November 4, 2014

November 4, 2014
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The spacious 1542 Broadway, the future home of OK Falls. Photo courtesy of Doug Washington.

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Another look at the space. Photo courtesy of Doug Washington.

Restaurateur Doug “Mr. Hospitality” Washington (Town Hall, Salt House, Anchor & Hope, Grand Fare) has just signed the lease for a space at 1542 Broadway and will be opening a new restaurant called ~OK FALLS~ in spring 2015. The “OK” stands for Okanagan, a beautiful agricultural area in British Columbia where Washington’s parents and relatives all currently live—his grandparents lived and farmed there (they had orchards). You’d never guess from Washington’s last name that all of his mother’s side come from Udine (in Northern Italy), which is an important component to this very personal project.

The cuisine is going to be focused on homey Italian-American cooking, with executive chef Rebecca Boice leading the kitchen. Boice also has some Italian roots—her grandfather was a first-generation immigrant who ran a butcher shop in Morgan Hill called Stephen’s Meats. Boice worked at Zuni for 10 years and was most recently the executive chef at Toast Kitchen + Bar. Expect a strong focus on California seasonality and sustainability to ripple throughout the menu. Sample dishes include beef carpaccio with rosemary chips; grilled bruschetta with Tuscan-style chicken liver pâté, smashed cannellini beans, and long-cooked greens; yellowfin tuna conserva with roasted sweet peppers, red onions, and sultana raisin salsa verde. Rustic Italian dishes, like housemade sweet Italian sausage with all-day red sauce and spaghetti, and Marsala-braised chicken with 40 cloves of garlic sauce will also be on the menu. Oh yeah, and a house specialty will be lasagna.

With food like that, it’s a good thing the space will have 90 seats. There’s also an 18-seat bar and a private dining room. Oh, and did we mention the cabin? Yeah, there will be a cabin. It’s a fantastic feature to the entire project: a wood-shingled cabin in the middle of the room will host everything from private dinners to talk-worthy art installations, which will border on performance art some evenings. And it’s not a tiny one: we’re talking 21 feet by 21 feet. Inside, it will have clean white walls, wood floors, and chandeliers. It’s going to be quite the hot ticket for private events (and peeking through the windows).

The bar is another focal point, with Jamal Robinson (Town Hall) curating the cocktails and consulting on the menu. There will be a stainless steel counter behind the bar, giving it more the feeling of a kitchen workspace. Look for handcrafted syrups and tinctures, fresh ingredients, and quality spirits. One of the cocktails is the Pasquina, an homage to Washington’s grandma.

There’s a great team assembled, including wine and spirits director Haley Moore (Bacar, Spruce, and now the wine director for the Stock & Bones Company, which includes Town Hall, Salt House, and Anchor & Hope, plus Irving St. Kitchen in Portland). Her wine list will have many Italian selections, but will also represent California and other European countries too. The project will eventually serve morning coffee and lunch, but dinner to start, six nights a week.

Stand by for some sneak peeks and more in coming months—the project is going to have an urban-rustic look and a really artistic component to the entire experience (I look forward to sharing more). For now, check out the great bones of this huge space—it has fantastic brick walls and vaulted ceilings with a skylight. 1542 Broadway at 16th St., Oakland.

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A table and menu at Cámara’s Contramar in Mexico City. Yelp photo by Paula G.

Gabriela Cámara, the restaurateur whose Contramar in Mexico City redefined modern Mexican cuisine when she opened it 16 years ago, is opening her first restaurant in the United States right here in San Francisco. It’s moving onto the block of Fell Street between Van Ness and Franklin, Hoodline reports. Though Cámara is still working out the concept for the new project, it will likely be seafood-oriented, with a sustainable focus. She definitely has a way with seafood: the tuna tostadas on the menu at Tacolicious are an homage to the signature dish at Contramar.

Cámara currently owns several other restaurants in Mexico in addition to Contramar, and if you’d like to read a bit more about her and her impact on Mexican City’s food scene, check out this article in The Los Angeles Times from 2005. Right now, the new project has neither a name nor a timeline, though Diana la Cazadora (Diana the Huntress) is a possible name and she’s definitely aiming to open in 2015, possibly as early as the spring. 149 Fell St. at Franklin.

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The dining room at Game. Photo by Hardy Wilson.

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A corner of the dining room at Game. Photo by Hardy Wilson.

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The squid salad at Game. Photo by Hardy Wilson.

As reported in February, Sachin Chopra of Michelin-starred All Spice in San Mateo is taking over the former Masa’s space with his wife, Shoshana Wolff. The new restaurant is called ~GAME~ and is opening on Thursday November 6th. Zach Freitas, an All Spice alum, is serving as executive chef, with Rodrigo Ormachea on pastry (a Peruvian native who has worked at Dry Creek Kitchen, Revival Bar + Kitchen in Berkeley, and Plum and Haven in Oakland) and Conor Carroll (most recently at Burritt Room + Tavern) as sommelier.

