June 14, 2016

June 14, 2016
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Umami soup by Hisato Nakahigashi of Miyamasou. Photo via @insitu_sfmoma.

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Wood sorrel and sheep milk’s yogurt by René Redzepi of Noma. Photo via @insitu_sfmoma.

As if the reopening of SFMOMA wasn’t exciting enough, and now chef Corey Lee’s (Benu, Monsieur Benjamin) ambitious concept ~IN SITU~ is opening today. To recap, each dish on the menu is from a different chef, painstakingly re-created (as much as ingredients allow) by Lee and his team. The menu is like a gallery of chef artwork from around the world.

You can see the list of participating chefs here, a staggering and impressive lineup of global legends that includes Martin Picard (Au Pied de Cochon), Juan Mari and Elena Arzak (Arzak), René Redzepi (Noma), Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana), Anita Lo (Annisa), and locals like Alice Waters, David Kinch, and even Alex Hozven and Kevin Farley of The Cultured Pickle Shop!

Take a look at the menu here to see the first round of dishes and chefs—note that there is a lounge menu (for walk-ins) and a dining room menu. Lounge dishes include a lettuce sandwich ($12) with fermented romaine, goat cheese, and olive oil from Christian Puglisi of Relæ (Copenhagen, Denmark), while the dining room menu includes brown oyster stew ($28) with benne and Charleston ice cream from Sean Brock of Husk (Charleston, South Carolina); guinea fowl larp Chiang Mai ($24) from David Thompson of Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand); and Umami Soup ($38) with miso-marinated wagyu, asparagus, Inaniwa udon from Hisato Nakahigashi of Miyamasou (Kyoto, Japan). And, of course, there’s an homage to Cecilia Chiang of The Mandarin with guotie ($12), pork, shrimp, and cabbage potstickers. Take a look at In Situ’s Instagram for more images.

The restaurant is currently serving from 11am-4pm and will be extending to 9pm in the coming weeks. Reservations here. 151 3rd St. at Howard, 415-941-6050.

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Some of the many dishes at Tawla. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti.

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Vegetable terrine and za’atar pita at Tawla. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti.

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Bring on the juicy potatoes (at Souvla)! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Guisados and more from El Buen Comer. Photo courtesy of El Buen Comer.

Another exciting addition to our Mediterranean scene in SF is ~TAWLA~, newly open in the Mission from first-time restaurateur Azhar Hashem, working closely with chef Joseph Magidow (formerly of Delfina). Hashem is Jordanian, and the menu meshes Eastern Med dishes (think Greece, Turkey, Iran, and the Levant—Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan) with some seasonal and Northern Californian influences.

The duo has purposefully left kebabs, falafel, hummus, and tabbouleh off the menu, however; they are focusing on dishes that are more like upscale home cooking. Take a look at the menu here. There are also made-to-order breads, and they even collaborated with Belfiore Cheese Company on a Lebanese-style cheese. Quality wines and beers were assembled by sommelier Garret Nakamura (previously Jean-Georges and Saison), and low-ABV cocktails are from the Bon Vivants.

As for the restaurant’s name, it’s Arabic for backgammon; you can play outside on the back patio while waiting for a table (there are 66 seats total) and enjoying a cocktail. Open 5:30pm-10pm daily. 206 Valencia St. at Duboce, 415-814-2704.

Fans of the Greek pita wraps and salads with rotisserie roasted meats at ~SOUVLA~ will be happy to know they have opened their second location on Divis in the former Herbivore, “bringing the opa to Nopa!” All of your favorites on the menu are there, plus the all-Greek wine and beer list, and there’s some alfresco atmosphere with a back patio! Same hours too: daily 11am-10pm. 531 Divisadero St. at Fell.

Huge congrats to Isabel Caudillo, a La Cocina entrepreneur, who just opened her first brick-and-mortar location, in Bernal Heights, of her ~EL BUEN COMER~. The menu is all about her soulful Mexican home cooking (she is a native of Mexico City), with antojitos like mini huaraches, gorditas, and fish tacos, with heartier guisados (stewed dishes) available in three sizes, like her puerco en mole verde, beef albondigas, and chiles rellenos. She is serving lunch (comidas corridas) for now, and July will bring expanded dinner hours (we’ll send you a reminder!). Hours for now are Tue-Fri 11am-3pm and brunch Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 3435 Mission St. at Livingston, 415-817-1542.

And really quick, for the next time you’re picking up your bulk spices at Rainbow Grocery: ~CHICKS AND LOVE PIZZA~ is now open on the patio. Hoodline reports hours are 9am-3pm weekdays (serving breakfast and lunch).

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One of the many awesome charcuterie boards at Union Larder. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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One of the special ramen bowls at Ippudo New York. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

A few months ago, Union Larder owner Jay Esopenko tipped me off that he had a new project coming down the pike, and now that the ABC paperwork has hit the wires, I can tell you more. Esopenko and his wife Melissa Gugni’s first project, Little Vine in North Beach, is about to have a neighbor: ~THE SALZBURG~, which is moving into the former Cinecittà space.

