October 20, 2015

October 20, 2015

The old-school interior of Alfred’s Steakhouse. Photo from Facebook.

At first, this headline reads like some very odd or mistaken news. But after chatting with Daniel Patterson Group director of operations Ron Boyd, it starts to make good sense. It ends up Boyd, a San Francisco native, and his girlfriend Kim Alter, another DPG chef, have been fans of the 87-year-old ~ALFRED’S STEAKHOUSE~ for a long time. When they heard it was up for sale, Boyd wanted to make sure this SF classic (since 1928!) was preserved and convinced Daniel Patterson to look into it further with him. After some negotiation, the Petri family decided to sell the restaurant to DPG, after 42 years of ownership—the last night will be New Year’s Eve, and you know that will be quite the blowout party. Alfred’s regulars, make your reservation now.

In January, the restaurant will undergo some freshening up—with some renovations to the kitchen and bar, and new artwork will be added—but it will be mostly the same Alfred’s that we know and love. Boyd and the Daniel Patterson Group are revitalizing this SF traditional space, but also want to be respectful of it and its many traditions.

Anyone who has bought a tablehopper vintage T-shirt has heard the story of how the Blue Fox was where Alfred’s is now. In a fun twist, Boyd’s first externship was at the Blue Fox in 1992, before it closed in 1993—Alfred’s moved from its original location and opened in the current space in 1997.

Boyd appreciates how Alfred’s is one of the most affordable steakhouses in SF and wants to keep it that way. Alfred’s sources their beef (which is steroid- and hormone-free and grass-fed and corn-finished) from Schmidt Family Farms, and that will continue (ditto the steaks being cooked on mesquite/open fire). The menu will integrate a whole animal program, so look for dishes like oxtails and pork shoulder to be integrated into the menu. The three-course “school night” menu tradition will also continue, but look for the vegetables to be upgraded a bit, because it ends up chef Charlie Parker will be coming over from Haven in Oakland to run things. (Parker’s replacement at Haven will be Matt Brimer, most recently at Les Clos, who will be ramping up over the next couple of months during the transition.)

Some other things being discussed: the return of tableside salads and some additions to the bar program. The drinks will definitely remain classically driven, and they will introduce some barrel-aged cocktails. The wine list will get a bit of an update and we may see some news about the huge downstairs wine cellar, but the team hasn’t decided to do anything about it yet—it was quite the private dining room back when it was the Blue Fox.

Many “grazie” to Marco and Al Petri and the entire Petri family for the decades of memories for many guests and regulars in that historic space. 659 Merchant St. at Kearny, 415-781-7058.


The bar area at Caputo. Photo courtesy of Caputo.

By Dana Eastland. ~CAPUTO~, the new restaurant from Marin-based Boca Restaurant Group that we mentioned last month, is now open in South Beach. The food is rustic, trattoria-style Italian with a California sensibility, from chef-partner Sam Ramadan. The kitchen is centered around the wood-fired grill, where much of the food is prepared, including grilled octopus, whole branzino, and lamb. Neapolitan-style pizzas are cooked in the wood-fired oven, and other signature items include a braised lamb tongue, pecorino flan, and a seasonal selection of housemade pastas.

The dining room seats 100, with room for an additional 40 on the patio. There is also a 17-seat marble bar with cocktails from John Oyarzon that run the gamut from classic to contemporary, including an Aperol spritz and a barrel-aged Negroni. The wine list from Paul Einbund is focused on California wines, with some international selections as well. There are 8 wines on tap, available by the glass or carafe, as well as 22 options by the glass, including 3 sparkling options. Take a look at the drink list and full menu here. Hours are Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm. 100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero, 415-543-9720.


Bar seating at Delarosa’s new location. Photo by Declan Mckerr.


Delarosa’s new downtown location. Photo by Declan Mckerr.

By Dana Eastland. As previously reported on tablehopper, Adriano Paganini’s restaurant group is opening a second location of ~DELAROSA~ in Yerba Buena Lane downtown. The new location officially opened on Monday October 19th and offers casual, Roman-style dining. The menu is intended for group dining, with plenty of dishes to share like spiedini (skewers), pizza, salads, and fritti. There is also a selection of pastas, as well as salads and antipasti.

