July 16, 2019

July 16, 2019
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The exterior of the new Tartine Inner Sunset on 9th Ave. Photo: Paige Green.

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The interior dining area and counter. Photo: Paige Green.

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Summertime means BLT panzanella. Photo: Paige Green.

Right on schedule, ~TARTINE~ on 9th Ave. is now open in the Inner Sunset. It’s designed to be a casual, all-day restaurant, almost a hybrid of Tartine Bakery and Tartine Manufactory. You can enjoy Tartine’s beloved pastries, croissants, and breads, alongside an extensive offering of breakfast, lunch, and brunch items, like smørrebrøds, salads, and soups (they plan to launch dinner service by late summer).

You can review all three menus (breakfast, brunch, lunch) here. Yes, the coddled eggs with trout roe are on there, plus a grilled cheese with mornay sauce, and a BLT panzanella salad (the seasonal menu will highlight some produce from producers at the year-round, Inner Sunset PCFMA Sunday farmers’ market). Susanna Ok is the executive chef, and most recently was the executive chef at The Battery SF for the past six years.

You can enjoy Coffee Manufactory coffees, wine and beer, and Tartine’s famous country loaves and sprouted rye bread will be for sale. There will also be a case of sandwiches, salads, and other offerings for picnics since they’re right by Golden Gate Park.

The airy 3,000-square-foot space was designed by Studio BBA (also behind the new Tartine Manufactory in Los Angeles), and includes 45 seats inside, and 10 on the outdoor patio. No reservations, and “café seating [is] available for guests after they have ordered and paid at the register.”

Service will be 7am-4pm daily (breakfast is 8am-11am, lunch is 11am-4pm) and brunch will be all day on the weekends from 8am-4pm. 1226 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-742-5005.

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The cheerful and colorful interior of AL’s Deli. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.

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Smokey brisket pita sandwiches should be the first thing you order. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.

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Meet the new hot pocket. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.

A couple weeks ago, I shared a bunch of details about ~AL’S DELI~, the fast-casual spot from Aaron London’s (AL’s Place) opening in the former Izakaya Yuzuki space on Guererro. Well, it’s now open, and you’re going to want to dive into that menu that pulls influences from Israeli street food and East Coast Jewish delis.

There are a variety of housemade pita sandwiches (shawarma-spiced chicken, blistered eggplant and cauliflower, spicy and tender falafel, and you won’t believe the smokey brisket, an homage to Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal, a favorite of London). The sandwiches ($12-$14) are thoughtfully composed, full of textures and bright flavor. You can also order them as a salad for $1 more. Or order some items as a main, like one pound of smokey brisket ($25) or the shawarma-spiced rotisserie chicken ($23), all served with marinated cabbage and three sauces (schug, amba, ranch-ish, garlicky, or green tahini—you’re gonna want to get a side of fries to dip in those). You can see more in my pics on Instagram.

Inventive bites like falafel corn dog bites ($7) and a potato hot pocket ($12) filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onion, and capers will be found in “Crispy Crunchy Things.” The sides include a creamy hummus ($6), served with cracked cucumber and lemon vinegar, and a beautiful salad ($13) of tomato, cucumber, chile-long pepper oil, smoked watermelon, and mint; dessert features frozen labneh ($5-$6) with toppings, like halva and black sesame crumble.

Wine director Justin Roberts curated a small but eclectic list, currently four Old World wines, plus beers and some canned options, like a Hoxie spritzer. The airy space is so stylin’, with bright color accents, Moroccan tiles, and flamingo wallpaper in the bathroom. Wait until you see the bright French blue rotisserie. Hours are daily 11am-9:30pm, with delivery and pick-up with Caviar. 598 Guerrero St. at 18th St.

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The Summer Elote Corn pizza at Square Pie Guys. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The refreshed interior of Square Pie Guys. Photo: FotosByFlee.

