will also be open on Memorial Day. Call before coming over because these things can all change in a split second. The hours are still being worked out, but look for the addition of weekday breakfast in the next few weeks. They’re still working on getting all the furniture in place, and we’ll have an update for you next week with photos. 303 2nd St. at Harrison, 415-692-0211.


Yellowfin tuna tartare with garlic chips. Photo: ©

After months of cleanup and construction, it looks like the opening of ~CHUBBY NOODLE~ in the former Gatip Thai in the Marina is in sight. Pete Mrabe (Don Pisto’s) has partnered with Nick Floulis, who is the winemaker for Pushback Wines and has been helping Pete behind the bar at Don Pisto’s for some time.

They plan to soft open on Thursday May 29th, and will just be open Thu-Sat from 5pm until 12am to start—Mrabe says they’ll serve about 30-40 people a night, and then close up. There will only be two of them running the show (with a dishwasher), since Mrabe wants to get a feel for the place and dial it in. It’s kind of like having a big dinner party. The grand opening is looking like June 26-29—yup, it’ll be a four-night opening party.

The menu is going to start off small, about eight items. You can expect to see three or so raw/seafood dishes, five noodle or rice dishes, and three small plates, like dumplings. There will also be a larger plate, like a whole fish or a slab of ribs.

Floulis is going to continue the Don Pisto’s tradition of making some pretty impressive wine-based cocktails (have you ever had their margarita?). He said they’ll be serving a signature concoction off a tap he’s calling “Cold Tea” (it will come in a teapot)—and anyone who has ever dined out after hours will get the joke. There will be 16 taps in all, with 12-13 wines (some will be custom barrel blends with various winemakers) and they are also going to be one of the first places in the U.S. to have sake on tap.

It’s a 49-seater, with a communal table (which you can also reserve for large groups), a stand-up bar, and wood booths with bench-style seating. And to be clear, Chubby Noodle at Amante in North Beach will continue, business as usual! 2205 Lombard St. at Steiner.


The behemoth double corned beef on rye from Rye Project. Photo courtesy Adam Mesnick.

A report by Dana Eastland. Adam Mesnick of Deli Board and 1058 Hoagie got in touch to let us know about some big upcoming changes at ~1058 HOAGIE~. Starting in June, Mesnick will be changing the name and concept, to ~RYE PROJECT~, a Jewish-style deli. He’s been doing a rye project pop-up on Thursday evenings for a while now, and liked doing it so much that he’s decided to change the business model entirely.

The reasons are many, but for Mesnick this is actually a dream come true. While 1058 Hoagie has been doing very well, he has always wanted to offer food that looked back to his Jewish roots. He’s been doing his own pastrami and corned beef, and recently found a rye bread baker he’s happy with (he can’t say who it is, just that they’re based in Detroit), and he’s also developed a “special sauce” that he likes. While the menu will be quite a bit smaller than the 1058 Hoagie menu, Mesnick is looking forward to making all items in-house, and lovingly re-creating some of the dishes he grew up with. You’ll find bagels (parbaked and shipped from New York, then finished here) with cream cheese and smoked salmon, as well as matzo ball soup, a white fish salad platter, and maybe even some kosher hot dogs.

Deli Board will remain generally unchanged, except that all catering and large orders will now be happening through Rye Project, with deli trays and smoked fish platters. Look for expanded weekend hours at Deli Board; they’ll be open Mon-Thu 11am-4pm and Fri-Sat 11am-7pm. For those of you who are sad to see 1058 Hoagie go (count us among them), Mesnick says that this isn’t the end of Hoagie, wink wink (he also winked about cheesesteaks, now that’s a tease). So we’ll let you know when we hear more on his next move. The current changes will take effect in mid-June (no exact date yet), with the new weekend hours kicking in Friday June 6th. 1058 Hoagie, 180 7th St. at Natoma, 415-552-8984. Deli Board, 1058 Folsom St. at Russ, 415-552-7687.


The exterior of Unos Dos Tacos. Photo courtesy Uno Dos Tacos.

~UNO DOS TACOS~ from Adriano Paganini of Super Duper, Lolinda, Beretta, and Starbelly is getting ready to open on Wednesday May 21st. The project, as mentioned last year, was originally located on Polk Street (which just closed) and is reopening in the former Sellers Markets space, with 4,500 square feet to grow into. There’s room for 80 people inside, plus an additional 80 on the outdoor patio. Seating includes smaller tables for two, as well as communal tables and outdoor picnic tables for larger groups.

On the menu, you’ll find tacos, burritos, and salads made with high-quality meats and produce, all served with housemade tortillas and salsas. Tortillas are made to order on a fancy tortilla machine in the open kitchen, and protein choices include carne asada, chicken tinga, pork carnitas, lengua, and fish. The beer-battered and fried fish taco is the signature item, and is served with cabbage and chipotle crema. Tacos are $3.25 each, $4.50 for fish, and burritos are $6.50 for vegetarian or $7.25 for meat. Salads and platters range from $7 to $9.50, and beverages include Mexican sodas, beer, and wine. They’ve also got a full bar (hello, alfresco happy hour), but the cocktail list is still a work in progress.

