January 20, 2015

January 20, 2015

Partners Ravi Kapur, Allyson Jossel, and Jeff Hanak. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Aloha. The first thing you’ll see. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The exterior. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Spacious two-tops across from the bar. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The brand-new and cheerful yellow kitchen. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Chef de cuisine Nana Guardia and chef Ravi Kapur. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The comfortable group seating across from the kitchen. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Walking through the gate at the soon-to-open ~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~, the first thing I noticed was the word Aloha in blue tile at my feet, embedded in the penny tile entrance. It definitely sets the tone for this place, one that has such heart and family at its core. Chef-partner Ravi Kapur is opening this exceedingly personal restaurant, partnering with longtime friends Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak of Nopa and Nopalito, who are both SF natives. They are all seasoned pros, deeply entrenched in our restaurant scene and local community. And if everything goes as planned, they will be ready to open the doors and host us for dinner and drinks in the last week of January.

It’s an airy, welcoming, and cheerful space, such a long way from the empty room I first saw back in July of last year. The space dates back to 1916, and was a market from the 1930s until its brand-new incarnation as a restaurant.

There are three dining areas, with 80 seats in all. The front room has high ceilings with two skylights over the bar made of cold-rolled blackened steel (by Ferrous), with 10 seats, and 4 at the lower ADA counter. The floor is laid with blue three-tone Moroccan cement honeycomb hex tile, and the spacious two-top booths of raw sugar pine could actually fit four good friends willing to cozy up together, which is kind of the point here. The front bar area will be no reservations, so there’s room for people to mingle, drink, and eat, including a standing ledge. (It’s worth noting a lot of soundproofing and acoustic treatments were installed throughout the space to manage the potential din.)

As you look at the communal table with the modern cord-and-metal chandelier above (by Brendan Ravenhill), the dove gray plaster walls, the three-legged steel stools with contoured wood seats (also by Brendan Ravenhill), you realize how bright and fresh and clean it all feels. Nothing is reclaimed, except for the exposed brick walls, really—otherwise it’s all new, and looks crisp and neat. Architect Brett Terpeluk has done a hell of a job.

In the center of the space is the bright and open kitchen, outfitted in mustard yellow tile by Fireclay, creating a warm and friendly glow. Just across the kitchen along the wall are larger booths (that seat four to six), also in pine, eventually extending into two-tops toward the back, with vintage school chairs, oak floors, and more pine tables with banquette seating along the left. The pendant lights have a copper trim on them, and the mirrored-top bulbs help create a soft light. The windows in the back look out onto a backyard, which will eventually be landscaped, and the tree will be all lit up, but it won’t be a space where guests can mingle. Below, there will eventually be a private dining room and private bar, with room for 18-24.

Ravi will be joined in the kitchen by his longtime right-hand woman, chef de cuisine Nana Guardia, who has been working with him for almost nine years; Penelope Lau (Craftsman + Wolves, Jane) is the pastry chef. Since the crew just got into their kitchen for the first time on Friday, things are definitely in development at the moment, so there’s no menu or dishes to really share right now, but some pics on the LYC Instagram page should give some hints. When talking about the style of food to expect at Liholiho, Ravi said it’s about being delicious and fun and vibrant, and it will be easy to share, but also fine to just have on your own too.

Anyone who attended the Liholiho Yacht Club pop-ups over the past couple of years will have a sense of Kapur’s freestyle cuisine that defies definition (I explored this in a piece for 7x7), one that is rooted in his Hawaiian heritage, which also integrates migratory elements from India and China (his grandmother, a great cook, was Chinese). And then there’s his love of Northern California produce and ingredients, which was explored deeply in his eight years at Boulevard and then Prospect. I’m excited to crack into this next chapter of Ravi’s cuisine. For now, we’ll just have to sit tight and wait and see what’s in the table of contents.

While Kevin Diedrich was originally slated to be the bar manager, he left the project earlier this year. Overseeing the bar is Nopa and Nopalito’s Yanni Kehagiaras, who will be creating 8-10 original cocktails, but to be clear, these will not be heavily garnished tiki drinks. The bar will have a well-curated selection of spirits, with some special Japanese whiskies.

