October 14, 2014

October 14, 2014
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Exterior photo by Craig Lee.

Exciting (potential) news here: if the ABC license transfer and escrow gods cooperate, it looks like Melissa Perello of ~FRANCES~ will be taking over the recently closed ~BAKER & BANKER~ space in Pacific Heights. Perello was not able to confirm or deny that she is in contract to purchase the space at this time, but based on what I was able to dig up online, it looks like that’s the plan.

Perello has been looking for a second space for some time. In an interview with Haighteration more than a year ago, she said, “I’m thinking about starting to think about Frances #2” and “I’m looking to replicate [Frances] on a larger scale. I’m just contemplating it.” Once Perello can talk about the location, we’ll have to see what her plans entail for her second project. And all of SF (and beyond) will be eagerly listening. 1701 Octavia St. at Bush.

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Some news at the upcoming ~THE PROGRESS~, the second project from State Bird Provisions’ Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski that they’re opening next door: they have hired Jason Alexander as the general manager and wine director. He was most recently the GM for Meteor Vineyard and was the wine director for both Gary Danko and Cyrus (yeah, he’s no slouch in the wine department). In a conversation with Brioza, he says they have known each other for a long time, working on events together, and they were happy to herald Alexander’s return to the restaurant world.

One more tidbit: The Progress will be opening in 2014. Yay. While details aren’t really ready to be released yet, The Progress is going to be living up to its name (it’s in homage to The Progress Theatre that was on the site from 1911-1925). Brioza says the name stands for a firm foundation and can also be used in reference to what they’re going to be doing: progressing their dining style (without being pretentious). He says they aren’t reinventing the wheel, they already did that with State Bird—this will be a tribute to the past as they pave their way and look to the future. The food, wine, service style will all reflect progress; he added that they are very excited about their kitchen and front-of-house team. One big motif is the artisan role in what they do and create, so look for a continuation of many handmade elements in this next space. I’ll keep you posted in the coming months! 1525 Fillmore St. at Geary.

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The new entrance. Photo by Patrik Argast.

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A look into the Champagne bar and lounge. Photo by Patrik Argast.

~QUINCE~ reopened September 20th after closing for renovations in July, and here are some updates on how it looks (yes, it’s swanky!). Local designer Douglas Durkin designed the new space, which includes a private entryway, a new bar and lounge area, two new private dining rooms, a refreshed kitchen with a chef’s counter, and some new art and furniture. The focus of the renovation was on making the dining room feel more comfortable and inviting, with an eye toward both the restaurant’s former home on Octavia and the current space’s architectural past (it was built in 1907).

Metalworker Michael Bondi created the new entrance, a glass and metal structure that carries guests from the street to the dining area. In the dining room, more brick walls have been exposed and offer warmth, and the entryways have been rounded to soften the hard edges. New banquettes keep the seating luxurious. One of the most exciting additions, if you are a lover of bubbles, is the Champagne bar and lounge at the entrance. Wine director Jai Wilson is offering a selection of wines from small producers in Champagne, including many farmer-owner wineries and others that are being imported to the United States for the first time. In addition to the bottles, you can also order à la carte from the tasting menu while seated in the lounge, and an hors d’oeuvres menu will be available, along with caviar service.

They’ve added two more private dining rooms, each with seating for as many as 12 people. There are also two seats at a chef’s counter, for those looking to experience the kitchen firsthand. The renovation has allowed for a private dining room at next-door’s Cotogna, called the Octavia Room. It is situated in the kitchen, if you’re really into seeing the action up close. Quince and the new lounge are open Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm.

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One of the dining areas at Mochica. Photo by Aubrie Pick, courtesy Mochica.

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Another dining area at Mochica. Photo by Aubrie Pick, courtesy Mochica.

As previously reported on tablehopper, Peruvian restaurant ~MOCHICA~ is reopening on Potrero Hill, and it’s happening this Thursday October 16th. Chef and owner Carlos Altamirano has expanded the menu to reflect the additional seating afforded by the new location, and there is also a full bar. Look for small dishes like ceviches and the anticuchos de corazón (that would be beef heart skewers served with crispy potatoes and spicy salsa panchita). As for entrées, there’s a chicken stew in aji amarillo sauce with potato, botija olives, and a hard-boiled egg, or a Peruvian-style paella with seafood and a squid ink base.

