August 29, 2017

August 29, 2017

The Banaras Sour at Rooh. Photo: ©


Salli par eedu baked eggs with spicy potato straws, tomato, and cheese. Photo: ©


Duck egg with tandoori mushroom. Photo: ©


Chicken 65 on onion uttapam. Photo: ©


An array of Rooh’s beautiful cocktails. Photo: ©


Haji Ali mango cream tart. Photo: ©


The colorful semi-private dining area at Rooh. Photo courtesy of Rooh.

Have you had a chance to visit the stylish and unique Indian restaurant that recently opened in SoMa, ~ROOH~? It’s quite fab—we’re lucky to have this exciting restaurant from the Good Times Restaurants group, who chose to open their first restaurant in the U.S. here in San Francisco. Award-winning chef Sujan Sarkar has a contemporary and innovative style, which integrates California seasonality and a global sensibility, and his dishes are as delicious as they are beautiful.

Rooh recently launched Saturday brunch service, and I want to be sure you all have this special place on your radar—I included them in my recent brunch roundup of 10 new places to try.

Take out your calendar and get ready to check it, because we’re going to be hosting a tablehopper brunch on Saturday September 23rd at 11:30am. The tasting menu was created especially for this event, and thanks to event sponsor Anchor Distilling Company, we’ll have some fantastic cocktail pairings featuring No. 3 London Dry Gin.

Rooh’s cocktails are inventive and playful, inspired by the six rasas of Ayurvedic wisdom (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent), while highlighting Indian ingredients, homemade shrubs, and artisanal spirits. We have put together a special lineup of daytime-friendly cocktails for our brunch featuring No. 3 London Dry Gin.

We’re going to be serving Chai Punch to start (which will highlight the cardamom pods used in making No. 3 London Dry Gin), followed by Rooh’s spectacular Banaras Sour with cucumber and basil (I love this cocktail), plus their aromatic Hyderabad Tonic with fresh turmeric and grapefruit tonic. And wait until you try the Summer Breeze, with guava, citrus notes (which work well with the Spanish orange peel used in No. 3 London Dry Gin), and some fizz from prosecco. It’s going to be quite the tour. We’ll also have folks from Anchor Distilling who can share some background about No. 3 London Dry Gin and talk about the history of India and gin, as well as hear from Rooh’s bar team on their process and inspirations.

Our event will begin with a reception at the bar at 11:30am, with passed apps like dahi puri and potato-samosa cornetti. When we sit down at 12pm, you can choose from the cauliflower or chicken 65, a savory and textured bite served on onion uttapam, with lemon sour cream and peanut chutney. (If anyone attend Eat Drink SF’s Taco Knockdown, you got a taste of the chicken 65!)

We’ll then have an egg course served family style, with their salli par eedu (baked eggs in a cazuela with tomato, cheese, and spicy potato straws on top) and their fried duck egg on tandoori mushrooms, with toasted brioche and chile jam. You’ll also get to try an array of their stuffed kulchas, one of my favorite things on the menu, with fillings like green pea and goat cheese, and pulled duck with apricot and bacon. Uh-huh.

I couldn’t let you leave without experiencing their paneer makhani with garlic naan—the sauce is exquisite, with fenugreek and crème fraîche. You’ll be mopping up every last bite.

For dessert, chef has prepared a special dessert inspired by a famous Mumbai location, Haji Ali, with mango cream, mango sorbet, pistachio kulfi, fresh mango, frozen raspberry, and honeycomb, a delightful mango cloud inside a phyllo cup.

It’s going to be such a special event, and we will be in our own section of the restaurant. We’ll be doing some family-style tables and taking over some booths, too, so you’ll be making some new friends as well. Solo diners, we got you!

Tickets are only $68 (plus a small service fee), including cocktail pairings, tax, and tip, which is an extraordinary deal considering the menu and cocktail pairings are worth well over $100. We’re going to send you out the door on cloud No. 3, so be sure to arrange for a rideshare—no driving! Space is limited, so hop to it.

When purchasing your ticket, please specify if you are vegetarian—we will be able to take care of you! Please get in touch about any allergies—we may be able to accommodate you, but since this is a set menu, we can’t make too many substitutions. Thanks for understanding.


A look at the bar area and dining room. Photo courtesy of Mamanoko.


The dining room at Mamanoko. Photo courtesy of Mamanoko.


A look at the bar at Mamanoko. Photo courtesy of Cindy Beckman, Architects II.

I have been receiving tips from tablehopper readers about things going on in the former Mamacita space in the Marina, and it looks like ~MAMANOKO~ has softly opened in the location. Partners Stryker Scales and Sam Josi (Mamacita, Umami, Tipsy Pig, Padrecito, Blue Barn) have put together a Japanese-inspired concept, featuring an izakaya-style menu of bar-friendly bites like dumplings, tataki, skewers, tempura, sliders (including pork tonkatsu), and snacks (take a first look at the menu here).

