June 18, 2019

June 18, 2019
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The cheerful counter at Daily Driver, with the wood-fired ovens in the back, and the menu displayed on the wall. Photo: Frankie Frankeny.

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You can watch butter being paddled in the dairy room. Photo: Frankie Frankeny.

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The roasted sweet potato sandwich on a salt bagel. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Wood-fired sesame bagels. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The marvelous “matzo ball” soup. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

If you were anywhere near Dogpatch over the weekend, you would have seen a loooong line of people hoping to score some wood-fired bagels from the newly opened ~DAILY DRIVER~ (from Tamara Hicks and David Jablons, and Hadley and David Kreitz) on 3rd Street. Some folks were luckier than others; the poor team has been completely overwhelmed and selling out, and are working hard to ramp up (and appease cranky Yelpers, who apparently want their bagels toasted—even though they are fresh out of the wood-fired oven—and the tangy, housemade cream cheese “isn’t creamy enough”). To be clear, since I’ve had some people ask me, these aren’t meant to be New York bagels—they’re hand-rolled, organic, wood-fired bagels with their own personality. They’re fantastic, I love the crackly exterior and chewy texture inside.

I was fortunate to get a pre-opening tour (and tasting) at this massive and impressive undertaking, which I previously covered back in February—please read the original piece for all the important background details—I don’t have time to write it all again—but in sum: it’s all about wood-fired bagels; hand-batted organic butter and cream cheese (the owners are behind Toluma Farms and Tomales Farmstead Creamery); small-batch coffee from Red Bay Coffee, and much more, including a stocked case of butter, ghee, and cheeses (don’t forget to bring some Teleeka home with you—gawd, I love that cheese, it’s like a domestic La Tur).

There’s an array of classic bagels (poppy, sesame, everything, salt, garlic, and plain; $3.50 each) with all kinds of toppings and spreads (cultured butter!). Martin Siggins, previously the sous chef at Nico for four-plus years, has put together a menu of awesome bagel sandwiches, including a B.E.C. (bacon, fried or scrambled egg, choice of cheese, which includes Provel, LOL, and chef says it’s great with a garlic bagel); pastrami (sauerkraut, mustard, pickle, white American cheese); and a creative roasted sweet potato sandwich with buttermilk, sprouts, and chives (chef recommends a salt bagel for this one, and I dug it). Of course, you can go for the king salmon gravlax with dill, red onion, crème fraîche, and capers ($18). You can take a look at my food pics on Instagram here.

The ingredients are all top-notch and well-sourced: the bacon is thick-cut and marvelous, and the pastrami is from a local SF company, Robert’s Corned Meats, which has been around for over 100 years. The eggs are from Stemple View Farms in Tomales, and come out so creamy.

They make a clever grilled cheese by slicing the top and bottom off the bagel and exposing more of the crumb (see my pics). And then: bring on the Folly cheese (inspired by Alpine-style cheese, and from another artisan Tomales business they work with). There’s also a bagel dog and lobster roll available after 11am.

The menu includes non-bagely things, like a restorative “matzo” ball soup (made with day-old bagels, and it totally works—such great flavor, and wait until you taste the lovingly made chicken broth); a mixed greens salad loaded with tarragon and other herbs in a buttermilk dressing; a tabbouleh salad made with whey-cooked bulgur wheat, almonds, cucumber, and their own feta; a Turkish egg (poached egg, quark, herb salad, chile oil, fried shallot); house granola with quark and your choice of toppings; and more. Everyone will need to get the bagels checked off their list first, obviously, and then will be happy to find other things to enjoy as well. There will also be items for grab-and-go, handy for neighborhood workers, like the salads.

Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee (Keba and Rachel Konte) is roasting a special collaborative coffee blend on-site (12oz. bags of the Daily Driver drip, espresso, and decaf are available), and wait until you see the beautiful set-up for making your espresso. Beer and wine will also be available for those dining in-house, featuring neighboring breweries Triple Voodoo, Magnolia, and Harmonic, and local wineries such as Oakville Ranch Wines.

The 7,000-square-foot location is spacious and cheerful, full of light and white and punchy blue tiles. There’s an upstairs mezzanine where you can sit at tables (with room for 130!) and couches, and peer down at the operation below. You can see the two big wood-fired ovens (built by owner David Kreitz, an industrial designer who designed and built the space, AND perfected the bagel recipe), and even peek into the dairy room and watch the butter be churned and paddled. You’ll also find a well-curated retail area in the corner with some nice products from other brands as well.

