|JUNE 26, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Okay,
coffee fanatics, this is major, as in majorly cool—and
I finally get to write about it. After searching for over a year
and looking at over 50 places, James Freeman of Blue Bottle is
going to be opening ~BLUE
BOTTLE CAFÉ~ right off the upcoming Mint
Plaza and boy, is it going to be swell.
The café is going into the 800-square-foot back space of
the Provident Loan building; an interesting fact is the building
is an exact blueprint from a Provident Loan Society building in
New York. Heck, this historic building was even reportedly mentioned
in a Dashiell Hammet book. The front of the SF building was built
in the 1910s and will continue to house the higher-end pawn shop/collateral
lender, San Francisco Provident
off of Mission Street, while Blue Bottle will be moving into the
back area which was added in the 1920s.
this: 18-foot ceilings with period detail, incredible light,
and let’s talk about the café!
Plan on full coffee service plus some special coffees that will
be made from some very special machines (I’ll
have to get back to you on that later—James Freeman couldn’t
reveal more at this point). A couple granitas will be offered—one
coffee (duh) and a seasonal one. Paul
Einbund of Coi
is helping with the wine list—there will be four to five
glasses available ($5-$12), a beer, and knowing Paul, of course
there will be a Madeira.
of Freeman’s pals from the Ferry Building will be helping
out, including Soyoung Scanlan who will be helping with some imported
cheeses plus some from Andante as well, and Ryan Farr, the chef
de cuisine of Elizabeth Faulkner’s new project Orson is
offering some advice on the edibles (there will be perfect poached
eggs and toast in the am, and charcuterie in the pm). Chris Ray,
the builder, did the Miette patisserie in the Ferry
Building and the confiserie in Hayes Valley—Ray will be busy
adding the entrance off of Jessie Street. There will be a few tables
and a long bar, but what will really beckon is the sunny plaza
seating outside. If things proceed well, Freeman is hoping for
an opening by Halloween. Address (for now) is 66 Mint Street, until
the upcoming entrance on Jessie St. is ready.
Speaking of coffee, seems like I need one because I had no idea
the ~PHIL’Z~ location at 18th Street and
Sanchez in the Castro had closed until I went to get an iced coffee
this weekend, to no avail. According to the Phil’z website things went kaput in the business relationship, so that’s
that. You can still get your Phil’z at the original location
in the Mission at 3101 24th St. at Folsom, and the new SoMa location
at 201 Berry St. at 4th St.
After snagging some serious stars (try three and a half) from
the Chronicle while at PlumpJack Cafe, executive chef ~JAMES
SYHABOUT~ is returning to Manresa, this time as the chef
de cuisine (he previously worked under David Kinch for three years
in the Manresa kitchen). Rick Riess, CEO of PlumpJack Group, had
the following to say, "We are disappointed to see James go
and appreciate his efforts and PlumpJack Cafe, but understand his
desire to get involved with biodynamic farming and wish him all
the best in his career and future endeavors." Syhabout’s
last day will be July 14. I had two meals there and really enjoyed
his flair—now it’s yet another reason to go hit the
408 and visit Manresa.
in Bernal, the former Aura location is reopening sometime in
early to mid July (say, maybe July 10–17) as ~TINDERBOX
experimental American bistro with a foundation on sustainable food
and wine.” The partners want to offer a youthful interpretation
of American cuisine, offering a fresh and global take on Cali dining.
The project comes from Ryan Russell, who founded Hot Rod Pantry,
the in-house catering outfit for 111 Minna. Russell has brought
on Blair Warsham, whose resume includes working as the executive
sous chef at the General’s Daughter in Sonoma, two years
under Daniel Humm at Campton Place, and some gigs in Europe (you
can read his entire bio here)—he
will be co-cheffing with Russell, and will be a partner in both
the restaurant and Russell’s catering company, which will be utilizing Tinderbox’s
menu will feature some playful additions, like the Tinderbox
Special, a nightly deluxe appetizer that is a tasting of three
items presented in a steel box with porcelain inserts, and will
run $11–$12. There will also be the “Keeping It Bernal” prix-fixe
menu, with a starter, entrée, and your choice of dessert
or a glass of wine that will run in the mid to high $20s. One
potential sample menu that floated my way included a starter of
crude hamachi with summer melon ribbon, steeped prosciutto and
mint oil; banana-wrapped chicken on garlic-potato whip with crispy
Kaffir lime leaves for the main; and basil pudding on basil seed
syrup with honeycomb for dessert.
on board is Omar White from Pizzaiolo, who will be the GM and
overseeing the wine list; John Ragan, now the wine director at
Eleven Madison Park in New York (we lost him from Campton Place,
along with Daniel Humm) will be consulting on the list, along
with Peter Eastlake of Vintage Berkeley (sounds like one hell
of a list). Additional elements will include a strong music focus
(the host and a partner, Miles Clark, is a sound engineer around
town), rotating art by local artists, and they are trying to
be as green as possible, using 100% recycled fabrics on the high-backed
banquettes, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified hardwoods
on the large L-shaped bar, cork wall paneling, and no VOC (volatile
organic compounds) paints. Russell designed the 40-seat space,
giving it a clean and modern style, with suede chairs, copper-topped
tables, and there is also a private room with room for 8–10
people. It will be open for dinner, 5:30pm–10pm Tue–Sun
(until 11pm Fri–Sat), and serving wine and beer until
midnight and a late dining offering; there are also plans for brunch
soon. 803 Cortland Ave. at Ellsworth, 415-285-TBOX (8269).
