August 16, 2022

August 16, 2022
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Vegan flatbreads, bowls, salads, burgers, and more at Rad Radish. Photo courtesy of Back of the House.

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The cool and colorful interior at Rad Radish. Photo courtesy of Back of the House.

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The curving bar at Hazie’s. Photo: Hardy Wilson.

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A selection of chef Joey Altman’s shareable dishes at Hazie’s. Photo: Hardy Wilson.

Newly opened in the former The Grove Hayes Valley is ~RAD RADISH~ from the Back of the House team (a Mano, Beretta, Super Duper Burger, The Tailor’s Son, Wildseed). This vegan, fast-casual, global concept features hearty salads, bowls, flatbreads, and sandwiches, and is designed to be affordable, flavorful, fresh AF, and filling.

You’ll see a beet poke salad (marinated beets, baby greens, seaweed, chives, crispy forbidden rice, avocado, macadamia nuts), with the option to add on their “neatballs” or falafel. There are also five bowls, like the neatball masala with supergrains, kale, pickled carrots, tzatziki, coconut masala, sesame, and lemon; or an al pastor bowl with super grains, marinated tofu, black beans, grilled corn pico de gallo, lettuce, avocado, pepitas, and chipotle dressing. There’s the Wildseed burger (with a mushroom, spinach, and brown rice patty) or an Impossible burger, a couple flatbreads, and some sides. For dessert, you can try their oat milk vanilla soft-serve.

Open for lunch and dinner, the space was designed by Nathan Reed to be bright and casual, whether you’re having a working lunch or dinner with a friend. There are also local beers, organic wine, and low-ABV and non-alcoholic beverages, like probiotic tonics and sodas with adaptogens. Open daily Sun-Thu 11am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. 301 Hayes St. at Franklin.

Just up the street, ~HAZIE’S~ has opened in the former Stacks from Hat Trick Hospitality (The Brixton) and chef Joey Altman (of shows “Bay Cafe,” “Appetite for Adventure,” and “Tasting Napa”)—I reported on upcoming plans for this space a year ago). I’ve been watching Altman develop the menu over past months, and let me tell you, his braised brisket sandwich with Sicilian pepperoncini and mustard aioli looks like it will help scratch any Italian beef itch (LOL) you got from watching “The Bear.”

The menu is approachable and eclectic, with shareable dishes, like housemade pretzel knots with truffle cheese sauce, a local halibut crudo with avocado and grapefruit, BLT lettuce cups, mezcal-cured salmon latkes, and spring vegetable ravioli with housemade ricotta and roasted tomato butter. (And there’s a burger, of course.)

Beverage director Victor Pichardo has whipped up 15 cocktails, with an emphasis on tequila and mezcal. Since we like hanging out together again, there are two large-format cocktails and a flight designed for sharing, including a pineapple spritz for two, and a tequila cocktail served in a large crystal dispenser delivered to your table, featuring strawberry, orgeat, and agave (to split with four or five friends, it depends upon how lushy they are). There are also non-alcoholic options, 15 wines by the glass, and 9 Bay Area craft drafts and 16 bottled beers.

ROY hospitality design group designed the space to have a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired vintage vibe with a comfortable, lived-in feel. You’ll note vintage lighting and speakers, thick embossed wallpaper (very SF Victorian), upholstered bar stools, oxblood leather banquettes, and large, burl wood communal tables with custom-designed, dark walnut checkerboard tops. 501 Hayes St. at Octavia.

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The airy interior of the new Souvla Dogpatch. Photo: Jordan Wise.

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Dishes from the new menu of hot and cold mezes. Photo: Jordan Wise.

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Souvla’s feta-brined rotisserie chicken is now officially on the menu (it was previously off-menu). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

On Sunday evening, I attended a preview dinner of the new ~SOUVLA DOGPATCH~, an expanded Souvla concept in the former Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing. The previously open kitchen has been enclosed, all the walls in the high-ceilinged room are now painted white (with white subway tiles), and you’ll note Greek touches of olive branches and amphoræ. It has an airy and classic feeling, with a curving bar, wood floors, and high-top tables and stools similar to their other locations. The format is still “modern fast-fine,” which means you order at the counter and your food will be brought to your table.

You can order the usual suspects here (their trademark gyros, salads, Greek fries, and frozen Greek yogurt), but the big addition here is a menu of hot and cold mezes (small plates), developed by Tony Cervone, Souvla’s chef and partner. It includes warm dolmades stuffed with rice and chicken skin (opa!) resting in an avgolemono sauce (this was my favorite), a trio of Greek spreads (the melitzanosalata/eggplant was really tasty), and warm saganaki (a golden and molten kefalograviera cheese—get an order of their house pita to go with it).

