November 1, 2016

November 1, 2016

Your table is ready is Motze. Photo via Facebook.

After last week’s news about Nick Balla and Cortney Burns leaving ~BAR TARTINE~, we can look and see what they’re up to with their new venture, ~MOTZE~, which is now open.

As I previously mentioned, they opened quickly and on the fly in the former Herbivore, and since the lease is only for 1 1/2 years, they didn’t want to sink too much into it. Cooks will be running food from the kitchen, with a manager and a couple of “guides” overseeing the room.

But let’s take a look at the menu, because that’s why you’ll be coming here: to feast. The three-course set menu is $58 (tip included) and is served family style—and if you have any dietary restrictions, they’ll take care of you. Right now you’ll start with rainbow trout nare zushi with fresh wasabi, and seed bread with cultured butter, avocado, trout roe, and honey truffle. Expect waves of dishes to follow, with many of their housemade ingredients, from miso to soy sauce. They are continuing their exclusive relationship with Full Table Farm in Yountville—whatever they deliver, the restaurant works with, which eliminates a great deal of waste, and sparks a lot of creativity.

The beverage program will also have handcrafted touches, from rice spirit cocktails infused with grains, fruits, and vegetables to their nonalcoholic sodas on tap (zero waste is a big component to what they’re doing).

Open Tue-Sat 5:30pm-close. 983 Valencia St at 21st St., 415-484-1206.


A corner of the dining room. Photo courtesy of Coffee Manufactory.


The dining room at Cala. Photo by Chloe List.


Shoyu ikura at Ijji. Photo via Facebook.

A few things to note around town, starting with the impending dinner service at ~TARTINE MANUFACTORY~, served Wed-Sun 5:30pm-10pm, starting Wednesday November 9th. This week, they are doing a warm-up series of five dinners, and even though all the tickets are gone (dagnabbit), you can still get a sense of some of the dinner menu items from chef Sam Goinsalvos, like housemade ricotta, beets, serrano chile, rye crisps; oyster stew, bacon, leeks, potato, scallop cream; beef heart and hanger steak tartare, black trumpet mushrooms, fried shallot, nasturtium crackers; and skillet roasted chicken, leeks, sherry vinegar, hazelnuts, rapini, anchovy, Calabrian chile. I’ll take it all, thanks. We’ll share the actual à la carte menu next week. Get ready to make some reservations, like, now! 595 Alabama St. at 18th St.

Starting this Sunday November 6th, ~CALA~ will no longer serve brunch on Saturdays—it will be on Sundays only (11am-3pm). Bonus: for the month of November, they will be offering a half bottle of Champagne and a half-dozen oysters for $40 to all brunch guests. Pop!

There are a few sure things in life, like death and taxes, and we thought scoring a burger at ~NOPA~ at 1am was another one, but be prepared for your sense of reality to take a beating. As of now, Nopa’s owners decided to curb the closing hour Sun to Thu to midnight, while Fri and Sat will still stay open until 1am. Scoop’s piece quotes partner Jeff Hanak: “It wasn’t an easy decision. We’re just trying to look at the health of the staff and the longevity, just looking at the sustainability of it, making sure staff is not leaving at 3:30 or 4 in the morning.” Thanks for all the late-night burgers and keeping us fed all these years!

A bit farther down Divisadero, the recently opened ~IJJI~ from chef and co-owner Billy Kong (Saru Sushi) and Kua Chuang (Seiya in San Carlos) has upgraded the menu to a 19-course omakase format, which includes 5 starters, 13 pieces of nigiri, and a soup. It’s now $135 and excludes beverages, taxes, and gratuity. There are just 15 seats: 8 at tables and 7 at the sushi bar. Seatings are 5:30pm and 8:30pm, plus a 10pm seating on Fri and Sat. Yup, this is the new Divisadero. 252 Divisadero St. at Haight, 415-658-7388.


Empanadas Argentinas at Sofia Café. All photos courtesy of Sofia Café.


Tri-tip Angus beef with vegetables.


Panqueques de dulce de leche for dessert.

The sweet little Café Sophie closed down not long after getting its beer and wine license, but fortunately there’s a new taker for the space, Nelson Jameson, who is opening ~SOFIA CAFÉ~ in its place (one of his two daughters is named Sofia). Jameson is Argentine, and so is his chef, Pablo Gimenez Melo, who was most recently at the nearby Hearth.

The plan is to initially open for coffee service, breakfast, and lunch, daily from 7:30am (or 8am) to 4pm or so—as they get their feet wet, they will adjust hours. There will be egg dishes and sandwiches, and Melo has been busy making housemade pastries. Proyecto Diaz will be supplying the coffee. Although in a few months, look for some Honduran coffee that Jameson has access to through a colleague who has a finca there; he will have Proyecto Diaz roast the beans for him.

