26, 2006 | SAN FRANCISCO
Whoa, big changeup at ~JARDINIÈRE~:
this is why I go out practically every night, because you never
know what you just might stumble across! Oh, and it's fun
to go out. Anyway, while swilling at CAV's first anniversary
party, I found out acclaimed Executive Chef ~ROBBIE LEWIS~
has left Jardinière, after almost four years in the kitchen
there. He has two kids (one is three and the other just eight months),
and it seems daddy needed to be home more. I also hear the theater-crowd
cycle can be a bit of a grind, but the chef taking on the job, Craig
Patzer, is reportedly extremely skilled and fired up, and has been
cooking at Jardinière off and on for about five years. I
also found out Lewis has a place of his own in the works, which
may be opening by next spring or so—but for now, the word
is mum. Of course I'll fill you in, darlings.
history lesson for ya: Lewis met Traci Des Jardins in the early
nineties while at the CCA, and she offered him a job cooking at
Rubicon (she was the opening chef there). He started on the Jardinière
opening team in 1997, and after subsequent stints opening at places
like Boulevard, The Village Pub, and 42 Degrees, he returned to
Jardinière as Executive Chef in 2002. Some of you will also
remember in 2005 he cooked with Traci on Iron Chef America, and
they beat Mario Batali in a Battle of Shrimp!
someone say Iron Chef? SF (and especially Robert Lauriston) will
be thrilled with this news: ~CHRIS
COSENTINO OF INCANTO~ will be competing in the fourth
season of ~IRON CHEF AMERICA~! The shows will be
recorded this October, and will air in February, 2007. Cosentino
will be duking it out against returning Iron Chef Mario Batali (DUDE!)
on the morning of October 6, the very first recording for the season.
Judges will include Ted Allen ("Queer Eye for the Straight
Guy") (I really hope he says "fabulous!"), Cady
Huffman (Tony Award-winning actress), and one of my personal faves,
Jeffrey Steingarten (Vogue food writer and the author of "The
Man Who Ate Everything").
has wanted to go on Iron Chef since watching the show way back during
the bad dubbing days, when he would watch it with fellow cooks,
friends, and wifey at a joint in Japantown outfitted with widescreen
TVs. Cosentino says, "I'm just gonna cook my ass off
and have a good time! It's a ride that will last for one hour,
and man, it's gonna be one hell of a ride." Joining
Cosentino in the audience will be his wife, son, and Mark Pastore,
the owner of Incanto, but I know all of SF will certainly be there
will also have two local cooks rocking it for him in the kitchen,
but he wouldn't reveal who they are. (I actually know who
one of them is, but I'm gonna keep my mouth shut.) Now we
just have to wait until FEBRUARY to see the darned show! Oh, and
one fun detail: while Mario will be hustling around in his orange
Crocs, Cosentino's buds at Upper
Playground in the Haight will be styling the team with these
anniversary adidas kicks. Dang, I want a pair too!
changes to report at ~ANZU~,
the restaurant in the Hotel Nikko: first, many know Anzu's
dinner chef, Scott Drozd, left to cook at a recently opened Noe
Valley neighborhood joint, Bistro
1689. And now, after six years, their famed sushi bar chef,
Kazuhito Takahashi AKA Takahashi-san, has up and moved to Las Vegas
to be with his family. He is intending to take at least six months
off to relax (we'll see about that) and will most likely land
at one of the million sushi bars over there. Takashashi-san's
understudy will be overseeing the sushi bar, and they are underway
in their search for a second sushi chef. The sushi bar is temporarily
closed for now, but will be reopening shortly, offering more contemporary
sushi, and some changes to the décor are happening as well.
(You can still order sushi off the dinner menu, and the fish is
still being flown in daily from the Japanese markets.) The Executive
Chef of Anzu, Philippe Striffeler, is introducing some "freestyle
Asian" dishes and specials to the formerly more traditional
menu—supposedly the slow-cooked and tea-smoked duck (a whole
half-duck) is succulent and sublime.
This is cool: the new-ish chef/owner of brunch steady ~ELLA'S~,
Matt Skov, will be serving dinner as of Wednesday, October 4th.
The affordable dinner options (under the supervision of Ella's
new dinner chef, Bradley Sekulich, who has been a cook and sous
at places around town like Absinthe, Boulevard, and Grand Cafe)
will include shrimp bisque for $5, a hearty app of grilled lamb
meatballs with mint pesto and red pepper aioli for $8, and some
entrées like skirt steak with sausage gravy and pork two
ways for only $16. You can check out the appetizing
menu here. If you're wondering why those dinner items
sound especially delicious, Skov did a stint (for six years) as
the Executive Sous Chef to Todd Humphries and Laurent Manrique in
the kitchen at Campton Place (lemme tell ya, this man can cook).
Once I was dining at Campton Place for lunch with a girlfriend and
he sent out a dessert with two round lumps of something chocolate
to my dining partner because he wanted to pay homage to her boobs.
