June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017

Oysters and bubbles. Photo: Aubrie Pick.


The new Caesar salad-inspired deviled eggs at Petit Marlowe. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Sticky Fingers and hand-stiched toile at Petit Marlowe. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Tasmanian trout crudo. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After taking over and massively renovating the former Les Clos space in SoMa, ~PETIT MARLOWE~ is opening this Friday June 23rd. Big Night Restaurant Group’s Anna Weinberg and designer Ken Fulk have created a charming 49-seat wine bar and oysterette, with pale pink leather banquettes, a marble bar, hand-stitched toile wallpaper, and painted black-and-white checkerboard floors. They complete the look with some antique and flea market finds from Paris, like vintage bistro chairs and lamps and paintings. It’s chic, quaint, and where you’ll want to go on a date—and with The Riddler in Hayes Valley, it now brings our city’s truly stylish wine bar count up to two. (Keep it up, SF. Way to finally move away from wine barrels as décor and black leatherette couches.)

Executive chef Jenn Puccio is overseeing the menu of bistro bites and small plates, with three kinds of her brilliant deviled eggs, including a Caesar salad-inspired filling with Spanish anchovy, Parmesan, and bread crumbs, while another has ‘nduja egg filling with brûléed lardo. Oy. There are charcuterie, cheese, and tartare options (like côte de boeuf with porcini oil and lemon) and another of beet with harissa, whipped sheep’s milk cheese, fennel fronds, and seeded toast. Salads and tartines round out the savory picks (like a PB&J of a warm torchon of foie gras with apricot-chile jam).

Chef Henry French (Leo’s Oyster Bar) is bringing his raw bar knowledge over to Petit Marlowe, with eight kinds of oysters (don’t miss the kimchi-like pickled ramp cocktail sauce!), plus clams, scallops, and there are even percebes (gooseneck barnacles) on the menu, which I have only seen in Portugal, so, cool. Shrimp or Dungeness crab cocktail, check, plus crudos, like a silky Tasmanian ocean trout with lemon, capers, and olive oil will also be on offer. For dessert, Emily Luchetti has created a brilliant rosé ice cream with Smitten Ice Cream, made with Scribe’s Una Lou Rosé. Ooh la la.

The wine list assembled by Jennifer Gomez is of course full of bubbles (including their Big Night sparkling rosé from Burgundy), plus some interesting selections you can request a half-bottle of to try instead of having to commit to a full bottle.

Open Mon-Wed 4pm-10pm, Thu-Sat 4pm-11pm, closed Sun. Raw bar only from 4-5pm daily, full menu after 5pm. 234 Townsend St. at Lusk, 415-923-8575.


Milk bread toast with torched lardo and smoked maple syrup. Photo: Albert Law.


Salmon belly nigiri with whipped tofu, confit of Japanese tomato, and Thai basil. Photo: Albert Law.

Last summer, I mentioned chef Adam Tortosa’s upcoming sushi restaurant in Hayes Valley, and things are getting very close to opening. It’s now called ~ROBIN~ and will be featuring a highly seasonal and NorCal sensibility, from the housemade condiments, like umeboshi and blood orange kosho, to the custom Fireclay Tile mosaic and original artwork by SF’s Ferris Plock.

Tortosa’s background includes 1760, and prior to that, he was at Michael Voltaggio’s Ink in Los Angeles and also spent four years working for master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi, including in the chef position at Uechi’s Kiwami in Los Angeles.

Omakase will be available at the sushi bar, while guests in the dining room can choose omakase or from an à la carte menu. Look for local seafood and creative nigiri, like salmon belly nigiri with whipped tofu, confit of Japanese tomato, and Thai basil; seared A5 wagyu with foie snow, lemon-soy, and Half Moon Bay wasabi; and uni with shiro dashi egg emulsion and Meyer lemon. Some Japanese classics like milk bread toast will be updated with torched lardo and smoked maple syrup, and sesame noodles will come with shaved black truffles and Japanese chimichurri. Seasonal soft-serve flavors for dessert can include green tea with olive oil, sea salt and housemade umeboshi, or sake lees with Cara Cara granita and pistachio.