It’s going to be busy for a while, I’d try to go midweek if you can. Open 6am-3pm daily, with an extended brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday. 2535 3rd St. at 22nd St.

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The sign when you enter O’ by Claude Le Tohic. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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A quick snap I took of the dining room (while it was in development, not final). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I’ve been posting updates as each floor of the ~ONE65~ building has opened with a new experience: ONE65 Patisserie & Boutique, ONE65 Bistro & Grill, Elements at ONE65, and now the final and fine dining concept has opened on the fifth and sixth floors: O’ by Claude Le Tohic.

The O’ from O’Farrell reminded Le Tohic of the French word “eau,” meaning water. He was inspired to base a refined culinary concept and menu on the elements of water, fire, and earth. There is a 10-course tasting menu at $250 per person, as well as a 10-course vegetarian menu, with two wine pairing options by wine director Vincent Morrow. The experience is meant to be luxurious but not pretentious, with some tableside preparations, and carts galore (including cheese and dessert carts, featuring artisan French and local cheeses and mignardises). Le Tohic plans to offer an à la carte menu in time as well.

The space was designed by Le Tohic and D-Scheme Studio, which integrates artwork from photographer and artist Christian Andrade embedded in the walls and as part of the architecture.  

On the sixth floor, there is a spacious chef’s table for eight guests, with a view of O’s state-of-the-art kitchen. There are two additional private dining rooms on the sixth floor: the Cherrywood Room (up to 20 guests) and The Moss Room can accommodate up to six guests.   Open Tue-Sat for dinner service, starting at 5:30pm. 165 O’Farrell St. at Powell, 415-814-8888.

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The open and airy design of Mago, with a punch of purple. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Focaccia with seaweed tapenade at Mago. Photo: Isabel Baer.

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Mago’s potato gnocchi in lobster cream with summer squash and angelica. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Another magician in the house. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The new Grand Lake Kitchen Dimond. Photo courtesy of GLK.

Last Friday, I swung by the newly opened ~MAGO~ on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland to take some pics and was so charmed with its colorful, breezy, welcoming style. Mago is former AQ chef Mark Liberman’s first solo restaurant, and he wants to offer a menu and experience that are affordable and approachable, but also technique-driven and highly seasonal.

It’s funny, I overheard people at the bar saying they thought it was going to be Spanish tapas, and others were surprised to find okonomiyaki (two people ordered it after seeing mine!), but really, why does every restaurant style have to be so pigeonholed? It’s his own personal take on what’s delicious, and expect the seasonal menu to rotate weekly with California’s micro-seasons, with some dishes staying on the menu longer. (The name comes from Liberman’s nickname from AQ, which means magician—which ties in with the mural you’ll see.)

You’ll want to begin with their housemade focaccia ($8), which comes with a seaweed tapenade made with Castelvetrano olives, sea lettuce, lemon juice, orange peel, chile, capers, and olive oil, and it’s marvelous. I’d buy a jar of it. There are a couple other snacks, and then small plates that increase in size as you read through the menu to large-format dishes. They are designed to be shared, but I had no problem enjoying the bowl of tender potato gnocchi ($20) napped in lobster cream all to myself, with my first bites of summer squash and angelica to cut the richness.

I posted a pic of the hearty smoked cabbage okonomiyaki ($21), which showcases the heart of the restaurant kitchen: the custom wood-burning grill—they use oak and almond wood. (You’ll smell it when you come in, and will make your mouth water for the beef ribeye on the menu, but you’ll need a couple folks to share it with you.)

Save room for desserts like a Bing cherry clafoutis ($10), so custardy and flan-like. There’s a wonderful cocktail list, from consultant Adam Chapman (Gibson), featuring housemade Campari, Cynar, and numerous infused spirits. I loved my Sbagliato (all $13), which uses housemade Campari made with sumac and schisandra berries. Don’t miss the Toasted Sour, with toasted rice whiskey (plus three other whiskies), kombu- and togarashi-infused sake, yuzu liqueur (and fresh yuzu), egg white, and sea beans. I mean, wow. (“Barkeep, make me another, please!”) You’ll also find a well-chosen wine list, full of small-production, Old World picks, plus some modern Californian selections, and Oakland-brewed beers.

