April 3, 2007

While it seems Laurent Manrique's Alley project in Yerba Buena Lane is running into some delays, Vijay Bist's third location for ~AMBER INDIA~ is proceeding along (the other two locations are in Mountain View and Santana Row). The 5,000-square-foot restaurant is slated to open at the end of August, with space for 130. The multi-level space will have three dining rooms (one is a private with room for 35) plus a bar and lounge area. There will be some artistic elements, including a glass sculpture of Ganesh, and they are also commissioning some contemporary artwork. The menu will include northern classics, plus some modern variations with dishes using local produce and herbs, and less butter, cream, and oil. In fact, Bist was just in India sourcing a few additional cooks for the kitchen. They will be open for lunch and dinner daily, with brunch on the weekends. 13 Yerba Buena Lane.

Out in the Richmond, Bistro Clement will be morphing into ~B STAR BAR~, an offshoot from Joycelyn Lee, the owner of Burma SuperStar just down the street. They are planning to offer small plates of Asian fusion with a few dishes from the Burma SuperStar menu, like noodles, salads, and rice plates to accompany an array of beer, wine, and soju and sake cocktails. The vibe will be comfortable and easygoing. B Star Bar will be open for lunch and dinner daily, with plans for brunch soon. There is also an outdoor patio they plan to utilize. 127 Clement St. at 3rd Ave., 415-933-9900.

Just to let you know, I spoke with the folks moving into the ~AURA SPACE~ in Bernal Heights, and they want to sit tight for now on information. The earliest something will be opening is June. Once I get the go-ahead to mention the news, you'll see it here, promise.

~PIQUEO'S~
, the contemporary Peruvian restaurant from Carlos Altamirano of SoMa's Mochica is opening this Friday. The restaurant moved into the former Moki's space in Bernal Heights—and yes, they hope to get that patio open soon. Altamirano and his wife traveled all over Peru to research the specialties of different regions. The menu will be based on piqueos, or shared appetizers, that will integrate some California perspective in the way of seasonality and local ingredients. There will also be sangria and wine available. Dinner hours are 5:30pm-10pm, nightly. 830 Cortland Ave. between Gates and Ellsworth, 415-278-0480.

I know I'm not the only one who is going to be happy with this news: looks like Mohamed is one week out from reopening ~TAJINE~ in his new location! It should be open by Monday or Wednesday of next week. Let the basteeya-fest and Merguez munching begin. 1338 Polk St. between Bush and Pine, 415-440-1718.

Many folks are surprised and (supremely) bummed with the news that ~MARIQUITA FARMS~ is leaving the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market. Here's a note from Andy and Julia explaining why… They do have plans to host some u-pick events in the future. We'll miss you guys (and your wonderful, unique produce).

In case you smell something really stinky in SoMa, and you’re sure it’s not from a homeless encampment, this could be why: ~MATTHEW MINA~, the pastry chef at Bong Su has started working with the Durian fruit. It's native to Southeast Asia and just smells like sheer and utter hell but is supposedly quite delicious and supple. Mina will soon have it on Bong Su's dessert menu with white chocolate in either a crème brûlée or a pudding dish.

~TADD CORTELL~ is resigning as GM of CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen and taking a short break while mulling over some new business opportunities. While no longer participating in the day-to-day management of CAV, he is going to maintain his equity position in the restaurant. He says, "I am immensely proud of what CAV has become, and my relationship with Pamela [Busch], who has become a good friend and mentor, will continue." Good, no drama.

After serving many gyros, falafel, and dolmas to the Cow Hollow neighborhood, ~WILBUR'S~ has sadly closed. A couple years ago there was a tragedy that befell the family that runs it, and they just couldn’t keep the business going. Best of luck to them. 2211 Filbert St. between Fillmore St. and Steiner St.

Those kooks at ~MAVERICK~ are hosting their infamous Southern Fried Night on Tuesday, April 17th. As they put it, "Let's just say almost everything goes in the fryer, except lettuces, to create a really fun night of food and drink. The old classics like Pan Fried Catfish and Country Fried Steak will be back, along with a few new items and as always some surprises. Y'all come down now ya hear!"