The new location also offers a full bar, including an aperitivo section with choices like the Miele Julep with honey, grappa, mint, Amaro Nonino, and lemon. There are also cocktails like the Provocateur, with bourbon, lemon, grapefruit, amaro, cacao, and Chinese bitters. There are 15 beers on tap, including local craft brews and some Italian options, like Moretti La Rossa.

The space has room for 40 in the bar area and an additional 80 in the main dining room, plus there are plans to open an outdoor patio for 46 later. The interior is sleek and modern, with colorful touches and wooden accents. Plus, they’re open until midnight seven days a week. Lunch is coming soon; for now, hours are daily 4pm-12am. 37 Yerba Buena Ln. at Market, 415-872-7363.


The future home of Wise Sons bakery. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Overhead view of the space from the mezzanine. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The future retail counter. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Back in July, we reported on ~WISE SONS~ (Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman’s) upcoming commissary kitchen, production bakery, and Wise Sons Bagel. They’re opening a new space on Fillmore, and we wanted to let you know that things are moving along. Yay.

The 2,200-foot space is built out and they are currently baking babka and rugelach for their multiple locations (which now includes a kiosk at Square that opened a couple of weeks ago, serving a few sandwiches and a salad—and no, it’s not open to the general public). They unfortunately have to resolve a few electrical issues before they can ramp up their entire baking operation and kitchen (and move their smoker over).

The big question is: when can we get the bagels? They have not yet started that part of their operation, and it looks like it will still be at least a month before we can walk into the shop—plan on December. To recap, there will be a retail counter in the front of the bakery where you can order bagels, espresso, baked goods, a few bagel sandwiches, pastrami, fish, and schmears in the grab-and-go case, with limited seats at a few tables and a window counter. Of course we will keep you posted on when you can try their bagels, which will likely arrive at their multiple locations first. Check out the fun logo here! 1520 Fillmore St. at Geary.


Photo via Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Yesterday the upcoming ~ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE CINEMA AT THE NEW MISSION~ broke the internet (well, the local one) with its announcement that it was going to be selling tickets to the new Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which will coincide with their grand opening, on Thursday December 17th. Exciting times.

While they sorted out ticketing issues, another piece of news was released: their chef is the one and only Ronnie New, coming over from Comstock Saloon after 2 1/2 years there. New is currently in Austin doing local cuisine research and recon (tough work) and says the food is going to be regional American—similar to their Austin Alamo locations—but there will be some things adjusted for the SF crowd. The new menu will be released in a few weeks or so, but do know this: there will be queso.

It’s looking like quite the team over there, with Isaac Shumway running the cocktail show at Bear vs. Bull, like we reported earlier. 2550 Mission St. at 22nd St.


Margherita pizza from Del Popolo. Photo: Eric Zepeda.

We’re happy to report Jon Darsky has made some progress with his brick-and-mortar ~DEL POPOLO~ location coming to 855 Bush Street; he plans to open mid-November, ideally before Thanksgiving.

Before that happens, he’s running a couple of pop-up preview dinners with Feastly on Wednesday October 28th and Thursday October 29th, in conjunction with his new chef Jeffrey Hayden, previously at Boot & Shoe Service in Oakland (and WD-50 in New York and Blackbird and Alinea in Chicago). Tickets are $39 (use my link for $10 off your first Feastly meal!), and there are seatings at 6pm and 8pm each night; it will be in Dogpatch (the location will be revealed when tickets are purchased).

The menu includes some of the new pizzas, like rapini, fontina, mozzarella, and dried black olives; and another with tomato sauce, Calabrian peppers, housemade sausage (the new operation will be doing their own butchery), and oregano. It will all be prepared in the Del Popolo truck. Some of the non-pizza items on the upcoming menu will also be served, like roasted broccoli di cicco with ricotta salata di bufala and gentlemen’s relish; winter squash roasted over coals with aromatic herbs and goat cheese; smoked bintje potatoes with tonnato, capers, pickled chile, and two kinds of celery; and braised Hoffman Farms chicken with pickled huckleberries, rye, cabbage, and burnt bread. Beer and wine are included!


