September 3, 2014

September 3, 2014
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A rendering of the chef’s table and dining area. Courtesy of Engstrom Design Group.

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Rendering of the service counter. Courtesy of Engstrom Design Group.

There’s a new waterfront restaurant coming to Mission Bay, near the upcoming Warriors event center and Mission Rock, that’s due to open in late fall 2014. It’s called ~STEM~ and is from Bon Appétit Management Company, which is behind Public House at AT&T Park, SeaGlass at the Exploratorium, and the Commissary in the Presidio.

The cuisine will be Mediterranean in style, serving casual breakfast (smoothies, eggs, plus a juice bar), lunch (panini, soup, salads, flatbread pizza, plus larger entrées), happy hour (you’ll find small plates and charcuterie in the bar), and dinner. Per BAMCO’s company policy, all the ingredients will be sustainable and humanely produced, with local produce figuring prominently. There will also be local coffee, cocktails, craft beer, and wine on tap.

It’s a spacious location, with 158 seats, views of the bay, heated outdoor seating, an edible garden with raised beds and planters, fire pits, and complimentary bocce ball. The location is 499 Illinois Street, within Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ science and technology campus. Engstrom Design Group is behind the design, which will be modern yet full of natural touches. 499 Illinois St. at 16th St.

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A dish from a Californios dinner at Naked Kitchen: Yerba Buena Fruit Cup Under the C. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After experiencing a Californios pop-up dinner by chef Val Cantu last year, we’ve been tracking his next steps, which now includes opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant called, you guessed it, ~CALIFORNIOS~. He’ll be opening in the former Panchita’s 3 (and the short-lived Manos Nouveau) on 22nd Street.

Val’s background includes cooking at Uchi in Austin (he’s from Texas) and locally he was a sous at Sons & Daughters. His cuisine is a unique and modern version of Mexican cuisine, taking inspiration from the history of Californios here in SF and Alta California (you can read more here). There will be three menus ($45-$75): an omnivorous 4-course, a vegetable 4-course, and an extended 7- to 10-course menu. Dinner will be served Tue-Sat.

So, the space. It’s going to have 25 seats, with 7 at a chef’s counter, looking into the open kitchen. Val’s wife, Carolyn Cantu, will be designing the interior. She was most recently a designer at Ken Fulk, and once the design duties are wrapped up, she will be the maître d’. Charlotte Randolph, previously a server at The French Laundry, will be running the front of the house and the wine program. Look for an opening in November. 3115 22nd St. at Capp.

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Just next door to Cantina, in the neighborhood bordering Nob Hill and Union Square will be ~HOGWASH~, a craft beer hall and restaurant (the space was previously Crackers Grill, Persimmon, and J Tu Cafe). The team is Nick Rothman, who you may recognize as the owner of Zeki’s Bar, and Paula Thompson, a hospitality veteran.

They are going to be offering gourmet sausages (made in-house), pretzels, and other dishes with locally sourced ingredients by Morgan Hamm (the owner of Le Beau Market, who is known for his sandwiches). The craft beer list—30 on draft—will be well rounded and represent many styles of beers (Rich Higgins is assembling the list). Thompson, who is currently trying for her cicerone certification, will also be closely involved with the beer program. And…there will also be some very creative beer milk shakes and floats!

Lauren Geremia (of Geremia Design) is behind the laid-back but well-designed look, which will have handmade plaster tiles that line the walls, a bar area, and there will be custom-made communal tables (from designer Alexis Moran). The look will be more on the California modern tip than German, and it’s designed to be a social place where people can get together and hang out.

Hours will be determined (lunch may be added), but happy hour and dinner hours are certain. Look for an opening this fall. We’ll keep you updated. 582 Sutter St. at Mason.

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The bar at Hecho. Photo via Facebook.

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The fajitas at Bandidos. Photo from Facebook.

