October 21, 2014

October 21, 2014
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Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz. Photo courtesy of The Perennial.

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The greenhouse at The Perennial’s aquaponics partners, Viridis. Photo courtesy of The Perennial.

The altruistic and visionary duo of Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz (Mission Chinese Food, Mission Street Food, Commonwealth, Lt. Waffle) are working on a new restaurant and bar in SoMa: ~THE PERENNIAL~. There’s a lot of ground to cover with this concept, so let’s dive in.

The restaurant will have a strong eco and environmental perspective, unlike anything in the city, with an aquaponic greenhouse in Oakland (scraps from the restaurant kitchen will be used to feed fish, whose waste will then provide nutrients for the plants) and a focus on perennial agriculture and a farm-to-table and “table-to-farm” cycle (read: how to deal with waste). You should take a look at the Kickstarter video for more from Anthony Myint on aquaponics—it’s definitely the direction things need to be going in. (And maybe kick down a few bucks while you’re at it.)

The dining room will have a display of live plants that will be used on the menu à la minute (how’s that for fresh ingredients?), plus there will be large planters on the roof of 55 Ninth Street. The kitchen will be energy efficient (through consultation with the Food Service Technology Center), and the team will also be working closely with and donating a portion of proceeds to nonprofit Zero Food Print, a foundation that promotes restaurants (and diners) minimizing their environmental impact, and educates and enables restaurants to reduce their carbon footprints.

Pretty exciting stuff. This is the next wave, people.

The chef is Chris Kiyuna, currently chef de cuisine at Mission Chinese Food SF. He recently trained at Noma and has also cooked at Coi, but keeps things real, too (he was at Front Porch as well). This is a first time for me to see this on a press release: “the chef will serve accessible yet refined climate-conscious California cuisine.” Read on.

There will be “climate beneficial meat,” from cattle that graze “on compost-treated rangeland [which] encourage[s] the growth of perennial grasses whose longer roots sequester carbon beneath the soil, keeping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere” (the team is working with the Carbon Cycle Institute). And another cool thing: the restaurant “will work with Chad Robertson (Tartine) and Wes Jackson (The Land Institute) to offer bread and baked goods using perennial alternatives to traditional wheat, such as Kernza, a naturally bred intermediate wheatgrass, which boasts high-yield, root-based carbon sequestration, and pest resistance.”

Cocktails will be from Tin Roof Drink Community: Chad Arnholt (Trick Dog) and Claire Sprouse (ABV). And since everything will be eco-minded, you sure as hell won’t be seeing any plastic straws here. Not only will Paramo Coffee be served (you can read the original post on tablehopper here about them), but there will also be a daytime kiosk.

The 65-seat restaurant is being designed by Paul Discoe (Ippuku, Greens). The Perennial is going into a new apartment building called AVA 55 Ninth (the restaurant and café will be on the ground floor). Lunch and dinner will be served six days a week (à la carte dinner entrées will run $18-25). They are hoping to open in February 2015. I look forward to this one taking shape in the new year. 59 9th St. at Market.

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Noodles at Crystal Jade Jiang Nan. Photo from Crystal Jade website.

Four Embarcadero Center’s newest tenant ~CRYSTAL JADE JIANG NAN~ (music warning on that link) is opening Tuesday November 18th after a $14 million renovation. As we reported last year, this is the first outpost of the Singapore-based chain outside of Asia. Local restaurateur Gus Murad, previously of Medjool, is also involved in bringing the project to San Francisco.

The food is from the Jiang Nan region of China, which is south of the Yangtze River and includes Szechuan, Hunan, and Zhejiang cuisine. They will also offer some roasted Cantonese items, and dim sum brunch on weekends. There is even a full bar, the Liu Ling bar and lounge area, and a takeout counter called Singapore To-Go.

It’s a huge space, clocking in at 16,000 square feet, with an additional 4,000-square-foot terrace. Local designer Ken Fulk (Jane, The Cavalier) did the space, with an eye toward the landscape of the Jiang Nan region. The view of the bay is the focus both in the restaurant and on the terrace, along with British-Chinese imports and chinoiserie touches intended to evoke a British gentlemen’s club. Hours in the dining room will be Mon-Fri 11am-3pm and 5pm-11pm, Sat-Sun brunch 10am-3pm, Sat dinner 5pm-11pm, Sun dinner 5pm-10pm. Bar hours will be daily 11am-11pm, and Singapore To-Go hours daily 11am-8pm. Four Embarcadero Center, Drumm St. at Sacramento, 415-399-1200.