There is also an eight-seat sushi bar they added, helmed by Taka Iwamoto, who is offering a nice selection of nigiri, sashimi, and a range of rolls, from classics (“the usual suspects,” $10-$12) to specialty house rolls ($16-$19) like the Wiki Wiki (spicy ahi tuna, tobiko, avocado, and kaiware, with albacore tuna, ponzu, crispy garlic oil, and scallions on the outside). Here’s the sushi menu for you to take a look at.

The cocktail menu features Japanese whiskies, all Japanese beers, and 20 sakes. Bar manager Tim Cosgrove has created eight cocktails (which will increase in time), including the Spirited Away, a spin on a Manhattan, with jasmine tea-infused Toki whisky, Carpano Antica, Grand Marnier, and Angostura bitters, served in a ceramic cup with an ice sphere.

Architects II is behind the updated layout and overall design, but Josi had a lot of feedback on the details (he has traveled extensively in Japan)—the team all collaborated closely. You’ll note some shou sugi ban (charred cedar, a Japanese method of curing wood) throughout, on the bar wall, wainscoting, and trim out front. The team sourced Japanese Akari lanterns from the Noguchi Museum, and there is a lot of traditional cedar as well. There are 90 seats total.

The name is a nod to the former Mamacita and means “mother’s child” in Japanese. Marina, meet your new hangout. Hours are Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm for now. 2317 Chestnut St. at Divisadero, 415-346-8494.


Amara’s Lou Maldonado and Mourad Lahlou. Instagram photo via @amara_sf.


The interior of Aziza. Photo via Facebook.

Exciting news: Mourad Lahlou will be reopening the former ~AZIZA~ space, but it will be a new concept, ~AMARA~, spanning the cuisine of Northern Morocco and Moorish influences on Mexico (the name refers to the Moors in Spanish). Lahlou is bringing Aziza’s former chef de cuisine Louis Maldonado (The French Laundry) back on, and they are aiming to open early next year. This will be the first restaurant of its kind in the U.S. Anyone who knows the history of tacos al pastor is familiar with the many Middle Eastern influences in Mexican cuisine, from cooking techniques to ingredients and spices.

The menu will be inspired by abundant family gatherings with dishes to share, like grilled branzino Veracruz with chanterelles, capers, riesling, and Cerignola olives; as well as cumin- and chile-braised lamb shanks with smoked lamb and tomato, and wilted greens; and roasted chicken legs with caramelized bone and ancho chile glaze, yam, mint, and toum (garlic paste).

Pastry chef Annemarie Catrambone will take inspiration from Mexican paleta and ice cream shops and the French influence on pastries in Morocco for her desserts.

The cocktails at Aziza were always something special, and Mourad bar manager J.P. Smith is going to be using aromatic spices and ingredients found in the food menu, as well as freshly squeezed juices and smoky spirits like mezcal and tequila. Mourad wine director Tara Patrick will be assembling a global wine list with 80 selections priced at $40-$80/bottle.

Aziza originally opened in 2001, an homage to Lahlou’s mother, and was the first Moroccan restaurant in the U.S. to be awarded a Michelin star. (Lahlou’s downtown fine dining project, Mourad, has also received a Michelin star.)

The space is going to be undergoing a renovation, but Aziza’s good bone structure will still be felt. Look for some textures, colors, and patterns of Moroccan marketplaces and contemporary touches. Dinner will be served nightly, and weekend brunch will also be on offer. Keep up with the restaurant on social at @amara_sf. 5800 Geary Blvd. at 22nd Ave.


The beautiful new garden patio at Duna (which you can also enjoy in the evening). Photo via Facebook.

You around this weekend? Staycationing? Well, lucky you, because you’ll be the first to check out ~DUNA~’s new Sunday brunch. It starts this Sunday September 3rd from 11:30am-1:30pm, and there is a spiffy new garden patio for you to enjoy! The Middle European brunch menu is still in development, but is looking like it will include a flatbread with eggs, housemade yogurt, crêpes, kefir coffee (in partnership with Sudden Coffee), and a sparkling cocktail. Whatever it will be, it will be creative and delicious, oh you know it.

Service will be fast-casual, just like dinner. No reservations (or delivery—you gotta get out of bed for this one). For the opening weekend, they’ll be offering their custom rosé (made exclusively for Duna by Pomebandit Wines and served on tap) for $25 per 500ml carafe. Yes way. 983 Valencia St. at 21st St.

Huge congratulations to Carrie and Rupert Blease of ~LORD STANLEY~, who are welcoming their new baby, Hazel, into their lives. The restaurant will be closed for summer break for a couple of weeks, reopening September 12th. 2065 Polk St. at Broadway.


Jardinière. Photo: ©


Food trucks at last year’s J-Pop Summit. Photo: © Kumi Yamauchi.

Leave it to ~WING WINGS~ in the Lower Haight to be one of the first local businesses to rally to help Texans affected by the flood. On Tuesday September 5th, they will be hosting Tacos for Texas, with tacos, queso, beers, and more from Señor Sisig, Minnie Bells, Miguel from Papalote, and more. Beats will be provided by Ross Hogg, Mr. E, and the Sazon Libre Crew. 5pm-9pm. Follow @wingwings for updates.