The menu offers two choices for dining: you can order à la carte or go with the chef’s five-course tasting menu. Whatever you decide, the kitchen is focused on game, including duck with pan-seared polenta, yogurt, and blackened alliums ($35), and a roasted venison with trumpet mushrooms, pumpkin, and watercress ($36). There is also a freekeh porridge (which is officially a trend item, it would seem) with charred cabbage, boletes, and palm. You can also try an elk burger ($21), but there are only 21 available every day (a nod to the game blackjack). Take a look at the menu here.

As for the storied space, it has been opened up to include an expanded bar, and a front window allows more light into the dining room. Designer Michael Brennan’s original paintings of animals playing cards adorn the walls, giving the space a whimsical feel reminiscent of a Wes Anderson movie. (We’re happy to see Masa’s toile-upholstered chairs have stayed put.) The dining room seats 50, in addition to a private dining room for 12.

As for wine, Carroll and Wolff worked together on the wine list. Carroll also developed the cocktails, which will adhere to classic recipes, but with some unexpected savory ingredients incorporated into the drinks. Hours are Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm. 648 Bush St. at Powell, 415-874-9481.

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Seating along the wall, with a mural by Andrew Schoultz. Photo courtesy of Tender.

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Glassware and taps, ready for you. Photo courtesy of Tender.

Last week we shared news of the opening of Huxley at 846 Geary, and now it’s time to shine the light on their next-door neighbor at 854 Geary, ~TENDER~. We previously mentioned this wine and beer bar project was from Miriam Lipton, who is opening in a space that has been vacant for more than 40 years.

She has brought on Mickey Clevenger (whom many of you will remember from Bacar’s glory days) as a partner and wine director—he is overseeing the 21 wines on tap, plus there are three beers from Drake’s and some sparkling wines in bottle too (you can see the beverage list here). A big advantage to wine on tap is they can pour all kinds of sizes, from tastes to carafes. You can enjoy a flight of any three (with 3-oz. pours) for $15, and there’s a happy hour flight for $10.

There are also many kinds of cheeses and charcuterie available (from Zoe’s Meats in Santa Rosa and Fabrique Délices in Hayward) for $6 each; all plates are served with sliced baguette from Jane (also a neighbor), cornichons, and whole-grain mustard. There’s Brillat Savarin, Crottin d’Antan Poitou (a goat cheese), and truffle mousse and saucisson sec. You can choose three items for $15, five for $25, and seven for $35; at happy hour you get a choice of three for $10. There are also some side items like Marcona almonds, fruit, and XOX truffles from North Beach too.

You’ll find some seats at the bar, while the majority of the seating is at high-top tables with metal stools along the wall. Some cool features include a mural by artist Andrew Schoultz (known for his trees), and the roll-down door features a great piece by Ben Eine—oh, and check out the brass taps.

Hours are Sun 4pm-11pm, Mon-Wed 5pm-12am, Thu-Sat 5pm-1am. 854 Geary St. at Larkin, 415-589-7879.

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The exterior of the new Crêpe-Madame. Photo courtesy Crepe-Madame.

Crêpe-Madame, a crêpe restaurant from French native Laetitia Verdeaux in SoMa, is opening on Friday November 14th. Verdeaux has been running a catering business out of a small commercial kitchen for the last two years, and her new space will allow her to continue her catering operation while also offering crêpes for dine-in and takeout. There will be savory buckwheat crêpes (which are gluten-free), almond-infused sweet crêpes, and a salad bar. 685 Harrison St. at 3rd St., 415-513-9252.

According to Yelp, Portola diner ~BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S~ has reopened. As reported in June, the popular spot closed last year after the owner passed away, but new owners have taken it over. It sounds like they’ve made some changes to the space, but kept the menu the same. Unfortunately, the phone is not connected yet, so we weren’t able to get additional information. 2499 San Bruno Ave. at Thornton.

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Cocktails at the Bon Appetit Grub Crawl in New Orleans. Photo from Facebook.

Did you miss the tablehopper’s evening with Cover last week? Well, here’s a chance to get out and do something similar! Bon Appetit magazine is in town hosting Grub Crawl on Saturday November 8th. There are actually two crawls: an early one through Hayes Valley that begins at 11am and an evening one through the Mission that begins at 5pm. The Hayes Valley crawl includes stops at Souvla, The Boxing Room, and Nojo, while the Mission crawl includes Craftsman & Wolves, St. Vincent, and Tacolicious. Each crawl includes food and drink at every stop, and tickets are $149 per person, but tablehopper readers can get 15% off with code BAGC15. Hayes Valley crawl begins at 11am at La Urbana, 661 Divisadero St. at Grove; Mission crawl begins at 5pm at Tacolicious, 741 Valencia St. at 18th St.

