September 15, 2015

September 15, 2015

Seating and the Market Board at RN74. Photo courtesy of RN74.

While I was attending Heritage BBQ on Sunday, I noticed the executive chef for ~RN74~ was listed as Michael Lee Rafidi (who did an awesome job with his Korean-influenced pig dishes at the event). We reached out to the Michael Mina team, and while they did confirm Rafidi recently joined the RN74 team, they say he is still getting geared up and they won’t have his new menu in place until early to mid-October (he was the corporate executive sous chef for the Mina Group for the past couple of years). Then again, a few places online mention Rafidi has been RN74’s executive chef since June. Anyway. The team asked me to stand by for more details about his menu in a couple of weeks. As for talented former exec chef Adam Sobel, we imagine his runaway success with ~MIDDLE’TERRANEA~ at the Mina Test Kitchen has something to do with the change.

Some changes over at ~KIN KHAO~: chef Michael Gaines will be diminishing his role in the kitchen over the next few months, and Scoop reports that after the new year he will start on his own project (fingers crossed it’s in SF). We’ll wait to hear more on that one (we also hear that he and his wife have a baby on the way). Proprietress Pim Techamuanvivit mentions she is not looking for a chef (but looking for cooks, like everyone else)—Gaines’s right-hand man Narciso Salvador (who’s been there since day one) has been running the kitchen for a few months now and reportedly has everything down. He was sous chef at Izakaya Yuzuki and Central Kitchen and also worked at Ame and Ishikawa (in Tokyo).

Another chef leaving to pursue his own thing is Robin Song of ~HOG & ROCKS~. Scoop mentions he’s leaving after three years there at the end of September. Song is going to be focusing on launching Junju, his Korean concept (he has been hosting pop-ups at Hog & Rocks). According to the website, “Junju will focus on Korean BBQ with the traditional art of fermentation and preservation at its core.” Get a sneak peek of the menu here. Song is currently courting investors; we’ll keep you updated as this develops.

Looks like there’s some drama over at the newly opened ~THE KEYSTONE~, with chef Zack Freitas being let go just after he got the restaurant up and running. The restaurant says it was a mutual decision (you can read about it on Eater). 68 4th St. at Mission, 415-777-1200.

~FRANCES~ has officially announced that Michaela Rahorst is chef de cuisine; she is running the kitchen while owner Melissa Perello focuses on Octavia. Rahorst has been at Frances since it opened, working closely with Perello and will continue the culinary style we all know and love there (via Scoop).

Over at ~BARBACCO~, Miguel Peffer is the new chef de cuisine, after working his way up the past five years (he was a cook on the opening team in 2010). You’ll find a regional menu within the main menu each month; this month focuses on the cuisine of Campania.


The upcoming Reuben Danish from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Photo via Facebook.


A Board cheesesteak. Photo: Rena B Meyer.

A few updates around town for you, starting with some word from owner Aaron Caddel of ~MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE~. He mentioned there is going to be a new fall menu launching, and they’ll be throwing a party at Intelligentsia’s roasting facility in Potrero Hill (1125 Mariposa St.) at 7pm on Thursday September 24th (you can RSVP on their website, 21 and over). Expect some bite-sized versions of the new menu, drinks from a few partners, and some DJs too. New dishes you can look forward to include a Reuben Danish (with a house-fermented sauerkraut they’ve been working on for some time).

Last week we reached out to former Mr. Holmes baker and genius Ry Stephen, who abruptly left the bakery in June and he says he is currently in New York, so that’s that for now. In our earlier piece, we also mentioned Mr. Holmes is expanding to Los Angeles. Eater adds the news that Brittany Delval is the new pastry chef at Mr. Holmes (she was formerly a private pastry chef and recipe developer for King’s Hawaiian Bread); Eater LA shares more about the upcoming Highland Park location.

Over in SoMa, we have a few updates from ~DELI BOARD~ to share. Owner Adam Mesnick is launching a new nighttime pop-up series, Deli Board Nights, featuring a special Board cheesesteak and Board Buffalo wings on Thursday September 17th, a Fat Boy Burrito and Board Nachos on Friday September 18th, a gyro night on Thursday September 24th, and a “Newish Deli” night on Friday September 25th, with a brisket sandwich, matzo ball soup, mushroom farfel, grilled rye bread sandwiches, and Reuben-style Board rolls. The regular menu will be available, and BYOB is encouraged. 6pm-9pm. 1058 Folsom St.
 at Russ.