~BANDIDOS~, the Mexican restaurant and bar from Jesse Woodward and Dana Gleim of Hi Tops, opened in the Castro Tuesday September 2nd. It’s in the former Leticia’s space in The Century building. They’ve got a full liquor license, along with a menu of traditional Mexican dishes with a modern edge from consulting chef Jamie Lauren (of Top Chef fame).

The dinner menu includes small plates like a barbacoa quesadilla with beef cheeks, or queso fundido with rajas or chorizo. There are plates of two tacos in a wide variety of choices, including fried avocado and duck mole, and entrées like a fried whole fish and fajitas. At brunch, there are egg dishes including fideos (noodles) with chile sauce and eggs, along with chilaquiles and scrambles.

As for beverages, the cocktail menu has margaritas, of course, along with other cocktails (Sipcraft consulted on the menu), and a selection of tequila and mezcal (and sangrita!). (Order the Guns a Blazin’ if you want to get that cute guy’s attention at the bar.) A small wine list includes three reds, three whites, and two rosés available by the glass or bottle. Beers are mostly Mexican imports (think Corona, Bohemia, and Victoria), along with Lagunitas IPA.

C Walters Design is behind the design of the 3,000-square-foot space, which includes geometric tile, rough-hewn reclaimed wood tables, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an impressive shelving situation behind the tiled bar. There is also an open kitchen, so you can watch the action, and leather booths. A pet-friendly patio coming soon means you can (eventually) bring your cute Frenchie while you enjoy your albondigas and an agua fresca. Hours are Mon-Thu 5pm-11pm, Fri 5pm-12am, Sat 11am-12am, and Sun 10am-11pm. 2200 Market St. at 15th St., 415-926-5630.

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Housemade coppa. Photo courtesy of Union Larder.

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The exterior of the soon-to-open Union Larder. Photo courtesy of Union Larder.

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A peek at the in-progress space. Photo courtesy of Union Larder.

We broke the news earlier this year about ~UNION LARDER~ coming to Russian Hill from the Little Vine duo, Melissa Gugni and Jay Esopenko. If everything pans out as planned, they should be opening their doors within a couple of weeks. The 30-seat space is looking great, with a zinc bar, custom-fabricated barstools with comfy upholstered seats, and there’s a hand-cranked meat slicer too. And then there’s all the light that comes in from the huge windows.

We have some project updates for you, starting with the hiring of their chef, Ramon Siewart, who was previously at Quince, Bourbon Steak, and The Cavalier. He will be making all their charcuterie in-house, and they’re building an aging room downstairs for salami and prosciutto (but we’ll have to wait awhile until we can taste the prosciutto—that takes some time). Look for some fantastic charcuterie, ranging from pâté (including sea urchin pâté!) to pork rillettes, ciccioli, duck liver mousse, and cured meats like mortadella, coppa, and lonza. Esopenko also says Siewart’s blood sausage is the best he’s had anywhere! (Noted!)

Another key hire is Kristi Bachman, the buyer at the Cheese School of SF, who is coming over to work for them. She’ll be the cheese director (there will be close to 100 cheeses, whoa, with a focus on artisanal American cheeses), and she will be organizing cheese and wine pairing classes and events too. There will be 30 wines by the glass, including 5 sparklers (I love to hear that). Like we said in our previous post, the inspiration for this place was a cava and jamón bar Esopenko frequented while living in Barcelona 20 years ago. So yes, jamón Ibérico de Bellota will be en la casa. The meat-and-cheese boards will be something really special here: you’ll be able to choose from 30 cheeses and 15 meats. Also on the menu: oysters, housemade boquerones, raclette, fondue, sandwiches, and salads.

The retail side will have Straus milk, Marin Sun Farms meats, and dozens of other grocery items from small producers. Follow along on Facebook for opening updates since tablehopper is going to be dark through September 30th! 1945 Hyde St. at Union.

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The exterior of El Zocalo. Yelp photo by Ed U.