The word hospitality kept coming up as I spoke with the team. Jossel and Hanak will be working with GM Rachele Shafai (A16) to help create a warm service style that will be an extension of the kitchen’s aloha spirit. Also from the Nopa family, Lulu McAllister is overseeing the wine selection, dividing the menu into “Old Friends” and “New Friends.” Old Friends will include some classic varieties and international wines, while New Friends will feature some eccentric or newer winemakers; you could find a chardonnay under New Friends, but it would be from a new producer. There will be 10-12 wines by the glass, with 75-80 bottle selections. There will additionally be a strong focus on sake (all available by the glass), with a strong selection of beer (eight on tap) and by the bottle.

The Lower Nob Hill address feels ideal for this very San Franciscan restaurant, which is located in such a uniquely San Franciscan neighborhood. Excited neighbors keep passing by to peek in, with many giving a thumbs-up and a smile. Dinner will be served nightly until 10pm-11pm or so. Expect an update from me with final details right around opening time.


The 18th and Alabama corner of the Heath Ceramics building. Photo by Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

Last April, we reported on the big, exciting, new project coming from Tartine Bakery in the Heath Ceramics building. Obviously, some time has passed, giving the team time to shape their ideas and now this piece in 7x7 has new details to share, starting with the reveal of the project’s name: ~THE MANUFACTORY~. The current targeted opening date is summer, and it will continue to have what we first mentioned: an all-day café, a restaurant, and bakery, plus space for culinary projects and visiting chefs.

New details about the restaurant portion include the hiring of a chef, Sam Goinsalvos, previously at Il Buco Alimentari in New York and The Ordinary in Charleston. I was also happy to read Vinny Eng will be assembling the natural wine program. The space will be designed by LA-based design firm, Commune.

Additional things to look forward to: Elisabeth Prueitt will be making ice cream, and returning to making preserves and pickles too.

Now, to the bread. The bakery production area will be visible, featuring both a mill and custom Heuft oven from Germany, and there will be a wood-burning oven as well (pizzas are imminent). Since The Manufactory will be taking on all the bread baking, acting like a commissary, it means Tartine Bakery will discontinue making bread on-site. The overextended space will be closing to renovate and make some changes to its layout, from adding a new chocolate room to reconfiguring the café space. 7x7 also mentions the overall bread output should double in size. Country loaves for all!

The article also mentions Tartine’s upcoming projects in Tokyo, London, and potentially New York, so take a look. Expect even more details on everything in coming months. Corner of 18th St. and Alabama.


The exterior of Hawker Fare on Valencia. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

Well, this one is happening quickly: chef-owner James Syhabout is opening the second location of his Oakland-based ~HAWKER FARE~ on Valencia Street next Tuesday January 27th (with a soft opening on Saturday January 24th).

To recap, he is taking over the former Amber Dhara. Though we weren’t allowed to take any pictures, we did peek at the interior. It’s bright and cheerful, and appears designed to evoke the outdoor dining/night market experience so common in Thailand. There are picnic tables throughout, covered with oilcloth tablecloths, and brightly painted Tolix-style seating. One wall is adorned with rockabilly records, while the wall leading up to the second-story bar is covered in woven rugs of various sizes and designs. The overall effect is eclectic and very fun, with lots of vibrant color and a casual vibe.

The menu is inspired by the Isaan region of Thailand and Laos, take a look. There will be many new dishes, with new flavor profiles, ingredients, and preparations. The menu is broken down into categories: Khong Ghin Len (Snacking Dishes); Larb, Yum, Som Tum (Aromatic & Spicy Salads); Gaeng (One Pot Dishes—Soups, Stews, Curries); Jaan Piset (Specialty Dishes); Ahhaan Yang (Grilled Items); Khao (Rice); and a limited selection of Jaan Phat (Wok-Tossed Dishes). Syhabout is working with chef de cuisine and Bangkok native Supasit “O” Puttkaew, and Hawker Fare Oakland’s chef de cuisine Manuel Bonilla will assist in the transition.

Food will be served family style and will come out as it’s ready. You will also be encouraged to eat with your hands, and ideally you come with a larger group. The food will also be served on enamel and plastic plates, just as it is in Southeast Asia. You can read more in this article about Syhabout’s inspiring trip to Thailand in 2014.

There is a downstairs bar, The Bar at Hawker Fare, with cocktails by Wizard Oil Co. bartender duo Christ Aivaliotis and Troy Bayless, who are behind all the cocktails at Syhabout’s restaurants. They also opened Duende, consulted for 1601 Bar & Kitchen, and are currently working on Mourad too.