Mesnick’s other restaurant, ~RYE PROJECT~, has an expanded menu, with additions like the Bill Martin (Romanian pastrami, corned beef, turkey breast, muenster cheese, coleslaw, tysyacha sauce, rye), the B. Hold (Romanian pastrami, corned beef, Swiss cheese, haba kraut, tysyacha sauce, rye), and the Suzy G. (smoked trout, cream cheese, avocado, hard-boiled egg, pickled onion, dilled ranch, onion roll). Check it all out on the menu here. 180 7th St. at Natoma.

Looks like things are moving along for former Bix and Fog City chef Erik Lowe and pastry chef Aaron Toensing’s new Marina project that is opening in the former Republic. The name will be ~SPAGHETTI BROS.~, after all, and according to posts on Facebook, it looks like demolition ended in August and construction is under way. Stand by for more intel on when the meatballs and Negronis will be unveiled. 3213 Scott St. at Lombard.


A lobster roll at Lobster ME. Photo from Facebook.

Earlier this year, we reported that Jocelyn Bulow was moving the Potrero Hill location of Chez Maman into the former home of Chez Papa, also on Potrero Hill. Now we’ve got details on what is moving into the cozy Chez Maman location: Bulow’s latest project, ~DAT SPOT~. He’s brought on chef Brandon Peacock (Lungomare, Venticello) to run the kitchen, which is serving American comfort food. Think appetizers like fondue and baby back ribs, along with main dishes such as a pork chop, fish and chips, and rotisserie chicken. The new concept will open Monday September 21st. Update: we just heard from the team that, due to issues with city inspections, the opening date has been pushed back to Monday September 28th. Hours are 11:30am-10pm, with weekend brunch Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm. 1453 18th St. at Connecticut, 415-872-6670.

Try out a taste of New England at ~LOBSTER ME~, UPDATE: NOW OPENING SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 26TH in the Westfield San Francisco Centre. This is the small chain’s first California restaurant, joining two locations in Las Vegas and another in Maryland. The lobster rolls are all made with sustainably harvested lobster and include choices like the Original Maine Style, with a touch of mayonnaise and chives, or the Connecticut, with warm butter in a brioche bun. As a nod to San Francisco, they’ve also added the Golden Gate roll to the lineup, with miso mayonnaise, scallion, sesame seeds, and shredded nori. Other menu items include lobster mac and cheese and the lobster grilled cheese sandwich.

To celebrate their opening, Lobster ME will be giving out free Golden Gate lobster rolls September 26th through the 28th to the first 100 customers at the shop. Hours are Mon-Sat 10am-8:30pm and Sun 11am-7pm. 865 Market St. at 5th St.


The bar at Pesce. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

With the closure of the ~PESCE~ location after a couple of years in the Castro this past weekend (ciao, sgroppino!), some rumors are percolating about what is going to open in its place (it has that coveted liquor license, you see).

One rumor making the rounds is Yoshi Tome of Sausalito’s venerable ~SUSHI RAN~ is opening a casual concept there. We reached out to the Sushi Ran team and heard this back: “Thanks for your interest, but it’s just a rumor. Will be happy to keep you in the loop if anything else comes up, but nothing yet.” It could very well be just a rumor, but you quite possibly will be hearing more from us on this soon. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez.


The interior at Picnic on Third. Photo courtesy Picnic on Third.

~PICNIC ON THIRD~ has been doing a booming lunch business since opening nine months ago and are now adding Sunday brunch to their repertoire. The brunch menu offers seasonal plates that will rotate frequently, including a chile-braised pork with polenta, collard greens, and poached eggs, and multigrain pancakes with spiced fruit and cultured butter. The brunch menu is right here (along with pictures), and you’ll also find smaller items like banana hazelnut bread and a daily soup. They are serving Contraband coffee, as well as Jittery John’s cold brew on nitro.

There’s also a great Gilt deal right now that gets you brunch for two at Picnic on Third for $25 (upgrade to mimosas for $38). When you invite a friend and sign up, you’ll get $25 off your first deal, which means free brunch! Just be sure to use this link and get the deal right here. Brunch hours are Sunday 10am-2pm, Saturday may be coming soon. 493 3rd St. at Bryant, 415-590-7121.

