December 23, 2014

December 23, 2014
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The bar at 398 Restaurant & Bar. Photo by Kelly Puleio.

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A cocktail at 398 Restaurant & Bar. Photo by Kelly Puleio.

A report by Dana Eastland. There’s a follow-up to the October opening of Klyde in Union Square. It’s called ~398 RESTAURANT & BAR~, and, like Klyde, it’s in the Hotel G but is a separate project. Klyde’s Sam Fechheimer is the chef here, as well, with a menu of European-inspired dishes. The charcuterie selection is extensive, with pâtés and terrines made in-house, and entrées include pastas, meats, and salads.

There’s also some big news (ha) behind the bar: Brian Felley and Mo Hodges of the short-lived Big are running the show on the cocktail side of things. These new digs are actually large, clocking in at 124 seats, and the pair will still be shaking up their creative and flavorful concoctions. The drinks and food will be designed to play well together, so think cocktail-friendly food and vice versa.

The interior is a mix of industrial and raw with polished accents. The banquettes are upholstered with blood orange velvet to give a plush vibe, while raw beams and the original and distressed plaster ceiling keep everything from getting too fussy. The back bar has botanical wallpaper, which echoes the many ingredients in the cocktails, and Holophane-style lights, with polished dark wood stools and a pewter-toned bar.

398 Restaurant & Bar officially opened on December 19th. Hours are daily 5pm-11pm. 398 Geary St. at Mason, 415-654-5061.

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The dining counter at Delfina. Photo: Eric Wolfinger.

Big news on 18th Street: replacing chef de cuisine Brian Gremillion, who was at ~DELFINA~ for four years, is Edward Higgins, most recently at Bix. His background includes NYC’s Craft, Hearth, and Insieme, plus Ekki at the Four Seasons Hotel in Marunouchi, Japan, and Palo Alto’s Quattro. Chef-partner Craig Stoll confirmed Higgins starts at Delfina on January 7th and says, “We’re super excited to have Edward join our team and looking forward to an awesome, collaborative 2015.”

We contacted Bruce Hill for news on Edward Higgins’ replacement at Bix, and should have something to report in the New Year.

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The vacant 65 Club space on Taylor; Loco’l is moving in to the grocery space in the foreground. Photo via Phantom Coast’s Facebook page.

An update on Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi’s ~LOCO’L~ for you: they are opening their first location of their fast-food concept right in the Tenderloin, at Turk and Taylor to be exact. I drive by that corner often and have noticed a lot of construction, and wondered what was going in after the Phantom Coast project fell through.

As we mentioned before, Patterson and Choi will be offering a healthier, more sustainable alternative to the current fast-food choices, while maintaining low prices. They are specifically hoping to appeal to youth in struggling neighborhoods, with a menu of “smashes” (burgers with beef, whole grains, and tofu), rice bowls, and other dishes featuring fresh ingredients.

Scoop reports the 3,200-square-foot location was a former corner store, and Patterson’s architect for all his restaurants, Scott Kester, will design the space. There will also be a commissary kitchen for Patterson and Sasha Bernstein to hold classes for The Cooking Project, a nonprofit that teaches cooking skills to kids and young adults from the Tenderloin community. They hope to open in the summer, with other locations following in LA and possibly Oakland. Way to go, guys. 57 Taylor St. at Turk.

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The dining room at Burma Love on Valencia. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

Well, it turns out we didn’t have all the correct information in our piece last week from the Burma Superstar team on their new project in the Mission. However, we got some new intel this week, so here’s an update for you. The new restaurant is actually going to be called ~BURMA LOVE~, and while Burma Superstar is known for its everyday, classic Burmese dishes, the menu here will include dishes that you’d find at a family feast, with an emphasis on seafood. They mention the dishes will be a bit spicier and more concentrated in flavor. (Although you will still find some of the favorite dishes from Burma Superstar on the menu too.) The plan is, as we reported, to open after Christmas. 211 Valencia St. at Duboce, 415-861-2100.

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The exterior of La PanotiQ, now open on Chestnut. Photo from Facebook.

