October 8, 2019

October 8, 2019
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Grilled whole rock cod, roasted hen of the woods mushrooms, potatoes, sorrel sauce. Photo: Rasami Ruangsri.

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Bratwurst, sauerkraut, house mustard. Photo: Rasami Ruangsri.

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Smoked New York strip, rye bread skordalia, carrots, sultanas. Photo: Rasami Ruangsri.

As soon as you walk into ~DEAR INGA~, you’re greeted with the light smell of smoky goodness, giving you a hint of what’s on chef David Golovin’s Eastern European-inspired menu (bring on the smoked fish and New York strip). I stuck my head in just as they were about to hold their friends and family night a couple weeks ago, but sadly I was leaving for NYC early the next morning and couldn’t stay for dinner (or take pics).

But the space looks great: the bone structure of the beautiful and airy Farina is still there—with the huge windows that face 18th Street and the skylights, and some of the stunning marble work—but none of the corrupt juju that the previous owners infected the space with, ahhhhh. Ciao, bad vibes!

Seth Boor of Boor Projects has introduced many wood elements, adding a bit of a playful mid-century feeling with some of the fixtures. The tabletops feature a fun, multi-colored patchwork, and there are tones of blue and grey throughout, like the teal tiles under the bar and the wainscoting. Oh, and cute plants. SF old-timers will recognize pieces of the location’s original Anna’s Danish Cookies sign in the front tables.

The “new old world cooking” menu is so appetizing, with plenty of dishes to share, lots of comfort food (bring on the pork and beef-stuffed cabbage!), and new-style dishes too, like scarlet runner bean croquettes with sour plum sauce and cultured cream aioli. Golovin is known for his sausage-making skills, so don’t miss those.

Desserts include plum poppy cake, a sundae with frozen kefir, chocolate cake with fig leaf jam and cream, and a plate of adorable cookies and sweets (click through to see it).

Inspiration from the team’s (Liholiho Yacht Club’s Ravi Kapur and Jeff Hanak) travels to Georgia not only come through on the menu, but also on their wine list. And then there’s the cocktail list! Expect some dill, caraway, and beets to make some savory appearances.

Look for the awesome roofdeck to open at a later date. At least there’s outdoor seating for now where you can enjoy these warm evenings. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm. Brunch is coming soon. 3560 18th St. at Guerrero.

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The new bar at Aziza. Instagram photo via @mourad_lahlou.

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The main dining room at Aziza. Instagram photo via @mourad_lahlou.

In a surprise turnaround, Mourad Lahlou is going to reopen his beloved ~AZIZA~ in the Outer Richmond, after closing it back in 2016 for a remodel. 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. He was going to reopen it as Amara with chef Louis Maldonado, but that didn’t pan out (Maldonado is now at Gibson in downtown SF).

So, the new Aziza. It’s meant to be a comfortable gathering place, and both the menu and radically redesigned space reflect this new direction. The menu will feature shareable small plates and large-format entrées. Old faves like the chicken basteeya, beef cheek tagine, and hand-rolled couscous will return, with new dishes as well (Lahlou is working with Mike Daly, director of culinary operations, and chef de cuisine Frank Hanes).

A new addition will be weekend brunch, with dishes like shakshuka with kefta meatball, fudgy yolks, sweet potato, and spicy tomato; and feather-light Moroccan pancakes with stone fruit compote and orange blossom butter, which is brushed on top of the pancake to settle into each of the bubble divots as it’s on the griddle.

Aziza was always known for its culinary cocktails, and bar director Alex Okarka will be behind the new list. Tara Patrick, wine director of both Mourad and Aziza, is building the wine list.

The space now has higher ceilings and natural light, with dark wood floors, Moroccan tile, a 12-seat, communal, live-edge wooden table, and banquettes covered in black-and-white cowhide with a plum leather base. The bar is now in its own room, with 15 seats at a curved, poured concrete bar with teal tile. The back room offers a more private (and verdant) dining experience, with plush green banquettes and palm print wallpaper.