Hayes Valley wine bar ~BIRBA~ is now serving Sunday brunch, Hoodline reports. The compact, seasonal menu includes scrambled eggs on toast with corn and cheddar, and pancakes with nectarines. Brunch is served 11am-3pm. 458 Grove St. at Octavia, 415-519-5099.

Starting next Monday September 21st, the day before their fifth birthday, breakfast and brunch mainstay ~PLOW~ will be open Mondays, meaning they will now be open seven days a week. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-2pm, Sat-Sun 8am-2pm.

Newly opened Mission restaurant ~MYRIAD GASTRO PUB~ has started happy hour Sunday through Thursday from 5pm to 6:30pm. They’ve got $5 wine, $5 beer, and $5 snacks, which keeps the math nice and simple. 2491 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-525-4335.


The burger at Spruce. Photo from Facebook.

It’s time for the second round of the Burger Battle at ~THE HALL~ on Sunday September 20th at 4pm. To recap, each month three local burger mavens will face off against each other in three rounds, and then in November the three winners will do battle in a final round. Last month, Wes Burger won the battle against The Whole Beast and Burger.

This month, Thomas McNaughton (representing Cafe du Nord), Mark Sullivan (Spruce), and David Goody (Alta CA) will will come to the contest, all to benefit The Cooking Project. You, too, can get in on the beef and vote for your favorite burger. Tickets to the event are $45 and include one half-size burger from each contestant, plus two beers. Round three will be October 11th, followed by the Burger Battle Royale on November 22nd. 1028 Market St. at 6th St., 415-558-8293.


Sopes with chorizo and potato by El Huarache Loco. Photo: © John Ater.

~LA COCINA~ has another rad project in the works, of course. This time, it’s a series called F&B: Voices from the Kitchen, and it’s a twice-yearly storytelling series paired with food. The first one kicks off at 5:30pm on Wednesday October 28th, with the theme of authenticity and its role in how we think about food. Storytellers include Bonnie Tsui, author of American Chinatown, Jordana Rothman and Alex Stupak, co-athors of the upcoming book Tacos: Recipes and Provocations, and La Cocina’s own Veronica Salazar talking about why she doesn’t make or sell burritos.

The speakers will incorporate performance, multimedia, and, of course, food and drink, in the presentations. The evening begins with a cocktail reception from the Bon Vivants, along with bites from the Swedish American Music Hall’s chef Thomas McNaughton and special guest chefs, like Salazar’s El Huarache Loco. You can find lots more information here, and tickets start at $35 per person for general admission. There are also $25 tickets available for industry workers and students who don’t have the budget for a full-price ticket. 2174 Market St. at Sanchez.


Clove & Hoof owners John Blevins and Analiesa Gosnell. Photo by Tim McCarthy.


The outdoor patio at The Dock and The Beer Shed. Photo: Vanessa Yap-Einbund.

~CLOVE & HOOF~, the butchery shop and restaurant that opened last year in Oakland, has started dinner service. Owners John Blevins and Analiesa Gosnell have their lunchtime sandwiches making appearances on the menu, including their signature cheeseburger and cheesesteak sandwich, as well as shrimp and grits with squash confit and cured salmon roe. There is a selection of starters, including chicharrón deviled eggs, fried pig’s head cakes, and salads, including one with burrata, tomatoes, cucumbers, sour plum purée, and puffed rice. Check out the whole menu here.

There is also a small selection of wines by the glass, beer on tap and in the bottle, and soft drinks. Dinner is served daily 5pm-9pm. Lunch is still 11am-3pm, with an interim menu offered 3pm-5pm, and the butcher shop is open 11am-8pm. 4001 Broadway at 40th St., Oakland, 510-547-1446.

Hyperseasonal Oakland restaurant ~OLIVETO~ has announced the dates and menu for their annual tomato dinners. They’re happening Wednesday September 16th through Saturday September 19th and are a celebration of all things tomato. The à la carte menu includes tomatoes at every turn, including appetizers, pastas, main dishes, and desserts. Take a look at the full menu here, and make your reservation right here.