Back in August, we reported on the new La Capra Coffee in SoMa from the brothers Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House, and Anchor & Hope. Their expansion in the neighborhood continues, with a new pizza joint called ~JERSEY~. As the name would suggest, it’s a New Jersey-style, full-service pizza place. Pies will be the focus, but other dishes will also be available, Scoop reports. The current timeline is a February opening. 145 2nd St. at Minna.

Adding to the bakery madness in town is ~LA PANOTIQ~ in the Marina. As previously reported, this is the second location of the small bakery chain, which started in Campbell. Chowhound caught the opening, which appears to be just one of several planned outposts, including Noe Valley, Berkeley, Livermore, and Mountain View. The menu offers soups, sandwiches, salads, and pastries, as well as coffee and tea. 2234 Chestnut St. at Pierce, 415-525-3625.

A friend sent in this tip: Bayview has a new place for breakfast and lunch, called ~SIMPLY DELISH~. Apparently, the owners originally planned to open a larger Thai restaurant in the same building, but then the developer offered to give them a good deal on the corner space, too, as long as they agreed to offer affordable lunch and dinner options (the building houses low-income seniors). So, Simply Delish is open now, and a larger Thai restaurant is in the works. Early Yelpers report good curry and Thai dishes, as well as American-style diner breakfasts. 5668 3rd St. at Armstrong, 415-529-1649.

Eater reports that banh mi mini-chain ~DINOSAURS~ has opened a fourth location in SoMa. Yelpers report that the space has a pinball machine, in addition to their menu of salads, rolls, and sandwiches. 18 Boardman Pl. at Bryant, 415-701-1421.

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The Nombe interior. Yelp photo by Claudine C.

Up on Potrero Hill, French restaurant ~CHEZ PAPA BISTROT~ is closing at the end of the month. Owner Jocelyn Bulow says he plans to keep the corner space, according to Scoop, but no word on what might be up his sleeve. His other restaurants, Chez Maman and Papito, each have a location in Potrero and Hayes Valley and remain open. The last day of service for Chez Papa is Wednesday December 31st.

Also closing on Wednesday December 31st is Japanese izakaya ~NOMBE~. Well, it’s not closing, exactly, but will no longer be functioning as a restaurant, according to Scoop. Owners Gil Payne and Mari Takahashi cite family illnesses as the reason they can no longer keep up with daily operations, but they are holding onto the space and will be using it for cooking classes, including sessions on sake, ramen burgers, and sushi. Check out the class schedule here.

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Image courtesy of Chubby Noodle.

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Chubby Noodle’s jook with hickory-smoked bacon. Photo via Facebook.

Your weekends are about to get dim-summier and rowdier with the arrival of the bottomless dim sum weekend brunch at ~CHUBBY NOODLE MARINA~, starting Saturday January 3rd. For $37 (plus tax and tip), you will have 90 minutes to enjoy bottomless dishes and four or five beverages, too, ranging from draft Sapporo to their cold tea to probably some mimosas.

The starting menu will be divided into five sections: dim sum (pork buns, shrimp and cilantro dumplings, shu mai), noodles (expect Hong Kong-style chow mein, rice cakes in XO sauce, wonton noodle soup), soup (hot and sour, crab and corn chowder), rice (their amazing fried rice, and jook with smoked pork and a poached egg), and sides (bok choy, pea shoots, eggplant).

Knowing chef-partner Pete Mrabe, these initial dishes will change up a bit. He plans to start with 12 the first weekend, and then ramp up with new ones each week, eventually getting the menu count to 25 (five dishes in each section). You’ll check off on a piece of paper which dishes you want. Depending on the size of your group, you may need to order double—your server will advise you.

Bonus: since tables will be timed for 90 minutes, reservations will be available (via SeatMe or Yelp). You can hop over to their website right now and book your table. Brunch will be served 10am-3pm, and with these new hours, they will be open continuously on Sat-Sun through dinner.

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The dining room and bar at PianoFight. Photo from Facebook.

A report by Dana Eastland. The plot keeps thickening at the former ~CAFE DU NORD~ space and the ~SWEDISH AMERICAN HALL~, the multilevel entertainment, food, and beverage complex on Market in the Castro. As reported in October, many partners are involved, with a few different projects. A Basque-inspired restaurant, Aatxe, from the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group (Flour + Water, Salumeria, Central Kitchen) is in the mix, while downstairs will be an entertainment venue with food and drink operated by Ne Timeas and the Bon Vivants (Trick Dog).