You should try the Cretan dakos (it’s the perfect season for this summery salad of Early Girl tomatoes, rusks, onions, and feta), and there’s also flaky spanakopita, cold octopus salad, and more. You can order their feta-brined rotisserie chicken—I would get a side of the juicy potatoes and the Souvla green salad with this. And for dessert, there are loukoumades (fried Greek doughnut balls with cinnamon, walnuts, and honey).

Founder/CEO Charles Bililies has assembled an extended by-the-glass menu of Greek wines that go beyond their Souvla private label wines and beer—it’s a chance to try some likely new-to-you varieties, and they’re listed with some descriptors so you can find one you like (will it be a “crisp and vibrant” assyrtiko or “funky and interesting” roditis?). Wines by the glass start at $14, and go up to $24. There are also some Greek beers from Paros and Santorini you can try.

Open daily 11am-10pm, with delivery and takeout available. Proceeds from opening day (Tuesday, August 16th) will benefit the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, which is based in the neighborhood. 2505 3rd St. at 22nd St.

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Nigiri and maki at the new Au Sushi. Yelp photo by Cherylynn N.

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Get excited for a slice or whole pie of Empire Pizza’s New York-style pizza. Instagram photo via @empirepizzasf.

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The vegetarian sandwich at the new Fiddle Fig Cafe. Photo courtesy of Fiddle Fig Cafe.

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Fried fish taco and the fiery fried chicken taco at Sacred Taco. Yelp photo by Lee S.

There’s a new sushi spot in the Diamond Heights Shopping Center, ~AU SUSHI~, and according to Cherylynn N. on Yelp, the owner and sushi chef is a woman (not something you see every day, sadly—let’s change that!). You can opt for the omakase selection of eight pieces of nigiri and a small bite ($68.89), a variety of chef’s rolls, nigiri, plus there’s a sashimi boat, udon and ramen (including soft-shell crab), fried chicken skin yakitori and wings. It’s reportedly busy, so make a reservation if you can. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 4:30pm-9:30pm. 5214 Diamond Heights Blvd.

I have been eagerly tracking the opening of ~EMPIRE PIZZA~, a New York-style slice shop from the owners of The Grove in the former Pizzeria Delfina on Mission in SoMa. It’s open, hell yes, and they’re slinging slices of pepperoni, sausage (with bell peppers), white pie (aged and fresh mozzarella, ricotta, aged provolone, sesame seeds), broccoli rabe, and they have a couple square slices, too. You can also order a whole 18-inch pie, and they have a classic pizza shop salad with romaine, salami, aged provolone, red cabbage, carrot, pepperoncini, and Italian dressing (the best).

Pizzaiolo Brandon Wells, previously of Pizzeria Delfina, developed the pies! There’s beer, wine, Nancy’s Fancy gelato, and outdoor seating, too. You know where I’ll be this week! Open Wed-Sun 11am-3pm (to start). 688 Mission St. at 3rd St.

Over in North Beach, there’s a new deli and café called ~FIDDLE FIG CAFE~, serving some pretty bomb-looking sandwiches—including a Reuben, a Cubano, a vegetarian sandwich (with grilled eggplant, zucchini, sweet peppers, Swiss cheese, and a pesto spread with sun-dried tomatoes), and a breakfast biscuit sandwich—plus pastries, açai bowls, coffee drinks, and a strawberry-coconut smoothie and iced matcha latte. There are plenty of round café tables for dining inside. Open Wed-Fri 7:30am-3:30pm and Sat-Sun 8:30am-4:30pm. 790 Lombard St. at Taylor.

I was driving by the former Elda’s in the Mission and noticed the neon lights were on for ~AREPAS~, serving 12 kinds of Venezuelan arepas (available deep-fried or grilled), and bites like mandocas (cheesy corn cakes), tequeños (cheese sticks), tostones (fried green plantains with different toppings), and patacones (plantains with fillings like braised pork or shredded beef), as well as plates like pabellón, with rice, black beans, fried plantains, shredded beef, and cheese. You also have five desserts to choose from. This is an offshoot of their original San Jose location. Open Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun 2pm-10pm. 3198 16th St. at Guerrero.

A tablehopper reader let me know Cow Hollow has a new taco place that just opened, ~SACRED TACO~, in the former Hollow Cow from Kristian Cosentino (Rusted Mule, Dirty Water, Press Club). The menu has an array of creative taco fillings, including an avocado taco, braised antelope, and a fiery fried chicken taco, as well as a fried fish taco, pork belly taco, and chicken tinga taco, plus sikil pak (a pumpkin seed and tomato dip/salsa). Micheladas, mezcal Margaritas, and there’s a sunny back patio, do the math. Open for lunch and dinner daily, until midnight on the weekend. 1875 Union St. at Laguna.