Celebrate Oakland with the Town Eats party this weekend, Friday September 18th through Sunday September 20th, in Jack London Square. Oaklandish, Lungomare, Drake’s Brewing, and Hanger One have teamed up for the festival, which includes several special events. It’s all happening adjacent to the patio at Lungomare. On Friday night, September 18th, Drake’s and Hanger One will be offering $4 drink specials along with live music from 6pm to 12am. Then on Saturday September 19th, catch a whole pig roast five ways, with chefs from Lungomare, Chop Bar, alaMar, Haven, and ChowHaus. Each of the chefs will be roasting a pig with a Caja China outside. From 12pm to 10pm, tastes of the pork and sides can be purchased for just $4, or opt for the all-you-can-eat plate for $20, which is a pretty sweet deal. On Sunday, there will be even more drink specials, food specials, and fun events happening, from 11am to 5pm.

For a full schedule and details, head here. Proceeds benefit Planting Justice, an Oakland-based social justice organization that builds gardens and develops food justice programs in local schools. And while you’re there, don’t forget to visit the Eat Real Festival! Jack London Square, Water St. at Broadway, Oakland.

It looks like ~MOCKINGBIRD~, the charming bistro in Uptown Oakland, is moving to a new location at 418 13th Street. The space formerly housed Vietnamese restaurant Ba Vo, and Mockingbird owners plan to open there in the spring of 2016, according to East Bay Express. The new location will offer a liquor license, unlike their current one, but in the meantime you can still head to their current location and BYO. 1745 San Pablo Ave. at 18th St., 510-290-0331.

On Tuesday September 22nd, ~MISS OLLIE’S~ is hosting the kickoff opening night party for the Matatu Festival, a global festival of music and film in Oakland (more on that in a minute) with a special dinner. Special guests Saul Williams and Bryant Terry (a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award recipient) will be in attendance, celebrating the release of Williams’s book US(a.) and playing jazz records.

The menu from Sarah Kirnon looks killer, with dishes like cornmeal fritters drizzled with wild honey and flowering cilantro, twice-fried green plantains with pikliz and mojo sauce, and skillet-fried chicken summer succotash and smoked field greens. The event is 7pm-10pm, and tickets are $75 and include the family-style dinner, cocktails, and admission to the Saul Williams concert with the Black Spirituals on September 23rd. As for the festival, it features a ton of great programs and events, including fashion, dance, music, and film. Check it all out right here. 901 Washington St. at 9th St., 510-285-6188.

A couple announcements from ~THE DOCK~ and ~THE BEER SHED~ from owners Adam Lamoreaux of Linden Street Brewery and James Syhabout of Commis and Hawker Fare. Their new chef de cuisine is Geoff Davis, whose food we got to sample at Heritage BBQ on Sunday. His background includes Aqua, Fifth Floor, and Cyrus, plus Haven, and he also worked in the tasting room at Unti Vineyards. His new menu shows a refined touch, with dishes like squash à la plancha with queso fresco, pepitas, pickled tomatillo, serrano, and epazote; and amberjack crudo with pickled cherries, blossom salt, upland cress, shiro vinaigrette, and daikon.

The cocktail menu has also received an update with new head bartender Tayler Buffington (Michael Mina in the St. Francis Hotel, Range). Look for the Pimm’s Cup Royale (made with fresh strawberry and cucumber juices) and the Casablanca Sour (brandy, fresh apricot, ras el hanout, and egg white). There are also large-format options if you’re with a group.

Lastly, there’s a new Sunday Supper in The Beer Shed from 4pm-8pm every Sunday. Expect communal seating and family-style American comfort food dishes, such as buttermilk brined fried chicken, a clambake, and more, with rotating sides. Have a look at a sample menu here. 95 Linden St. at 3rd, Oakland, 510-338-3965.

~ANGELA’S~ has reopened on Park Street in Alameda, this time across the street from their planned location. The San Jose Mercury News has the full story, but here’s a summary: chef and owner Saboor Zafari was planning to move his Mediterranean restaurant to a new location on Park Street last year, and just days before opening an arsonist started a fire and the restaurant was lost. Now, Zafari has secured a new location across the street, and it is now open! Initial Yelp reports call out the mezze platters and lamb, as well as the warm and welcoming service. 1640 Park St. at Pacific, Alameda, no phone.

Back in May, we reported on the newest location of ~PHO AO SEN~ (noise warning on that link), coming soon to Albany. A call to the restaurant’s Oakland location says they are opening the Albany location in a month, putting the planned opening date at mid-October. The new space is a former Sizzler. 665 San Pablo Ave. at Portland, Albany.