August 22, 2017

August 22, 2017

Roma Antica, opening in the Marina, has an airy and contemporary look. All photos: ©


One of Top Round’s beefy sandwiches. Photo via Facebook.

You read all about the opening of ~ROMA ANTICA~ in the Marina last month in tablehopper, and I wanted you to know it’s now open! You can look at the dinner menu here, which is focused on Roman pasta (handmade) and pinsa, plus lots of appetizers, and some big plates like porchetta, saltimbocca, and eggplant parmigiana—and plenty of wines by the glass to go with it all. Here’s the lunchtime menu, perfect to reenact a real Italian pranzo. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-9pm. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut.

After getting things ramped up, ~J BIRD~ is now up and cluckin’ in Ghirardelli Square. The fast-casual concept has opened in Waxman’s, which was such a huge space the team decided to trim it down and open this chicken stand in the location. Owner Jonathan Waxman is famous for his roast chicken, but the J Bird menu also offers fried chicken and hot and cold sides, plus sandwiches, salads, and picnic baskets if you want to get something to go. Plus there’s pie. You can hang out on the terrace with gingham-covered tables (and covered seating). Waxman’s will continue to be closed for renovations, stand by for more on that. J Bird is open Tue-Thu and Sun 11am-7pm, Fri-Sat 11am-8pm. Delivery is also in the works. 900 North Point, Suite B201 B at Larkin, 415-226-1244.

I previously broke the news about LA’s ~TOP ROUND ROAST BEEF~ coming to the former Discolandia (and Pig & Pie) space in the Mission, and it’s opening this Saturday August 26th. Top Round is known for its menu of slow-roasted beef sandwiches, buttermilk-marinated fried chicken, hot dogs, fried sides (like hand-cut curly fries fried in beef fat), and frozen custard, plus some vegetarian items too. Breakfast is also served, with LA’s Lamill Coffee. Hours will be 8am-9pm daily. 2962 24th St. at Alabama.

There’s a new offshoot of Kaiju Eats in the 
Inner Richmond called ~KAIJU COOKS~, serving a variety of Japanese appetizers (gyoza, skewers, sake clams) and nine kinds of ramen, from kimchi to kara-age, plus lunch specials. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-9:30pm. 1650 Balboa St
. at 17th Ave., 415-221-6288.


Dottie’s back dining room. Photo courtesy Dottie’s.

Brunch institution ~DOTTIE’S TRUE BLUE CAFE~ is going to have new owners. Chef-owner Kurt Abney has been trying to sell the location for some time, and when I saw the ABC ownership transfer hit the wires, I reached out to him for the story. I wondered if the folks behind Z&Y were taking over, but he confirms in a note on the window it’s going to a young couple and he will be working with them in the transition. Thanks for the 20-plus years of making all that cornbread and those awesome pancakes! 28 6th St. at Stevenson.

Some changes from the ~WISE SONS~ team: they will no longer be at the CUESA Tuesday and Thursday markets at the Ferry Building (today was the last day), but they will continue to have their stand there on Saturdays.

And in the “oh no” category, there is a lawsuit that threatens North Beach’s 62-year-old ~CAFFÈ TRIESTE~. It stems from a family feud, you can read more in Hoodline. Let’s hope they sort this out, it would be such a shame to rob SF of this historic cafe. Come on, fam, figure it out. Papa Gianni is turning in his grave over this. 601 Vallejo St. at Grant.


Forbes Island, with its shuttle, in the Pier 39 marina. Photo via Facebook.

Wow, quite the slew of old-timers just closed, starting with the ever-quirky ~FORBES ISLAND~, the floating barge disguised as an island that has been in the Pier 39 marina for over 20 years. It seems owner Forbes Kiddoo (the best sailor name ever) has retired), and we’ll have to stand by to learn where the island will end up next. Anyone want to buy an island? It comes with a lighthouse. And a beach. And palm trees. And a dining room that’s like a ship. And a tiki bar. Hmmmm. [Via Inside Scoop.]

Another quirky closure is ~BUCA DI BEPPO~, after 20 years. The building is going to be turned into office space. 855 Howard St. at 5th St.

And then fusion outpost ~CHAYA~ on the Embarcadero has also shuttered after 17 years (its lease was not renewed). 132 The Embarcadero at Mission.

Lastly, Hoodline reports Vietnamese ~MEKONG KITCHEN~ in the Castro has closed. Farewell, spicy oxtail pho. 4039 18th St. at Noe.

A tablehopper tipster also let me know that ~MEN OH TOKUSHIMA RAMEN~ and ~SHABUWAY~ in the Inner Richmond (which were just next door to each other) have closed. The other Shabuway locations remain open. 5120 Geary Blvd. at 16th Ave.


Oysters suprême with uni, salmon caviar, black truffle perlage, and foie gras brûlée at Perle. Photo: ©


Fried oyster deviled eggs (with smoked trout roe and Calabrian chile relish) at Perle. Photo: ©


The French onion dip burger at Perle (with a milk bun). Photo: ©


The sleek wine bar at Perle. Photo: ©


Chef Donato Scotti. Photo: Nadia Andreini.

Over the weekend, I took a field trip to Montclair to check out my chef buddy Rob Lam’s menu at his new spot with Marcus Garcia (previously wine director for Fleur de Lys), ~PERLE WINE BAR~. It’s designed to be a comfortable place, whether you’re dining with friends or snagging a couple seats at the spacious bar for date night (it was previously Pour Wine Bar & Bistro).