Esopenko says it’s going to be an Austrian wine tavern (heuriger) featuring food, wine, and beer influenced by Germany, Austria, and Northern Italy. Here’s more: “The drink focus will be on the wine regions surrounding the Alps and their American counterparts like Tatomer, Massican, Matthiasson, Forlorn Hope, and Teutonic. Our house wine is being made by Sandlands and we’ll also have an stellar beer selection with over 10 on tap.”

As for executive chef Ramon Siewert’s menu, look for housemade sausages and salumi, and since this location has a grill and fryer, there will be schnitzel, a burger, and other dishes, too, many inspired by Alpine wine regions. Union Larder’s cheese director Kristi Bachman will be in charge of the Alpine-focused cheese program.

The same firm (8inc) that helped design Union Larder will be the architects for this project. They will be doing a complete demolition of the interior and facade (the front windows will open completely), and they will be adding a 500-square-foot heated patio with a fireplace out back. There will also be a small dining area downstairs available for private events (with room for up to 20 guests). I’ll keep you posted on this as things take shape. 663 Union St. at Columbus.

Back in January, the SF Bay Area was getting excited about the prospect of New York’s wildly popular ramen shop, ~IPPUDO~, coming to downtown Berkeley, and now according to ABC license activity, SF is getting a location too! Eater heard back from an Ippudo rep, who confirmed it will be opening a location in the former Lark Creek Steak in the Westfield San Francisco Centre in March 2017. The location will be a big one, featuring “70 seats in the main dining room, 36 in the private dining room, 10 at the chef’s counter, and 20 in the bar.”

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Tai Chi Jianbing! Photo via @taichijiangbing.

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The iconic Roosevelt Tamale Parlor sign; Yelp photo by Marina N.

Here are some cool events and more for your consideration. First, the zany Gelinaz crew is back with another version of their chef shell game. On Monday July 11th is Walk with Us San Francisco, with 16 top chefs (including local chefs Gabriela Cámara, Joshua Skenes, and Dominique Crenn, as well as visiting chefs such as Sean Brock and Blaine Wetzel) creating a 16-course tasting menu. The event will be held at Corey Lee’s restaurants, Benu and In Situ (as if he isn’t busy enough right now). Tickets are $600, so there’s that.

Have you always wanted to try jianbing, the tender-but-crispy Chinese crêpe from Shandong that comes stuffed with an egg, scallions, cilantro, and add-ons like steak or ham? Here’s where you can: Tai Chi Jianbing is popping up inside Osaka Imai in the Outer Sunset. Tai Chi Jianbing’s Cheng Hu is using quality and organic ingredients that are definitely a step up and can cost up to $15 depending on what you get yours filled with (like chicken, beef, or ham). Open daily 10am-2pm except Tuesdays through July 2nd—and according to their Instagram feed, come early and prepare for long lines! There’s also talk of a food truck later on. (Via Hoodline.) 2445 Noriega St. at 32nd Ave.

There’s a new pop-up in the (sadly closed) Roosevelt Tamale Parlor from some of the folks opening Che Fico later this year on Divisadero (chef David Nayfeld and pastry chef Angela Pinkerton). The pop-up is called Mission D&A (as in David and Angela), and they are launching with a Russian menu called Mama Galina’s—Nayfield’s background is Russian, and the menu is in honor of his mother Galina’s cooking. Eater mentions it will start with aperitifs, then move to a five-course family-style dinner with pairings; $75, tickets and more here. It all starts on Tuesday June 21st, look for more concepts in the future.

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The interior at El Capitan. Photo by Jon Whitehead.

I have some closures and other changes around town to report on. First, it looks like Outer Sunset’s ~TERRA COTTA WARRIOR~, one of the city’s few places offering Shaanxi cuisine, has new management and is closed until August 1st. Ugh. That place was perfect for our foggy weather and always easy on the wallet. Here’s hoping the new owners keep things intact. (Via Eater.) 2555 Judah St. at 30th Ave., 415-681-3288.

A tablehopper reader let us know that the wine bar ~CARAFE~ on Folsom was closed, and now Hoodline confirms both Carafe and ~EL CAPITAN~ (the former Radius, and Julie’s Supper Club for you fellow old-timers) have also closed. They are open for a couple of NBA and NHL games; details on their Facebook page. 1123 Folsom St. at 7th St.

Another old-timer has closed: the Noe Valley ~HAHN’S HIBACHI~ has shuttered after being in business since 1978! Noe Valley blog posts their farewell note, which says, “You have made this a great business, but, the rising cost of everything, in the city, has made a great business, obsolete. You all have been wonderful customers. See you, enjoy our food, over the years, has given us so much happiness. Again, we say, Thank You for your patronage. We will miss you greatly.” It sounds like Bistro SF Grill, the burger place in Lower Pacific Heights, will be moving in since they lost their lease. The Hahn’s locations on Irving and Polk streets remain open, so you can still get your bibimbap fix. 1305 Castro St. at 24th St.

And in chef news, chef David Bazirgan of ~DIRTY HABIT~ is moving back to his hometown of Boston after 13 years in SF. We will miss your wings, Baz! His last day is June 24th. (Via Scoop.)

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