Marlena Reopens with a New Look, Causwells Also Has a Refresh

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Chefs-owners David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher of Marlena. Photo: Dana Plucinski.

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A look at the curving bar (and bright barstools) at the updated Causwells. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Enjoy a tableside pour of the Deconstructed Pimm’s Cup. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After being closed temporarily for an update to their dining room’s interior design, husband-and-wife chefs David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher of ~MARLENA~ are back in their Bernal Heights home, and their popular $65, four-course tasting menu is back with them, too! During the summer, they cleverly ran Summer Camp at Hotel Zeppelin as a pop-up (I wrote it up for Nob Hill Gazette). But now they’re open in their home base, featuring a significant redesign from M. Chad Kellogg of architecture and design studio AMLGM, bringing a comfortable, residential feel, with lots of curving elements to build a relaxed vibe. There’s spacious banquette seating, lots of plants, and soft lighting, too.

The new menu reflects the seasons, with dishes like shaved celtuce with kombu broth, tofu purée, and nori powder; a hamachi crudo with apple vinegar, green peppercorns, and sour gherkins; raviolini with smoked rosa bianca eggplant, early girl tomatoes, and baby leeks; grilled beef cheeks with beef sausage, honey nut squash, and broccoli di ciccio; and a kabocha squash “cheesecake” for dessert. There are also new supplements to the menu (“snax!”) and aged Liberty Farm duck breast as well. Open Sun-Thu 5pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm. 300 Precita Ave. at Folsom.

~CAUSWELLS~ in the Marina reopens tonight (September 27th) with a refreshed interior, food menu, and cocktail program. I had a chance to check it out on Sunday evening, and am happy to see chef-owner Adam Rosenblum and beverage director/managing partner Elmer Mejicanos stretching their wings after being open for eight years (with owner Tom Patella). The menu has expanded with numerous small plates, like oysters with Angostura mignonette; light dishes like salmon tartare and heirloom tomatoes with melon vinaigrette; heartier bites like Detroit-style cheesy bread and juicy “Cali hot” chicken wings; mains include pork belly confit, salmon filet in a summer broth, and your table should tuck into the Causwells mac and cheese, featuring four cheeses and savory pasta from Bayview Pasta. Of course, the Americana burger sits tight on the menu, but now you have numerous other dishes to choose from, whether you want snacky bites or more of a proper meal (hello, date night).

The cocktail program is extensive and ambitious—you’re going to need to return numerous times to make your way through it. A great place to start is the Deconstructed Pimm’s Cup (as beautiful as it is tasty) and the Open Sesame, with Milagro tequila, bianco vermouth, cold-pressed poblano, lime, agave, and toasted sesame offered layers of savory, kicky flavors. A favorite at our table was the Cantélope Cruz, made with Reyka vodka, Lillet Blanc, cantaloupe juice, honey, ricotta, and lemon juice, topped with fresh-ground black pepper—it’s like cacio e pepe when you get a whiff of the pepper with the cheesy notes, so good. Fig News (Mommenpop, kumquat, green walnut, fig leaf cordial, sparkling wine) was a beguiling highball, and the Causwells Grasshopper is a hopper-approved liquid dessert. Have fun! (Check their website for the new menus soon.)

The interior has a luxe Deco flair, with a new, curving bar, bright yellow barstools, and richly toned wallpaper. Love the update, and the parklet is still there, with heat lamps. A new martini and oyster happy hour will run Tue-Fri 4:30pm-6pm, and late night Fri-Sat from 11pm to midnight. 2346 Chestnut St. at Scott.