this is going to bum some folks out, because this place cracks
me up every time I’ve been there: the wacky and downright
rowdy ~COUNTRY STATION SUSHI~ in the Mission is
closing on June 30 after ten years in that location. The landlord
is rebuilding and making some drastic structural changes, so they
have to close. No more mariachi sushi. The landlord offered the
owners the space to eventually have their business there again,
but it doesn’t
seem to be in the cards at the moment. A few members of the staff
can be found at Tamasei Sushi, including the owner and his wife,
who opened the space about six months ago. Country Station: 2140
Mission St. at 17th, 415-861-0972. Tamasei: 3856 24th St. at Vicksburg,
~SAKE LAB~ on Broadway has been sold, and is
morphing into Horizon, a bar/lounge/restaurant that will be launching
in early September. The new owners are Duc Luu and Victoria La,
who have brought on Ola Fendert of Oola to consult and help manage
the business. More details will be forthcoming since they are still
working out the concept, but gourmet burgers and a casual late-night
vibe were a few things that were mentioned. Look for more details
in the coming months. 498 Broadway at Kearny.
I mentioned last week that ~CHRIS WRIGHT~ is
no longer at Aqua—he is now at ~BONG
Can’t wait to see what ends up getting paired with the delicious
shrimp cupcakes, heh. Speaking of pairings, Bong Su has a pretty
groovy private wine tasting opportunity that was previously only
offered to those “in the know.” Bong Su’s beverage
director, John McDaniel, hosts complimentary private tastings for
guests with dinner reservations at the restaurant—simply
arrange a tasting with McDaniel in Bong Su’s tasting room
prior to your meal. Upon arrival, guests are shown into the wine
room, which contains wines from around the world, including boutique
selections from Croatia, Hungary, and the Napa Valley. McDaniel
will offer a tasting of wines that pair with small bites from chef
Tammy Huynh. It’s also a great time for guests to ask McDaniel
about wines they might want to pair with their dinner later. Yes,
it’s free. The tastings begin at 5:30pm and are for groups
of up to eight people. 311 3rd St. at Folsom, 415-536-5800.
the higher-end menu at ~LA
TERRASSE~ just wasn’t what the
public wanted (why am I not surprised?) so the menu has changed
to a brasserie a la carte style. Items on the menu include moules
frites with Pernod, steak frites with béarnaise, and some
nightly rotating specials (Monday, cassoulet; Friday, bouillabaisse)—you
can check out the entire menu on the website.
Don’t forget there is also breakfast and lunch, and there
are now heat lamps for the patio, bonus. 215 Lincoln Blvd., 415-922-DINE.
in Potrero Hill, the ~GARDEN OF TRANQUILITY~ has
closed, and a sushi place is opening called Live Sushi Bar. It
should be open either Sunday July 1, or Monday July 2. The owner
has been managing over at Mikado, and the sushi chef is from Ebisu.
Lunch is Mon–Sat 11am–3pm, and dinner nightly, opening
at 5pm. 2001 17th St. at Vermont, 415-861-8610.
just a hop and a skip away, ~GRAND
PU BAH~ (which means “the great
has opened in the Potrero/Showplace Square for lunch and dinner.
The menu is Thai and features some seafood specialties, the joint
is open late, there is a full bar, and the look is pretty slick
(you can take a peek at some photos on Yelp.
Open for lunch Mon–Sat 11am–4pm, dinner Sun–Thu
4pm–12am, Fri–Sat 4pm–2am. 88 Division St. at
Henry Adams, 415-255-8188.
opened last Thursday in the old Juni space, offering an array
of sushi, sashimi, Asian tapas (like seared Hokkaido scallop with
carrot mousse, apple-wood smoked bacon, shiitake mushrooms, maitake
mushrooms, and shiso oil), and some specialty rolls from chef-owner
Ming Hwang, and his sous chef, Liam Arroyo. You can read up on
more deets from my original post back in May here.
Dinner is served nightly from 5:30pm–10:30pm. A late-night
menu and live entertainment (think jazz and blues) are happening
from 10:30pm–1am. 1217 Sutter St. at Polk, 415-931-6951.
those of you in the restaurant industry, there is a ~THIRD
MEETING~ this Thursday, June 28, at Tres Agaves at 3pm.
The agenda includes discussing the results of the recent restaurant
poll, including tip credit issues, and hopefully agree upon specific
action plans. 130 Townsend St. at 2nd.
more tidbit: for those of you following the ~SF WEEKLY CCA
STORY~, here’s a piece
about the aftermath from the expose they did.
Lastly, I heard an update from a coordinator involved in saving
the ~JOHN BARLEYCORN~: “We
have secured a three-month extension of the lease, so the pub will
be in business through September. We have a full slate of events
planned for July and August to help publicize the situation...
Our open letter/petition asking Luisa Hanson to renew the pub's
lease has exceeded 3,000 signatures, and we have the backing of
the district's business and neighborhood associations, as well
as its politicians, so we are hopeful that we can change Ms. Hanson's
mind.” For those interested in helping out, or with questions,
there is a message line: 415-673-2919.
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply
to this email!