Aziza reopens on Monday October 14th. UPDATE: THE REOPENING IS NOW MONDAY OCTOBER 21ST. Hours will be daily 5:30pm-10pm and brunch Sat-Sun 11am-2:30pm. 5800 Geary Blvd. at 22nd Ave.

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The Greenwich’s tuna sashimi salad. Photo via Instagram: @thegreenwichsf.

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A curry plate at Konomama. Instagram photo via @konomama_konomama.

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The new Sunset Cantina. Yelp photo by David L.

Big Night Restaurant Group has finished their transformation of Cow Marlowe into ~THE GREENWICH~, now offering a “Hamptons-in-the-Marina” style and a lighter menu from chef Jennifer Puccio as well (check it out here). Open for happy hour 4:30pm-6pm and 10pm to close; dinner Wed-Sun 5:30pm-close; brunch coming October 26th: Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 3154 Fillmore St. at Greenwich.

Now open in North Beach is ~FAMILY CAFE~ from Ray Lee (Akiko’s Restaurant), Jessica Furui (former sake director at Ozumo), and chef Tadayuki Furui (most recently of Soba Ichi). Come by for a menu of homestyle classics, like katsu chicken sandwiches, hearty salads, curry rice, and daily specials, plus Mr. Espresso coffee drinks, matcha, baked goods, and more; they hope to secure a beer and wine license so Jessica can serve her sake magic. There’s a cozy atmosphere that is meant to inspire people to linger, come on by. Open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm; coffee and tea at 10am. 362 Columbus Ave. at Vallejo. [Via Chronicle.]

There’s a new curry shop on Geary from the former chef of Ken Ken Ramen called ~KONOMAMA~. Chef Takahiro Hori partnered up with Yoshuke Takahashi (Ramen Underground), who was running a curry shop called Back Room in this location, but it has been given a design refresh. Look for some vibrant and healthy curry plates, which come with side salads and vegetables (even if you’re ordering the BBQ pork rib and croquette plate), with some vegan options too. Open Tue-Fri 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-9pm, Sat 11:30am-9pm, Sun 11:30am-5pm. 4601 Geary Blvd. at 10th Ave. [Via Eater.]

Over in the Outer Sunset is the newly opened ~SUNSET CANTINA~ in the former Pisces California Cuisine location. On the menu: Mexican street food (tacos, elote), fried shrimp with yucca fries, a chorizo and beef hamburger, and a full bar of tequila and mezcal cocktails. 3414 Judah St. at 39th Ave.

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A pic of Tsuta Ramen (via Tsuta Philippines on Facebook).

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Shakshuka is on the new menu at Manny’s. Photo via Manny’s.

Just in case you were excited to check out the upcoming ~TSUTA~, the first U.S. location of the Michelin-starred ramen shop, they are actually softly open right now in advance of their October 20th grand opening. According to this post) on Yelp, they are serving 300 bowls of ramen (limited menu) each day, starting at 5pm. (People have been lining up a couple hours before, although another Yelper had better luck on a Sunday and just had a short wait.) 135 4th St. at Mission.

Over at Farming Hope at ~MANNY’S~ in the Mission, you’ll find a new menu from Farming Hope’s new culinary director, chef Larry Feygin, who has worked in some top restaurants (Lazy Bear, Alinea in Chicago, Daniel Berlin in Sweden). The primarily plant-based menu is designed to be affordable, nutritious, flavorful, and approachable—an average meal costs $10, and everything on the coffee menu is under $4. You’ll find a Mediterranean-focused menu, with shakshuka, frittata, breakfast flatbread, toasts, soup, salad, and bowls.

Farming Hope is a non-profit community organization providing transitional employment and training in the culinary industry to unhoused and low-income people in our community. Please show them some support! Hours: Mon-Fri daytime menu 8am-3pm and cocktail bites menu 4pm-10pm; weekend brunch Sat-Sun 9am-3pm. 3092 16th St. at Valencia.

