September 12, 2017

September 12, 2017
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The Banaras Sour at Rooh. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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

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Duck egg with tandoori mushroom. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Chicken 65 on onion uttapam. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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

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Haji Ali mango cream tart. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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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.

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. Only a third of tickets remain!

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.

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A margherita. Photo: Casey’s Pizza.

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A peek at the new Casey’s Pizza. Instagram photo via @caseyspizza.

Back in May, I released the details of the first ~CASEY’S PIZZA~ brick-and-mortar location, and it’s having its soft opening this Thursday September 14th!

Chef-owner Casey Crynes launched SF’s first pizza truck in 2012, and now he’s upgrading to table service at the Douglas fir tables (there’s also a slab bar). The 28-seat space will be serviced with a brick-lined double-deck Marsal & Sons pizza oven, which means the menu will expand to eight pizzas instead of the truck’s three: classic margherita, pepperoni, bacon kale, arugula pie, rapini, funghi, brunch pie (with Zoe’s bacon and egg), and hot bianca, with rotating specials.

I’ll have more details to share next week, but wanted to let you know about the opening now since many of you have been patiently waiting!

This week, it will be soft open Thu-Sat 5pm-9pm while they work out the kinks. Dinner will eventually be Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm, and then lunch will start later, with hours running from 11:30am-10pm. 1170 4th St. at Channel, 415-336-1368.

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Chef Parke Ulrich.

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So. Much. Beer. At City Beer Store. Photo via Facebook.

Coming to Treasure Island’s Great Lawn this fall is ~MERSEA~ from chef Parke Ulrich (Waterbar, EPIC Steak) and co-founder MeeSun Boice. The menu will be “elevated comfort casual” and span a range of cuisines, from pozole verde to clam chowder to a pork roll and egg sandwich with kimchi, aioli, and arugula, plus a double-stacked Wagyu cheeseburger and a tuna melt.

I am so happy to see they are partnering with the Treasure Island Homeless Development Initiative and member organizations Toolworks and Bakeworks, providing job training and opportunities for low-income and formerly homeless individuals. (You’ll see some breakfast pastries by Bakeworks on the menu.)

The entire restaurant is made out of recycled shipping containers (it’s created by Mavrik Studio). There will be some pretty stunning views from the spacious patio—actually from anywhere you sit, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. The name is Old English for “island oasis.”

Meanwhile, I noticed an ABC license transfer for our beloved ~CITY BEER STORE~, which is moving to the former The Coachman space in SoMa (Charles Phan’s late-night restaurant). I reached out to the owners for more details, but it has since been confirmed that it’s true, and they’re going to be adding more of a food component to their business (TBD on what that is for now). The move is a good one since not only were they running out of room, but their rent was raised and finances got tough, so now they’ll have more space for their extensive retail selection and more. No word on when the 1168 Folsom Street location is closing, and the target is spring 2018 for the new spot, hopefully in time for their 12th birthday. 1148 Mission St. at 8th St.

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Tamarind soup at Esan Classic. Photo courtesy of Esan Classic.

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Breakfast sandwiches and burgers at Bandit. Yelp photo via Alba B.

The latest project from Lers Ros owner Tom Silagorn, ~ESAN CLASSIC~ has now opened in the former Olive on Larkin. We hilariously and finally got an email back from, oh, 2015, when we first inquired and wrote about the project. The menu is focused on Northeastern Thai (Issan/Esan) and Laotian cuisine—take a look at the lunch and dinner menus here from Silagorn, who is working with chef Chanon Hutasingh. Bring on the larb, fermented pork sausage, raw shrimp salad, tamarind soup, and Massaman curry! Open Sun-Thu 11am-12am, Fri-Sat 11am-2am (closed from 4pm-5pm daily). 743 Larkin St. at O’Farrell, 415-800-7979.

Great news: ~MONG THU~ has reopened a few months after making some updates to the kitchen (thanks to city assistance via SF Shines for the upgrades). Owner Kim Nguyen has been running the café for more than 20 years (since 1993!), and now has an expanded menu (including bún mắm, a “Vietnamese-style gumbo soup,” via Hoodline). Open Tue-Sun 7am-4pm. 248 Hyde St. at Eddy

Over on Geary, the newly opened ~BANDIT~ is getting rave reviews for their breakfast sandwiches (six kinds!) and American Wagyu burgers on brioche buns, which are reportedly full of flavor and the price is right (nothing over $12). There are also chicken and vegetarian options. Plus there’s “butcher’s cut bacon,” which is gaining all kinds of friends and fans. I know where I’m getting my next breakfast out! 683 Geary St. at Leavenworth, 415-658-7780.

