An Early Look at the Menu at The Keystone, Opening in the Former Annabelle's

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The escarole Caesar from The Keystone. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Cranberry bean gratin with peppers. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Pickle assortment. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

A preview by Dana Eastland. Back in July we mentioned the new plans for the former Annabelle’s space in the Mosser Hotel. The space has been revamped as ~THE KEYSTONE~, a modern American tavern, and a new team has been brought on to run the show.

The overhaul takes the restaurant back to its roots, while also modernizing it for contemporary diners. Even the name is a nod to history, as the hotel used to be known as The Keystone. Zack Freitas, the new chef, is looking back to distinctly American food traditions with the menu, which means lots of classic American dishes, of course, but also the addition of preserved items like pickles, jams, and more. A selection of snacks opens the menu, including chicken wings with Parmesan, ranch, and celery; oyster shooters with mignonette, lemon, and hot sauce; and carbonara fries with egg yolk, bacon, black pepper, and pecorino (whoa, nelly). The flatbreads from their pizza oven, with seasonal toppings, are ideal for sharing. There are some modern takes on common dishes, like a Caesar salad made with escarole and brioche croutons, and a mussel chowder instead of the usual clam offering. Naturally, there is a burger on the menu, and additional meaty entrees including a Berkshire pork chop and grass-fed rib-eye. Vegetarians will also find options, like the asparagus tart with English peas and goat cheese.

The menu is perfectly set up for the after-work crowd, with selections that will appeal to everyone and lots of easy-to-share dishes. There are also plans to offer happy hour specials on many of the snacks. They will offer a daily lunch menu with selections for $10, $13, or $15, and a lunch box special for $25 that includes a half order of salad, soup, and a sandwich. The dessert menu comes from pastry chef Jenny Yang and is heavy on the seasonal fruit desserts, which on the opening menu includes a stone fruit crostata with feta and basil, and a rose almond cake with apricots, coffee liqueur, and pistachio. For chocolate lovers, be sure to check out the Fiend Brownie (it’s actually on the “morsels” menu), with toffee, nuts, and chocolate chunks.

Kelly Naughton is the bar manager, who keeps the classic American vibe going with a cocktail list that includes the Keystone Cup, a riff on a Pimm’s cup, with house-infused “Pimm’s,” lemon, seltzer, and seasonal garnishes. There is also a Porcini Negroni, made with porcini mushroom-infused gin. (They are still working out the details of the wine list.)

As for the space, it’s been redesigned by D-Scheme Studio, and the bar is still the anchor of the main room. They’ve opened up the space, though, and now offer seating on both sides of the bar as well as a chef’s counter up against the open kitchen. There is also a private dining room with AV capabilities for groups. They’ve kept the tile on the floor and added wood and copper touches to the bar. There are new light fixtures, leather banquettes, and all-new furniture. The opening is currently slated for Tuesday August 18th. Hours are daily 11:30am-12am, with happy hour from 4:30pm-6:30pm and again from 10pm-12am. 68 4th St. at Mission, 415-777-1200.