To start, they’re only open for lunch, but dinner service will be coming soon. We’ll let you know when we have updates on the cocktail list and hours. As for what’s moving into the Uno Dos space on Polk (at 2227 Polk St. at Vallejo), we’ll keep you posted on that too. 595 Market St. at 2nd St., 415-974-6922.


Greenburger’s. Photo from Facebook.

A couple of weeks ago we heard a rumor that ~GREENBURGER’S~ in the Lower Haight was going to get a new owner, and a license transfer affirmed the change. We got in touch with owner Stefanie Greenberg, who confirmed the restaurant will be closing. She forwarded a note to us that says it will close within the month; stand by for more on what’s next for the space. 518 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-829-2491.

Last week, a reader tipped us off about the closing of ~THE VILLAGE GRILL~. We called for confirmation, but unfortunately the unpleasant man who answered denied that any changes were afoot and then hung up on us. Well, turns out he was not only rude but he was also not telling the truth; according to Scoop, owners Robbie Connolly and Richard Crain have sold the restaurant to Eddie Naser and the Toast Eatery team. It looks like the sale will be finalized at the end of the month, and while they’ll still be focused on breakfast, dinner service will also be added. 160 West Portal Ave. at Vicente, 415-681-5299.


Zuckerman Farms asparagus with a nettle-infused cheese purée from Cowgirl Creamery at Bolete. Photo by Tara Padilla.

Chef Aaron Martinez, who is currently the chef de cuisine at Oakland’s Commis, is going to be popping up again at ~20TH CENTURY CAFE~ on Monday May 26th. His pop-up’s name is Bolete, which is a type of mushroom. He’ll be offering a five-course dinner, with two seatings at 5:30pm and 8:30pm (there are only five spots left for the later one, so hop to it!). Tickets are $75 per person, including all five courses. Beer and wine will be available for purchase separately.

Christian Ciscle of Wing Wings is partnering up with some industry pals and hosting a classic red-sauce Italian pop-up at ~PIZZAHACKER~ on Tuesday May 27th from 6pm-9pm. It’s called Friends and Family and is only $15 per person (can’t beat that), including family-style stuffed shells with sauce, salad, and ice cream sundaes for dessert; here’s the menu. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase. Look for some nice tunes, and maybe some playing cards will come out too. 3299 Mission St. at 29th St., 415-874-5585.

On Thursday May 22nd, the team behind the upcoming Rintaro (coming late this summer) will be at Naked Kitchen. They’ll be serving a drinking menu (think lots of smaller dishes), paired with beverages, for $90 per person. There are two seatings, one at 6pm and another at 8:30pm, and tickets include all tax, tip, and beverages. 945 Valencia St. at 20th St.


The Asian Asada taco from Kung Fu Tacos. Yelp photo by Charmaine L.

A reader tipped us off to a liquor license activity for a new Japanese restaurant coming to town, in the former Buck Tavern space. It’s called ~SHIDO~ and comes from partners Karina, Jessica, Kevin, and Willson Ma. We had a chance to catch up with Karina, who says that the space is still under construction but will be opening around mid- to late July. Willson is the chef, and the menu is still being worked out, but you’ll find bento boxes, teriyaki, and some sushi at lunch, with a slightly different menu at dinner. They aim to make the space welcoming and comfortable for all ages, including families with children. We’ll update as we hear more. 1655 Market St. at Gough.

Food truck ~KUNG FU TACOS~ is getting ready to open their first brick-and-mortar location on Wednesday May 28th in Daly City. The Asian-style taco slingers are known for their “Asian Asada” carnitas tacos, which will be on the menu, along with Asian-influenced burritos, bowls, and nachos. All salsas and guacamole will be housemade, and the naturally raised meat choices include char siu pork, nunchuk chicken, and mu shu vegetables. The new spot is located in the Serramonte Mall, and will offer fast-casual service, along with beer on tap and four televisions playing sports. 59A Serramonte Center at Junipero Serra, Daly City, 650-731-4932.

Chowhounders report that Mountain View ramen shop ~RAMEN SHALALA~ looks to be expanding into Japantown. ABC activity seems to confirm the news, and a sign in the window says it will be opening Monday May 26th. 1737 Buchanan St. at Sutter.


The very happy Romney “Nani” Steele and Steve Day. Instagram photo by Sara Remington (via Facebook).

Congratulations to Romney “Nani” Steele and Steve Day on getting their new place open, ~THE COOK AND HER FARMER~, in the historic Swan’s Market in Old Oakland (the whole process has been a bit of haul—the landlord is a nonprofit, so getting approval for the space took awhile). Steele’s family is behind the mythic Nepenthe in Big Sur, and she wrote two books, My Nepenthe and Plum Gorgeous. Her partner in the venture, Day, spent a year learning about farming oysters in Tomales Bay (at the now-defunct community farm, Pickleweed Point). He was a teacher in the Oakland public school system, and community involvement is an important part of their business model.