The menu is rooted in French bistro classics, with a focus on seafood, and Lam weaves some of his Vietnamese and Italian touches throughout the menu (after closing Butterfly earlier this year, he took some time to stage at Acquerello and brush up on some other techniques—you may remember him from the Jook Joint pop-ups we did back in November!).

You’ll find an array of housemade charcuterie (the tête de cochon and foie gras torchon are excellent) and there’s a selection of cheeses as well, so you can come in for just those and a glass of wine. Take your pick from a variety of “pearls,” from caviar service to oyster shooters in acqua pazza, and for a bite of luxury, you have to get the oysters suprême with uni, salmon caviar, black truffle perlage, and the kicker: foie gras brûlée.

Bites like fried oyster deviled eggs, smoked salmon toast (with crème fraîche whitefish—it’s like your dream bagel!), and a decadent dish with bone marrow, steak tartare, and black truffle caviar are all unique and perfect bites to pair with wine. Fortunately, Garcia has plenty of ideas for you.

Larger dishes include Pernod mussels (so plump and sweet) with petite meatballs and saffron rouille; linguini alle vongole (topped with clams casino); and a rich onglet steak with pommes dauphinoise (au gratin, baby). The French onion dip burger comes with a housemade milk bun that really makes it all come together—I could totally see myself plunking down at the bar here by myself, with just the company of this fine burger and a glass of wine.

Take a look at the menu here—Lam is still developing it and always tinkering (the space has only been open this past month), but you’ll get an idea. Same goes for the extensive wine cellar—Garcia has something for all palates and budgets, but if you feel like splashing out a little, this would be a place to go for it. Dinner Tue-Sun, starting at 5:30pm. 2058 Mountain Blvd., Montclair Village, Oakland, 510-808-7767.

Due to open in the former Advocate in Elmwood in late September is ~DONATO & CO.~ from Donato Scotti (of Donato Enoteca and CRU in Redwood City, and Desco in Oakland) and his chef partner in this and future projects, Gianluca Guglielmi. The two met back in 1999, when Guglielmi was executive chef, food research, and development, and vice president at A.G. Ferrari Foods, but lately he has been cooking at his Ristorante La Berlera in Riva del Garda since 2010 with his wife and son.

Donato & Co. will feature contemporary, rustic Italian cuisine highlighting housemade pasta and local seafood and meats cooked over live fire. There will also be a selection of seasonal salads, vegetarian, and vegan dishes, and look for some special sweets (it ends up Guglielmi has quite the passion for Italian pastries). There will be 20 wines by the glass, with a focus on Italian imports, plus French and Northern Californian producers, and many small-production wines. Cocktails will be Italian-inspired, with fresh juices and small batch spirits.

Chef Scotti and his longtime restaurant designer Anna Klint of Iron Skirt are designing the space, which includes a 20-foot bar and seating for 120 guests in the main dining room. And then there’s that state-of-the-art Constellation and Libra acoustic system from Berkeley’s renowned Meyer Sound they inherited with the space, which makes for the best dining room acoustics. It will be open for lunch and dinner Tue-Sun plus weekend brunch. I’ll keep you updated on the opening. 2635 Ashby Ave. at College, Berkeley.

East Bay folks: if you are always a little jealous of SF’s ability to order the lamb rotisserie salad or pork gyro from ~SOUVLA~ for delivery—and believe me, you should be—you get your chance to order Souvla for delivery via Caviar (that link will get you $20 off!) Thursday August 24th-27th! East Bay residents (in El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda) will be able to order for dinner starting at 5pm. Pro tip: order the juicy potatoes and add them to your salad. You’re welcome.

Congrats to ~RED BAY COFFEE~ on getting their roastery and coffee bar open in Fruitvale. Details in East Bay Express. Open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm and Sat-Sun 9am-4pm. 3098 E 10th St. at Fruitvale, Oakland.


Shima aji, oboro kombu, melon, radish, kombu salt. Photo courtesy of Madcap.


The bohemian style of Madcap. Photo courtesy of Madcap.

Chef Ron Siegel has been a well-known chef at some of SF’s finer establishments (Michael Mina, The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, Masa’s, Charles Nob Hill, and Aqua), as well as Yountville’s The French Laundry, and now after two decades of working for others, he has opened his first solo restaurant, ~MADCAP~ in San Anselmo.

You can order à la carte (menu here), but there’s also a chef’s tasting menu ($80 for 8 courses). Dishes will feature Siegel’s technique-driven style, with plenty of Japanese influences (one of his trademarks). In addition to the wine and international beers (look for some Japanese selections), there are also some seasonal sake cocktails, like the Chiyo Chiller, with Choya umeshu (plum liqueur), lemonade, sparkling water, and mint.

The 47-seat space was previously Lincoln Park Wine Bar and was completely remodeled with some help from designer Michael Brennan, now featuring Venetian plaster walls, chandeliers, dark wood tabletops, and velvet banquettes, plus there’s a cozy bar with a marble countertop. The design was meant to be approachable but still sophisticated and destination-worthy. Open for dinner Mon and Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10pm, Sun 5pm-9pm (closed Tue-Wed). 198 Sir Frances Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, 415-453-9898.