February 21, 2017

February 21, 2017
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Jian bing. Photo courtesy of China Live.

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Rice noodle gluten salad with crispy chile dressing. Photo courtesy of China Live.

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It’s time for cocktails. Courtesy of China Live.

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China Live director of beverage Duggan McDonnell. Photo: Allison Weber.

Are you excited to check out the upcoming ~CHINA LIVE~, being hailed as the Eataly of Chinatown, with multiple floors of restaurants, retail, bars, and more? Yeah, me too. Here’s my in-depth piece from almost three years ago on the huge multilevel project. I’m going to be attending the media preview this Thursday and look forward to sharing all the details in tablehopper next week.

So after we give China Live a couple of weeks to get ramped up, I’m going to be hosting a late afternoon tablehopper preview on Saturday March 11th so you can get an insider look at the project. Director of beverage Duggan McDonnell will be walking us through his unique bar program, and we’ll learn about pairing Chinese food with various beverages, from cocktails to wine to beer.

Our event is in conjunction with Anchor Distilling Co., which means there are some cocktails that will be on the docket, oh you know it, including one on draft (!!) with Kavalan Whisky of Taiwan, Paul John Whiskey of India with blended Scotch, coconut rhum, fresh lemon, and housemade galangal syrup. You can also bet there will be some Anchor Liberty Ale, an insider choice you’ll be hearing more about, plus other surprises from Duggan.

We’ll be tasting plenty of dishes from The Market Restaurant, the street-level restaurant, from specialty dim sum to soup to vegetables to roasted meats and more. We’re just finalizing the menu, so if you want to wait and see it before buying tickets, you can, but no guarantee there will be any left! You’ll be well fed, trust, or this wouldn’t be a tablehopper event. I got you.

We’ll also get a firsthand tour of the project with stories and insights from founder George Chen, plus info about what’s coming next upstairs. It’s exciting stuff.

The event is Saturday March 11th, 3pm-5pm (think of it as a heavy teatime-meets-day drinking situation). $49 all-inclusive, you can get tickets on Feastly. I look forward to sharing an insider look (and experience) at this exciting new project with you!

Follow along on Instagram: @tablehopper @chinalivesf @anchorspirits

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A “work in progress” menu for Pompette. Instagram photo via @hotcakesdesign.

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The bar at Café Rouge. Photo courtesy of Café Rouge.

The sadness over the closure of Marsha McBride’s beloved ~CAFÉ ROUGE~ after 20 years on Fourth Street in Berkeley can be a bit softened with the exciting news of what is taking its place, ~POMPETTE~. Chef David Visick, an alum of Chez Panisse and SF’s Cafe Kati (yup, we’re talking back in the DAY), is taking over the space with his wife, Caramia Visick, who worked at Bay Wolf (as well as Oliveto, Zuni, and Stars) before launching her jewelry line (Hotcakes Design) and shop (Favor) when their son was born—she will be running front of house.

Pompette strives to pick up the mantle of Café Rouge’s welcoming living room-meets-dining room reputation on Fourth Street, an easy place to swing by for a quick lunch or satisfying dinner (open daily), or an afternoon cocktail and a bite. They know how important the bar was to the neighborhood and want to preserve its role (there will also be some affordable wines too). And it ties in well with its name, which means “a little tipsy.”

Visick has been cooking at private events of late (oh, you know, for the Obamas and Clintons), and his style is very ingredient-driven, with impeccable sourcing, through the filters of French, Italian, and Spanish cuisines. The menu will feature bar snacks, medium-sized appetizers that you can easily make a meal of, with many vegetable-based dishes, like grilled artichokes with dukkah, saffron, and yogurt, plus a few bigger plates. Visick mentioned there will be a rotisserie, with nightly rotating meats. One example is rotisserie chicken coming off the spit every 30 minutes, served with a chicory salad, potatoes in the drippings, and salsa verde, enough for 2 or 3 people to make a meal of it. He’s having fun looking at some classics, like lamb Sainte-Ménehould vis-à-vis Elizabeth David, a dish of lamb belly (or breast) that is braised, then chilled, pressed, sliced into strips, coated in bread crumbs, sautéed, and served with sauce gribiche. Sign me up.

The room is getting a gentle update, with new paint, lighting, tables, and chairs, and the butcher shop has been converted into a counter for the rotisserie and more, plus some banquette seating has been added, making a little hideaway nook. There will be 110 seats all told, including the outside.

They hope to open at the end of March. I’ll keep you posted on the menu, to be released soon, and the opening date. 1782 4th St. at Delaware, Berkeley.

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The interior of the former Scotland Yard. Photo via Facebook.

There’s a new taker for the former Bin 38/Scotland Yard space in the Marina. Barrel Room owner Sarah Trubnick has purchased the lease and is launching a concept with Barrel Room’s executive chef Manny Hewitt based on food and wine pairing—all dishes will have recommended pairings (one to complement and one to contrast). There will also be a reasonably priced themed tasting menu offered each night, plus a raw bar. There will be 50 wines available by the glass and half glass. The space is undergoing a full remodel, and construction starts in two weeks. I’ll have more to share as this takes shape; they are looking to open mid-May or early June. 3232 Scott St. at Chestnut.

Opening soon (possibly next week) in the Mission will be ~PINK ONION~, a Sicilian-inspired panino, pizza, and pasta place. It’s an extension of the Lo Coco’s restaurants in Oakland and Berkeley, but will be offering a pared-down menu. Look for panini and salads for lunch, and 3-4 handmade pastas and about 10 pizzas with “lively salads” and housemade bread at dinner. They are going to have 12 craft beers on tap and 6 wines on tap, primarily local.

