Now Open: Mason Pacific, an Appealing Neighborhood Bistro


Starter of buttermilk fried chicken. Photo: Nick Vasilopoulos.


The front bar area. Photo: Nick Vasilopoulos.


The dining room. Photo: Nick Vasilopoulos.

I was bummed to miss the preview luncheon for the brand-new ~MASON PACIFIC~, which just opened in the former Lalola space that borders Nob Hill, Russian Hill, and Chinatown. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the project is from Jay Thomson and Shannon McTiernan Thomson, and executive chef Sean McTiernan (Rose Pistola, Delfina, and some time in Europe at Taillevent, Le Bellecour, and La Table de Robuchon in Paris).

The seasonally driven menu has a Cal-French bistro vibe, a bit like Frances, with a number of different starters and a few entrée choices. Starters include brandade, beef tartare, and crispy feta with spring peas and fava beans; mains include poached chicken salad ($16) and New York strip ($28) with pickled mushroom, lemon-ponzu, and lacinato kale purée. You can check out the menu here; be sure to peek at the second page for the wines by the glass.

I’m particularly excited to cruise through sommelier Eric Railsback’s wine list—anyone who puts Billecart-Salmon brut rosé by the glass ($22) is a friend of mine (he was previously at RN74, plus the Wine Cask in Santa Barbara, and Gordon Ramsay and Mozza in Los Angeles). There are also aged wines from Thomson’s personal collection, and a carafe program with wines made specifically by Copain.

It’s a petite restaurant, with two dining areas. It has a chic but approachable look, with room for 24 at the tufted leather banquettes and tables topped with paper and white tablecloths in the back dining room, while the counter-height tables made from reclaimed barn wood (next to the large windows, complete with a view of the cable cars) in the front room are a bit more casual. There’s also a marble bar, which will be good for solo diners. I know it’s early, but I have to say: I have a good feeling about this place. (And it’s not just because there’s fried chicken on the menu, and you know what I’m going to pair with it.) Hours are Tue-Sun 5:30pm-11pm; breakfast, coffee, and lunch service will be added later.