The beverage list will be assembled by experts Anna Nguyen (a certified sake sommelier who has worked with Kinjo and Liholiho Yacht Club) and Andrew Nelson (Grandes Places Sélections), who will be assembling a list of Champagnes along with German and Austrian varietals. Plus, Hitachino will be on draft.

620 Gough St. at Fulton.


Calm in the Alfred’s dining room (just before we took it over for our Blue Fox dinner!). Photo: Blair Heagerty Photography.


There’s a reason Alfred’s is beloved for their steaks—they do it right (and have been doing so for almost 90 years!). Photo by Alanna Hale.

Great news, buckaroos. ~ALFRED’S~ is finally reopening this Wednesday June 21st after that nasty fire in the basement back in April. You just can’t keep an almost 90-year-old restaurant down! The space is sparkling clean, and really, the vintage crystal chandeliers got quite the cleaning. (I feel so fortunate we were able to host the tablehopper Blue Fox homage dinner there for one night only last month.)

The menu also got a bit of a revamp. I’m so happy to see chef Daniel Patterson has put a modern interpretation of a classic SF dish on the menu, Celery Victor, plus some other additions to the bar bites menu, like mushrooms stuffed with oxtail, marrow, and smoky crumbs, and you can now get their onion rings and fried shishito peppers to share as well.

An addition that harks back to Alfred’s Italian roots is the debut of housemade pasta on the menu. There are now three kinds: clam linguine with Manila clams, hand-cut noodles, garlic, parsley; gnocchetti with summer vegetables and green olive oil; and strozzapreti with spicy tomato-vodka sauce. And for those who don’t want to partake in Alfred’s glorious mesquite-grilled, dry-aged Flannery Beef steaks, you’ll find some new options, like lamb chops and petrale sole, on the menu. It’s summertime, so grilled peach melba with raspberry sorbet has made its way onto the dessert menu.

See you there. I have one of their burgers (available in the bar only) on my mind, and there are some new seasonal cocktails to try too. New dinner hours: Mon-Thu 5:30pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10pm; happy hour Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm; Thu lunch 11:30am-2:30pm. 659 Merchant St. at Kearny, 415-781-7058.


Young Fava’s burrata-spring onion dip. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The MF Chicken spread you can enjoy at home. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know chef Anthony Strong’s ~YOUNG FAVA~ started a trial of its delivery service over the weekend.

The official delivery start date is this Thursday June 22nd, and you’ll be able to order truly delicious dishes like burrata-spring onion dip (perfect for a party appetizer) and my personal fave, the chicken lettuce wraps “Parma style” with a Bolognese of Mary’s chicken with pancetta and green garlic, served with Parmigiano crisps. It’s like having restaurant-quality food delivered to your door, all the way down to the exclusive Josey Baker bread Strong is using (called Rustic Blunt, ha-ha-ha). The salads are so good and full of flavor, and everything is built to travel well. Look for more mains and prix-fixe dinners to be added to the menu too. Young Fava is on UberEats for the moment and will be adding Caviar, Postmates, and more, plus pickup is available (at Turtle Tower, 645 Larkin St.). Hours will be Wed-Sun 6pm-10:30pm.

Another addition to the delivery game is ~MF CHICKEN~ from the Tacolicious crew, which just launched last night. It’s all about getting a complete meal of Mexican-style rotisserie chicken with sides, all made with quality ingredients. Extremely juicy Rocky chickens are rubbed with a spicy, tangy ancho chile-based marinade that will get all over your fingers, but fortunately they come with Wet-Naps.

The birds also come with excellent sides: creamy Rancho Gordo black midnight beans, some of the tastiest Mexican rice I’ve had in some time (made with Rue & Forsman long-grain), a stack of fresh La Palma tortillas, and chopped onions, cilantro, curtido (zippy cabbage slaw), and their housemade “orange sauce” inspired by La Victoria in San Jose. You can get a half or whole chicken, for $17 or $32, on Caviar, and here’s my code for first-time users to get $20 off.