An additional component to the project is the upstairs cocktail bar, Holy Mountain, which is opening on Friday February 6th. The first cocktail menu will refer to Carnival and Mardi Gras, spanning New Orleans, Haiti, Trinidad, and Brazil with cocktails like the Batida, the De La Louisiane, and the Hurricane. There will also be a selection of bar bites (like pork rinds and Syhabout’s amazing roasted peanuts) and the occasional additional food offering “hawked” from a tray.

Dinner hours are Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm, Sun 4pm-9pm. Hawker Fare bar hours are Tue-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am, Sun 5pm-9pm. Closed Mondays. Weekend lunch will be launching on Saturday February 7th, 12pm-3pm. 680 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-932-6193.

A couple more things: Syhabout also updated the look of his original Hawker Fare in Oakland (the graffiti is dunzo), and he is also in the thick of his Dine About Oakland Public Schools initiative. Each week, a different Oakland public school will benefit, with 5 percent of all bills at all of his restaurants (Hawker Fare, The Dock, and Commis) donated to that designated school. We missed the week of donations to Claremont Middle School, but January 18th-24th is Cabot Elementary, and January 25th-31st is Oakland Tech. That’s a generous gift, chef! 


The exterior of The Market on Market. Photo by Asta Karalis.


The wine and beer bar at The Market on Market. Photo by Asta Karalis.


The café’s blue tiled wall. Photo by Asta Karalis.

Opening Wednesday January 21st is the first wave of food businesses in Market Square, aka “the Twitter building.” Last Friday, I took a quick tour of ~THE MARKET ON MARKET~, which has a 22,000-square-foot floor plan, complete with a grocery store, numerous prepared food and beverage options (although it’s far from a food court as we know it), a butcher shop, chocolatier, and much more.

It’s actually the first of three upcoming locations of The Market: in spring, The Market on Polk will be opening at 1650 Polk Street, and then The Market on Main will be opening at 201 Folsom Street in January 2016. The founders are Bruce Slesinger and Tom Collom (Small Foods, Bruce and Tom Architects), plus Chris Foley and Richard Hoff.

The food market features well-stocked shelves of organic produce and quality products, and some are so niche you won’t find them elsewhere. The salad bar is organic, and there are also some hot dishes and prepared foods, like soups and roasted meats. You’ll find many more prepared foods at a taco bar; pizzeria (both Neapolitan and California style); a tapas bar with Mediterranean-style small plates; a sandwich bar (including a hot Cubano, and to be clear, I am talking about the sandwich); a deli counter with charcuterie, salumi, and quality cheeses; a bakeshop with breads made on-site (from Adam Becker, previously Bacchus Management Group), plus pastries and sweets; a Japanese sushi, deli, and raw bar (with four kinds of oysters, plus nigiri sushi, maki, crudos, salads, soup, and vegetables), helmed by sushi chef Yasu Ueno; and there’s a café serving Four Barrel coffee, plus sandwiches, salads, and other grab-and-go options for lunch and dinner. The butcher shop will feature only humanely raised meats, like pork from Becker Lane and lamb from Stemple Creek. You can buy and drink wine and beer at a wine/beer bar, plus there are retail options too.

Additional tenants with their own shops include Azalina Eusope’s first brick and mortar, Azalina’s Malaysian (opening on February 2nd, more on this soon!), a Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk (coming to Stevenson, off 10th Street), Nuubia (a San Francisco-based artisan chocolatier, Lionel Clement, specializing in responsibly sourced chocolate confections, truffles, and candy bars, plus ice cream), and cold-pressed juices from Project Juice. There’s also an extensively stocked EO Products store, where you can even mix your own lotion and refill your soap bottles, and you’ll find flower bouquets from Farmgirl Flowers.

Up next: the bar and restaurant, Dirty Water, followed by Bon Marché Bar & Brasserie from the AQ team, and the Cadillac Bar & Grill this summer. Open daily 7am-10pm (although some vendors, like the butcher shop, won’t open until 9am). 1355 Market St. at 10th St.


The bar at Atlas Tap Room. Photo from Facebook.


The charcuterie board. Photo courtesy Atlas Tap Room.

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Bacon deviled eggs. Photo courtesy Atlas Tap Room.