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The spread at Tilak. Photo courtesy of Tilak.

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Parigo’s Little Gem salad with goat milk feta, crispy Parma ham, quail eggs. Photo courtesy of Parigo.

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Ribs, brisket, and more at Hardwood Bar & Smokery. Photo via Facebook.

Over in Bernal Heights, the former Spicy Bite is now ~TILAK INDIAN CUISINE~, and the new owner, chef Tilak Gurung, is reportedly making things even tastier (he previously cooked at Apple and Dropbox), and the interior got a refresh. Open for pickup only Tue-Sun 11:30am-2pm, dine in nightly 5pm-10pm. 3501 Mission St. at Cortland, 415-647-4036.

Folks in the Marina have a new wine bar, ~PARIGO~, now open in the former Bin 38/Scotland Yard space. Barrel Room owner Sarah Trubnick has brought on chef de cuisine Danny Murcia, who is bringing the business’ name to life, which means “pairing”—each course features two wines, one that complements the food and one that contrasts. Or you can come by for selections from the raw bar and bar bites and a glass of whatever you want—there will be more than 50 wines available by the glass and half glass. 3232 Scott St. at Chestnut.

Cow Hollow is the new home and first neighborhood location for the latest fast-casual ~MIXT~, opening Wednesday September 13th. You can come by for salads, grain bowls, and their new market plates for lunch and dinner, plus there’s a kombucha bar, cold brew, and iced nitro chai—and outdoor seating. Open daily 11am-9pm. 3130 Fillmore St. at Filbert.

Over in SoMa, ~HARDWOOD BAR & SMOKERY~ has moved in to the former Blueprint Tap Room by Zynga, serving barbecue, a bunch of bar bites, cocktails, beer, and some boozy pops, in flavors like pineapple daiquiri and French 75. Open Mon-Thu 11:30am-11pm, Fri 11:30am-12am, Sat 4pm-12am. 680 8th St., Ste. 170 at Brannan, 415-796-2437.

And over in Rincon Hill, there’s a new taqueria, ~FISTFUL OF TACOS~, serving tacos, burritos, and burrito bowls, with a pretty straightforward selection of carnitas, carne asada, pollo, and sautéed vegetables. Open Mon-Fri 10:30am-8pm and Sat 11am-6:30pm. 201 Harrison St., Suite C2, at Beale, 415-400-4780.

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A peek at the new chairs, counter, lighting, and artwork at State Bird. Instagram photo via @statebirdprovisions.

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Old Bay egg salad on griddled brioche at Serpentine. Photo: Kristen Loken.

A bunch of SF restaurants took advantage of the Labor Day holiday to close for some refreshes and updates, and here’s the reopening report. ~STATE BIRD PROVISIONS~ was closed for a bit more than the holiday. If you manage to snag a table (they totally jammed OpenTable when they reopened their reservation books!), you’ll note new surfaces, artwork, lighting, seating, and more.

Another big refresh was at Dogpatch’s ~SERPENTINE~, which just reopens today (September 12th) after a month-plus of demo with a new look—you’ll note larger windows letting in more light, a larger dining room, a new bar, and more. The new chef-owner Tommy Halvorson’s menu features some Southern references (he’s from Kentucky), from pimento cheese to honey fried chicken. Sign me up for the Old Bay egg salad on griddled brioche for lunch. And cochinita fritters with a cocktail. Speaking of, the cocktails look great, and there is more attention on the craft beer list on tap as well. Hours are Mon-Fri 10:30am-2:30pm, dinner Mon-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, and weekend brunch 10am-3pm.

Over on Russian Hill, ~BELCAMPO~ reopened their restaurant and butcher shop, featuring an all-day menu of their signature burgers, including the Fast Burger, the Belcampo Burger (with white cheddar, caramelized onions, butter lettuce, and house sauce), and the 100-Day Dry-Aged Burger (with raclette, caramelized onions, and whole-grain mustard aioli—that funky enough for ya?). At the counter, you’ll find some grab-and-go items (soups and stocks, ready-to-cook meats, salads, and meal kits). The restaurant is open daily 11am-8pm, and the butcher shop is open 10am-8pm. 1998 Polk St. at Pacific, 415-660-5573.