Khao man gai from Rooster & Rice. Yelp photo by JP N.


The new La Fromagerie location in the Financial District. Photo via Facebook.

By Dana Eastland. Lovers of khao man gai, or the Thai version of Hainanese chicken rice, will be very excited to learn that there is a new San Francisco outpost specializing in the simple yet complex dish. It’s called ~ROOSTER & RICE~, and Yelpers report that they are now open and serving a tight menu with three versions of chicken and rice, including a vegetarian tofu version. Hours are Tue-Sat 11:30am-9pm or until they sell out. 2211 Filbert St. at Fillmore, 415-776-3647.

Last week, we mentioned newly opened ~BEN THAI CAFE~ on Polk Street. Well, now Eater reports that the Ben Thai team is planning an expansion. We reached out and co-owner Tara Benhudjiriras told us that they are expanding into an unused space to the side of Ben Thai. They plan to offer Thai-inspired street food in a grab-and-go environment, with late-night hours to cater to the bargoers in the neighborhood. Dishes include sweet roti with curry dip, tofu fish balls on a skewer, and crispy fried mealworms with Thai spices. 1331 Polk St. at Austin.

Back in May, we reported that Dogpatch cheese café and retail shop ~LA FROMAGERIE~ would be expanding with a new location in the Financial District, and it is now open. In addition to their retail cheese operation, you’ll find a selection of six sandwiches (one will change daily), four salads, and cheese and charcuterie boards. Take a look at the sandwich and salad options here and the cheese and charcuterie here. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, and catering is available. 101 Montgomery St. at Sutter, 415-910-5666.


The delicious burger from the Burger pop-up. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The Hot Wes burger. Photo courtesy of Wes Burger.

As we reported last week, yesterday was the last night of the Burger SF Monday pop-up at Cease & Desist from the Causwells fellows (Alvin Garcia and chef Adam Rosenblum), as they ramp up to open their very own brick-and-mortar location in February 2016.

We knew is was going to be near 6th and Market, and Hoodline just revealed the actual address is 998 Market St., in the Warfield building. The new name will be ~POPSONS~, and the menu will be very similar to what you would have experienced as Burger (i.e., an insanely good double cheeseburger, duck fat fries, onion rings).

Also worth noting: next door will be ~WAYSTONE~, a wine bar and lunch spot from Garcia’s partner at Causwells, Tom Patella, and his wife, Allison, due to open in July 2016. You can read more here.

Meanwhile, Wes Rowe has secured a brick-and-mortar location in the Mission for his upcoming ~WES BURGER N’ MORE~ in the former Palacio Latino space. The Austin-born Rowe has been running Wes Burger as a pop-up at Mojo Bicycle Café on Wednesdays, serving many permutations of his delicious all-brisket, coarsely ground patty that he cooks in a cast-iron skillet every week. After consulting on the menu for the Lookout bar in the Castro, owner Chris Hastings has partnered up with Rowe on this next venture, due to open in early 2016. We’ll keep you posted. 2240 Mission St. at 18th St. 


Some of the new dishes at 1760. Photo by Wes Rowe Photography.


And the new cocktails on Christopher Longoria’s seasonal menu. Photo courtesy of Ryan Robles PR.

Some updates at ~1760~: they have formally announced that the chef is Carl Foronda (previously a sous at Sushi Ran), who joined the team after the departure of opening chef Adam Tortosa at the end of 2014. Foronda is integrating some inspiration and dishes from his Filipino heritage, including a version of pork sisig and lumpia, plus dishes like corn coconut ravioli with lemongrass, pimentón, and cilantro, a play on the corn coconut soup he learned while at Sushi Ran. Other new dishes include calamarata with octopus, tomato, cauliflower, and olive, and a bavette steak with wheatberries, bone marrow, and cranberry beans.

Curious about some of these new dishes? Well, mark your calendar for a boozy tablehopper brunch on Sunday November 8th at 12pm—we’ll have details and (limited!) tickets available next week! Yes, there will be Aperol spritzes.