As for the name, I thought it was a reference to Tropea onions, but it’s actually a play on Palermo’s regional colors, which are pink and black, and they also said they use a lot of onions, including some pickled onions, which give off a bright pink color. As they tell me, they “are trying to create a hip, accessible, Sicilian-influenced neighborhood hangout.” Cin cin! I’ll keep you posted on their opening. 64 14th St. at Folsom.

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Chef Matthew Kirkley; photo via Coi’s website.

Some staffing news around town for you, starting with who’s on deck at ~COI~, working with chef Matt Kirkley. The general manager is Dan Page from Chicago’s L2O, wine director Courtney Olson was previously at Quince (Coi’s previous wine director, Mark Mendoza, has stepped into a larger role at DPG), new chef de cuisine Justin Mauz was previously at Joël Robuchon, Sixteen, Le Bec-Fin, Zahav, and L2O, and pastry chef Riley Redfern was at Jardinière and Quince (replacing Nick Muncy). Just in case you’re curious, the modern seafood tasting menu is $250 per person, while wine pairings are $180.

Meanwhile, after six years of working together as co-chefs and partners at ~SONS & DAUGHTERS~, Matt McNamara is (amicably) stepping away, but will now be the sole owner of their bar and grill in North Beach, The Square. Teague Moriarty is now the sole chef-owner at S&D. Menu update: it’s currently nine courses for $150.

And over at ~PABU~ and ~THE RAMEN BAR~, they have hired a new executive chef to oversee day-to-day operations, chef Shaun King, who will be working alongside managing chef Ken Tominaga. One of his mentors was Rick Moonen—he worked for him at RM Seafood in Las Vegas—who taught him a great deal about seafood and sustainability. He also worked at Sushisamba, restaurants in the Central Coast, and The Dawson in Chicago. 

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A hot slice from Josey Baker. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Fans of Josey Baker’s thin-crust pizza at ~THE MILL~ will be fired up to hear you’ll be able to come by for pizza every night (except for Tuesdays) starting this Saturday February 25th. You can also enjoy seasonal salads, beer, and wine, all from 6pm-9pm. And don’t forget you can also get sandwiches on his awesome bread every Thu-Sun, from 11am until they’re all gone. 736 Divisadero St. at Grove.

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A look at the airy new location of Verve Coffee Roasters in the Castro. Photo: Parker Batterson.

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A look at the airy new location of Verve Coffee Roasters in the Castro. Photo: Parker Batterson.

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Rendering of the upcoming Equator café at Fort Mason.

We reported a while ago that Santa Cruz’s fantastic ~VERVE COFFEE ROASTERS~ would be opening a café in the Castro, their first in SF, and it’s now open. The 1,200-square-foot café was designed by LA firm Design, Bitches—look for a naturalistic look with deep blues, woods, plants, and glazed tiles.

You want the geeky tech sheet? OK, here goes: “The bar features a 4-group Kees van der Westen espresso machine with custom panels designed by artist Jeremiah Kille. The Simonelli Mythos grinders ensure a precise grind for each shot of espresso. Modbar Pour-Over units paired with Kalita Waves will handle By-The-Cup coffee for perfect pours every time.”

You’ll be able to order espresso drinks, brewed coffee, juices, and breakfast, brunch, and lunch options made with baked goods by Manresa Bread. You can also check out their retail goods and in-house publication, Farmlevel Digest, a photo-essay publication featuring coffee farms and farmers, shot entirely on film by the founders. Open daily 6am-8pm. 2101 Market St. at Church.

Meanwhile, ~EQUATOR COFFEES & TEAS~ is opening a new café at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture at the Gatehouse. The plan is to open in summer 2017. Boor Bridges Architecture is designing a clean, modern space by the Bay Trail, so it will be a new fueling station for the many cyclists, runners, and pedestrians along the waterfront.

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The (former) deck at Bay Wolf. Photo via Facebook.

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A bowl of noodles at Shiba Ramen. Photo via Facebook.

Here’s a recap on other exciting news happening in the East Bay. Over in Piedmont, Rich and Rebekah Wood (Frascati, Wood Tavern, Southie) have opened ~THE WOLF~ in the former Bay Wolf, which closed after 30 years. They have partnered with executive chef Yang Peng, who is also the exec chef of both Wood Tavern and Southie. The menu is “French-forward California cuisine, featuring creative reimaginings of brasserie dishes and ingredients,” and you know there is some duck on the menu (a Bay Wolf classic). Cocktails are also available, and lunch is in the works. Open Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri 5:30pm-10:30pm, Sat 5pm-10:30pm, Sun 5pm-9pm. 3853 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, 510-879-7953.

Opening in April in the Public Market Emeryville will be ~PARADITA EATERY~, a fast-casual concept from chef Carlos Altamirano (Mochica in Potrero Hill and Piqueo’s in Bernal Heights, La Costanera in Montara, Parada in Walnut Creek, and the Sanguchon food trucks). You’ll find classic Peruvian sandwiches, grilled anticuchos (meat skewers), pollo a la brasa (traditional rotisserie chicken), rice bowls, salads, and more, all made with responsibly sourced ingredients. You’ll be able to do quick takeout (there will be curbside service and some grab-and-go items), or you can hang out over some craft cocktails and wine. Hours will be daily 11am-9pm. 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville.

A second location of ~SHIBA RAMEN~ opens tonight in downtown Oakland from chemist couple Jake Freed and Hiroko Nakamura and chef Danny Keiser (previously Camino). There are seats for 40 and an extended bar program focusing on Japanese and local beer and sake. Look for new specials and more at both locations. Hours will be Mon-Sat 11am-10pm. 1438 Broadway St. at 14th Street, Oakland.

Over in Jack London Square, Daniel Patterson is temporarily closing ~HAVEN~ for construction on February 26th, no word yet on the plans for Haven 2.0. [Via Eater.]