Dana Tommasino and Margie Conard of the recently closed Woodward’s Garden are doing two special nights of dinners on Wednesday November 12th and Friday November 14th at a private studio. The Harvest Feast dinners will include four courses of seasonal, Middle Eastern-inspired dishes, including braised duck with quince, honey, cinnamon, roasted brussels sprouts, and couscous with lemon and kabocha squash. Both dinners from 6:30pm-9:30pm and are BYO; tickets to the Wednesday dinner are $75, and for the Friday dinner are $85. Location will be shared upon ticket purchase.

‘Tis the season for freshly pressed olive oil (“olio nuovo”) here in California, and Séka Hills in the Capay Valley is celebrating their harvest with a special dinner at ~BENCHMARK PIZZERIA~ in Kensington on Wednesday November 12th. In addition to highlighting Séka’s olive oils, they will also be featuring produce from River Dog and Full Belly Farms, also located in the Capay Valley. From 5pm to 9pm, you can order from the special menu à la carte, with dishes like housemade mozzarella on toast with rapini and Séka oil, linguine with Séka oil, garlic, pecorino, and chile flake, and a selection of pizzas. 1568 Oak View Ave. at Curtis, Kensington, 510-647-9724.

Here’s a sweet evening for your radar: bakers Rose Levy Beranbaum, Emily Luchetti, and Alice Medrich will be at the ~JCCSF~* on Tuesday November 18th, in conversation with none other than *Sunset Magazine’s Margo True. The group (who between the four of them have published over 25 books on baking, by the way) will be talking about cookies, cakes, chocolate, pastry, and all things dessert, starting at 7pm. Oh, and of course sweets will be served! Tickets are $25 for general admission, $35 for premium seating, and 10% off for JCCSF members. 3200 California St. at Presidio.

Looking to Do Gouda this holiday season? You can taste some special, award-winning domestic cheeses and raise money for Farms for City Kids on Friday November 14th at Frankeny Images Studio. The evening includes six different cheese tastings, including selections from Jasper Hill, Spring Brook Farms, and Achadinha, along with meats and baked goods from Olympic Provisions, La Quercia, Marla Bakery, and Miette. There will also be beverage pairings. The evening begins with a reception at 6pm, followed by tastings from 6:30pm-8:30pm. Reservations can be made here, and a donation of $40-80 is suggested. 439 Bryant St. at 2nd St.

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A sandwich from Grilled Cheez Guy. Photo from Facebook.

As of today, Tuesday November 4th, Grilled Cheez Guy will have a regular pop-up at Rickshaw Stop every Tuesday and Wednesday from 11am-3pm. Owner Michael Davidson wants to be sure to include other local producers in his business, so look for products like Santipapas Salsa, Quiche & Carry, and Brown Dog mustard. Everything will be available for takeout or dine-in, and delivery should be coming soon. 155 Fell St. at Franklin.

Jason Lund of Hal Jr.’s Bar-B-Q is doing his third pop-up at Mission Minis on Saturday November 8th from 7pm-10pm. Lund is from the Midwest, where he perfected his Kansas City-style barbecue. He uses a dry rub, smokes his meat for hours, and makes all his sauces and sides from scratch. Plus, he’s been working on a couple of new menu additions. We’ve been wanting to find time to check this one out, let us know if you go! 3168 22nd St. at Capp.

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Burmese Kitchen. Yelp photo by Steph L.

It looks ~BURMESE KITCHEN~ in the Tenderloin is closing at the end of November. According to a note on their website, they’ve lost their lease “due to the changing nature of San Francisco.” Eater caught up with owner Dennis Lin, who says that they will try to find a new, affordable location, although that is proving to be difficult. In the meantime, Lin is hoping to offer some pop-ups, so sign up to receive updates if you want to follow along. 452 Larkin St. at Turk, 415-474-5569.

Noe Valley Blog reports that the 24th Street location of ~PASTA POMODORO~ has closed. Apparently, the landlord is making some major renovations to the building, including seismic upgrades, and the restaurant does not appear to be moving back in after the construction. 4000 24th St. at Noe.

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Pie at A Dora Pie. Photo from Facebook.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that the husband-and-wife team of Christopher Blue and Jess Steeve of Chocolatier Blue has opened a new bakery in the former Slow restaurant space, called ~A DORA PIE~. As the name suggests, it is a pie shop, and they also serve coffee from Flying Goat, cookies, and meringues. Pie flavors are seasonal; current options include meringue, pecan, pumpkin, and chocolate silk. In the future, look for evening hours with savory pies, beer, and wine, but for now, hours are 10am-7pm. 1966 University Ave. at Miliva, Berkeley, 510-529-4191.

We heard from the team at ~THE GROWLER’S ARMS~ in Oakland that they have officially opened. Originally, the space was slated to open in October, and we reported lots of details then. After a few delays, they are now open and serving gastropub fare, classic cocktails, and artisanal beer. For some nice images of the space, check out this slideshow at UrbanDaddy. The bar opens 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. 4214 Park Blvd. at Glenfield, Oakland, 510-328-1315.