October 24, 2006

A slew of openings this week—exciting times, gang. First, and right on schedule I'd like to note, ~EUREKA RESTAURANT AND LOUNGE~ (the project from the chaps at Chenery Park) opened on Saturday in the old Red Grill space in the Castro. Open Tue-Sun for dinner, starting at 6pm. 4063 18th St. at Hartford St., 415-431-6000.

And ~PERBACCO~ just opened yesterday at 230 California St., at Battery St. Open Mon-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri 11:30am-11pm; and Sat 5:30pm-11pm, closed on Sunday. 415-955-0663.

And the winner of the funniest opening website, the ~SALT HOUSE~ opens tonight! Hello potpie with duck confit. And you can enjoy it at midnight! Mon–Fri 11:30 am-1am, Dinner: Sat 5pm-1am and Sun 5pm-12am. 545 Mission St., 415-543-8900.

Okay, why does 18th Street continue to blow up with gourmet goodness? I swear, I'm getting super jealous of my friend who lives there. Anyway, the shady Rica's Pupusas is no more, and moving into its place is ~REGALITO ROSTICERÍA~. It's basically going to be a Mexican rotisserie, with free-range chicken (yay!), and other slow-roasted meats and veggies, regional Mexican specialties, plus handmade tortillas and salsas. Chef Thomas Pena is committed to using sustainable and local ingredients whenever possible, cool. We just have to sit tight until the summer. 3481 18th St. at Valencia St.

And just down the street, the folks at ~WEIRD FISH~ have confirmed a November 1 opening date, huzzah. 2193 Mission St. at 18th St.

A few other changes around town: starting November 20, you won't be able to get breakfast during the week at ~CANTEEN~ (you can still get their awesome corned beef hash during brunch on the weekend, however), and ~MEMPHIS MINNIE'S~ will no longer be serving weekend brunch. But I do have some good news for you: ~UNIVERSAL CAFÉ~ has extended their fab Friday lunch to now include Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays! You can dig in from 11:30am-2:30pm, 2814 19th St. at Bryant, 415-821-4608.

Wine lovers, get your Screwpull at the ready: opening on Upper Polk is ~BIONDIVINO~, a specialty Italian wine boutique that will feature unusual varieties and even some releases you can't even get in California (yeah, the owner, Ceri Smith, has "connections"—it's how Italians roll, yo). Her family name is Biondi, but when followed with "vino" it becomes "Blonde Wine" (although for the record, she's a brunette). The boutique will occasionally host tastings with visiting winemakers, plus some guest speakers and classes, but overall it's designed to be a place to learn about and buy Italian wine. The interior is going to be modern and slick but warm and inviting—I loved the twig-like chandelier that will be going up. There's also a bright orange awning, which feels extra-appropriate since Smith is gunning for a Halloween opening. 1415 Green St. at Polk St., 415-673-2320.

Opening this November will be another ~CAFFE TRIESTE~ location, this time it's SOMA workers who can get wired. 199 New Montgomery St. at Howard St.

Here's a unique project from the active mind of Sam Josi of the Vintage 415 crew (he's the chef at Mamacita): opening next year in the former Cybelle's Pizza place will be ~OAK HILL FARM~, a take-out establishment for home-cooked lunch and dinner items made with seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. Expect fresh salads, sandwiches, and some nurturing dinner set-ups that will span California comfort food, with perhaps Latin America touches, Asian influences, and beyond. There will be a few seats inside, but the format is definitely geared to be take-home. This has been a long-standing idea for Josi, a local boy from Kentfield, whose visionary step-grandmother is behind Oak Hill Farm in Glen Ellen, a 700-acre sustainable farm that is part of the Sonoma Land Trust. (If the name seems familiar, the family also has a flower stand called Oak Hill Farm in the Ferry Building Marketplace.) Josi is planning for a spring opening. 2105 Chestnut St. at Steiner St.

Update on some projects happening in the Presidio: first is ~LA TERRACE~, a project from Laurent Katgely of Chez Spencer. This rustic French bistro will be open all day, offering breakfast (more like a French-style breakfast with pastries, instead of egg-based dishes), lunch (including a variety of pizzas, like a smoked salmon version), and a limited afternoon menu. Dinner will become a bit more upscale ($22-mid-$30s for entrées) plus a tasting menu will be offered as well (expect $60 and upwards). The wood-burning oven was formerly at Cozmo's (now Circa), and will be cooking up some tasty bites for sure. Michael Brennan is designing the A-frame ceiling space, and true to the name, there will be a patio, plus a bar too (they have a full liquor license, yay). Open Mon-Sat 7am-10pm, Sun 7am-4pm. 215 Lincoln Ave.

Opening late November in Building D of the Letterman Digital Arts Center will be ~PRES A VIS—GLOBAL CUISINE AND WINE BAR~, a 415 variation of the popular Va de Vi in Walnut Creek (AKA the 925). The project comes from Executive Chef Kelly Degala, Dale Raaen, John Walz and Stan Raaen, and will feature a similar globally-influenced small plates format (expect 20-30 dishes) and their trademark wine flights. Dishes will include international numbers like Manila clams, pork belly, lumpia, Peking duck buns, and hamachi carpaccio. There will be room for 200, with a communal table that will seat 22 and overlooks the exhibition kitchen. There will also be a large bar and cocktail lounge (with a piano, interesting), plus an outdoor patio lounge area with a view of the park and the Bay. An underground parking garage and valet are both offered. Parking, how novel. Open Sun-Wed 11:30am-11pm, Thu-Sat 11:30am-midnight; bar open until 1am, Thu-Sat, with bar bites offered. One Letterman Drive, near the corner of Chestnut and Lyon Streets.

Well, this place didn't stay open for too long: after a couple months of business, ~AVENUE G~ has closed, and the business that was originally in the location, Pho Tu Do, is back. Confusing, I know. 1000 Clement St., 415-221-7111.