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Dry-fried Szechuan chicken wings. Photo: FotosByFlee.

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The Buffalo chicken Parm sandwich—it’s saucy! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The exterior of Square Pie Guys. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Finally, you can get a square meal with the opening of the first brick-and-mortar location of ~SQUARE PIE GUYS~ in SoMa. I became a fan of Marc Schechter and Danny Stoller’s Detroit-style pizza when they were a pop-up at Vinyl on Divis, and now they’ve moved into their very own digs, with a fryer, in the former The Board on Mission.

The menu is pretty extensive: you’ll want to start with their dry-fried Szechuan chicken wings ($11), and there’s Buffalo-style too, and they make a downright awesome chilled bowl salad ($12), with shredded kale, shaved broccoli, cherry tomato, spicy sunflower seeds, avocado, sun-dried tomato vinaigrette, and gigante beans (it’s vegan!).

I tried their Buffalo chicken Parm sandwich ($14)—with a fried thigh, Buffalo red sauce, fresh mozzarella, shredded kale and romaine, Green Goddess Caesar, grana, and mayo schmear on a brioche roll—and I’m already looking forward to having it again (you can also order it as a salad). There’s even a double cheeseburger, and a cheeseburger salad! (Lordy.)

As for the main event, their trademark Detroit-style pizza is baked in 8-by-10 rectangular pans, with a cheesy, crispy crust around the edges. (They’re hearty and leftovers warm up like a dream.) There are nine kinds to choose from ($16-$22), like their Mean Green Sausage Machine (with garlic ricotta cream, Italian sausage, roasted broccoli, chile flake, and Mike’s Hot Honey) and the Don’t Go Bacon My Heart (with red sauce, marinated kale, cherry tomato, and smoky bacon). Of course, you can go for a classic, like the 6x8 (red sauce with exactly 48 Pavone pepperoni cups).

A seasonal pie on offer right now is the Summer Elote Corn, with garlic ricotta cream, roasted local corn, cotija, taco seasoning, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro-lime crema. So good! You can also make your own (I asked the guys to make me one, “pizzaiolo’s choice” LOL, and they went to town with grilled chicken thigh, smoky bacon, scallions, and house ranch!), and there’s the option to sub vodka sauce on any pie. Speaking of vodka sauce: there’s an off-menu pie called the Spicy Ellen, with vodka sauce, Italian sausage, and chile flake, finished with basil, grana, and olive oil, and it’s a winner. They also developed a gluten-free dough, and offer vegan cheese.

Did you save room for dessert? Not likely, but there’s monkey bread made with pizza dough and served with salted caramel dipping sauce, and a couple other options. The beer list features local beers on draft or fun ones in a can (including PBR), natural wine on tap or in half-bottles, spiked seltzers like White Claw, non-spiked ones like Sunwink, and more.

You can dine in (the space got a paint job and cute pizza neon sign) or order delivery (soon), and they also have a mobile ordering system and will offer office catering. Look for weekend brunch and daily hours in the future. For now, they’re open Tue-Sat 4pm-10pm. 1077 Mission St. at 7th St.

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The colorful new exterior of Namu Stonepot on Dolores. Photo courtesy of Namu.

After closing ~NAMU GAJI~ for a mandatory retrofit, the Namu team of brothers (chef Dennis, Daniel, and David Lee) decided to turn the location into a ~NAMU STONEPOT~ (just like the location on Divisadero). You can still get the Namu Gaji Kids menu, and they are adding some family-style “picnic baskets” for Dolores Park, and a rotating beverage program curated by Trac Le of Bi-Rite. You can’t miss the colorful exterior, featuring a mural by Victor Reyes. It’s now open Mon 5pm-10pm, Tue-Thu and Sun 11:30am-4pm and 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-4pm and 5pm-11:30pm. 499 Dolores St. at 18th St., 415-431-6268.