Last week a reader tipped me off to some news that ~EMMY’S SPAGHETTI SHACK~ was going to be moving, and before I could figure out where to, some ABC license activity revealed all: ~EL ZOCALO~. I know, our trusted late-night pupusa joint—yes, the one that makes it feel like forever until your pupusas arrive, but whatever, you’re drunk and hungry and those things are handmade and the service was never that great to begin with, but damn—is sadly leaving us. Sigh. Eater got more details on the change: El Zocalo has been open since current owner Victoria Reve’s mother opened it in 1965, but now Victoria is ready to retire (after serving how many drunk people?!) since she started running it in the ’70s.

The good news is that the space is going to a neighbor, Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, which has been in the neighborhood for 13 years and is another female-owned business at that. Emily Kaplan is reportedly planning to move Emmy’s to the more spacious digs in November. With the move, hours will run later, there will be more wines, and more to-go options too. As far as the original location, it sounds like it will function as an annex until they determine what they want it to be. And this means I need to go tie one on soon and come in for a loroco con queso and a revuelta at 2:15am before El Zocalo sadly leaves us. We called to get an official date on the closing but unfortunately no one at the restaurant could confirm for us. 3230 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-282-2572.

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The back counter and retail area. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Cho.

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The custom pour-over station with built-in scales and a special drain board. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Cho.

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The 16-foot bench where you can perch and enjoy your coffee. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Cho.

Fans of Wrecking Ball Coffee (you may have encountered it at Firehouse 8 or Marla Bakery) will be pleased to know the opening date has been set for their very own café this Friday September 5th in Cow Hollow. Partners Nicholas Cho and Trish Rothgeb both have some serious chops behind them—Rothgeb has been roasting, buying, and in the coffee world for 25 years, and Cho will be rocking the retail and barista side (he has 12 years under his belt). They’re excited to be opening a neighborhood coffee shop, a place with a bit of feminine style (cute pineapple wallpaper made in SF, check, and stylish aprons by studiopatró, you’ll find that too). As Nick says, “We wanted a shop to be proud of.”

But it’s not a place to bring your laptop. There’s a long 16-foot bench inside where you can sit next to some neighbors, and there’s a small counter where you can sit in front of the pour-over station and geek out with your barista, almost like a chef’s counter (both owners are big on education). They plan to get some outdoor seating soon, but they’ll have to get that permit first.

The duo has been working on finding a balance of flavors in their coffee drinks. For example, Cho says they have found using 2 percent milk for their cappuccino offers more flavor and balance (although you are more than welcome to order your capp with whole milk, they’ll have that too). Look for some creative drinks, effervescent drinks, and a chocolaty number to come when the weather gets a touch cooler. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 8am-8pm. 2271 Union St. at Steiner.

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The 555 Golden Gate exterior, when it was Maestro. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

There’s a new taker for the storied former home of Stars (and Maestro, most recently), according to Scoop. Actually, there are two takers: Jordan Langer (formerly at Big) and Pete Glikshtern (from Jones), who opened Oddjob together and have been running Pier 70 lately. They’ve signed a temporary three-year lease on the space (it’s going to be demolished, eventually). They’ll be calling the new project ~EMPIRE ROOM~, and it will feature different “social spaces” to take advantage of the large building. The main dining room will become a bar and nightclub, while the private dining room is going to be a smaller, higher-end cocktail bar.

As for the kitchen, it will function as a commissary for food trucks, who will also serve food in the bar. There will be several different trucks on the roster, rotating on different evenings. Because the space is so temporary, they won’t be doing any major construction, just some visual updates. Besides, they like how it looks—it’s a San Francisco classic. The plan is to open by November. 555 Golden Gate Ave. at Van Ness.

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Front booth action, and yes, that’s Simon on the shelf. Photo courtesy of Chino.

Over at the ever-poppin’ ~CHINO~ in the Mission, the team has just brought on consulting chef Justine Kelly, who hails from the Charles Phan empire—she initially started working with the Slanted Door in 1996 and was a key figure with the group until she moved on to The Battery as executive chef of their restaurant, 717B. She is now going to be working closely with Chino executive chef-partner Telmo Faria and chef de cuisine Dale Arcalas—partner Joe Hargrave tells me the team is adding around two new dishes a week. They aren’t going to be massively changing the menu—it’s more about fine-tuning and the pursuit of excellence. They want to dial the food at the restaurant to be great and are excited to have Justine on board to help drive it. Also in the works: the team is going to be taking a trip for inspiration to Vancouver.