Even better: order in the first 10 days (the clock started ticking last night, June 19th!), and MF Chicken will include free delivery plus 30 percent off a whole or half-chicken meal. Delivery service is for dinner-only (for now), 4pm-10pm. Lunch coming soon. Bwok.  


The welcoming and timeless space at Le Marais Bakery Castro. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


A gluten-free pizza by Booster Foods made with a cauliflower, quinoa, hemp, and almond meal crust. Photo via Facebook.


The “Llorana” dog from Los Shucos. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

Let’s start with some good news, right? After some permit approval snags, ~LE MARAIS~ in the Castro is now open! You can read my in-depth piece from last month about the menu, dishes, concept, and more. Bring on the almond croissants and key lime pie cream puffs and baguettes and rotisserie chicken. The bakery will be open 7am-7pm daily (although for the next week it’s opening at 8am), while the bistro portion is until 3pm—dinner will come later this summer. 498 Sanchez St. at 18th St.

There’s a new pop-up over at Chile Pies Baking Co. in Nopa. During the week, you can come by for a really healthy lunch by Booster Foods, a creation of GCK owner Trevor Logan and natural chef Wesley Monahan. Look for nutrient-dense food like spreads, salads, bowls, and pizzas that are gluten-free, locally sourced, non-GMO, and clean and whole, plus they come with boosters that are a mixture of seaweed, nutritional yeast, spices, and algae. Boost it, yo!

There’s a beet hummus with a curried coconut and turmeric booster served with housemade turmeric flax crackers; or you can chomp on a seaweed salad with kale romaine mix, sea palm, daikon, cilantro, Bragg liquid aminos, toasted sesame oil, and dulse gomasio booster. Balanced bowls come with ancient grains, fermented vegetables, roasted sweet potato, seasonal greens, herbed Greek yogurt, and a choice of protein (grass-fed beef meatball, tempeh falafel, gingered turkey meatball). There’s even a pizza with grass-fed beef, New Mexican green chile, Gouda, and seasonal greens on a signature cauliflower, quinoa, hemp, and almond meal crust with chile pepper booster. Open Mon-Fri 10am-2pm. At Chile Pies Baking Co. 601 Baker St. at Fulton.

Just in time for the gorg weather, Ghirardelli Square is opening an outdoor beer garden with San Francisco Brewing Co. this Friday June 23rd in the West Plaza (although don’t worry, there are heat lamps as well—you are not a clueless tourist and know how things go here). You’ll find five of SF Brewing Co.’s craft beers, along with two Bluxome Street wines and two local ciders. Hungry? You can order food from nearby Waxman’s and The Pub to bring back to the space and dine at the communal tables. The Stu Tails will perform daily from 1pm-3pm and 4pm-6pm, plus there’s ping-pong, corn hole, Jenga, and a life-size Connect Four. Thu-Sat 11am-10pm and Sun 11am-6pm.

And now, the sad/bad news. After trying to make things work over the past five years and dodging three nearby fires, ~LOS SHUCOS~ is sadly calling it quits, although owner Sofia Keck will keep up her catering business. According to Mission Local, she’s closing on June 25th. We loved your Dirty Dogs, Sofia!

Also in the Mission, according to some folks in the neighborhood, ~FARINA~ has been closed for at least a month, and a tipster sends in this pic mentioning the closure is due to “a technical problem.” A call in to their number connected me to someone at Farina Pizza, who said it’s because of construction and they’ll reopen in a couple of weeks, and why don’t I come over to Farina Pizza instead? But considering the news last year involving unpaid workers and services and shifting LLCs, one has to wonder what’s really going on…

Meanwhile, up on Potrero Hill, ~GOAT HILL PIZZA~ is taking a summer break for some legit construction and upgrades (after 42 years, it’s time to make some updates!). They will be adding additional ovens and reorganizing the interior, plus developing a mobile app. Delivery and pickup from the SoMa and West Portal locations will continue daily from 11am-10pm.


The new silver dollar pancakes at brunch at The Monk’s Kettle. Instagram photo via @monkskettle.

