August 16, 2016

August 16, 2016

The lights are coming on at Nightbird. Photo via @nightbirdsf on Instagram.

Exciting news: Kim Alter is finally opening ~NIGHTBIRD~, her first solo project in Hayes Valley, in the former Stelline and Las Estrellas location. Eater reports it should open this Thursday August 18th.

Back in March, I mentioned the 38-seat room will have custom tables and chairs, with a frosted glass view into the kitchen. It will be a tasting menu format, with 5 strong courses, about 10 in all when you count the amuses, bread, and takeaway treat ($125, tax and tip included). It will change often (Alter goes to farmers’ markets daily), and look for some fun courses and whimsy with the plating and more.

There is also the adjoining Linden Room: a seven-seat bar serving a menu of classic and new cocktailsl. The room feels very Art Deco-meets-New York hotel in the ’30s, with lots of woodwork, etched glass, and a carpeted floor—a muralist even painted clouds on the ceiling. The barware and glassware are also vintage. (You enter the bar from Linden Street.) Reservations available now. Open Tue-Sat 5:30pm-10pm. 330 Gough St. at Hayes, 415-829-7565.


The location of Pizzetta 211’s upcoming restaurant.

I have heard from a couple of sources that ~PIZZETTA 211~ has taken over the laundromat that was next door to the restaurant (on the corner of 23rd Avenue and California Street) and will be opening a Mediterranean-based restaurant, with pastas and seafood. (Nope, sorry, you don’t get expanded seating for Pizzetta 211.) 

I have been contacting owner Jack Murphy for the past couple of weeks to no avail, so I’ll let you know when I finally hear back. One spy says: “Not sure when it is opening, but the paper on the windows is down and you can see the taped-out markings for the bar and tables.”


A sampling of pasta dishes at Barzotto. Photo courtesy of Barzotto.


Little Gem salad at Barzotto. Photo courtesy of Barzotto.


Roasted half chicken. Photo courtesy of Barzotto.

Officially opening on Wednesday August 17th is ~BARZOTTO~ in the former St. Vincent space on Valencia. Chef Michelle Minori (previously executive sous chef of the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group: Flour + Water, Aatxe, Cafe du Nord, Salumeria, and Central Kitchen) is working with Marko Sotto (most recently director of operations for Adriano Paganini’s Back of the House restaurant group). The menu is all about freshly made pasta (five kinds daily), Californian and Italian wines (all wines are $10 by the glass, $40 by the bottle), and seasonal gelato.

Everything is designed to be affordable, with standards like cacio e pepe ($12) and a spin on bucatini all’amatriciana ($15) to seasonal selections, capping at $17 or so—there are also gluten-free versions. You can supplement your pasta with a couple of salads (with add-ons like chicken, an egg, or porchetta), or you can order a roasted half chicken ($15), porchetta (TBD), turkey meatballs ($8), and a few other items.

Dessert is all about housemade gelato, like a nitro coffee affogato with mint, or just topped with salted caramel and dark chocolate.

The renovated space has a lighter, airier, and industrial-modern look. You can also pick up dried and fresh pasta and sauces to bring home. Bottled beer and wine are also available for carryout or delivery. It’s meant to be casual: you order at the counter and your food will be brought to you.

Open Wed-Sun 11am-10pm; they will be open daily in a month or so. 1270 Valencia St. at 24th St., 415-285-1200.


A breakfast plate at Bon, Nene, with toast, red bean paste, soy sauce potatoes, salad, and a sunny-side up egg. Photo via Facebook.

There’s a new neighborhood restaurant that has opened in the Mission, ~BON, NENE~, in the L’Aviateur space, from Stephanie Chan and Miu Frupa. Eater previously explained the quirky name, “an amalgamation of the French word ‘bon,’ which means ‘good,’ and the Japanese name ‘nene,’ which Furuta named her dog.” The menu is built around smaller tapas-style plates, like stuffed chicken wings, chicken or tofu buns, miso beef lettuce wraps, and seafood or pork gyoza with housemade ponzu sauce. Breakfast includes a morning set menu with two pieces of toast with red bean paste, soy sauce potatoes, salad, and a sunny-side up egg.

It’s a small space, about 35 seats, and it’s all about the neighborhood vibe. Lunch, brunch, and dinner are served. There are also Japanese beers (Sapporo slushies!), wine, and more. Hours are Tue-Fri 11am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-9:30pm, Sat 9am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-9:30pm, Sun 9am-2:30pm. 2850 21st St. at Alabama, 415-872-9332.


Medley of NoodleMe options. Photo via Facebook.


The new Sicilian-style pizza at The Mill on Wednesday evenings. Photo courtesy of Josey Baker.


The new Wednesday burger at Mission D&A. Photo via Facebook.

Some quick bites for you: first, according to an ABC license application, Lower Haight’s ~IZA RAMEN~ is expanding to open a second location in the former Triptych in SoMa. Scoop reports that Ritsuo Tsuchida will be adding more izakaya-style dishes and lunch too. Expect an opening this fall. 1155 Folsom St. at 7th St.

More noodles: ~NOODLEME~ from the Dobbs Ferry team has now opened in SoMa, serving customized bowls of takeout noodle soup for the lunch crowd. Guests choose noodles (wheat, rice, or egg), toppings (corn salsa, bean sprouts, and more), broth (pork or mushroom), and flavor (like XO habanero or red curry), plus add-ons like prawns or spicy tofu. You can also order your bowl like a salad. Open Mon-Fri 10:30am-3pm. 333 Market St. (enter on Beale), 415-974-5544.