As for Namu Gaji, it’s going to be moving to SoMa and taking over the former The Perennial’s digs, stand by for more on that soon. 59 9th St. at Market.

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The red booths and collage artwork at Foxsister. Photo courtesy of Foxsister.

After breaking the news in the last tablehopper issue that Foxsister will be closing to make the transition to a spin on a modern, Italian American, red sauce joint, ~GREAT GOLD~, I received an update from partner David Steele (Ne Timeas Restaurant Group—flour + water, Central Kitchen, Trick Dog, Salumeria) with more details. Foxsister’s last service is August 2nd, and it will reopen as Great Gold on Friday August 9th (they won’t be making many changes to the space, hence the zippy turnaround).

Joining chef-partner Brandon Kirksey is chef de cuisine Timmy Malloy (Local’s Corner, Radhaus, Seattle’s Tavolata), who, like Steele, is from Philadelphia and has some ingrained nostalgia for red sauce joints. But here, they’ll be sourcing local, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients, with pasta made in-house daily. They will also be supporting carbon neutral farming efforts through participation in Anthony Mynt’s non-profit ZeroFoodprint.

The menu has a big Caesar and chopped salads, a variety of spaghetti preparations, handmade cavatelli cauliflower cacio e pepe, eggplant parm, chicken al mattone, and Great Gold cioppino with local seafood. I also asked them why there wasn’t a veal Parm on the menu, and after some discussion, they added it back on, along with veal Milanese, so, you’re welcome.

You’ll see three versions of family-style meals meant to be shared by the entire table (and no, the Marcia is not me, it’s Kirksey’s grandma), and Sundays bring a family-style lasagna night.

Sam Bogue, the sommelier and wine director for flour + water and Central Kitchen, was brought in to consult on the wine list that focuses exclusively on wines from Italy, as well as local wines made by those who specialize in using varieties of grapes that originate in Italy.  There will be many wines from small and independent winemakers, and most will be reasonably priced. Stand by for more details at opening. 3161 24th St. at Shotwell.

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Karaweik’s green chile-lemongrass fish. Photo courtesy of Karaweik.

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Thep Eatery’s frilled butter head river prawn, served with rice and Thai seafood dipping sauce. Photo: Thep Eatery.

Some new openings around town include ~KARAWEIK BURMESE CUISINE~, the only Burmese restaurant in the Marina. The menu includes royal tea leaf salad, vegetarian samusa soup, green chile lemongrass fish, paratha with coconut curry, chicken keema paratha, and mango papaya salad. According to a post on Yelp, the owner is from the former Sapphire Asian Cuisine in the Financial District. Open Tue-Thu 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-9pm, Fri 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-9:30pm, Sat 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-9:30pm, and Sun 11am-3pm and 4:30pm-9pm. 3317 Steiner St. at Lombard, 415-922-1892.

After the Lower Haight’s Thep Phanom pivoted to the updated Janchay Bistro (after 32 years!), it looks like they are making changes again. Now, it’s ~THEP EATERY~, offering a few of Thep Phanom’s famous dishes, as well as Thai street food dishes, noodles, and more. A sampling of dishes from the menu includes garlic and pepper jumbo prawns, nuer yang medium rare ribeye served with sticky rice and jaew sauce, grilled butter head river prawns, and kao yum gai sabb (crispy chicken with spicy lime dressing). They’re also offering $1 oysters from 6pm-7pm. Open nightly 5:30pm-10:30pm. 400 Waller St. at Fillmore, 415-913-7076.

Now open in SoMa (in the former Koh Samui & the Monkey) is ~SUN & MOON~, offering some dishes from the chef’s native central Thailand, as well as Japanese-style ramen (chef Tee is a big fan of ramen). The menu features some contemporary dishes, like salmon spring rolls topped with ikura, plus classic dishes like khao mun gai and a variety of curries. Open daily 11am-2:30pm and 5pm-10pm. 415 Brannan St. at 3rd St., 415-872-9555.

