Let's Look at The Perennial, Opening Wednesday January 20th

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The long bar at The Perennial. Photo courtesy of The Perennial.

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The dining room at The Perennial. Photo courtesy of The Perennial.

About a year ago, we wrote about ~THE PERENNIAL~, the city’s most eco-minded project from Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz (Mission Chinese Food, Mission Street Food, Commonwealth, Lt. Waffle). Well, it’s opening Wednesday January 20th, and isn’t it a beaut?

To recap, their goal was to design a restaurant (and bar!) that would “lead the restaurant industry toward greater sustainability and deeper engagement with the most pressing issue of our time: climate change.” The level of thought that went into this project is staggering, from sourcing meat and dairy from ranches engaged in carbon farming (where managed grazing promotes carbon storage by perennial grasses) to using Kernza, a new perennial grain that counteracts climate change. And then there’s their aquaponic greenhouse to reduce food waste. (I wish I had more time to dive into this story deeper and share more with you, but this week is at Defcon 5 for me! You really should check out the Sustainability Fact Sheet attached here to read all the sustainable features they added—it’s fascinating stuff!)

Head chef Chris Kiyuna’s menu is up—he’s working with sous chef Richard Lee and pastry chef Nicola Carey. Kiyuna was previously chef de cuisine at Mission Chinese Food and has also cooked at Noma (Copenhagen), Coi, and even the Front Porch. The food will be accessible yet refined, and of course every ingredient will support their climate-conscious mantra. Snacks at the bar will run $8-$16, while à la carte dinner entrées will be $22-$28.

Bar director Jennifer Colliau (Small Hand Foods and founder of The Interval in Fort Mason) was tasked with making the bar program a sustainable one, which inspired a great deal of creative thinking and changes. Ice is a huge issue because of the water waste (with only 50 percent of the water you use goes into that Kold-Draft ice), so she created a different approach to cocktails. She will be using a cobbled ice/Scotsman machine instead—pebbled ice uses 95 percent of the water it takes to make it. They will be serving premixed and prediluted cocktails on draft (and chill the drinks in bottles in the freezer), as well as freezing ice in the glass. Blender drinks are also okay because you’re consuming the ice in the drink, and not shaking and straining it away.

She will also be creating flavorful citrus hydrosols by zesting citrus beforehand and distilling it in water in five-gallon copper pot stills, which they can spritz, and leftover juices will be used in sherbets (there’s a pisco punch dessert that will use it). As for my number one bar pet peeve: you won’t be seeing any tasting through disposable cocktail straws here. Bartenders will use a metal straw to extract a taste and put it onto their own personal spoon to taste. (Can everyone please do this?)

Colliau expects more changes will happen as the bar program evolves and as they learn about more companies, brands, and partners with a sustainable approach. (She also mentioned that companies who are good to their staff and community also plays a part in what they deem sustainable—it’s not just about carbon footprint.) To be clear, Colliau will still be at The Interval, and wine director Jay Latham is handling the beer and wine selections at The Perennial.

Not only will The Perennial be serving coffee from local roaster Paramo Coffee, but there will also be a café open 8am-5pm off 9th St.; at night, the café will be available for private dining. Five cents from every drink goes to supporting Straus Creamery’s conversion of grazing land to a carbon farming system.

The dining room (designed by master woodworker Paul Discoe, who did Ippuku—read more about the design details here) has room for 65, and there’s space for 40 in the bar area and 12 in the private dining room. The Perennial is open for dinner Mon-Sat, with potential to expand hours later. 59 9th St. at Market.