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The exterior of 20 Spot. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

There have been some changes at Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, the company behind Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, and Salumeria. Chef Ryan Pollnow, who has previously worked as the chef de cuisine at Central Kitchen, has been promoted to partner of the group. That means he’ll now be overseeing various culinary teams and working closely with executive chef Thomas McNaughton. Pollnow’s previous experience includes sous chef at Mecca and sous chef at Il Cane Rosso; he joined Central Kitchen in 2013. Chef Mark Bolton, who began at Central Kitchen in 2013 after working at Chicago’s Tru, will be taking his place as chef de cuisine.

After chef Caleb Jones left ~20 SPOT~, Todd Corboy has signed on in the kitchen. Corboy’s experience includes time in the kitchen at Delfina, as well as a stint in Vienna and as the private chef on a yacht. His small and medium plates have a seafood focus, with choices like ahi tuna poke with avocado, inamona, and seaweed, or steamed savory clams with chorizo, grapes, and toast; you can check out his menu here. 3565 20th St. at Lexington, 415-624-3140.

Not too long ago, some hawk-eyed folks on Twitter noticed that one of the chefs at ~MARUYA~ had left, and now Scoop reports both Masaki Sasaki and Hide Sueyoshi have departed. The new chef is Shinichi Kawaguchi. 2931 16th St. at S. Van Ness, 415-378-6667.

~MKT RESTAURANT-BAR~ in the Four Seasons has a new executive chef, Alexander La Motte. La Motte’s previous experience includes db Brasserie in Las Vegas, Café Boulud, and the French Laundry; most recently, he was at the Four Seasons Westlake Village. 757 Market St. at 3rd St., 415-633-3838.

Joyce Conway has taken the helm as executive chef at ~ZERO ZERO~, replacing Colin Dewey, who left in mid-August. Reportedly, Conway has been running the kitchen since Dewey’s departure and has been at Zero Zero since it opened. Before that, she was at Bruce Hill’s Bix. She’ll be working on cycling in some new dishes for fall.

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The beginnings of a feast at Sam’s Grill. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

~SAM’S GRILL AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~ has reopened after a hiatus and refresh, according to Scoop. To recap, the old-school spot (and hopper fave) was saved from an uncertain future by a group of regulars, while owner Phil Lyons transitions toward retirement. Its building was recently sold, and only three years remain on their current lease (let’s hope they get a good renewal worked out). In the meantime, though, they’ve got new paint, curtains, and some other polish. The menu is mostly the same, too, though it’s been a bit edited to make sure offerings are sustainable and high quality. Hours are still Mon-Fri 11am-9pm.

The beautiful Garden Court at ~THE PALACE HOTEL~ is now open again at night, after a decade of closing in the evenings. The hotel, which opened in 1909, will be serving bites, desserts, cocktails, and wine under the historical glass domed ceiling every evening from 5pm-10pm. Cocktails include the 1909, with bourbon, lemon, housemade ginger syrup, and Lagavulin, or the Landmark 18 with Spirit Works sloe gin, Bummer & Lazarus gin, orange juice, and housemade almond bitters. 2 New Montgomery St. at Market, 415-512-1111.

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The gorgeous pastry case at Sixth Course. Photo from Facebook.

~SIXTH COURSE~, a truffle and dessert shop from owners Bridget Labus and Gianina Serrano that has been in the works since 2011, is now open in the Mission. The ladies are famous for their truffles, including a boozy line with offerings like one infused with St. George single-malt whiskey, though the shop has branched out and you can also find items like modern cakes and pastries. Yelpers mention a lemon thyme tart (yes please) and fruit verrines. Plus, they’ve got late-night hours for dessert after dinner. Sweet! Hours are Wed-Thu 2pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 3pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. 1544 15th St. at Capp, no phone.

As previously reported on tablehopper, popular macaron maker ~CHANTAL GUILLON~ has moved to a larger kitchen location in SoMa and has officially added a storefront and opened for business. The new location joins one in Hayes Valley and another in Palo Alto, and offers a changing roster of seasonal and classic flavors. Hours are daily 11am-7pm. 1309 Howard St. at 9th St., 415-864-2400.