Now, Eater reports that the Swedish American Hall, the upstairs entertainment space, will be operated by Noise Pop, the programmers behind Treasure Island Music Festival, the Noise Pop Festival, and the 20th Street Block Party. Actually, the whole project is starting to seem like 20th Street North, with many of the same partners. Anyway, the Hall will now serve as the headquarters for the Noise Pop Festival, as well as other local and national acts throughout the year. No word yet about food and drink service in the space, which should reopen February 2015. 2174 Market St. at Sanchez.

The Tenderloin has a new comedy, food, and beverage venue in the former Original Joe’s location. Eater reports that it’s called ~PIANOFIGHT~ and has multiple venues: a 5,000-square-foot theater space upstairs, a 3,000-square-foot basement, plus a full bar and restaurant. All told, there are two theater spaces and a cabaret stage, along with multiple dressing rooms and rehearsal spaces. The bar and restaurant offers classic American food, like burgers, corn dogs, and fried items. Drinks are simple: just a few classic cocktails, plus beer and wine on tap. The bar and restaurant is open 4pm-12am daily, with special late hours after shows. Here’s the show calendar. 144 Taylor St. at Eddy.

One more note about music and sound: ~OLIVETO~ in Oakland has installed a new sound system in partnership with Meyer Sound. It’s not exactly a music venue, but it is a novel new way to explore sound in restaurants. Meyer Sound, whose work can be found in multiuse spaces like Zellerbach Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center, have taken a two-pronged approach here: there’s a passive sound system (called Libra) and an active one (called Constellation) that help to control and optimize the diner’s experience of sound. Libra uses sound panels (beautifully printed with photographs by Deborah O’Grady) to minimize sound, while the Constellation system uses a special “reverberation algorithm” and 18 microphones to adjust the sound experience in the dining room. Now, this all may sound a bit fussy, but the overall effect is basically that you can hear your tablemates perfectly, and everything else in the dining room fades to a pleasant, quiet hum. Which is really the dream, isn’t it? The system was installed in anticipation of a new series of programs in the Oliveto dining room, too, including lectures, workshops, and musical performances. That programming is yet to be launched, but when it does, you won’t miss a whisper.

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The artist formerly known as Dine About Town is back, but this time it’s called ~SAN FRANCISCO RESTAURANT WEEK~ and is presented by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association instead of San Francisco Travel. It runs from Wednesday January 21st through Friday January 30th, and there have been a few changes to the program too. They’ve partnered with OpenTable and have officially named the SF-Marin Food Bank as a charity partner, meaning the bank will receive $0.25 per cover during Restaurant Week.

So, the food: two-course lunches are available for $25, three-course dinners are $40, and a new option, the discovery menu, is $85 including beverage pairings. The discovery menu is intended to offer a chance for restaurants to get a little more creative, and for diners to try something new. For example, Hog & Rocks is offering a special whiskey dinner with High West whiskey, while AQ will be doing a “Roots” dinner with a Roots soundtrack and root vegetables on the menu. Participation, menus, and hours vary by location; full details will be released on their website January 5th. Confirmed participants include Ichi Sushi and Ni Bar, RN74, and Waterbar. To celebrate the new partnership, some restaurants will also be offering additional specials on drinks and appetizers, in addition to the prix-fixe, so look for that.

If you’re really into Restaurant Week and end up visiting four or more restaurants, post a picture (including the menu) to their Facebook page, and you’ll be entered to win one of many gift certificates to local restaurants.

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The East Bay restaurant scene has been running full tilt the last few years, and ~OAKLAND RESTAURANT WEEK~ is a great way to try new places without breaking your (holiday-bruised) bank. It runs from Thursday January 15th through Sunday January 25th. More than 75 restaurants are participating, including Juhu Beach Club, Box and Bells, Penrose, and A16 Rockridge. Check out the full list here—it’s a doozy. Prix-fixe menus will be available at lunch and dinner, with three different prices: $20, $30, or $40 per person. Hours vary per restaurant, so be sure to check the website for details, where you can also make reservations and search by neighborhood.