|JUNE 12, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Okay, before we dive in here, did you happen to see the article
about the evils of the CCA in the most recent issue of the SF
Weekly? No? You gotta read it—it’s pretty ugly
to read about the crippling debt aspiring chefs are racking up
by going to school there. Here’s a link.
are getting close for ~LAÏOLA~,
the pet project from Joe Hargrave who partnered up with Andrew
McCormack of Frisson, where Hargrave was formerly the GM (but
is still involved in the restaurant). This new Spanish-inspired
eatery will have some definite Cali flair, taking its inspiration
from afar, but sourcing quality local ingredients as much as
possible. Executive chef Mark Denham is putting together a menu
that sounds downright delish and has a definite nose-to-tail
sensibility: there will be all kinds of charcuterie and house-made
sausage, like dry-cured chorizos, wild boar, fuet (a Catalan-style
dry-cured pork sausage), lomito (a pork sausage that’s
kind of like coppa), plus suckling pig, and whole roasted lamb
from Don Watson of Napa Valley Lamb Company. Seafood will also
be highlighted, like sand dabs, petrale a la plancha, and other
local stars, like sardines. The plates will range from smaller
to bigger, basically whatever is the right size to serve something
at, and will take their cue from Spain’s sizing styles,
from tapas to “raciones” (larger platefuls); expect
20 or so dishes in all. Denham has some serious chops—many
will remember his savory cooking from 42 Degrees; he has cooked
at a vast array of local spots, including Chez Panisse, Postrio,
Manresa, and Elisabeth Daniel.
45-seat space will have a long 18-seat all-copper Spanish-style
counter (it’s where you will find me parked with my hazards
on) and will encourage a fun and casual vibe—starting with
no uniforms for the wait staff. It’s a smaller space (it
was formerly Pizza My Heart) and the design was a collaboration
with Tim Murphy, who was the architect behind Frisson. The rustic
look is more Old World than New World, with a stained concrete
floor the color of a deep mahogany, with rich rosewood and copper
wine list has 100 bottles that are all from Spain, many from
the south, except a white and red from Lodi. Most will cost between
$20-$45, with a by-the-glass program that will actually be based
on 250ml carafinas, which comes out to a glass and half (most
will hover around $10, with one at $13). There will also be a
house blend, part of the new Bodegas Laïola line—the first
will be Borracho y Loco, a custom blend made with fruit from Sonoma.
The boys are gunning for a grand opening to the public by early
July. Dinner will start at 5pm nightly, staying open until 10:30pm,
and until 11:30pm Fri–Sat. 2031 Chestnut St. at Fillmore,
the Lower Haight, ~BAGHDAD
an Iraqi restaurant, is opening August 1, just next door to Zuzu
Petals. The owner of the building, Husain Nasir, has dreamed for
the past 12 years of having his own place that would serve Iraqi-style
Arabic cuisine, so he’s beyond excited. The chef is coming
from Iraq, and will be preparing authentic dishes like biryani
and one called snobar with lamb, pine nuts, and walnuts, plus okra
with lamb and tomato sauce. Many dishes will come from the tandoori,
including some naan breads. The two-level will have 49 seats. It’s meant to be spacious, comfy, and casual, with
an exotic and colorful look. Dinner to start, with lunch later
on. Beer and wine will be available. And expect some belly dancing
shows. 682 Haight St. at Pierce.
changes in the 94117: ~LE
MÉTRO CAFÉ~ on Divisadero
served their last Frenchie dinner on Sunday night, June 10.
They are closing for a (hoped-for) two weeks, and when they
reopen, according to my source, it will be called Kathmandu,
serving small plates of Nepalese food for $10 and under, with plans
to stay open late, until 1am. (Owner Roshan and his wife Sharadha
are from Nepal.) I see some future confusion with the tiny family-run
just a few blocks away, on Fulton and Divis. 311 Divisadero St.
at Page, 415-552-0903.
dueling business arrangement on Divisadero will be happening
when a ~yet-unnamed Texas-style
BBQ joint~ opens
on Divisadero at McAllister, just two blocks away from Lilly’s-Bar-B-Que
(formerly known as Brother-In-Laws, AKA the pit that I can smell
from my apartment when the wind is right). I have to say, my mouth
began to water when I started hearing the line-up: slooooooow-smoked
brisket, pork ribs, chicken, and links made by someone specially
chosen for the task, so the casing will be less tough/more refined.