It’s a casual spot, with the vibe of a wine bar that has a raw bar and serves light fare. Steele really wants to keep things focused on serving simple, good, local food, and intends to create food for everyone. The plan is to serve a light breakfast (with De La Paz coffee); salads, soups, and sandwiches for lunch; oysters in the evening (you’ll find oysters from Tomales Bay Oyster Co. on the menu—they don’t sell to many restaurants), along with nightly rotating specials, like black-eyed peas and ham hocks, or a flatiron steak, plus some sides. An expanded breakfast, weekend brunch, and Sunday supper will come later on.

Steele makes lots of jams and preserves (she has been jamming since she was 16), and likes to make pickles, too, so you’ll see those items on the menu. She mentioned how important it is to her to feature items from people she has relationships with, from the herbs they’ll use from Novella Carpenter to the wines they’ll pour to the beer from Linden Street—everything has a connection and relationship behind it.

The light-filled space has a big, custom-built, communal table (made from two old-growth redwood slabs gifted by a friend), with room for 12-15, plus 16 bar and counter seats. There will be additional seating in the communal area of the marketplace area too. There are cheerful red accents throughout, including the beams, stools, and overhead lights, and a bright blue wall (tablehopper heartily approves this color scheme).

They are just starting this week with coffee at 9am, and then launching lunch on Wednesday (it will then be served Mon-Sat 11:30am-3pm). On Friday and Saturday evenings (starting at 5pm) there will be “pop-up dinners,” with oysters, Kennebec fries, a charcuterie and pickle plate, and artisan grilled cheese, until they are staffed and ready to ramp up more. Follow along on Facebook for updates. 907 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-285-6140.


The interior of Plum, now Ume. Photo by Scott Kester.

More changes continue in the Daniel Patterson Group. The latest news is ~PLUM~ is closed and will be reopening tonight (yes, tonight) as ~UME~. After having numerous chefs in the location, Patterson realized it was the concept that needed a do-over. The menu will be Japanese through a Northern California lens (think Ramen Shop), with small plates like cold soba noodles tossed with lime, black sesame, and alliums ($8); seared squid with basil, lemon, and chile ($10); and fried chicken and egg ramen ($17). They will be making many ingredients, from different tares to curing their own umeboshi, and of course seasonality will play a big part.

As for who is running the kitchen, Scoop reports the talented Kim Alter is downshifting for a bit (although she will be helping out the newly situated Charlie Parker over at Haven) and the plan is to help her open a project in SF. DPG has scooped up Brett Cooper once again (he previously worked for Patterson at Coi) since he was let go from Outerlands, and he will initially be overseeing Ume. The plan is for him to transition into opening a small neighborhood restaurant under the DPG umbrella—he’d be an equal partner, while receiving support from the group. He reportedly has his eye on a space already; we’ll have to see how it pans out. Oh, and Plum Bar will remain as is! 2214 Broadway at Franklin, Oakland, 510-444-7586.


The patio at the former Taco Grill, future home of The Half Orange. Photo from Facebook.

Big changes are coming to a semi-cursed space in Oakland’s Uptown, near Plum Bar. East Bay Express reports that the bar formerly known as 2212 Wine Bar will be reopened as ~CAPTAIN & CORSET~ on Friday May 23rd. Paul Fitzpatrick and Sam Patel (of the Ike’s empire) are the owners, with general manager Carlos Nieto (a Bay Area event planner), director of operations Kiri Eschelle (of Levende and Levende East), and chef Sophina Uong (of Picán), who will be helping on the menu. The space is going to be redone as an intimate and comfortable 38-seater. Uong is still working on the menu, but it will be eclectic New American, with the possibility of things like lamb tacos and fried soft-shell crab. A full liquor license is in the works, but for now there will be a selection of wine and wine-based cocktails. Hours are Mon-Thu 4:30pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 4:30pm-12am, with lunch hours coming later. 2212 Broadway at W. Grand, Oakland.

Last week, we reported that Oakland’s Taco Grill moved across the street and changed its name. Now, it looks like there’s a new taker for the space near the Fruitvale BART station: Jay Porter, who until recently owned Linkery in San Diego. The new project is called ~THE HALF ORANGE~, and will be focused on housemade sausages and burgers, with a large patio. Porter also has a project in the works called Salsipuedes, which is headed to North Oakland late this year, and is more of a full-service concept. Look for the Half Orange to open this summer, and check out some details on his blog. 3340 E. 12th St. at 33rd Ave., Oakland.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that a new café is now open near Lake Merritt in Oakland. It’s called ~MODIGLIANI CAFE~, after the painter, and offers sandwiches like a Cubano and a housemade meatball, along with salads and a selection of old-fashioned milk shakes. East Bay Express nabbed a picture of the menu. 3209-3210 Grand Ave. at Santa Clara, Oakland, 510-986-1599.

Those always-on-the-ball Chowhounders noticed that new Greek restaurant ~PATHOS~ in Berkeley is now open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11am-3pm. The menu includes egg dishes like the morning moussaka with kima (meat sauce), potato, and yogurt béchamel, flatbreads, and sweet and pastries. There are also some brunch-friendly cocktails, like a Greek Mary with kalamata olive and feta. 2430 Shattuck Ave. at Haste, Berkeley, 510-981-8339.

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