About a month ago, we mentioned the upcoming brewery and beer incubator ~CITIZEN FOX~ that’s coming to the Mission (it’s now due to open early 2015). They have just announced a consulting chef: Tanya Petrovna, the founder and past president of the vegan café company Native Foods. So yes, it will be a vegan menu, but not “hippie vegan”—it will be designed to appeal to everyone. After getting the menu in place, she’ll be updating it seasonally and adding new dishes. If you want to meet her, she’ll be leading a demo at the CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market this Saturday. 2205 Mission St. at 18th St.

Some changes are afoot at ~OUTERLANDS~: the chef who was brought on to replace Brett Cooper, Greg Kuzia-Carmel, has also been let go after four months. Pastry chef Brooke Mosley, who is also a big part of the savory side of things over there, will be collaborating with sous chef Bayani Inclano; it sounds like another chef will be brought on to work closely with the team. We’ll see where Kuzia-Carmel lands next.

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A peek into the new Le Marais Bistro space, which flanks the bakery (at left). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

~LE MARAIS BISTRO AND BAKERY~ is getting ready to launch its bistro dinner menu on Wednesday September 10th. We wrote about the details of the new menu in July, so check out all the details there. To recap, they’ve expanded into a larger space and added bistro-style dinner service from chef Nicolette Manescalchi. You can look at the bistro menu right here. The café and bakery will now be open daily 7:30am-4:30pm, and the bistro open Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. 2066 Chestnut St. at Mallorca, 415-359-9801.

~A.G. FERRARI~, the local deli and gourmet shop, will be closing its three San Francisco locations for a makeover on Monday September 8th. The shops, which were purchased by investment firm Murano Group last year, will have new menus from chef Ira Meyer, a new wine selection, and a new design to their interiors. After the renovations, look for a grand reopening later this month. 468 Castro St. at 18th St., 415-255-6590; 3490 California St. at Locust, 415-923-4470; 688 Mission St. at 3rd St., 415-344-0644.

The owner of Bean Bag told me awhile ago that the (permanently under construction) space next to Bean Bag on Divisadero would potentially be a casual Mediterranean spot, and Hoodline confirms the news. The new spot, which is still unnamed, comes from Chris Totah, owner of Zaytoon in the Mission. This new location will cater more toward dining in, though they will still offer takeout options, with a menu of items made from fresh ingredients. Though there have been a lot of construction delays, Totah hopes to open in the next couple of months. 605 Divisadero St. at Hayes.

~NOODLES & COMPANY~, a Colorado-based chain of fast-casual restaurants, has opened a San Francisco location in the Metreon, and another location in the Market Center is opening on Monday September 29th. The menu offers noodle and pasta dishes with internationally inspired flavors, along with salads, soups, and sandwiches. Hours for both locations are Sun-Thu 10:30am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10:30am-10pm. Metreon, 135 4th St. at Mission, 415-979-0793; Market Center, 575 Market St. at 2nd St., 415-543-5700.

Now you’ve got an extra day to nab pastrami and matzo ball soup. ~WISE SONS DELI~ on 24th Street in the Mission is now open on Tuesdays, from 8am-3pm. They’re still closed Mondays, though—you’ll have to go to the Contemporary Jewish Museum location for a Monday fix.

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Feasting at CUESA’s Sunday Supper last year. Photo ©Drew Altizer Photography via Facebook.