The partners behind SoMa’s Archive Bar & Kitchen, which opened last December, have opened a new spot next door. It’s called ~ATLAS TAP ROOM~, and opened officially on Monday January 19th. They’re offering eight beers on tap, all from California, along with snacks to pair with the beer. For food, think cheese, charcuterie, deviled eggs, and pretzels—here’s the menu. For beers, there are options like Scrimshaw, HenHouse, and Fort Point. There are also some large-format bottles for after-work groups and six wines on tap. Wines are all available in four- or six-ounce pours, and there are always three whites and three reds. The options will change, but they’ll hail from all over. Right now, there are selections from Italy, California, and Austria. There will also be 18 bottled wines available by the glass. Here is the full drink list.

The space is designed to be warm and comfortable, with steel, brick, and wood surfaces. There is a chalkboard reporting the day’s beer selections, and a map theme (Atlas, get it?) informs the decorative items. For now, hours are Mon-Fri 4pm-10pm, but they plan to open all day with grab-and-go lunch in the coming weeks. Eventually, hours will be Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, with the possibility of Saturday hours. 606 Mission St. at 2nd St., 415-872-9278.


Prawns Riviera at Manos Nouveau. Photo from Facebook.

~MANOS NOUVEAU~ had reopened in the Castro after leaving its Mission digs (it was replaced on 22nd Street by Californios). Manuel Montalban and Gualberto Nic Camara are partners in the restaurant, and met while working at Fresca on Fillmore. The menu is Latin-French, with both small and large plates. Small dishes include Latin chicken meatballs, ahi tuna ceviche, and black bean soup, while large dishes include salmon with chimole rice, and seared duck breast with a Maya kun (pumpkin) sauce. Take a peek at the menu here. Hours are 5pm-10pm Tue-Sun. 3970 17th St. at Market, 415-872-5507.

We reported in December that the recently closed ~BURMESE KITCHEN~ would be popping up in the former To Hyang space in the Inner Richmond. Now, The Bold Italic is reporting that the pop-up has opened as of today, Tuesday January 20th, and will be occupying the space for a year. Yay, Dennis! Now we just need to find To Hyang a new spot. 3815 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave., 415-474-5569.


Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin, founders of New York’s Ovenly Bakery, will be in San Francisco on Wednesday January 28th for an evening of cocktails and bites with Stag Dining and Heath Ceramics. The evening includes tasting plates inspired by their new book, Ovenly. Spiced sweet and savory recipes will include Dungeness crab bao with pickled celery and mayonnaise, and beef tartare with walnut crisp, apple, and blue cheese aioli. There will also be cocktails and dessert. The evening runs from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Tickets are $75 per person and include food, beverages, and a signed copy of the book. Yeah, that’s not too shabby! 1900 18th St. at Alabama, 415-361-5552.

This is sad news, along with an excellent cause. ~SEVEN HILLS~ is hosting a benefit for local cheesemaker Craig Ramini of Ramini Mozzarella. Ramini, who makes true domestic buffalo mozzarella at his dairy in Tomales, has been battling cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, which has forced the dairy to stop operations for the time being. To help raise funds to keep the dairy in business, the restaurant will be doing a three-course prix-fixe dinner on Tuesday February 3rd. The dinner costs $75 per person, with proceeds going to Ramini, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. 1550 Hyde St. at Pacific, 415-775-1550.

~CROSSBURGERS~ in Oakland has started doing pop-ups with Boucherie Meats, and they have one coming up on Friday January 23rd. The pop-ups are designed to bring some life and activity to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza after nearby workers leave at the end of the day, from 6pm until 9pm, with outdoor activities including a funk band and a magician. Crossburger’s owner Eddie Blyden has more tricks up his sleeve, too, and wants to make the plaza feel a bit like a carnival for the community to enjoy. There will be beers for $3, charcuterie from Boucherie, and gumbo, with more large-format meats in the works. Blyden mentions the possibility of whole roasted lamb or pig, as well as goat stew in coming months. The pop-ups are happening twice a month, with the next one Friday January 23rd followed by one on February 6th. 300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 150, at 16th St., Oakland, 510-817-4463.


The cart for bollito misto at Poggio. Photo courtesy of Poggio via Facebook.