Some quick updates for you: over at ~MONK’S KETTLE~, they have a new chef, Matt Woods, most recently at Alba Ray’s. He’s doing some updates to the menu, like all fries are hand cut in-house, there’s a smoked trout salad, and the new brunch menu (Sat-Sun 12pm-4pm) includes gravlax Benedict, bananas Foster French toast, tasso hash, chicken and waffles, and more.

Craft beer lovers should also read this recent post about some not-so-savory moves lately by Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) and may want to come by this Craft Beer Is Caring event this Saturday June 24th at 12pm (although the Mission is going to be getting crazy with the Dyke March, jus’ sayin’). They’ll be pouring local beers, and $1/pint will also go to charity.

Over in the Lower Haight, ~MAVEN~ has new co-chefs Jeremy Browand and Freddie Pacheco (former chef Isaac Miller will stay on as partner and co-owner). Their new menu includes heartier portions and lower prices—we all like that. Dishes include summer squash cavatelli with tomato cream, Parmesan, and parsley purée, and the clams and mussels dish comes with peas, carrots, couscous, bacon, and chermoula.


Sunday means meatballs. Photo courtesy of Adam Zolot.

I know many of you are trying to get your Pride body (LOL) all ready and in shape for a weekend of tight shorts and shirtless shenanigans, but just in case you’re like me and can’t resist the call of things like roast pork, well, here are some events for you. Click through for more details, I am keeping this quick.

This Thursday June 22nd is a roast pork happy hour and garden party at ~THE CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~ in the Mission, and the weather is looking gorg! 5:30pm-8pm. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St.

If you aren’t joining Pride festivities on Sunday June 25th, you can get your East Coast Italian vibes on instead and enjoy an old-school Italian Sunday gravy supper, complete with fusilli alla vodka, meatballs, and cannoli. And since my buddy Adam is a friend, he’s styling you guys with a 20 percent off code: GRAVYHOPPER (which is case sensitive, bee tee dubs). Buon appetito!

On Monday the 26th, you can come by Pizzahacker in the Mission (3299 Mission St.) for the latest Through the Kitchen Window pop-up, serving dim sum for dinner. Tickets and details on their site! Seatings begin at 6:30pm.


The spread at the upcoming Chick’n Rice. Photo via Instagram @eatchicknrice.


Short ribs at Mockingbird. Photo courtesy of Mockingbird.


The breakfast sandwich at Loco’L Oakland. Photo: Audrey Ma.

Some quick updates for you in the 510. Fellow chicken rice fans, get ready, because some Thai folks are opening ~CHICK’N RICE~ in Berkeley this August, right across from the UC campus and just in time for fall semester. Details are slim at the moment, but I’ll keep you posted. Bring on the chicken fat. Also on the menu: mango and coconut rice. 2136 Center St. at Oxford, Berkeley.

Back in March, I gave you all the details about the new ~MOCKINGBIRD~ location in downtown Oakland, which is opening for lunch this Wednesday June 21st. A few more updates for you on this welcoming neighborhood spot: co-owners Melissa Axelrod and William Johnson brought on Shirley Brooks and Matt Grippo of cocktail consulting company Bottom of the Barrel, who developed signature house cocktails with many local spirits, such as the Oakland Maid, featuring Oakland Spirits Co.’s Automatic gin and shiso brandy. Look for a food-friendly and accessible wine list by consulting sommelier Arron Sweeney.

Lunch first, Mon-Fri 11am-3pm; happy hour launches Wed June 28th, and dinner service starts after the 4th of July holiday. 416 13th St. at Broadway, Oakland, 510-290-0331.

~LOCO’L~ in Uptown has closed after a year in the former Plum location and has moved into the recently opened Loco’l Bakery in West Oakland. It turns out the lease was up; you can read more in this repost by Daniel Patterson from the team. Congrats on employing more than 100 people this past year and feeding countless others, Loco’l team! Keep on hustling. Loco’l Bakery.Open daily 8am-8pm, 3446 Market St. at 35th St., Oakland. [Via Scoop.]

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