October 25, 2016

October 25, 2016
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It’s that time of the year, when Michelin releases the latest meteor shower of stars around the Bay Area. You can read the complete list of 54 winners here. The highlights: Quince now has three stars, joining Benu, Saison, The Restaurant at Meadowood, Manresa, and The French Laundry in the three-star club. Lazy Bear earned two stars this year, and the new one-star additions are Hashiri, Ju-ni, Mister Jiu’s, Mosu, and The Progress in SF, Madera in Menlo Park, and Adega in San Jose.

Big congrats to all the winners. The Michelin Guide San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country goes on sale tomorrow (October 26th), and the entire selection is also available on the Michelin Restaurants app available for free download.

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Chefs Cortney Burns and Nick Balla. Photo by Chad Robertson via Facebook.

I know I’m not going to be the only one bummed over the news that Cortney Burns and Nick Balla are no longer going to be taking over the ~BAR TARTINE~ space and turning it into their restaurant, Crescent. It sounds like a deal couldn’t be reached, so they will be moving on after their last service on New Year’s Eve (December 31st). Scoop reports they will still try to find another location for the concept, ideally in the Mission. In the meantime, the duo will also be going full tilt on their new project, Motze, which is due to open on Valencia very very soon, possibly this weekend.

No word on what Tartine’s Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt have in mind for the space just yet, although they will be keeping it—and it has that monster oven still in there, so this should be interesting.

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The fried chicken sandwich at The Bird. Yelp photo by Stephanie T.

Folks are lining up for lunch each day to try the new fried chicken sandwich at ~THE BIRD~ in the FiDi (the project is from Adriano Paganini). The fried chicken sandwich (regular or spicy thigh meat) is dressed with celery, housemade Fuji apple slaw, mayo, and pickles for $8. A few more details: the chicken is free-range, and it’s a berbere spice blend that gives it that extra oomph. The bun is also made every morning by a local baker. There are also curly fries on the menu. Open Mon-Fri 11am-10pm (or until they sell out). 115 New Montgomery St. at Minna, 415-827-9825.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a casual Filipino pop-up called ~ELENA UNA~ was coming to the Marina, and the opening is happening right on schedule, this Thursday October 27th. Tue-Sat 8:30am-2pm and 4:30pm-9pm. 3347 Fillmore St. at Chestnut.

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The main room at Marla Bakery. Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux.

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Fable’s mohair banquette, plus animal portraits. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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The cozy dining room at MINA Test Kitchen. Photo via Facebook.

There are some changes in kitchens around the city, starting with ~MARLA BAKERY~ in the Outer Richmond. Co-owner and baker Amy Brown is taking over the savory offerings (instead of being so focused on the baking side of things). Her chef de cuisine is Max Newman (formerly of Zuni and Black Jet Bakery). New dishes include city ham and pea greens flatbread (from their oven) with leek cream, provolone, and cherry bomb chile paste;
 and whey-brined roasted half chicken with citrus-glazed sweet potatoes and carrots, pasilla cream, nora pepper butter, and pea greens.

Sean Ehland, most recently the pastry chef at Aster, has also returned to Marla and is now a partner overseeing the bread program, and Nicole Walsh (formerly of Mission Pie) runs the pastry program, adding desserts like the strawberry bay parfait, with layers of dark fudge cake and strawberry-bay leaf gastrique topped with bay nut cream. 3619 Balboa St. at 37th Ave.

Some changes at ~FABLE~ in the Castro: chef-partner Jon Hearnsberger let me know he has sold his share to his business partner Erik Rhoades and is no longer involved with the restaurant. Stand by to see what Hearnsberger does next; he hopes to have a new place in the coming year, after taking a much-needed break. 558 Castro St. at 19th St.

The ever-changing series of dinners at ~MINA TEST KITCHEN~ continue. Up next (launching November 12th) is Postcards from La Costiera, a concept featuring coastal Italian cuisine. Chef Adam Sobel’s menu will highlight seafood like crudos, shellfish, pastas, and whole fish. Sobel and Mina are currently touring Italy with Livio Colapinto, hitting 23 destinations, from Cetara to Catania, so expect plenty of inspiration. The five-course, family-style menu is $59, classico wine pairings are $30, $40 for the riserva. Italian-inspired cocktails by Brian Means are also available. Tue-Sat dinner. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore.  

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The sunny dining room at Yuzuki. Photo courtesy of Yuzuki.

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Celebrating Diwali at Dosa in 2012. Photo via Facebook.

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Pulling the noodles at M.Y. China. Photo courtesy Creative Mint.

Loosen that belt, it’s going to be too tight after this lineup of deliciousness.

~PERBACCO~ is turning 10 and is hosting a fancy dinner tonight (Tuesday October 25th), but you can also dine throughout the week (until Saturday October 29th) and enjoy a selection of exceptional wines for $10 a glass. They will also be gifting each table at lunch this week with a complimentary appetizer as a token of their gratitude.

On Wednesday November 9th, help ~YUZUKI~ celebrate their fifth anniversary with a special modern sushi kaiseki dinner. $100, including a complimentary beer or glass of sparkling wine. Sake pairings will also be available for an additional $50. Make your reservation or call 415-556-9898.

You can celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, at a couple of locations in the Bay Area. ~DOSA ON FILLMORE~ is hosting their annual Diwali Celebration on Sunday October 30th, from 5pm-11:30pm, with a special menu ($55), housemade Diwali sweets, music from DJ Nix, complimentary henna art, and more. Reservations are filling up; book online or call 415-441-3672.

~AJANTA~ in Berkeley is celebrating on Sunday October 30th and Monday October 31st—with party decorations in effect. They are offering a special $42 prix-fixe lunch and dinner menu that will include paired wines by the glass. (A vegetarian version of the menu is $39.) All guests will be served complimentary mithai, which are traditional Indian sweets during Diwali days.

There’s a Chengdu Food & Cultural Festival coming to SF November 10th-18th, thanks to chef Martin Yan. Chengdu is considered the culinary capital of the Sichuan province and is also Asia’s first UNESCO city of gastronomy. Unfortunately we can’t attend the gala at City Hall featuring a team of Sichuan’s finest chefs, but five restaurants are also taking part with special Sichuan-themed culinary events hosted by chef Yan and the visiting chefs, who will be working closely with the staff in each venue. Release the heat!

On Friday November 11th, ~KOI PALACE~ is hosting a dinner from 6:30pm-9:30pm, $128 per person, call 650-992-9000. ~M.Y. CHINA~ is featuring a special Chengdu-inspired menu November 12th-30th, and ~CRYSTAL JADE~ is hosting their dinner on Wednesday November 16th from 6:30pm-9:30pm, $188 per person, or call 415-399-1200.

Other dinners include Chef Chu in Los Altos (Nov. 13th, $100 per person) and China Stix in Santa Clara (Nov. 14th, $65 per person).