Liberman worked with architect Wylie Price (Ramen Shop, State Bird Provisions, Trick Dog) on the design, which centers around an open kitchen surrounded by counter seating (they leave many seats open for walk-ins), a dining area in the front and back, a bar with seating, and there’s a back patio, but usage is TBD for the moment—it will be more for private parties and an on-site garden. (There are 45 seats total.) The minimalist space is full of light, plants, and pops of purple. The vibe is fun, with cooks serving dishes to guests, and a rock-y, upbeat soundtrack of LCD Soundsystem and Grizzly Bear. Hours are Mon-Sat 5pm-10pm. 3762 Piedmont Ave. at W. Mac Arthur, Oakland.

Now open in the Dimond neighborhood of Oakland is the second location of ~GRAND LAKE KITCHEN~, from husband and wife, May Seto and Dave Wasem. They’re bringing their popular brunch and American deli-inspired menu, but they also have a full bar, more indoor and outdoor seating, and a private dining room. Look for their trademark warm service, a casual but stylish environment, a kid- and dog-friendly patio (coming in July), and more. Open 9am-10pm every day (except for Tuesdays in the month of June). Brunch 9am-3pm, dinner 5pm-10pm, with an all-day menu served… all day. 2042 MacArthur Blvd. at Dimond, Oakland.

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Tartine Manufactory’s famed coddled eggs with trout roe and za’atar grilled bread. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The new Bob’s on Baker Street is coming soon. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

A year ago, I broke the news that Tartine was opening a location in the former Standard Roofing Co. on 9th Avenue in the Inner Sunset, and a very diligent tablehopper reader has been providing me with updates on the project. Last week, he informed me Tartine got final approval for their permits (e.g. full restaurant status), and someone at Tartine said that they estimate July 15th as the planned opening date.

According to planning records, it’s going to be serving breakfast, along with lunch and dinner. There will be a café, dining room, interior garden (facing the street), and sun room, with a number of skylights (you can peek at their plans from Studio BBA here). Proposed hours are 7am-10pm. I’ll get more details for you in the next tablehopper issue! 1226 9th Ave. at Lincoln.

I was walking through my neighborhood and couldn’t believe my eyes: a sign for ~BOB’S DONUTS AND PASTRIES~ was on the window of the former Chile Pies at Baker and Fulton. Eater confirmed that yes, it really is THAT Bob’s. Owner Elinor Ahn’s wonderful crumb doughnuts and apple fritters are coming to Nopa and we’re all doomed. Stand by for opening timing, hours, and more. 601 Baker St. at Fulton.

Fans of the Instagram-ready ~U DESSERT STORY~ in the Castro (which is just next door to the cult-like brunch outpost, Kitchen Story) now have a second location to visit in the Marina, U Dessert Story, Vintage. Taking over the former MINA Test Kitchen space, you can come in for Japanese, Thai, and Korean brunch during the day (9:30am-3:30pm) and then dessert from 5pm-12am. Eater mentions owner Tammy Boonlieng is serving omurice, the sweet-and-savory Japanese omelet with fried rice inside. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore. [Via The Chronicle]

Driving along South Van Ness, I spotted a sign for ~TSELOGS~, the Filipino comfort food spot that previously had a location in Daly City (now closed) and on Jones (still open, and with awesome late-night hours, I might add!). Their upcoming Mission location is due to have their grand opening in mid-July, with some soft opening test runs by the end of this month. There are 49 seats and chef Gilla tells me they will be serving their regular menu, with chef specials on a daily basis, plus beer and wine. Follow their Insta for updates. 514-518 S. Van Ness Ave. at 16th St.

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A DIY smoked salmon bagel (on a housemade bagel!) with scallion schmear at one of Early to Rise’s pop-up brunches. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

While everyone is going bonkers and waiting in line at Daily Driver for bagels, have you ever had chef Andrew McCormack’s bagels at his pop-up brunch on Feastly, Early to Rise? They’re about as outstanding as his eggs Benedict (and his housemade English muffins). And now, Eater has noted that he has landed a permanent location in the former The Fine Mousse on Nob Hill (he has partnered with TFM’s Ben Rogers—who still had the lease—on this project). You can check out the prix-fixe brunch service Sat-Sun which can be pre-booked (nope, no lines for you) and is served at 11am ($25) or 1pm ($38). Bottomless low-ABV Italian greyhounds, just $15. Pics here. Look for expanded hours and more soon. 1098 Jackson St. at Taylor.