The Marina has a new spot for Mexican vittles: ~BONITA TAQUERIA Y ROTISSERIE~. The menu includes tacos, fajitas, and burritos with various protein choices like carnitas, rotisserie chicken, and vegetarian. Initial Yelp reviews are generally positive, with mentions of fresh flavors and quality ingredients. 2257 Chestnut St. at Scott, 415-801-5599.

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You’ll just have to wait to get your hands on the Italians salumi platter at La Nebbia. Photo: desogos.com.

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The semolina gnocchi at La Nebbia. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The new pulled pork sandwich at Lookout. Photo: Wes Rowe.

Last week I got the chance to preview the updated menu at the nine-month-old ~LA NEBBIA~, and I’m here to report there are some smart new additions on there, 15 in all. First, owners Massimiliano Conti and Lorella Degan have rounded out their already amazing list of salumi with new salumi flights, giving you a chance to try a selection of three or more at once, paired with some tasty antipasti and pickled items. Take your pick from the Italians spread—pictured, with four kinds of glorious pig: prosciutto di Parma (18 months), San Daniele (18 months), speck, and coppa—or try the Spaniards (with 18-month Iberico that looks like A5 wagyu, and feels like it on your tongue).

I particularly enjoyed new starters like artichokes with shavings of Moliterno cheese ($9), and the napoleon of baked eggplant ($10) with scamorza, tomato, and the punch of pecorino. There are some new pizzas to try (if you read Friday’s tablehopper, you know one of them), and another one that is Lorella’s favorite: a pizza bianca with mozzarella, soppressata, radicchio, and pecorino (I especially loved it with a little of the spicy peperoncino-infused balsamic they let me taste). There are some new hearty dishes like semolina gnocchi ($11), bubbling with butter from its time in the oven, with chard underneath. Oh yeah.

Since the menu is full of owner Massimo’s interesting and unique wine selections, why not be able to take them home? Starting Friday October 24th, La Nebbia will launch a new wine to go program, with all the wines on the list available to take home. That “Derthona” timorasso from La Colombera, I will be back for you! One more thing: newly extended hours are now Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm and Sun 4pm-9pm. You can also make reservations on OpenTable. 1781 Church St. at Day, 415-874-9924.

Meanwhile, over in the Castro, ~LOOKOUT~ is celebrating its seventh anniversary by bringing on Wes Rowe (yes, that Wes, of the famed Wes Burger) to update and consult on the menu. As of tonight, it now features elevated bar snacks and drink-friendly bites, all made with some really delicious ingredients and a sense of humor (see: dirty balls, the nutsack). There’s Tex-Mex style queso, buffalo wings, and sandwiches like fried chicken, pulled pork, a burger (Wes knows a thing or two about them), and grilled cheese, all on a Pinkie’s challah bun with sides included, like tots or fries. You can still get a pizza, and there are now tacos too. Check out the menu, you may want to save room for the deep-fried bourbon shots, which entail pound cake that is soaked in bourbon and you guessed it, takes a ride in the fryer.

Bartender Michael Breshears, who has poured me too many shots to count over the years, has updated the cocktails, and has added fresher ingredients, housemade syrups, and other touches. 3600 16th St. at Market, 415-431-0306.

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The exterior of Woodward’s Garden. Yelp photo by Ann L.

Based on some ABC license activity, it looks like Jason Perkins—managing partner of Parish Entertainment Group, which operates Place Pigalle in Hayes Valley and Brick & Mortar Music Hall in the Mission, plus a couple of Oakland spots—is planning something for the former Woodward’s Garden space. A call into Parish Entertainment Group didn’t yield any details just yet about what Perkins is planning for the space, but we were promised an update soon. 1700 Mission St. at Division.

Since we’re noting license activity, ~BOXING ROOM~ has a full liquor permit lined up, which would be so great for that space. Hopefully it happens soon. Bring on the Sazeracs!

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The new coffee and tea kiosk at Rainbow Grocery. Photo via Twitter.

The city continues to keep on cranking in the café department. This Friday October 25th, ~RAINBOW GROCERY~ will be opening its coffee and tea shop in the area in front of the store, serving Stumptown Coffee Roasters and a variety of teas. Come by this Friday for snacks and samples. Hours are Mon-Sat 8am-6pm and Sun 9am-3pm. 1745 Folsom St. at 13th St., 415-863-0620.

