September 6, 2016

September 6, 2016
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The classic Elite Cafe sign. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux Photography (via Faebook).

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Tacos from Glena’s. Photo courtesy of Glena’s.

Looks like the reopening of ~THE ELITE CAFE~ is getting close. According to a post on Facebook, they are aiming to open the week of September 19th.

Based on their Instagram feed, oysters and fried chicken will be on the menu, plus red beans and rice with house-pickled pork and grilled andouille, as well as other Cajun and Creole favorites.

We’ll keep you posted. (To recap, Andrew Chun of Schroeder’s took over the 35-year-old restaurant space earlier this year.) 2049 Fillmore St. at California, 415-346-8400.

Good news: chef Michael Gaines (Kin Khao, Central Kitchen, Manresa) has found a location for his taco and margarita place, ~GLENA’S~ that he’s opening with his wife, Stephanie Gaines. It will be taking over the former The New Spot space in the Dogpatch and is aiming for early 2017. It will be open daily 11am-11pm. 632 20th St. at 3rd St.

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Recipe testing: a meaty medianoche. Photo courtesy of Media Noche.

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Recipe testing! Ceviche. Photo courtesy of Media Noche.

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Recipe testing! Empanadas. Photo courtesy of Media Noche.

Anyone who has traveled to Miami, or even better, Cuba, has hopefully enjoyed a medianoche (midnight) sandwich, with layers of roast pork, ham, mustard, Swiss cheese, and dill pickles pressed inside sweet egg bread that is not unlike challah (a Cubano is on a crustier style of bread—here’s a pic of one I had at Margon’s in New York).

So here’s the good news: a couple of SF restaurant industry ladies—Madelyn Markoe (Tacolicious, Tres Tequila Lounge & Mexican Kitchen, Boxing Room) and Jessie Barker (Nopa, Tres Tequila Lounge & Mexican Kitchen, The Tavern at Lark Creek)—are going to be opening ~MEDIA NOCHE~, a fast-casual Cuban counter, where they will be serving classic medianoches, plus some fun versions, such as a fried chicken Cubano. There will also be snacks, like empanadas and croquetas.

They are working with Telmo Faria (who has his upcoming project Uma Casa, but was previously with Tacolicious) as their culinary consultant, and the trio is in Miami right now doing some delicious research. They will be integrating a lot of inspiration from their travels, but look for some local ingredient influences too.

They are just finalizing a spot right now and are in lease negotiations, and since they signed an NDA, they can’t share where it is just yet. But if this location works out, it will have around 30-35 seats and outdoor seating. They also plan to stay open until midnight Fri-Sat. And there will be quite a lively Little Havana vibe, with music and a colorful design, and some communal seating to keep things social and fun. Beer and wine and coffee served in the Cuban tradition are all part of the plan.

We’ll be able to release more info soon—and stand by for news about some pop-ups they’ll be doing at Birba in Hayes Valley in October.

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The former Verbena’s front door. Photo by Carmen Troesser.

Back in May, we noted the folks behind Andalé (you know, the place you get a breakfast burrito before hopping on a plane at SFO) were taking over the former Reverb/Verbena space in Russian Hill on Polk.

Details have now been released: the Andalé Management Group project is called ~MEZCALITO~, and it will be a mezcal bar with Oaxacan-influenced small plates by chef Matt D’Ambrosi, working with chef Julio Aguilera of Oaxaca’s El Destilado. Dishes will range from Marin Miyagi oysters with smoky Champagne mignonette to an octopus tostada with grilled octopus, peanuts, potato salad, carrots, and celery on a housemade tostada, plus al pastor pork belly tacos and milanesa (breaded pork loin). Save room for the Mexican chocolate tres leches with Mexican chocolate, figs, and whipped cream.

Bar manager Guadalupe Jaques (Monsieur Benjamin, Barbacco) has created a mezcal-centric cocktail list, with a strong selection of mezcal for those who like it neat. Happy hour will be daily 5pm-6:30pm, with specially priced cocktails, wine by the glass, and shot-and-beer combos.

Architecture & Light designed the space with natural wood accents, and there are flat-screen TVs in the bar. Patio seating and weekend brunch are coming soon. It’s due to open Wednesday September 14th. Open nightly 5pm-12am. 2323 Polk St. at Green.

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Enjoy happy hour on the patio at La Fromagerie. Photo courtesy of La Fromagerie.

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The dining room and counter at Barzotto. Photo via Facebook.

FiDi workers, you should know that starting Thursday September 8th, ~LA FROMAGERIE CHEESE SHOP~ is starting a happy hour from 4pm-7pm. You can enjoy a flight of three wines and cheeses with matching jams and honey and wood-fired bread for $19 (there are more than 40 wines and cheeses to choose from!), or grab your friend and have two glasses of rosé and an apéro platter for two with Délice de Bourgogne triple cream, 12-month cave-aged Gruyère, saucisson sec (French salami), cornichons, and wood-fired bread for $29. 101 Montgomery St. at Bush.

The newly opened ~BARZOTTO~ in the Mission has launched weekend brunch, with dishes like baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce and brioche French toast stuffed with mascarpone and topped with roasted strawberries and lemon zest. Orange-grapefruit mimosas and nitro coffee, check. Served Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 1270 Valencia St. at 24th St., 415-285-1200.