As for that full bar, of course you’ll find pisco sours, along with traditional chilcanos, also made with pisco, plus ginger and lime. The space was designed by Keith Morris of Abueg Morris Architects, and it has an industrial feel, with warm wooden panels and hand-painted murals on the walls. There are two dining rooms and a bar area, with seating for groups of different sizes. Dinner Sun-Thu 4pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, weekend brunch Sat-Sun 10am-2:30pm, and happy hour Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm. 1469 18th St. at Connecticut, 415-278-0480.

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The exterior of 1000 Guerrero. Yelp photo.

After changing from Tao Café two years ago, ~COMPANY~ is now becoming ~HOFFMANN’S GRILL AND ROTISSERIE~. Chef Karen Hoffmann, one of the partners from Company, is now the sole owner. The menu will be focused on simple, comforting food that reflects the seasons, with many items made in-house, including bread, pasta, and sausage. Each day will feature a rotating meat special, as well as roast chicken available by the half or whole, and a burger with smoked cheddar and grilled onions. The wine list will include four choices on tap and a selection of bottles from small producers. Hoffman’s will open on Tuesday November 4th, and hours will be Sun, Tue-Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10pm, closed Mondays. 1000 Guerrero St. at 22nd St., 415-374-7479.

A couple of readers were asking me what was going on at the 24th Street location of ~SUSHI BISTRO~—which has been closed since August—and the owners have confirmed that they sold the location. Things continue as is at their Balboa Street location, where they have absorbed some of the 24th Street staff. A reader tells me the new business moving into the 24th Street space is ~KAZAN~, which will “serve sushi and Japanese tapas,” and should be opening this week. 2809 24th St. at York.

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A rendering of Klyde. Courtesy Klyde.

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Cuco’s, you’ll be missed. Photo from Facebook.

An all-day café has opened in Union Square, called ~KLYDE CAFÉ & WINE BAR~. It’s inside the Hotel G, though the projects are unaffiliated. The kitchen is run by local Sam Fechheimer, the project’s executive chef, whose previous experience includes Michael Mina, Locanda, and Il Cane Rosso. The menu offers American classics, such as egg dishes like poached eggs with merguez sausage at breakfast, along with pastas, salads, and sandwiches at lunch and dinner. The wine list offers more than 60 bottles from the United States and France, many of them priced around $30. The selection of wines by the glass will rotate regularly. Hours are daily, with breakfast 6:30am-12am (that’s right, breakfast all day), lunch 11:45am-2:30pm, happy hour 3pm-7pm, and dinner 3pm-12am. 386 Geary St. at Mason, 415-654 5061.

As previously reported, San Francisco now has a second location of Los Angeles-based salad chain ~TENDER GREENS~. It opened Wednesday October 8th, according to Facebook, serving meal-sized salads, platters, and soups. Hours are daily 11am-9pm. 266 King St. at 4th St., 415-230-3141.

As we reported back in July, Haight Street burrito joint ~CUCO’S~ was in danger of eviction and closure. After weighing their options and considering legal action, the Campos family, who owns the restaurant, decided to close on Monday October 13th, according to Hoodline. Despite the closure, they may reappear as a pop-up or maybe even a restaurant in the future. Best of luck to them. 488 Haight St. at Fillmore.

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Exquisite halibut with fava beans, corn, and little gems, a springtime dish at Nico. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After almost a year in business, Pacific Heights restaurant ~NICO~ will be changing menu formats at the end of this month. Each evening, a three-course menu will be available for $45 and a five-course one for $55 per person. Wine pairings will be available for $30 for the three-course option and $45 for the five-course one. The intention behind the change is to offer a more European-style experience, where guests can relax and let the kitchen take care of them, while continuing to be approachable. Snacks and the à la carte menu will be available at the bar. 3228 Sacramento St. at Lyon, 415-359-1000.

~PLIN~ will be offering weekend brunch as of Saturday October 18th, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am-2:30pm. In addition to an à la carte menu, you can also try a family-style prix-fixe option for $30 per person. Menu items include baked eggs with polenta; French toast with mascarpone and pecans; and eggs Benedict with a choice of sausage and bone marrow, shrimp and basil, ham, or sous vide salmon. Bottomless brunch beverages are also available, and you can catch aperitivo hour from 3pm-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays after brunch. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-644-8425.

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The menu at Tiny Warrior. Photo from Facebook.