Hayes Valley has a new project brewing (sorry, har): ~ARTÍS COFFEE~ in Berkeley is going to be opening a second location on Octavia Street. Artís Coffee is known for live-roasting coffee on the spot (and to your taste). Or you can just grab an espresso or coffee and be on your way. Hoodline reports Artís will be opening in the former Reliquary space in 2015. 537 Octavia St. at Ivy.

Eileen Hassi Rinaldi just finished revamping ~RITUAL COFFEE ROASTERS~ on Valencia, and next she’s going to be opening a new location at Haight and Central in the Upper Haight (in a former cleaners). This one is a long way out—Hoodline reports we’re looking at July 2015 or thereabouts (permits and renovations take time). There will be outdoor seating too. Looking forward to it. 1300 Haight St. at Central.

A reader wrote in to tell me that ~TULLY’S COFFEE~ on Fillmore is reportedly closing on Sunday October 26th due to a severe rent increase. 2455 Fillmore St. at Jackson, 415-929-8808.

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Celebrating Diwali at Dosa in 2012. Photo from Facebook.

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Devoto cider, ready for pairing. Photo by Bry Photography via Facebook.

Celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali at ~DOSA ON FILLMORE~ on Thursday October 23rd. There are two seatings, one from 5:30pm-8pm and the second from 8:15pm until closing. Reservations include a three-course, family-style South Indian feast complete with dosas, uttapam, and curries, plus live music, henna tattoos, and traditional Diwali sweets. The second seating also includes a Bollywood and bhangra dance party after dinner. The first seating is $45 per person, and the later seating is $65 per person. Call 415-441-3672 for reservations and more information.

Catch the latest in the Eat Like a Chef, Drink Like a Somm dinner series at ~STONES THROW~ on Monday October 27th. The husband-and-wife team of chef Maria Sinskey and winemaker Robert Sinskey will be at the restaurant, preparing a special, autumnal five-course dinner with wine pairings—check out the menu here. Tickets are $75 per person including tax and tip, with wine pairings for an additional $50 per person, and reservations can be made from 6pm-8:45pm. All proceeds benefit the SF-Marin Food Bank, and if you can’t make it this time, next month the series will feature a savory menu from pastry chefs William Werner (Craftsman & Wolves), Matt Tinder (Meadowood), and Bill Corbett (Absinthe Group) on Monday November 17th.

~MILLENNIUM~ is hosting a five-course dinner with Devoto Orchards Cider and Wait Cellars on Wednesday October 29th from 7pm-10pm. The dinner, which is vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, will be paired with pinot noir from Wait Cellars and Devoto’s excellent dry and semi-dry ciders. (Seriously, have you tried them? Do yourself a favor and grab a bottle of their Cidre Noire to toast the last sunny days of October.) Dessert even includes a cider-based cocktail pairing—how very fall is that? The dinner costs $80 per person and includes all food and drink pairings, but not tax and tip. For reservations, call 415-345-3900, ext. 13.

On Tuesday November 4th, enjoy a special farm dinner at ~SEVEN HILLS~ with David Little of Little Organic Farm in Petaluma. The five-course menu includes produce sourced almost exclusively from Little’s farm, along with other ingredients from Marin and Sonoma counties. The dinner is $90 per person, including a box of produce from the farm, but not including drinks, tax, or tip. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. (Psssst, there will be a sunchoke cappuccino with white truffle from Alba.) 1550 Hyde St. at Pacific, 415-775-1550.

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Gabrielle Hamilton. Photo courtesy Random House.

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New York’s amazing chef and author Gabrielle Hamilton will be in the bay next month, promoting her new cookbook, Prune. There are a few ways to catch her; don’t miss one of these delicious events. First, she’ll be at March on Sunday November 9th from 12pm-2pm, signing books and talking about her recipes. Email for more information. 3075 Sacramento St. at Baker, 415-931-7433.

That evening, catch her at a dinner at Left Bank in Larkspur with Book Passage at 6:30pm. Tickets are $125 for one or $185 for a pair, and include food, wine, tax, tip, and a signed copy of the book (just one book for the pair of tickets). 507 Magnolia Ave. at Ward, Larkspur, 415-927-3331.

On Monday November 10th, she’ll be at Shed in Healdsburg, doing a special lunch with recipes from the cookbook and, of course, sharing stories from Prune. Tickets are $95 per person or $145 for a pair, and include lunch, wine, dessert, tax, tip, and one copy of the book. 25 North St. at Foss, Healdsburg, 707-431-7433.