Scoop reports ~VOLTA~ has discontinued lunch, although brunch continues on the weekend. Lunch may return during the holidays.

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The interior of the (former) Spaghetti Bros. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography, courtesy of UrbanDaddy.

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The papered-over windows at Radish. (Photo courtesy of a tablehopper reader.)

A couple of quick notes: Aaron Toensing and Erik Lowe of ~SPAGHETTI BROS.~ have changed the name to ~MAYBECK’S~. Seems the impression of the original name was too casual for what they’re doing, and there’s more than spaghetti on the menu. The Inside Scoop notes the name is in honor of Bernard Maybeck, who was the architect who designed the Palace of Fine Arts. 3213 Scott St. at Lombard, 415-400-8500.

I have been hearing some rumblings about issues at Mission brunch hot spot ~RADISH~, and according to a tablehopper reader, it looks like they have closed. “You may have already heard, but Radish closed about 10-12 days ago. They papered up the windows over the weekend making it somewhat official. The word in the neighborhood is that the landlord is going to try to sell the commercial unit (where Radish was). There have been lots of brunchers walking near Radish all weekend looking very confused in search of bottomless mimosas nearby.” The property owner, Dattani and Co., is no stranger to Ellis Act evictions, which happened at Radish’s building before. 3465 19th St. at Lexington.

Was sorry to hear chef Justin Simoneaux has left ~BOXING ROOM~ and returned to his native New Orleans. Eater reports that his longtime sous chef Athman El-Kindiy (formerly Bar Crudo) is taking the reins.

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Gyukotsu ramen at Yuzu Ramen & Broffee. Photo courtesy of Yuzu.

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The spacious patio at Yuzu Ramen & Broffee. Photo courtesy of Yuzu.

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

There’s a new ramen house that opened in Emeryville over the weekend, ~YUZU~, with 48 seats, both inside and outside on their patio. The partners are Steven Yamaji, Nori Itasaka, and Scott Sada, and they are focusing on different broths (beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and vegetable) made in-house and all from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals, or with organic or local vegetables. They are making their own noodles too. There is also gluten-free and vegan ramen, plus some side dishes—check out the menu. And then there’s what they’re calling broffee—four kinds of bone broth (or stock, ahem), which they’d like to encourage people to drink in the morning like coffee. Open for lunch Mon-Sat 11:30am-3pm (last order at 2:30pm) and dinner 5:30pm-9pm (last order at 8:30pm). 1298 65th St. at Hollis, Emeryville, 510-853-1525.

There’s a new spot coming to Rockridge in late September, ~DUCHESS~, doing triple-duty as a café, pub, and local watering hole. Wine professionals Caroline Conner—who was also a former assistant pastry chef at Nopa—and Chris Strieter (co-founder of Sonoma County’s Senses Wines) brought on chef Candice Caris (previously corporate dining at Google, Apple, and Nvidia). Look for California-inspired pub fare and all-day service: there’s going to be coffee and pastries in the morning (including a “sausage and egg Duch-Muffin” and cinnamon rolls), lunch and dinner service and snacks in between, and weekend brunch (with sourdough waffles with chestnut almond cream, bourbon baked apples, and maple syrup ). And WINE. And craft cocktails (thanks to consultant David Curiel of The Hideout). And craft beer. VerSacrum Design (Trick Dog, Causwells, Huxley) is designing the space, which includes an outdoor patio and two full-service bars. Hours will be Sun-Wed 6am-12am and Thu-Sat 6am-2am. 5422 College Ave. at Manila, Oakland.

Chef-owner James Syhabout has closed ~THE DOCK~ in West Oakland, and Scoop reports he will be reopening it next year in partnership with Adam Lamoreaux, who was a founder of next-door neighbor Linden Street Brewery (he left the company a couple of years ago). Since Linden Street is leaving at the end of this year, The Dock will be taking over the space so Lamoreaux can be head brewer and add a brewing component to the project—it will be a taproom, brewery, and restaurant, serving casual pub-style food. Live music is also being discussed. Meanwhile, The Beer Shed will keep its tasting room, beer garden, and bar menu up and running during construction. 95 Linden St. at 3rd St., Oakland. 

After the rapid closure and the departure of consultant Dominique Crenn from Antoinette at The Claremont Club & Spa, the space’s latest incarnation has opened, ~LIMEWOOD BAR & RESTAURANT~. You can look at chef Joseph Humphrey’s (The Advocate, Cavallo Point, The Restaurant at Meadowood) dinner menu here, which looks really good. 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley, 510-549-8585.

Even though we don’t have the SF Street Food Festival this year, fortunately the Eat Real Festival returns to Jack London Square for its eighth year, September 23rd-25th, and is presented by the Food Craft Institute. There will be local vendors and food stalls, demonstrations, tastings, workshops, food trucks, an urban county fair, and more. The festival is free, and everything is priced at $8 or less. There are also adult beverages, with $10 tasting flights, sommelier demos, and “meet the brewer” panels. Friday 1pm-9pm, Sat 10:30am-9pm, Sun 10:30am-5pm. Jack London Square (65 Webster Street, west of Embarcadero), Oakland.

One more note: Off the Grid is now happening on Sundays at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Downtown Berkeley, starting Sunday September 11th. There will be eight food trucks, plus live music, beer, and more. 11am-3pm. 1900 Allston Way, Berkeley.