There’s a new spot in the Mission for delicious iced coffee, called ~TINY WARRIOR~. It’s a little coffee spot, with a bit of a bar bent: five different flavors of signature iced coffee are blended and shaken to order, with flavors like Moroccan (cardamom, cinnamon, and clove syrup) and Mission mocha (Tcho chocolate and smoked chile). You can add freshly muddled mint or chocolate ice cubes to your coffee too. House coffee, pour-over, and plain iced coffee are also available. Hours are Tue-Sun 7am-5pm, closed Mon. 3376 18th St. at Capp, 510-847-4754.

Observant Yelpers caught the opening of ~SNOWBIRD COFFEE~ in the former Drip’d Coffee Lab in the Inner Sunset. They offer coffee from different roasters on a rotating basis (right now it’s Wisconsin’s Ruby Roasters), including some of their own roasts. Plus, they’ve got a little bit of counter seating and free Wi-Fi. We weren’t able to find their hours, but their Instagram tells us they are closed Tuesdays. 1352 9th Ave. at Irving.

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The patio at the Cheese School of San Francisco. Photo from Facebook.

~THE CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~ is hosting the annual cheesy fest for the California Artisan Cheese Guild on Thursday October 16th at 7pm, Meet the Cheesemaker. There will be 24 cheesemakers there, with tastes and stories to share, including the fine folks from Achadinha, Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, and Cowgirl Creamery. In addition, catch wine from Herb Lamb Vineyards and beer from Headlands Brewing Co. The event is a fundraiser to help educate and support California cheesemakers, so don’t miss the silent auction. Tickets are $25 for cheese guild members and $35 for the general public. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-346-7530.

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The next generation of chefs at Bay Leaf Kitchen Summer Camp. Photo from Facebook.

Spark, a national organization that helps middle school students from underserved communities stay engaged in school, is having their annual Sugar Rush on Thursday October 16th at 7pm at the Sir Francis Drake hotel. The event is full of sweet treats and savory bites from local restaurants including Akiko’s, Nona Lim, and Scala’s Bistro, along with wine and beer. Tickets are $85 per person, or $150 for VIP, which includes cocktails, exclusive small plates, 6pm entry, and cooking demonstrations. 450 Powell St. at Sutter.

Support the Bay Leaf Kitchen on Sunday October 26th at ~RED DOG~ for their first annual Kitchen Harvest Dinner. The four-course dinner comes from chef Lauren Kiino along with guest chefs Laurence Jossel (Nopa), Luke Chappell (Luke’s Local), and Kate and Mac Magruder (Magruder Ranch). In addition to the four courses, there will be cocktails from Trick Dog’s Tommy Quimby, wine, and beer, along with live music and seating alongside chefs, farmers, and other producers. The evening begins with a cocktail reception at 5:30pm and runs until 9:30pm; tickets are $125 per person, or $1,000 for a table of six or $2,000 for a table of ten. 303 2nd St. at Harrison, 415-692-0211.

Help a new generation of chefs at San Francisco State University’s Hospitality and Tourism Department’s Taste of the Bay event on Wednesday November 12th. The evening, which is put on by students, takes place at the City View at Metreon and includes food from local restaurants like Café Claude, Hog Island Oyster Bar, and M.Y. China. There will also be lots of local wines and both live and silent auctions. It all raises money for scholarships and activities at the school. Tickets are $100 in advance or $150 at the door, and the party goes from 6:30pm-9:30pm. 135 4th St. at Mission, 415-405-3966.

On Tuesday October 28th, head to ~18 REASONS~ for their Teach a Community to Fish dinner from Bar Tartine’s Nick Balla and Cortney Burns. The menu is heavy on seafood (and looks delicious), and proceeds benefit 18 Reasons’ Cooking Matters program. The evening goes from 7pm-10pm, and tickets begin at $250 per person and include all food and wine pairings from Bi-Rite Market.

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Don’t miss the world’s best party mash-up: a book and pizza party at ~TONY’S PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ on Tuesday October 21st from 5:30pm-9:30pm. The evening is a celebration of Tony Gemignani’s latest book, The Pizza Bible, which covers how to make pizzas from regions all over the world, including Naples, Chicago, California, and Rome. Entry to the party is free with the purchase of a book ($29.99) and includes pizza made with recipes from the book, as well as cocktails, beer, and wine. There will also be a photo booth and accordionist (we said it was a party!). Yeah, this is how you do a book party!

