|SEPTEMBER 11, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO So
word on the street is executive chef ~MICHELLE
leaving Kimpton’s Ponzu,
and has a project in the works with Joie De Vivre Hospitality.
I’m not allowed to say what the project is yet, but there
are six new sites JDV is working on, and three of them are Bay
Area locations. All I know is it will be a new bistro concept debuting
in 2008—I’ll let you know more in a couple weeks. For
now, Mah is joining JDV at the end of September, which is also
when their 20th anniversary party is happening!
old Splendido and then mysterious Monte Cristo Cafe space (like,
how did that place stay open for so long?) in Embarcadero Four
will now be home to ~SENS
throw some French pronunciation on that name and you’ve got
here for further edification). The project is from executive chef Michael
Dotson (formerly of Evvia, Heirloom, Slow Club, and PlumpJack Café in
both San Francisco and in Tahoe), GM and sommelier Saeed Amini (Evvia,
Cetrella, Robert Mondavi Golden Vine Winery) and pastry chef Shuna
Lydon (French Laundry, Bouchon, Aziza, Citizen Cake). Each brings
a minimum of 15 years’ restaurant experience to the table,
and all have been working very collaboratively on the project.
Like, pouring lots and lots of love into it. Expect a lip-smacking
menu evocative of Southern Mediterranean cuisine, primarily Turkish,
North African, and Greek, made with a light hand. Considering Dotson
and Lydon met at the farmers’ market, and the restaurant’s
proximity to the Ferry Building, local and sustainable ingredients
will be figuring high on the menu (they are calling the style “Sustainable
few preliminary menu items include starters like chicken brodo
with cauliflower citrus dumplings, squash blossoms, and marjoram;
grilled octopus with fennel, fresh shell beans, piquillo
peppers, and mint pistou; mains include grilled lamb loin chops
breast, slow-cooked dandelion, quince, and chickpeas; and Wolfe
Ranch Quail with clams, Merguez sausage, escarole, and fingerling
potatoes. Sounds delish, no? Some desserts include warm chocolate,
cocoa cake, Shuna's famous hot fudge sauce, and cardamom ice cream,
and Woodleaf farm peach sorbet, toasted kataifi, Manouri cheese,
and verbena-butter sautéed peaches. The wine list will prominently
feature biodynamic and organic wines, and there will also be a
really groovy array of non-alcoholic drinks. The opening is slated
for October 1, with lunch and dinner offered. The 225-seat space
includes a spacious patio, a lounge, and all kinds of private dining
options. I always liked the view, the light, and the nice stonework.
Sounds like a lovely new addition to the area. Four Embarcadero
Center, Promenade Level, 415-362-0645.
More news after my Mediterranean heart: opening in the former Just
Desserts space in the Castro will be ~GUSTOFINO FINE FOODS~,
a specialty market and café offering in-house dining or
gourmet dishes to go. There will be home-style hot foods, like
two kinds of lasagne and chicken alla diavola, plus salads (like
beet and goat cheese, pesto pasta, mixed greens, risotto), panini,
focaccia pizza, antipasti (salumi, olives, cheeses), pastry (90%
of it will be house-made), and Blue Bottle Coffee. The shelves
will also feature local and imported foods, from Acme Bread to
olive oil, from here and afar. Owner Matt Rutledge, who went to
culinary school in Italy and graduated from the restaurant management
program at the CCA is working closely with his mother, who has
come out of retirement to help her son with the new biz (she has
extensive experience in running delis, go mom). There will be a
spacious patio with umbrellas, lights, and a fountain, with room
for 40. There will be room for 20 inside, plus an espresso/wine
bar with whole beans for sale, and whole bottles of wine, too.
The soft opening is slated for October 8, and the grand opening
will be later in the month. Gustofino will be open from 7am–10pm
daily. 248 Church St. between 15th and Market.
After mucho project delays and a recent fire, ~BOULANGE
DE HAYES~ is nearing completion and should be open by
the end of month or so. This Boulange outpost will offer both
indoor and outdoor seating, and will potentially be offering
catering in the future. Open daily 7am–7pm. 500 Hayes St.
at Octavia, 415-863-3376.
working at Cortez since its opening with the Hatfields, ~NICK
FLORES~, the talented pastry chef, is heading over
to work at Myth.