Next week, ~NOMICA~ is celebrating their one-year anniversary with special dinners and offers all week (from September 4th-9th). They’ll be giving away a bottle of sparkling wine with every whole chicken in brioche (as always, there is a limited quantity of chickens available), but if you have been wanting to check it out, now would be the time. And be sure to try their special iwashi (sardine) appetizer—chef Hiroo began a very special process to cure it a year ago. There is a ticketed dinner, new cocktails (Scott Baird of Trick Dog will be guest bartending on Thursday September 7th), and a whole lot more—read all about it on their site. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez.

Since I’m going dark next week, I also wanted to be sure you knew about ~JARDINIÈRE~’s 20th anniversary (!) festivities, from an anniversary kickoff dinner to a private alumni event to a women of Hayes Valley celebration. It’s going to be an amazing week—raise a glass to chef Traci Des Jardins and her outstanding team! We love you!

Returning to SF on the weekend of September 9th-10th is the J-Pop Summit street fair, which moved from Japantown to Fort Mason Center. Like in years past, there will be quite the lineup of ramen restaurants (from the Bay Area and Seattle) at the Ramen Summit, sake makers and distributors, a special Sake Summit Premium event on Saturday, Japanese food trucks, snacks, and drinks. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for kids ages 6 and up. Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, 2 Marina Blvd.

Make sure you save the date for the San Francisco Street Food Festival, which returns Sunday October 15th to benefit La Cocina’s food entrepreneurs. The event will be scaled back but there will still be more than 30 Bay Area chefs and restaurants. A limited number of tickets will be sold for $5. I’ll keep you updated. It will run 11am to 8pm at The Power Station at 420 23rd St. in the Dogpatch. 


The new Humphry Slocombe shipping container at The Hive in Oakland. Photo courtesy of Humphry Slocombe.

Now Oakland has a chance to #lickthat with the opening of the latest ~HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~ location at The Hive, its first East Bay address. Starting in September, they will be launching Oakland tribute flavors each month (the first collaborations will be with Oaklandish, Feelmore, the Oakland Museum of Art, and Oaktown Spice Shop). You can’t miss the bright blue shipping container, recycled and retired from the Port of Oakland and painted in Humphry Slocombe signature blue. UrbanBloc built and refurbished the environmentally-friendly container with the help of students from Laney College’s carpentry program. Right on. Hours are Mon-Thu 1pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-12am, Sun 12pm-10pm. 2335 Broadway at 24th St., Oakland.

Oakland folks, miss Hawker Fare? Yup. Chef James Syhabout will be popping up at ~OLD KAN BEER & CO.~ tonight, August 29th, from 5pm-9pm. 95 Linden St., Oakland. [Via Scoop.]

Good news: the beautiful ~LONGITUDE~, which sadly closed earlier this year, is going to have another tiki-friendly owner moving into the space: ~THE KON-TIKI~. Hoodline reports (via Critiki) the new owners are Christ Aivaliotis (of SF’s Holy Mountain) and Matthew Reagan. There will also be a food menu from Manuel Bonilla, previously at Hawker Fare Oakland, and they plan to serve until last call (12am on weekdays, 1am on the weekend).  They hope to open in October. 347 14th St. at Webster, Oakland.

East Bay Express brings word (and pictures) of ~GIO’S PIZZA AND BOCCE~, (formerly Giovanni’s) which was brought back to life after a fire with new owners. There’s a simple Italian menu focused on Sicilian-style pizza and calzones from Fred Oliveira (Boulevard, Sea Salt in Berkeley), along with some appetizers, salads, and pasta. There’s also reportedly quite the vintage amaro and vermouth collection, along with spritzes on tap, cocktails, beer, and more. And per the name, there’s a bocce court. Come by for aperitivo hour from 5pm-6pm, with the kitchen open until 10pm, and the bar even later. Brunch is coming soon. 2420 Shattuck Ave. at Channing, Berkeley, 510-647-9963.


Hog Island Oyster Co. now owns the iconic Tony’s Seafood in Marshall and it’s open! Photo via Facebook.

Just in case you are thinking of heading up to Marshall on Tomales Bay over the holiday weekend for some oysters, you should know that Hog Island Oyster Co. is now open in ~TONY’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~. They acquired the third-generation, family­-run seafood restaurant when brothers Anton and John Konatich approached Hog Island with an exclusive offer to purchase it.

On the menu, you’ll find an array of oysters (raw or grilled); plus chowder; steamed Manila clams or cove mussels; local halibut crudo with sorrel-mint pesto, cucumber, radish; seafood salad; Gulf shrimp Louie; a fried oyster po’boy; linguine and clams; and Tony’s Burger (Stemple Creek Ranch beef, housemade tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion). There will also be specials.

Open Fri-Sun 11am-7pm, no reservations. 18863 Shoreline Highway, Marshall, 415-663-1107.