Fans of ~BATTER BAKERY~ should know that the eight-and-a-half-year-old bakery has moved and opened in a new space in Nob Hill. The bakery and café has large windows; a custom bakery case full of cookies, scones, shortbread, ice cream sandwiches, cakes, take-home doughs and batters; and a rotating menu of seasonal desserts. There’s also a café menu with breakfast and lunch options, including quiche, overnight oats, breakfast quinoa, and a biscuit breakfast sandwich. You’ll also find espresso drinks (made with beans from Equator Coffee) and affogatos.

Look for evening baking and cookie decorating classes come fall. All production for Batter Bakery’s San Francisco locations will take place in this new space. Other Batter locations include the kiosk at 555 California Street, a retail shop at One Market Plaza, stands at Saturday’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and Sunday’s Stonestown Market, and a small satellite in Portland. Open 7am-7pm daily. 1517 Pine St. at Polk, 415-674-1069.

And yes, it really is end times. The stunning and historic Jack’s space, built in 1907 with roots that date back to 1863 (it was most recently Jeanty at Jack’s from 2002-2009), will be opening by the end of the year as a coworking space for 400 freelancers and travelers called ~BAR WORKS~ (it’s an import from New York). Eater reports they bought the landmark space for $3.55 million. The former home of San Francisco’s second oldest restaurant, a gorgeous wedding cake of a space, is to be filled with ugly office furniture. All of this, I just can’t. 615 Sacramento St. at Montgomery.

Let’s focus on something more positive, like the new Square Slice Wednesdays happening at ~THE MILL~. Josey Baker tells me they are using all flour that’s freshly milled on their new custom grain mill that he has been building for the past year—it’s all 100 percent stone-ground whole grain and Cali grown. And to make things even more fun, he’s doing Sicilian/pizza al taglio/slab/sheet pan pizza. Slices are $4, a whole pan is $30, and there are seasonal salads for $7. This Wednesday August 17th is Early Girl tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, and opal basil; August 24th is potato, rosemary, whole roasted garlic, Parmesan, fresh herbs; and August 30th is summer squash, piment d’Espelette, parsley oil. 6pm-9pm on Wednesdays.

Also, Wednesdays are now burger night at ~MISSION D&A~ (the former Roosevelt Tamale Parlor). The burger is made with grass-fed beef and comes on a potato roll ($13); there are also fries, pickled vegetables, and a couple of desserts, like Banoffee pudding.

FiDi breakfast (hi, brown sugar-brined and house-smoked McFarland Springs trout on housemade avocado mousse toast) and lunch spot ~HOMAGE~ has launched Twilight Hour, an entirely new service and menu Monday-Friday from 3pm-9pm. Come by for a bite of five gougères for $5, large boards of cured meats (various prices and sizes), Parmesan and smoked tomato cocktail meatballs ($12), and a range of special cheeses. You can enjoy some bubbles or a glass of rosé from Provence, draft beers, and there are aperitif cocktails created by Christopher Longoria of 1760, like the 88 (Alvear fino sherry, Bonal, celery, extra dry vermouth, and lime). Check out the menus on their website. And enjoy the free and fast WiFi. 88 Hardie Pl. at Kearny, 415-800-8741.

Tony Bennett is turning 90, and leave it to ~HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~ to create a limited edition flavor, Duet, in honor of the festivities taking place on Friday August 19th, when a Tony Bennett Commemorative Statue will be unveiled. Yay, you can try the flavor at both HS shops from August 19th-21st. It has Tahitian vanilla ice cream swirled with limoncello sorbet and housemade fennel biscotti—it was inspired by Bennett’s Duets album. Mr. Bennett will be in town over the weekend for a number of festivities.


Gilberth’s dining room. Photo via Facebook.

After going through a number of tenants, the folks behind ~SECOND ACT MARKETPLACE~ are calling it quits—the last day is Sunday August 28th and they will be offering it for lease. One issue has been the lack of commercial kitchen space for their tenants. Anchor tenant Anda Piroshki announced that it had to cease operations due to a triple increase in their commercial kitchen rent. Betsy and Jack Rix will continue to operate Second Act Events in the back space, hosting musical, theatrical, and comedy events; it will also be available for private party rental. Best wishes to all.

A note from Gilberth Cab that after 10 years in Dogpatch, the home of awesome pupusas, ~THE NEW SPOT~, is closing. But good news: The New Spot is “joining forces with Gilberths Latin Fusion [previously Gilberth’s Rotisserie and Grill] at 2427 3rd Street in Dogpatch still, and creating an awesome Latin eatery.” Stand by for updates on the menu soon. 2427-2429 3rd St. at 20th St., 415-913-7163.

Deep condolences to the ~SONS & DAUGHTERS~ team, who sadly lost one of their line cooks, Frank Galicia, to a horrible and yet-to-be-solved crime (he was tragically murdered and found in a stairwell at Westfield San Francisco Centre). The S&D team is currently running a GoFundMe fundraiser for Galicia’s family, who had to relocate from Los Angeles to the Bay Area to be here during the investigation. Here’s hoping there is a break in the case soon.