There will be 20 seats, with a long banquette and tables—the
space is being designed by Architects II (who also recently did
Mexico DF—more on that in a sec). The project is from Regional
Burrell and Al Bourges, friends who met playing racquetball some
20 years ago. Beer and wine will be served, and the plan is to
be able to phone/fax in orders for take-out. Opening is slated
for September. 853 Divisadero St. at McAllister.
had a chance to catch up with ~EDDIE
the former executive chef of The
Alembic in the Haight, who just returned from some world
travels, including an extensive trip to Sierra Leone (where his
90-year-old father lives and is from). Blyden has some exciting
plans brewing for a new space in the Mission, at 18th St. and
Treat. These details are VERY preliminary, but he is opening
a restaurant/café with
some serious global vibe, cooking personal food from the numerous
traveled (expect some inspiration from Sierra Leone to figure prominently).
The space will feel tropical and funky, with some fun details,
like a terrace for Saturday night barbecues (here’s hoping!).
He’s considering communal tables, and there’s a potential
spot for a movie screen—and of course there will be plenty
of music. It’s
all taking shape for now, so expect a detailed update from me come
August or so.
temporary closure: the ~BIG
4 RESTAURANT~ in the Huntington Hotel is closing from July 2–August 1;
they have to replace the aging and erratic freight elevator that
transports practically everything up five floors from the street
below, from linens to food and liquor. They also might try to get
the bathrooms renovated to be more ADA-compliant as well during
the closure. The Big 4 bar, however, will remain open, so you can
still enjoy your cocktails with some piano on the side. 1075 California
St. at Taylor, 415-771-1140.
in Noe Valley, ~BISTRO
1689~ has closed. The word is that it will turn into a casual Indian
joint, but I haven’t been able to confirm this part of the
news yet—will keep you posted. 1689 Church St. at 29th St.
in Bernal are going to be pretty stoked with a new market and
butcher shop opening in July called ~AVEDANO'S
HOLLY PARK MARKET~. The project comes from Tia Harrison,
the executive chef and partner in Sociale,
along with Angela Wilson, of Divine Chai Tea company, and Melanie
Eisman, who is part of the staff at Sociale. The space was historically
the home of a butcher shop, since 1901. The most recent incarnation
was as Cicero’s Meat Market; Harrison named it Avedano’s
in honor of her Italian grandparents who emigrated from Asti. The
market will have meat and fish, with a focus on organic, local,
wild, and sustainable products. Harrison is also excited about
showcasing the best of seasonal produce, offering access to some
producers that normally only sell to chefs There will be a variety
of take-out items for sale, like house-made sauces, fresh pastas,
soups, and panini. They are also launching a line of quick and
healthy baby food, like fresh purees and gourmet Spaghetti O’s,
along with a totally decadent line of cookies (I got an “advance
taste” of a couple—in a word, yum).
In three months or so, expect to see some house-cured meats, too.
Opening hours will be 11am–8pm, Tue–Sun. 235 Cortland
Ave. at Bocana.
Opening this week:
DF~, the new Mexico City-style restaurant
in SoMa should be open by this Thursday! For a refresher on the
project, check out my write-up from April here.
Hello carnitas by the pound. 139 Steuart St. at Howard, 415-808-1048.
~DUCCA~ starts lunch tomorrow (for hotel guests
only), June 13, and dinner on June 21. 50 Third St. at Market,
adjacent to The Westin San Francisco Market Street, 415-977-0271.
listen up winos, for the fifth year in a row, every bottle on
every wine list at each of Lark
Creek Restaurant Group's
Bay Area restaurants (excluding Yankee Pier SFO) will be offered
at half price for brunch, lunch, and dinner throughout the entire
month of July—that’s more than 800 different labels
in their all-American wine collection. Restaurants in the group
include The Lark Creek Inn in Larkspur; One Market Restaurant and
San Francisco; Lark Creek Walnut Creek; Yankee Pier in Larkspur
and at Santana Row in San Jose; and Parcel 104 at the Santa Clara
Marriott (Friday and Saturday only). Drink up!
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply
to this email!