~BAC LIEU RESTAURANT~ has taken the place of Lotus Garden Cuisine (after 19 years) in the Mission/La Lengua. The Vietnamese menu includes banh khot (Vietnamese savory mini shrimp pancakes made from rice flour and coconut milk, topped with shrimp, mung beans, and scallions, and served with fish sauce and fresh vegetables); a variety of rice plates, pho, bun rieu, bun bo Hue, and one of my favorite dishes: bun Cha Ca La Vong (vermicelli with turmeric fish and dill). There’s also five spice quail and dishes with banh hoi (woven vermicelli rice noodles). Open Tue-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. 3216 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-282-9088.

Last month, I mentioned that a location of ~TSELOGS~ was about to open in the Mission, and it’s now open. The Filipino comfort food spot previously had a location in Daly City (now closed) and on Jones (still open, and with awesome late-night hours). 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. Open (for now) Tue-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 10am-3pm. 514-518 S. Van Ness Ave. at 16th St., 415-872-9003.

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Crispy oysters and horseradish at Commonwealth. Photo courtesy of Commonwealth.

Sad news: ~COMMONWEALTH~ was unable to come to an agreement with their landlord on their lease, so the team has decided to close the restaurant after service on August 26th, after nine years on Mission Street. Eater mentions the team (which includes chefs Jason Fox and Ian Muntzert, Anthony Myint, and Karen Leibowitz) have been unable to find another location, so they’re going to take a break for a bit. Chef Jason Fox will be inviting in some chef friends for a few last dinners. What a bummer. 2224 Mission St. at 18th St.

An unexpected closure is ~IZAKAYA SUSHI RAN~ in the Castro, which originally opened as Nomica a few years ago with chef Hiroo Nagahara, and switched to the izakaya format last November after his departure to LA. Eater noticed a short note about the closure on their website, but no reason is given. Best wishes to the team—they have been so supportive of the community. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez.

After 12 years of serving Manhattans and Southern-style comfort food in the Castro, SFist has noted that ~EUREKA RESTAURANT & LOUNGE~ has closed. 4063 18th St. at Hartford.

And in the Financial District, I just received word that ~SAUCE~ is closing Friday July 26th, the last day to get their portobello fries. According to their email, “Our lease is up, and we have decided to move on, it’s time for new projects and life changes and all the things that happen after a decade or so in business.” 56 Belden Pl. at Pine.

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The checkered flag is up at Excelsior Coffee! Photo: Excelsior Coffee.

Thanks to a longtime tablehopper reader, I received word about a new café that has opened up in the Excelsior called ~EXCELSIOR COFFEE~. It’s from a husband-and-wife team who have been living in the neighborhood for the past eight years, and they kept waiting for a café to open in this underserved neighborhood. But sometimes if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself, so when they saw a café just wasn’t coming to their retail corridor, they sold their 1964 Ford Falcon in order to buy the espresso machine. It took two years of onerous permits and spending more money than they planned for (oh, SF), but they just opened June 27th.

Owner Lea Higginbotham tells me as first-generation “kids” (she’s Filipina, and hubs Andre Higginbotham is half-Mexican), they are neighborhood-focused and so welcoming to non-English speaking communities, the working class, students, senior citizens, and as parents, they’re kid-friendly too.

They’re primarily using Cento for their espresso and coffee service, and testing other coffees and blends to suit the neighborhood needs as well. You’ll find some special treats, like ube brownies, ube and pandan crinkles, ube flan, and ube tarts (from Ube Area in Oakland—Excelsior is the first café to carry their line). They are making croissants and banana bread in-house, and also getting cookies from SF’s Goody Goodie. They plan to add breakfast sandwiches, bagels, and conchas soon, and next year, they plan to add beer and wine!

Summer hours are Mon-Fri 7am-4pm and Sat-Sun 8am-5pm. 4495 Mission St. at Excelsior.

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