The former Venue Cafe downtown is now ~ZEVI CAFE AND BISTRO~, serving a Mediterranean menu with mezze, salads, gyros, kebabs and plates, manti (Turkish dumplings), as well as breakfast plates, omelets, scrambles, menemen, breakfast burritos (check out the Zevi burrito, a mix of lamb and beef, potatoes, avocado, feta, eggs, smoked tomato sauce), French toast, and more. It has a sunny and bright interior, with white walls, tile, plants, and colorful chairs. Open daily 7am-9pm. 67 5th St. at Mission.

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Maison Nico’s duck pithivier. Photo: Maison Nico.

Great news, my fellow pâté en croûte lovers: ~MAISON NICO~ is reopening tomorrow, Wednesday August 17th! They have been closed for four months to transition the former restaurant into an épicerie, with some new equipment and an expanded kitchen and pastry production space. Michelin-starred chef-owner Nicolas Delaroque and Andrea Delaroque will reopen with seasonal varieties of pâté en croûte, sliced to order by the pound or the whole loaf, terrines, and their fabulous aspics, plus a rotating selection of seasonal quiche and pithivier, savory pastries, expanded viennoiserie, and Parisian-style pastries, wines, and other imported artisanal items.

They are also offering a salade Niçoise, and plan to expand the lunch menu this fall (as well as launch an Apéro Hour). Guests can enjoy Maison Nico’s menu to-go, dine inside the dining room, or outside at one of the six alfresco café tables. Open Wed-Fri 9am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-4pm. In September, look for the Maison Nico stand at Foodwise’s Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays, 8am-2pm. 710 Montgomery St. at Columbus.

Over in SoMa, ~25 LUSK~ has reopened their indoor dining room. Expect some new dishes and a small plate format from chef Matthew Dolan, like braised beef short ribs with crescenza mashed potatoes. (The outdoor heated rooftop remains open as well.) You can also enjoy new cocktails from Elmer Mejicanos, who has rejoined the team, while Peter Palmer has been hard at work on the global wine list, with a focus on biodynamic and organic producers. Cheers! Indoor hours are Tue-Thu 5pm-9:30pm (bar to 10pm), Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm (bar to 11pm). 25 Lusk St. at Townsend.

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The new shrimp and scallion scramble at brunch at Barrio Chino. Photo courtesy of Barrio Chino.

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Keita Tominaga is the new chef-partner of PABU Izakaya. Photo courtesy of PABU.

Pete Mrabe of Chubby Noodle and Don Pistos launched brunch at ~BARRIO CHINO~, his Chino-Latino spot known for classic Asian dishes influenced by the flavors of Mexico. (It was previously Don Pistos Tequila Bar.) The new brunch menu is creative and right up my alley—it includes a shrimp and scallion scramble (oyster sauce, eggs, salsa macha); bacon egg jook (sunny side egg, scallions, fried shallots); and a birria Benedict (English muffin, hollandaise, green onions). Whut. There’s also a breakfast burrito with hot sausage fried rice, avocado, and green sriracha, sounds good! Brunch cocktails include a tequila sunrise, bloody Mary, and the option to have bottomless mimosas (made with sparkling wine and seasonal fruit for $25 at the table for 90 minutes). Available Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 2030 Lombard St. at Webster.

After the tragic passing earlier this year of beloved chef Ken Tominaga of Hana (since 1990!) and PABU, here’s some uplifting news: his son, Keita Tominaga, is the new chef-partner of ~PABU IZAKAYA~, which Ken founded in partnership with chef Michael Mina. Keita earned a degree from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone after working at Farmhouse Restaurant and Inn (Forestville) and Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria (Geyserville). He also spent more than two years working at Tokyo’s Tenoshima—which earned its first Michelin star during his time there—before returning to Northern California, where he worked alongside his father from March 2021 until his passing.

“My father was more than a chef—he was an educator and friend to many,” Keita says. “He took the time to teach people—everyone from his staff to his guests. Since English was not his native language, he spoke to them through food and took great joy in introducing people to his culture. With every project he has touched on, from opening Hana to PABU Izakaya with Michael Mina, he has always led by giving guests an authentic, Japanese experience. I look forward to carrying on his legacy and adding my own take on Japanese cuisine to PABU.”

The ~LA COCINA MUNICIPAL MARKETPLACE~ is getting a parklet, starting August 25th on Golden Gate Avenue. The parklet is in partnership with neighbor UC Hastings Law and will serve as an accessible and inclusive space for public seating, outdoor dining, and community programming. The parklet was designed, developed, and constructed with the generous pro bono support of Perkins&Will, Greystar, and Build Group. The exterior walls of the parklet will also serve as a canvas for local artist and La Cocina entrepreneur, Paola Lagunas, who will paint the story of migration through food. Swing by for lunch soon! 101 Hyde St. at Golden Gate.