Then, at 6pm on Monday November 10th, she’ll be at Camino sharing even more recipes and dishes. A reception with drinks, a book signing, and snacks starts the evening, followed by dinner at 7pm. Tickets are $136 and include food, wine, tax, and tip. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event. 3917 Grand Ave. at Sunnyslope, Oakland, 510-547-5035.

Marcus Samuelsson will also be in town with a new book, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home. On Sunday November 2nd, he’ll be doing a two-part event with Green Apple Books on the Park. First, from 6pm-8pm, catch him at Nopalito on 9th Avenue, where he’ll be at an intimate reception talking about the book with drinks and food from Nopalito. Tickets to the reception are $100 per person and include a copy of the book, two drinks, and all the carnitas, tacos, and pollo al pibil you can manage. From 8pm-9pm, he’ll be at the Green Apple store across the street, signing books and answering questions. The book signing is free and open to the public. Nopalito: 1224 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-233-9966. Green Apple Books on the Park: 1231 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-742-5833.

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The interior of Kushido. Photo from Facebook.

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The JJ burger. Photo from Yelp.

~KUSHIDO~, a new yakitori-style Japanese restaurant, is now open in Temescal. Owner Jonathan Moon’s project is inspired by the izakayas of Japan, where yakitori skewers are served alongside beer and other beverages. Think of it as a drinking place with good food, not the other way around. They’ve got a real binchotan grill that’s visible to diners, where more than 20 types of yakitori are grilled, including bacon-wrapped mochi and different cuts of chicken. They’ve also got several Japanese beers on tap, as well as sake and shochu. There are also some non-yakitori items on the menu, like sashimi and ramen. Hours are Tue-Sat 5pm-11pm. 4828 Telegraph Ave. at 48th St., Oakland, no phone.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that cats are the new black and soon you’ll be able to hang out with friendly felines at every café and restaurant in the Bay Area. Opening on Saturday (excuse me, Caturday) October 25th is Oakland’s ~CAT TOWN CAFE~, a space where you can get coffee from Bicycle Coffee Co., bagels from Authentic Bagel Co., and sweet pastries from Kitchener Collective. Within the café is the fully contained Cat Zone, where you can take your food and drink and hang out with cats of all sorts. This is not all just for fun, though: the cats at Cat Town are available for adoption through the Cat Town nonprofit, an organization that has been rescuing cats from the East Bay’s overcrowded shelters since 2011. You can even reserve a spot in the Cat Zone for a donation of $10 to the organization. Meow! Café hours are 8am-7pm and Cat Zone hours are 10am-7pm. 2869 Broadway at 29th St., Oakland, 510-915-1454.

Liquor license activity tipped us off to a cool new project opening this winter, called ~THE OCTOPUS LITERARY SALON~. Details are still a bit spare, but the space is inspired by salons and pubs in Europe, where people of all ages gather to eat, drink, discuss literary happenings, and listen to live music. Construction has started and they are targeting a January opening—of course we’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, catch one of their pop-up salons; follow along on Twitter for updates. 2101 Webster St. at 22nd St., Oakland.

Some more liquor license activity: last month we mentioned the upcoming project from Alexeis Filipello (Stag’s Lunchette, Bar Dogwood) and Matt EIseman called ~THE LODGE~, but we couldn’t quite reveal the location just yet. Since license activity has hit the wires, we can now reveal it’s going to be opening in the former Egbert Souse’s in North Oakland. It’s looking like 90 days to build out, so expect a spring opening. To recap: The Lodge will mostly be a bar with classic cocktails and some top-notch bar food/small plates (think Bay Area classics, like oysters on the half shell, plus fish fries, crudo, chowder, and salads). There’s a nice lodge setting and a patio, with about 60 seats in all. We’ll keep you updated! 3758 Piedmont Ave. at MacArthur, Oakland.

It looks like there is a new spot in Grand Lake, called ~JJ BURGER~. East Bay Express reports that the new spot has moved into the former Kung Pao Kitchen and is serving slightly elevated burger, with fresh toppings, brioche buns, and quality meat. There are also lots of patty choices, including chicken, turkey, and an ahi tuna poke burger. Hours are Tue-Sun 11am-9pm. 3415 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-451-0633.