Speaking of booze: 1760 also has a new seasonal cocktail list from bar manager Christopher Longoria, featuring the Fig & Raspberry (Cynar, Disaronno, Angostura, dark lager, rum, lime) and Grapefruit & Red Amaryllis (black pepper, cachaça, Cointreau).

After the departure of chef Zack Freitas from ~THE KEYSTONE~ in SoMa, the new executive chef is Banks White, previously at Minton’s in New York and Five in Berkeley. His new menu (New American with Southern influences—he’s a Texas native) will debut Wednesday October 21st, including Brussels sprout chips with chicken schmaltz aioli, and roasted brassicas with cashew cheese, red quinoa, berbere spice citronette. Brunch with bottomless mimosas ($25 with the purchase of an entrée) launches on Saturday October 24th. Brunch hours are at-Sun 10am-2pm. 68 4th St. at Mission, 415-777-1200.


The brunch spread at Chino, including jook with pork belly. Photo by Wes Rowe.

~CHINO~ is launching weekend brunch this Saturday October 24th. The menu from chef Ron Pei includes xiao long bao ($13), as well as plenty of other items to make your weekend awesome. You’ll find additional dumpling choices, like the insane foie gras XLB soup dumplings ($24) and the morning bao with housemade bacon, omelet, and special sauce ($11). Or try some hangover-helping jook with your choice of wild mushroom and heirloom grains; tea egg, pork belly, and ham hock; or smoked trout with dashi and bonito (all $12).

Danny Louie is cranking out morning-friendly cocktails like the Cool Runnings with Aperol, aquavit, cucumber, lime, and soda, or the Morning Glory with basil-infused Lillet, red bell pepper, truffle salt, celery soda, and Yanjing beer. There are also slushie boba cocktails and, of course, coffee. You can peek at the whole menu here. Brunch is served Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm (dinner service starts up at 5pm, they’ll be closed in between).


A dish from The Perennial at a recent pop-up. Photo via Sosh.

By Dana Eastland. On Sunday October 25th, catch a pescatarian pop-up at ~IZAKAYA RINTARO~ from the upcoming The Perennial. Chef Chris Kiyuna (Front Porch, Coi, Noma, and Mission Chinese Food) of the forthcoming restaurant will be at the stoves, creating progressive, fresh dishes from impeccable ingredients. The six-course dinner still has seatings available for 8pm and 8:30pm, and tickets are $68 per person (available in pairs for $136) including food, tax, and tip. Beverages will be available for purchase. 82 14th St. at Folsom, 415-231-6267.

Chef and author Michael Solomonov will be in town promoting his new book Zahav, and one of his stops is a special dinner at ~BAR TARTINE~ on Monday October 26th. The family-style feast from chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns is inspired by recipes in the book, and everything will be made in-house. Books will be available for purchase at the event, and Solomonov will be in attendance to sign them. The dinner costs $80 per person (available in pairs for $160), and tickets are available at various times beginning at 5:30pm. 561 Valencia St. at 17th St., 510-231-6267.

Joji Sumi, a sous chef at Nopalito, is having a pop-up at the Inner Sunset location on Thursday October 29th, called Through the Kitchen Window. The evening begins at 6:30pm with a selection of (non-Nopalito) snacks like duck liver toast with quince and pickles, followed by a five-course meal that includes seasonal dishes like steamed fish with burnt vegetables, miso, and crispy rice. Tickets are $54 per person for dinner; drink pairings are available for an additional $28. 1224 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-233-9966.


White truffles. Flickr photo from Erika Kerekes.

It’s hard to believe that truffle season is already here, but it’s true. Coming up on Tuesday November 3rd, ~LOCANDA~ is hosting Franco Conterno of Poderi Aldo Conterno for an evening of Barolo and truffles. Oh yeahhhh. On the menu: à la carte dishes include a winter squash soup, veal carne cruda, scallops with prosciutto and black truffle brodo, and Carnaroli rice pudding for dessert. Truffles can be added to most dishes that night, and you can order Conterno’s wines by the glass, bottle, or flight. Make your reservation here.

