The interior and seating. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.
Looking into the space (note the onyx bar in the back). Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.
The fab chandelier. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.
The interior, looking toward the street. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.
Fans of Ceri Smith and her popular Russian Hill wine shop, biondivino, have been anxiously awaiting the opening of her new enoteca/wine salon, ~ET AL.~. As mentioned earlier this year on tablehopper, it’s just around the corner from Biondivino and is sooooo close to being finished—she’s just waiting on some shelving. Very important, that shelving. (It should be about two weeks.)
Today we are going to make you even more anxious for the opening, because we have the first look at the swell interior. The classically European space (with a cheeky twist) is decked out in navy blue and white, with white leather chairs and bench seats made from material from sailboats, a jaunty striped awning, and vintage Paul Iribe prints from the 1930s on the navy and white paneled walls. Smith also had a huge custom chandelier made of wineglasses that look like they are falling to the ground from the high ceiling that pick up the sparkle of the plastic Kartell stools, plus there are small industrial globe lights. The wide-plank wood floor was set in an eye-catching chevron pattern, and there’s a burl wood table in the front window niche with room for six to eight (the other tables are Carrara marble-topped). The grown-up space feels casual yet elegant, and the only flaw I can find is that it’s going to be so dang popular that it’ll always be full. It’s gawjus.
As for the offerings, since the space will be open all day (7am-midnight), you can start by ordering some espresso off the Faema E61 (the coffee is from the famed roaster Gianni Frasi of Giamaica Caffè) at the illuminated onyx bar. (Smith is also half-joking about not serving cappuccinos after 1pm—in Italy, they start shaking their head at you at 11am!) There will also be hot drinks, like the Torinese bicerin (a layered drink of espresso, chocolate, and whole milk), and some decadent canelé de Bordeaux! There are additionally wonderful teas from Bellocq in New York.
Smith is, of course, known for her extensive wine knowledge and excellent palate, and here she is going to be doing a list that extends far beyond Biondivino’s Italian focus (et al means “and others,” so now the name should make sense to you). The list (you can take a peek at the list-in-progress right here!) will include sherries (you can have an advance look at the sherry list here), Madeiras, rosés, a large selection of riesling, Champagne (take a sneak peek at the list here!), Georgian wine (served in the classic piala ceramic bowl), and Italian wines as well. There will be tasting-size glasses to go with particular dishes too.
You’ll be able to choose from a variety of hand-sliced meats (like prosciutto and pata negra) and cheeses both from and selected by Soyoung Scanlan of Andante Dairy. Amaryll Schwertner and Lori Regis of Boulette’s Larder will also be putting together some savory bites to complement the wines. Dishes being discussed include crespelle with wild mushrooms and burrata, a custard sformato with meats or vegetables, brandade with crostini, and you can order both frico and a chickpea socca (with herbs and sea salt) off the unconventional crêpe griddle. Also, of course, boulettes (meatballs) of lamb or pork in warm jus. As soon as it opens (it’s so close!), I’ll be announcing it on Twitter and in tablehopper, stand by! 2255 Polk St. at Green, 415-655-3155.