Just so you know, ~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR~ is also back open with a refreshed space.

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A KronnerBurger with a side of marrow. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Some fun pop-ups are happening at ~TRICK DOG~, starting with a visit from Oakland’s ~KRONNERBURGER~ tonight from 5pm-1am, serving burgers (duh), his patty melt (my fave), an Impossible Burger (and Impossible chili-cheese fries!), hot chicken wings, tomato salad with oyster vinaigrette, his awesome chopped salad with cashew-coconut dressing (so good), and more. He’ll also be back 9/24 and 9/25!

Meanwhile, David Nayfeld of the upcoming ~THEORITA~ with Angela Pinkerton and Matt Brewer (at 834 Divisadero) will be previewing their menu next Sunday and Monday (9/17 3pm-1am and 9/18 5pm-1am), with a BLT salad, Belgian waffle with braised oxtail, fried chicken sandwich, and more—like pie! And then Joey Elenterio will be doing a vegetarian menu on Wednesday 9/27 5pm-1am. 3010 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2999.

Fans of the tasty Cubano and more at ~MEDIA NOCHE~ in the Mission will be pleased with the news that the shop is now open daily (they used to close on Tuesdays). You can come by and check out how the new chef Casey Rebecca Nunes is doing with the croquetas and pressed Cuban sandwiches. 3465 19th St. at Lexington.

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A cheese plate at the Cheese Fest. Photo via Facebook.

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Don’t miss the Real Food Real Stories’ first annual benefit Story Slam: Salty & Sweet.

There are a bunch of dinners and food events this month, so consider this a quick-fire round, and click through for more info.

This Saturday September 16th is the third annual SF Cheese Fest from the California Artisan Cheese Guild, featuring more cheese than you can imagine, plus some other tasty bites, and brews, ciders, and wine. Tickets are $84 each and include all food and beverage sampling and live jazz. 6pm-9pm. Social Hall SF, 1270 Sutter St. at Van Ness.

Come by ~TAWLA~ on Thursday September 21st (or the 28th!) for their latest “Tawla Does…” family-style dinner, as they make a pit stop in Provence. There will be ratatouille! Tickets are $96, inclusive of service and tax.

On Sunday September 24th, seven of the Bay Area’s foremost French chefs, in association with the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France organization, are teaming up to serve a six-course, wine-paired dinner with proceeds donated to the Justin J. Watt Foundation to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. $175. 6pm. Tickets can be purchased by emailing here. Piperade, 1015 Battery St. at Green, 415-391-2555.

On Wednesday September 27th, come to Airbnb HQ for the Real Food Real Stories’ first annual benefit Story Slam. The storyteller lineup (speaking on the theme of salty and sweet) includes Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, Keba Konte of Red Bay Coffee, Laurence Jossel of Nopa, Nik Sharma of A Brown Table, Rebecca King of Garden Variety Cheese, Pim Techamuanvivit of Kin Khao, Yoni Levy of Outerlands, Dilsa Lugo of Los Cilantros, and Margo True of Sunset magazine.

A local food night market, an auction, and some bites (like Coletta Gelato and Nana Joes Granola are partnering to serve a yogurt gelato and strawberry sorbetto topped with vegan and g/f granola) will round out the evening. The event is a fundraiser to continue RFRS’ pro bono storytelling-coaching program for food changemakers to bring eaters the authentic stories behind our food. 6:30pm-9:30pm. Tickets are $75 and up.

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The side dining room. Photo courtesy of Waxman’s SF.

Things didn’t quite work out for Jonathan Waxman over at Ghirardelli Square. Seems his recently opened chicken spot ~JBIRD~ has closed, and the restaurant ~WAXMAN’S~ will not reopen after all.

Meanwhile, over in Noe Valley, ~CASKHOUSE~ (3853 24th St.) has closed, and owner John Dampeer is now focusing all his attention on his newer bar and restaurant, ~HAMLET~ (1199 Church St. at 24th St.).

A reader let me know that after five years of taking care of surfers, day-trippers, beachgoers, and fire pit-lovin’ locals, the ~SURF SPOT~ in Pacifica has closed. 4627 Coast Hwy. 1, Pacifica, 877-625-2929.