~CATHEAD’S BBQ~ is celebrating their third anniversary on Saturday January 24th with a big party for rib lovers everywhere: the Second Annual Rib-Off from 12pm to 6pm. The event brings together competitors from all over San Francisco, including 4505 Burgers & BBQ, Southpaw, Smokestack, and Baby Blues.

You’ll get to vote on whose ribs are the best (it’s hard work but someone has to do it), and there will also be live music from the The Soft-Offs (CatHead’s house band), Toshio Hirano, and The Pot House Shindies. Plus, there will be a biscuit eating contest and raffle, beer from Fort Point Beer Co., and a portion of the proceeds will go to Saving Grace cat rescue. Tickets are $12 for general admission, which includes a beer and a raffle ticket, or $25 for all-access, which includes a rib and side from each competitor, a beer, and a raffle ticket. 1665 Mission St. at Plum, 415-861-4242.

This sounds like a special night not to miss: ~NAMU GAJI~ is hosting a night of all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue on Monday January 26th. They’ll be setting up one large communal table in the middle of the restaurant, with lots of side dishes, kimchi, and meat. You’ll find galbi, pork belly, pork ribs, and more, made with Devil’s Gulch pork and Masami beef, along with all the Hite beer you need (until they run out). There are seatings at 5:30pm and 8pm (only one ticket left for the later one, get on it!). Tickets are $74 per person, including all food, beer, and tip (tax not included).

It’s winter, and that means it’s time for the return of the bollito misto cart at ~POGGIO~. The annual tradition is based on a classic Northern Italian meat stew, and the presentation at Poggio is fun. They bring a special cart (imported from Italy) around to your table, and serve different cuts of meat tableside with a selection of sauces and condiments. Meats include brisket, oxtail, and cotechino sausage, all perfect for chilly weather. The bollito misto is available every evening at dinner from Wednesday January 21st through Monday February 2nd and costs $19 per person.


The seared chorizo for brunch at Beso. Photo from Facebook.

Haight Street’s ~SPARROW~ has started serving weekday brunch, according to Hoodline. They’re now open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 3pm, serving a menu of both breakfast and lunch dishes. In the breakfast category, there are eggs, a granola yogurt parfait, and French toast, while the lunch portion of the menu has sandwiches and a burger, along with a selection of salads. From 3pm to 6pm, they are now offering a midday happy hour until they open for dinner at 6pm, perfect for a pick-me-up during an afternoon of vintage-clothing shopping. 1640 Haight St. at Clayton, 415-622-6137.

~BESO~ in the Castro is now offering weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm. The Spanish-inspired selections include revueltos de gambas (scrambled eggs with shrimp, Guindilla pepper, brioche bun, mixed greens, and patatas bravas) and seared chorizo with chickpeas, a fried egg, and salsa verde. There are also brunch beverages like mimosas and sangria. 4058 18th St. at Hartford, 415-801-5392.


The exterior window at Box and Bells. Yelp photo by R S.

Oakland’s ~BOX AND BELLS~ from James Syhabout is now closed, after just over a year in business. Scoop reports that the restaurant, which served classic American pub-style food, didn’t seem to find a good niche in the neighborhood. Syhabout also owns Hawker Fare, Commis, and The Dock, which remain open. 5912 College Ave. at Chabot.

~BARRACUDA SUSHI~ in the Castro has closed, Hoodline reports. Apparently, it will reopen in February as ~MANDU~ from the same manager, Nam Kim, with a different concept. Look for pan-Asian street food, with an environment that evokes the sidewalks and alleyways of Asia and food from chef Daniel Sudar of nearby Slurp Noodle Bar. At first, they will only be open for dinner (that’s right, no more bottomless mimosa brunches) and will then expand hours as they go. 2251 Market St. at 16th St.


The interior at Dopo. Yelp photo by Miguel E.

We received a newsletter from ~DOPO~ in Oakland letting us know that they’ll be making some changes in the coming months. Namely, they’ve decided to focus solely on Sicilian food and wine moving forward, instead of offering items from all regions of Italy. The menu will shift to reflect this, of course, with a new format built around preset daily menus of small antipasti, served both hot and cold. Their pizza and pasta will remain and are intended to be enjoyed after the antipasti offerings. As for wine, they will adjust their wine list to include producers from Sicily. Fantastico! Bring on the frappato. 4293 Piedmont Ave. at John, Oakland, 510-652-3676.