~DELFINA~ will have truffles on the menu from November 16th-19th, available as an addition to many truffle-friendly dishes, plus there will be an expanded selection of nebbiolo. And then Thursday November 19th is Delfina’s 17th anniversary—stop in for a glass of complimentary prosecco.


Bar Crudo’s famous arctic char crudo with horseradish crème fraîche, wasabi tobiko, and dill. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I almost can’t believe ~BAR CRUDO~ is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Monday October 26th. Happy anniversary to owner-brothers Mike and Tim Selvera! The party will start early, as they’ll be opening at 3pm for an extra-long happy hour, which will include their $1 oysters, seafood chowder, and specials on a few of their “greatest hits” from the past 10 years, like the arctic char crudo with horseradish crème fraîche, wasabi tobiko, and dill. Russian River Brewing will be taking over their taps, offering a flight of four beers for just $10. From October 27th through November 1st, you can come in for a special four-course anniversary prix-fixe menu for $45 from executive chef Melissa Perfit.

Another anniversary that Marina dwellers will want to note: ~ACE WASABI’S~ is turning 20 in December, and have rolled out a sashimi special to celebrate. They’re taking 50 percent off both of their seasonal sashimi platters (the 12- or 24-piece option, regularly priced at $25/$45), available Mon-Fri 5:30pm-7pm. 3339 Steiner St. at Lombard, 415-567-4903.


Aeroir: Taste of Place. Photo from Marin Headlands Center for the Arts.

By Dana Eastland. On Thursday November 19th, the Headlands Center for the Arts is hosting a dinner called Aeroir: Taste of Place. Um, sorry, what’s aeroir, you ask? It’s the term used by artist-in-residence Nicola Twilley of the blog Edible Geography to describe the local atmosphere that creates a unique flavor in food.

She is preparing a multicourse dinner with collaborators Zack Denfeld (The Center for Genomic Gastronomy) and Gabriel Harp (CoClimate), and of course it will feature the flavors of the Marin Headlands area. All of the diners’ senses will be involved in the evening, and the event also features special cocktails from The Long Now Foundation’s bar, The Interval, and Campari America. Cocktails begin at 6:30pm, and dinner follows. Tickets are $90 per person. 944 Simmonds Rd. at Rosenstock, Sausalito.


The combo rice bowl from the Halal Guys in New York. Yelp photo by Danny L.


Spicy tamarind pork ribs from Ramen Shop, now available all day on weekends. Photo courtesy of Ramen Shop.

By Dana Eastland. Back in February, news hit that New York’s famed ~HALAL GUYS~ has a franchise deal to expand into Northern California, starting with locations in San Francisco and Berkeley. Well, now Scoop is reporting that they’ll be opening in the former Le Regal space in downtown Berkeley. They are currently hiring for the Berkeley location and hope to open in February 2016. Of course we’ll let you know when they are officially open for business. 2126 Center St. at Shattuck, Berkeley.

Taiwan-based chain ~85C BAKERY CAFE~ has opened their newest location in Berkeley. Chowhounds caught the opening, and initial Yelp reports cite a large location, variety of pastries, and lots of tea and coffee options. 21 Shattuck Sq. at University, Berkeley, 510-540-8585.

Tonight, Tuesday October 20th, the tradition of free community pizza night started at Nick’s Pizza is being continued at ~NICK AND ARON’S~. From 6pm to 8pm, all are invited to join them for free pizza, salad, housemade beverages, and a celebration of community. Beer and wine will be available at happy hour prices, and a local DJ will provide live music. 4316 Telegraph Ave. at 43rd St., Oakland, 510-250-9538.

We spotted a post on Instagram saying that ~RAMEN SHOP~ is going to be open for weekend lunch starting this Saturday October 24th. We reached out to co-owner Sam White, who confirms the news and says that the menu will stay essentially the same, with donburi, fried rice, and three varieties of ramen. They’ll be open straight through until dinner, meaning weekend hours are now Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-10:30pm.

Earlier this year, we reported on the Albany location of ~PHO AO SEN~, which is in a former Sizzler. The new outpost will open on Friday October 23rd, according to their website. 665 San Pablo Ave. at Portland, Albany, 510-679-5000.