Lunch will be inspired by the seasons and farmers’ markets; it will be clean comfort food, from housemade ravioli to a hearty plate of tri-tip Angus beef, with grilled vegetables, chimichurri, and organic cherry tomatoes, or Patagonian-style lamb shank with baked vegetables on the weekend. Menu plans include an eggplant sandwich with provolone, baby arugula, and olive oil, and another with ham, kale, tomato, cheddar, eggs, and mayo. Look for a daily soup, salads, and empanadas, too, including classic beef, and another with mozzarella, tomato, and fresh basil. Got a sweet tooth? Check out the panqueques de dulce de leche.

Once things are under way, the plan is to launch a happy hour, with a few tapas, Argentine and local wines, beer, and more. Jameson wants to create a relaxed and pleasant vibe, with music too. The whole point is to be a neighborhood place, so they will make any adjustments as needed. Dinner service will also be added—I’ll keep you posted on this next stage.

Jameson is a general contractor, and this is a personal project; he is opening Sofia because he wants to create a space for friends and neighbors to love. They will open Monday November 7th for breakfast and lunch. 3463 16th St. at Church.


Chef Evan Gotanda makin’ magic at Salt House. Photo: Hardy Wilson.

After celebrating its 10th anniversary, ~SALT HOUSE~ owners Doug Washington and brothers Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal announce a new chef, Evan Gotanda, who was previously chef de cuisine at Anchor & Hope and also worked in LA at Bastide, Patina, and Celestino Drago’s restaurant group. His new menu features housemade pasta (like beet top ravioli, baby beets, goat cheese, pine nut gremolata) as well as some dishes that pull from his Japanese heritage (roasted cauliflower, radish, soy mayo, roasted cashews, kabocha squash, furikake), plus other international inspirations. Many housemade items are forthcoming, like kimchi and vinegar.

Over at ~CHAMBERS EAT + DRINK~ in the Tenderloin, partner Isabel Manchester has brought on chef Yosuke Machida (previously executive chef at Ame). Some new dishes on the seasonal menu include confit of octopus with chorizo, butter beans, preserved Meyer lemon, shiso, and Castelvetrano olives; and a beet salad with persimmon, chicory, Parmesan, horseradish, and a balsamic vinaigrette. He has also added a tasting menu. 601 Eddy St. at Larkin, 415-496-5178.


White truffles. Flickr photo from Erika Kerekes.

You smell that in the air? That’s right, it’s white truffle season, and local restaurants are making it rain! Come by ~PERBACCO~ from November 1st-12th for their Piemontese dishes, including the classic, tajarin: hand-cut tagliatelle with a guinea hen ragù and 63°C hen egg. Pricing will reflect the market price of truffles.

Over at ~DELFINA~, they are hosting their White Truffle Dinners November 14th, 15th, 16th, and on the 19th, which is also a celebration of their 18-year anniversary! Reserve your table now. 

~IZAKAYA RINTARO~ is hosting a special guest from Tokyo, Cocco Nomura, who is well known in food circles in Japan. She will be teaching some cooking classes and will be accompanied by her daughter, Yuri Nomura of Restaurant Eatrip in Harajuku. Tickets are still available for Sunday November 6th, and a Monday block of tickets just opened up too. $150. 15 students per session, which will include hands-on instruction followed by lunch. 11am-2pm.

Want to experience a Hawaiian luau? Executive chef Sharon Nahm of ~E&O KITCHEN AND BAR~ is hosting a luau-themed night on Thursday November 10th. Check it out here. $60 all-inclusive (includes three courses and drink pairings!). 6:30pm.

The seventh annual Fall Chocolate Salon is Tuesday November 15th, at a new venue, the Hotel Kabuki. There will be 30 chocolatiers, confectioners, wineries, and other culinary artisans, and even a film screening, chef and author talks, and more. Check out the full lineup. 10am-5pm. Advance tickets $20, $25 at the door. 1625 Post St. at Laguna.


Photo from Pinkie’s Bakery.

It was already a bummer to learn that ~PINKIE’S BAKERY~ in SoMa had closed, and now owner Cheryl Storms has closed the Bernal Heights shop too. Thanks for all the treats over the years! (Via Eater.) 833 Cortland Ave. at Gates.

Meanwhile, across the Bay, Nosh reports ~THE ADVOCATE~ in Elmwood has closed. Owners John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman (they are also behind the successful Comal in Berkeley) decided to close it after being open for a little bit over a year and have put the restaurant and the business up for sale. 2635 Ashby Ave. at College, Berkeley.