Have you had a chance to check out the ~MIDNITE BAGEL~ pop-up? It’s now running on Fridays at Tartine Bakery, starting at 6pm. These naturally fermented bagels from are so good (peep my past order here). Pre-order here. 600 Guerrero St. at 18th St.

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Dosa on Valencia. Photo via Dosa’s Facebook.

It was a shocker to learn that after 15 years on Valencia, ~DOSA ON VALENCIA~ was closing (the last day of service was September 30th). Co-owner Anjan Mitra attributes the closure to the oft-cited issues of rising rent, labor costs, SF employer mandates, and food delivery services, basically all the things killing small restaurants right now—and they had a full liquor license. Read more in their post on Facebook. Thanks for all the years of feeding us—fortunately Dosa on Fillmore is still open, and Dosa by Dosa in Oakland. [Via Eater.]

After 18 years on Polk Street, ~MILLER’S EAST COAST DELI~ closed on September 23rd. Owner Robby Morgenstein did not comment on reasons for the closure. [Via Hoodline.]

Also nearby, I learned that ~HOOKER’S SWEET TREATS~ is going to be closing soon. David Williams has been serving his awesome caramels, baked goods, bread pudding, and coffee to the Tenderloin neighborhood for nine years, but a multitude of reasons have added up to force him decide to close the café. If anyone is interested in purchasing the brand, drop him an email. No word on when the closure is happening (it’s soon), you can track it on Twitter. 442 Hyde St. at Ellis.

~CASTAGNA~ in the Marina is closing at the end of October after eight years in business. Owner Stéphane Meloni is returning to France, and the space is reportedly becoming a fast-casual restaurant. [Via Chronicle.]

Folks were dismayed with the news that Lower Haight’s ~ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL~ had suddenly closed, but a follow-up report announced that former employee Christine Blunck will be opening Berliner Berliner in the space (she was born in Berlin), and will still serve sausages (and Tuesday burgers), plus some new additions. The grand opening is October 31st, in time for “Hallow-weenie.” Hours will be 11am-10pm. And she was able to keep the original staff! Rosamunde in the Mission and Oakland remain open. 545 Haight St. at Fillmore. [Via Hoodline.]

This one is a damn shame, since I grew up with it (my Dad’s service station was right down the street): after 60 years in business, Redwood City’s ~WOODSIDE DELI~ has closed its doors. Original owner Dan Galinetti sold the business in 2017 to Kyle Vogel, a longtime customer, who closed the business for a remodel. He reopened, but then his landlord proposed a 52 percent rent increase, and couple that with issues with staffing and healthcare costs, and it all means this precious deli is no longer with us. Thanks again to the Galinetti family for all the years of cold cuts and their epic Godfather sandwiches—sadly it wasn’t the same without you. [Via Chronicle.]

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A po’boy from Brenda’s Meat & Three. Photo via Facebook.

After announcing the upcoming opening of ~BRENDA’S~ in Temescal one year ago, look who’s now open! Brenda Buenviaje and Libby Truesdell have opened Brenda’s Oakland in a new building, the Maya, at Broadway and 41st. It’s fast-casual/counter service, offering the best of their signature items, like beignets, brunch items, fried chicken, and a bunch of po’boys (with some new ones too). Here’s the breakfast menu and lunch too.

Since the area is more residential, they have some kid-friendly additions like milkshakes and a kid’s menu, and will soon offer some family meals (with chicken!) to bring home. Hours: Wed-Mon 8am-3pm (closed Tue) for now, serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch, and then adding supper/dinner service (until 10pm) soon. 4045 Broadway at 41st St., Oakland.

For a complete list of September openings (and closures) in the East Bay, check out this detailed Nosh post, which includes ~TARTINE BAKERY~’s opening in Berkeley’s Graduate Hotel, and ~THE LEDE~ from Chez Panisse’s Cal Peternell.