The recently opened ~THE BRIXTON ON 2ND~ is now serving brunch, starting at 11am on Saturdays and Sundays, featuring wagyu steak and eggs (Mishima Reserve wagyu flat-iron steak, eggs any style, with maitre d’ butter home fries) for $28 if you feel like a having a baller breakfast. Southern fried chicken Benedict with curry coconut waffle, maple syrup, and tasso-spiced béarnaise is $18. Check out the menu here. They also launched a happy hour (4pm-7pm) with dishes for $6-8, including a fried chicken sandwich with sambal oelek mayo and sesame cabbage; house cocktails are only $10, draft beers are $5, and wine by the glass are $8. 701 2nd St. at Townsend.

tselogs s van ness! http://www.tselogs.com

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The spectacular poke at Aina, part of their new tasting menu. Photo: Eric Wolfinger.

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Mission Beach Cafe exterior. Photo by Rick Camargo Photography.

This is always a part of my job that I hate writing about: closures. Sadly, the lovely Jordan Keao and his wife and co-owner Cheryl Liew have decided to close their beloved Dogpatch restaurant, ~AINA~, which was such an innovative and inspiring representation of Hawaiian cuisine. In a post on Instagram, they shared, “Personal and family reasons have made a relocation to Singapore the next step for us. It is a very tough and heartwrenching decision to let go of a business that we have been building from our hearts since 2013, from our days as a tiny popup in Bernal Heights, to hectic street food festivals and then eventually a beautiful brick and mortar space in the lovely Dogpatch neighborhood.” They will be so missed! SF was lucky to have you. Mahalo. 900 22nd St. at Minnesota.

We also have a trio of closures, all happening in the Mission. On Sunday June 30th, after eight years in business of serving up barbecue and whiskey and house-brewed beers and Southern hospitality, ~SOUTHPAW~ is closing. Founder Elizabeth Wells says, ” We have come to a crossroad in our personal lives where it’s time to move onto other goals and dreams. We are starting families, growing other businesses, and moving to other parts of the Bay Area.” They hope you’ll come in for a final plate of BBQ (that smoked pulled goat!) and beer; and if you were a fan of their BBQ, you can still order it for delivery through Sneaky’s BBQ (their sister company). Best wishes to the entire team. 2170 Mission St. at 18th St.

This was a long time coming: ~MISSION BEACH CAFE~ has closed due to a health department shutdown (not the first time they’ve had issues with and in that department) and eviction proceedings. You can read more in this post from SFist, as well as a note from owner Bill Clarke about the entire shituation. It’s a shame their tasty pies are going away, and the brunch hordes now need to find a new roost.

The third closure will be ~MISSION PIE~, but fortunately we have until September 1st to have a long goodbye (especially with their summer fruit pies). It’s a damn shame, owners Krystin Rubin and Karen Heisler have been trying to make it work, but as Mission Local says, “the duo has decided that their long-running business, which has 25 employees, isn’t financially sustainable.” We’re not just losing a pie shop—they have been an important part of the community (since 2007!), with strong values, and they will be missed. 2901 Mission St. at 25th St.

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The wagyu burger available at lunch from The Butcher Shop by Niku Steakhouse. Photo: Isabel Baer.

Burger lovers should know ~THE BUTCHER SHOP BY NIKU STEAKHOUSE~ is offering to-go lunch offerings which includes a burger made with a blend of 50 percent domestic Imperial Wagyu and 50 percent Japanese A5 Wagyu, served with Kewpie mayonnaise and pickles. There’s also a bratwurst (100 percent A5 Wagyu) and skewers (a combination of domestic Imperial Wagyu, Japanese A5 Wagyu, and dry-aged U.S.D.A. Prime New York and ribeye steak). Lunch items range in price from $15.99-19.99 and are available exclusively to-go. One to two items are offered Tue-Fri from 11:30am until they sell out. 57 Division St.

Michael and Lindsay Tusk’s ~VERJUS~ now has a to-go window on Hotaling Place, open for weekday lunch. The menu will feature one rotating sandwich and a small selection of soft drinks (iced tea, yuzu soda, and Kimino ume soda). The window launched with a French dip ($12), available Tue-Fri 12pm-3pm. The to-go window is just around the corner from their 528 Washington Street address on Hotaling Place.

If you’re a downtown worker, ~AYALA~ has opened a café, serving freshly baked goods by Black Jet Baking Co. and coffee and espresso service featuring Intelligentsia Coffee. It’s adjacent to the lobby of Hotel G, with casual seating for up to 30 guests. 7am-11am daily. 398 Geary Blvd.

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