Then again, she was his wife, so it was cool. 500 Presidio Ave.
at California, 415-441-5669.
to report on some openings this week of cool places I've mentioned
in tablehopper before (you can search the site if you want more
of the original details): Joseph Manzare's Italian fish restaurant,
~PESCHERIA~ (formerly known as Joey & Eddy's
Seafood) should be opening today. It will be open for dinner, Tue-Sat
5:30pm-9:30pm, with Robert Leva at the helm (formerly a sous at
Redd, Auberge de Soleil, and Jardinière). As long as this
gorg weather continues, you might like to know there's a nice
patio in the back, FYI! 1708 Church St. at 29th St., 415-647-3200.
there's ~THE ALEMBIC~ on Upper Haight, a
project from David McLean of Magnolia Pub and Brewery. If inspections
go well this week, The Alembic should be open this Saturday, serving
micro-distillery spirits and small plates of American food with
some seasonal, local, and international flair from Chef Eddie Blyden,
who has also been busy cooking down the street at Magnolia since
June. Dinner nightly, 4pm-12am, with the bar open until 2am. Lunch
Sat-Sun, starting at noon. 1725 Haight St. between Cole and Shrader
STAR'S~ second location in the Mission opened last
Wednesday, Sep. 20. Yes, there is a hipster jukebox, just like the
original, and the same happy hour slots (5pm-6:30pm and 10pm-11:30pm).
Release the deep dish! Open Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm,
closed Mon. 400 Valencia St. at 15th St., 415-551-7827.
yes, the big one: Westfield Centre opens this Thursday, the 28th.
There will be a second location of ~BEARD PAPA'S~
(perfect fuel before attacking Bloomies), and a second location
of Charles Phan's ~OUT THE DOOR~, with ready-to-eat
dishes plus take-home-and-cook kits as well (have you ever tried
the delish daikon rice cakes? You should.). Being a sandwich queen
myself, I can't wait for Tom Colicchio's ~'WICHCRAFT~.
those who have been missing Straits on Geary Street can now dine
on Chris Yeo's chili crab and rendang beef at ~STRAITS
RESTAURANT~, just under the historic dome on the fourth
floor. (There will also be a full bar that's open until 2am
with a DJ on the weekends.) Open continuously from 11am-2am daily.
845 Market St., Suite 597, 415-668-1783.
will definitely be another one to check out, with an intimate dining
room featuring a peaked wood-beamed ceiling and high-backed suede
booths, a 21-seat bar and lounge, a floor-to-ceiling glass-enclosed
walk-in wine cellar, and ten ringside seats at the exhibition kitchen-counter,
designed by Mark Stevens of Architect & Light. Chef Jeremy Bearman
is offering a steakhouse menu with a twist, and some lighter options
will be offered. Choose a Certified USDA Prime cut of beef, ranging
from $19-35, and it will be grilled over fruitwood and charcoal
embers, and then pair it with one of five sauces. 845 Market St.,
4th Floor, Suite 402, 415-593-4100.
a while back that Brandon Clements (of MECCA and Avenue G) was opening
a space with the folks from Zebulon called Mercury, in the old Luau
Bar & Grill space on Lombard. It's still called ~LUAU~,
and will be open this Thu-Sat for drinks, and possibly even burgers
next week. The space was repainted and cleaned up, but the big remodel
is planned for mid-October, when it will close again, get new floors,
a brick wall, and a whole new look. When it reopens in mid-November
or so, it will be ~MERCURY~, serving Asian small
plates, plus offering late night dining and brunch. Thanks to gal
Girl Speak's blog for the tip on the soft opening. 1434
Lombard St. at Van Ness Ave., 415-922-1434.
up (optimistically) by mid-November will be an Asian-inspired and
yet-unnamed ~RESTAURANT/LOUNGE/PUB IN THE FORMER YOSHIDA-YA
SPACE~ in Cow Hollow. The project is from the chaps behind
Vintage 415, Mamacita, Dylan Boutique, Dylan Shoes, and the newly
opened bar in the former Cama space, Double
Dutch, in the Mission (3192 16th St. at Guerrero St.). For this
project, Nate Valentine, Demetrius Chapin-Rienzo, Lawrence Vavra,
and Todd Palmerton are working with their Mamacita
restaurant partners (Sam Josi, Stryker Scales, and Eric Passetti).
chef, Sam Josi, who previously worked as a sous at Slanted Door,
will be crafting a menu of Asian street food with Vietnamese and
Japanese dishes and influences. There will be a small sushi bar
serving sashimi and nightly maki specials, but the overall emphasis
will be on an eclectic round-up of flavorful Asian dishes that will
five Chinese elements/phases (wood, fire, earth, metal, water).
Some potential dishes in the works are Kobe beef tataki with fresh
wasabi, shallot oil, quail egg and gyoza crisps; salt 'n'
pepper day boat scallops with lemongrass curry cream and Hanoi crab-glass
noodle salad; and crispy mung bean crepes with duck confit, red
onions, daikon sprouts, and nuoc cham (a veggie variation will also
out the space a week ago, and it will be really unique for SF: it's
a bi-level space, designed to have a more casual izakaya
(a Japanese pub that serves small plates) vibe downstairs, with
bench seating, easy communal areas, and the sushi bar, while upstairs
(keeping company with the kitchen) will have big booths and a more
classic dining atmosphere. They are taking inspiration design-wise
from some Tokyo restaurants, and there are some cool rock elements
going in you'll have to see. 2909 Webster St. at Union St.
Hollow residents may have noticed the quality of some ingredients
just got a few notches better at the ~UNION STREET PANTRY~
(no, nothing has happened to the frozen yogurt). Eric Rud is the
new owner, a graduate of the Cordon Bleu in Minneapolis, and he
recently worked at the Four Seasons San Francisco and the Chez Maman
located just next door to the market. For the deli, Rud is making
fresh aioli, pesto, and pasta salads, and the sandwiches are made
with bread from Bay Bread and with Boar's Head meats. 2217
Union St. at Fillmore St., 415-923-9771.