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Bread fresh out of the wood-fired oven. Photo courtesy of The Growlers’ Arms.

An exciting update for you on ~THE GROWLERS’ ARMS~, the upscale gastropub (yet cozy tavern) from Seamus and Shelley Mulhall that’s opening on Wednesday October 22nd in the former Marzano in Oakland’s Glenview district. The duo will be offering an English-style experience with California sensibility (across the board, from the cuisine to the decor). There will be a 10-seat bar, banquette seating in a deep port color, plus some church pews, with 65 seats, and 15 outdoor seats with heat lamps.

Look for experienced service with those small touches that really make things shine—the team comes from places like Boulevard and Farallon (the Mulhalls are some serious restaurant industry vets, with Danko, Boulevard, La Folie, and Chez Panisse in their collective backgrounds). There will be old silverware (Seamus says they have been polishing it like crazy), and the room has old portraits of California icons like John Muir.

The chef is Brian Ventura, previously A16, who toured 15 Michelin-starred gastropubs in May with the Mulhalls in England and Ireland. Seamus said they were really struck with how strong a role English farming played in the cuisine: “It was just really good country food.” Look for English dishes that will be fun, and reflect and rotate with the seasons. Here’s the first look at a draft of the opening menu, which includes starters like snails on Growler toast with a fennel-parsley salad, scarlet turnips, and herb dressing, and favorites like bubble and squeak. The team is working with whole animals (pig, goat), so they will be making haggis (“not your grandfather’s!”), some terrines, and pâté—plus more goodies in their charcuterie refrigerator. They also got in the last-of-the-season local salmon and made gravlax with St. George Terroir gin. Mains include oven-roasted sole with Brussels sprout champ and Lancashire hot pot with a goat chop bonus. There are a lot of sides, salads, and more to round out the meal.

Miranda, their sous chef, has been practicing baking bread in the wood-fired oven—which is not the easiest thing. She has also been working on traditional English desserts, like spotted dick, but they’re going to opt to call it by its other name, spotted dog, just to nip all those jokes in the bud, okay? Plus there will be seasonal pies (up now: apple pie with English cheddar).

The bar manager is Linda Hare-Touye, who has most recently been at Quince, but many will recognize from her years at Aqua. In addition to classic cocktails, there will be artisan beers, with four beers on tap and ten beers and cider by the bottle. Mostly small, local craft brews with some English ones, and, of course Guinness.

The bar will open at 4pm (with snacks), and the kitchen opens at 5pm. The space will be open nightly until 10pm, closing at 9pm on Sunday. Look for weekend brunch to launch in a month or so (with some blood pudding!). 4214 Park Blvd. at Glenfield, Oakland.

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Ordinaire Wine Bar. Yelp photo by Nique F.

As reported in August, you can order pizza from Boot and Shoe Service while enjoying wine at ~ORDINAIRE~ on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5:30pm-10pm. Well, turns out you can order dinner from Ordinaire itself Thursday through Saturday from 5:30pm-10pm; Chris Kronner is no longer popping up there (he has a restaurant to open!). The menu is concise and changes regularly; this week, there’s escarole salad, country pâté, and lamb breast. 3354 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-629-3944.

We tried to get some details on the opening of ~LONGBRANCH~—which is opening in the former Sea Salt—but unfortunately were told to just “follow along on Facebook and Twitter.” The background noise suggested it was open (maybe it was a test dinner), and they are currently holding some special events, but nothing could be confirmed. So call ahead before you go, but even then it might be a gamble. Our original post with a few details is here, and you can take a peek at the space here. 2512 San Pablo Ave. at Dwight, 510-984-0518.

We had a chance to catch up with Matt Burger, who we reported not too long ago is opening ~GRANGE HALL~ in the Barlata space in Temescal. Their timeline has been pushed a little due to patio and liquor licensing concerns. Barlata is still open at the moment, and now Grange Hall is aiming for an early 2015 opening. 4901 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland.

One of the owners of ~MOCKINGBIRD~ let us know that there’s been an issue with their liquor license (sounds like their landlord may have misinformed them in some way). While they work on sorting that out, they’ve voluntarily stopped serving alcohol. That’s bad news, but the good news is that you are now able to BYO with no corkage or other service fee. 1745 San Pablo Ave. at 18th St., 510-290-0331.