CUESA’s 12th Annual Sunday Supper is coming up on Sunday October 5th from 6pm-9:30pm. The evening begins with a reception on the main floor of the Ferry Plaza, with oysters, Champagne, appetizers, and cocktails. Then, you’ll head upstairs for a four-course dinner prepared by some of San Francisco’s best chefs, including Evan and Sarah Rich (Rich Table), Michelle Polzine (20th Century Cafe), and Dennis Lee (Namu Gaji, Smokestack). All of this will be accompanied by wine pairings, of course. There will also be a silent auction with local gourmet experiences, like a farm dinner for 20 with Paula LeDuc Fine Catering. Tickets are $275 per person; VIP tickets are $350, which includes entry to the reception at 5:30pm, specialty cocktails, and a gift bag. The evening is a benefit for CUESA’s Foodwise Kids program.

~MILLENNIUM~ is celebrating 20 years of business this month, and of course they’re toasting this anniversary with a special fête. It’s on Thursday September 25th, and there will be lots of passed appetizers, a full bar, and live music. Reservations can be made for either 6pm or 8pm, and the party is $50 per person (not including tax and tip), with a portion of the proceeds going to Farm Sanctuary. Reservations can be made by calling 415-345-3900 ext. 10.

For a special evening in Half Moon Bay, check out the Husk to Harvest Farm Dinner from the Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce on Sunday September 28th from 5:30pm-9pm. The five-course dinner will be held at La Nebbia Winery in Half Moon Bay, with many local chefs and bakers making the magic happen in the kitchen. La Nebbia and Trojak-Knier Winery will be pouring wine, along with beer Highway 1 Brewing Company and Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. and spirits from Half Moon Bay Distillery. Plus, everyone will receive a special gift basket full of fresh produce and other local products. Tickets are $150 per person. 12341 San Mateo Rd., Half Moon Bay.

~FOREIGN CINEMA~ is toasting to its 15th birthday this year, and they’re throwing (what else?) a quinceañera to commemorate the occasion. Actually, it’s officially called the Quintessentially Quixotic Quinceañera and is happening Thursday September 18th from 7pm-11pm. The fiesta includes a whole roasted suckling pig, handmade tortillas, a ceviche bar, and all the fixings for excellent tacos. Cocktails from Kevin Dowell will be shaking all night long, as well. Heklina, Trannyshack, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will also be in attendance, keeping the festivities faaaaabulous with live performances. Tickets are $100 per person and include food, wine, and drinks. Proceeds benefit LYRIC and the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy.

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theLab’s inviting exterior. Photo from Facebook.

After their unfortunate closure in May due to permit restrictions, Recchiuti’s Dogpatch cafe ~THELAB~ has reopened as the ultimate pop-up destination. They’ve shaken up the concept a bit, and turned it into a space for events like their new Taste Project series. Each evening will offer an experience along with dinner, usually involving beverage pairings. On Friday and Saturday September 12th and 13th at 7pm, they’ll team up with Dogpatch’s own Sutton Cellars for a dinner with wine pairings. Future events include a sugar- and glassblowing demonstration along with dinner, an evening with Almanac Brewing, and an evening on the science of salt and bitters; check here for upcoming events. Tickets are typically $95 per person. The space is also available for private events, with special menus tailored to fit your group’s needs and interests.

The fine folks at Mattarello will be popping up at Gourmet & More on Saturday September 6th from 1pm-4pm. Their ravioli San Domenico will be available (they look totally insane), along with tagliatelle and pappardelle and a variety of sauces; check out all the choices here and be sure to preorder! 141 Gough St. at Oak, 415-874-9133.

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Thirsty? Here’s the Juju at Bar Dogwood. Photo via Dogwood’s Facebook page.

The owner of ~BAR DOGWOOD~ and ~STAG’S LUNCHETTE~, Alexeis Filipello, is not only busy with the upcoming ~DARLING’S~, which we told you about earlier this year, but she also has another project in the works: ~THE LODGE~. She is partnering with Matt EIseman on this project, which will mostly be a bar with classic cocktails and some top-notch bar food/small plates. Bay Area classics will figure prominently, like oysters on the half shell, plus fish fries, crudo, chowder, and salads. We can’t announce the space juuuust yet (it’ll be a month or so before we can say anything), but it’s pretty fantastic, with a nice lodge setting and a patio; there are about 60 seats in all. We’ll keep you posted!