His first day is this Thursday. Look for his innovative desserts
with fresh seasonal ingredients and always a fun little twist.
470 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery, 415-677-8986.
I was bummed to miss the ~CHEFS COOK OFF FOR AFTER SCHOOL~ event
at Jack Falstaff over Labor Day weekend, but I did want to report
on the winners for you! The girls kicked some kitchen booty: Elizabeth
Falkner (Citizen Cake) and Christine Mullen (Cav) beat out the
boys, Joseph Manzare (Tres Agaves, Zuppa, Pescheria, Globe) and
Hiro Sone (Ame, Terra). The other challenge had restaurant chefs
Nate Appleman (A16) and Craig Stoll (Delfina) victorious over TV
chefs Tyler Florence and Joey Altman—reportedly Stoll’s
hand-cranked cavatelli machine from Italy rocked the judges hard.
There was also a Master Mixologist competition, with five bartenders
competing to make the next classic cocktail with a secret spirit,
which was Oronoco Rum. Ronaldo Colli from Americano was the winner
with his drink, “Romeo,” spiked with fresh red chile.
of PlumpJack land, the new executive chef of ~PLUMPJACK
CAFE~ in Cow Hollow is the talented Tyson Greenwood,
who was most recently the sous under James Syhabout (who left
to return to Manresa’s kitchen in Los Gatos). Greenwood,
29, earned his chops at Masa’s and Auberge up north, and
has time in Europe in his history as well. A peek at a recent
menu reveals starters like soup of Brentwood corn with huckleberries
and sherry gel, and a tuna tartare has reappeared on the menu:
big eye tuna tartare with Yellow Doll watermelon, Thai cardamom,
and white soy. Some mains include roast of Berkshire pork, with
braised shoulder, dandelion greens, pimiento de Padron, and Charentais
melon jus; and rack of Sonoma lamb with Imperator carrot mousse,
tarragon, and chocolate jus. 3127 Fillmore St.
at Filbert, 415-563-4755.
trouble scoring a dinner reservation at ~SPRUCE~?
Now you can go check it out at lunch instead—it’s
a perfect spot for a biz lunch. Open Mon–Fri
for lunch from 11:30am–2:30pm. 3640 Sacramento
St. at Spruce, 415-931-5100.
25 years, Max’s Classic Opera Café has reopened
as ~MAX’S AT THE OPERA~, with a new menu
and look (it’s still casual, just a bit more “casual
sophisticated”). Small plates after 8pm have been added to
the menu, but the singing servers remain untouched! Open Sun–Tue
11:30am–10pm, and 11:30am–11:30pm Fri–Sat. 601
Van Ness Ave. at Golden Gate, 415-771-7300.
Potpie fans, raise your forks: chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls of the ~BIG
4~ at the Huntington Hotel is offering
tastings of her famous chicken pot pie with two other kinds, braised
buffalo short rib and porcini mushroom potpie, and Maine lobster-rock
shrimp sweet corn potpie. The potpie trio will be on the Big 4
menu from Sep. 19–21.
1075 California St. at Taylor, 415-771-1140.
Cheese-o-holics, did you know the ~CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN
FRANCISCO~ has opened in new, bigger digs? It’s
now in North Beach, and a new round of classes have just begun!
Classes are generally held in the evenings, and are $60 per person.
Check out the Fall 2007
schedule for more information. 2155 Powell St., between Chestnut and Francisco,
restaurants, markets, and specialty food makers: have you heard
of the upcoming ~EAT
LOCAL WEEK~ in
San Francisco? The first-ever event will be held September 23–29.
From the press release: “Restaurants
will offer daily specials made from 100% local ingredients; stores
and markets will feature displays emphasizing local products; area
farmers, ranchers and specialty manufacturers will offer tastings
in select locations; and neighborhood associations will offer special
events inspired by the Eat Local theme. Participating restaurants
include La Folie, Sutro’s at the Cliff House, Jackson Fillmore,
Scott Howard and New Delhi. All San Francisco stores, restaurants,
markets and other food oriented businesses are invited to be listed
year round on the Eat
Local website for a nominal administrative fee
($60). Area farmers, ranchers
and manufacturers of any consumable product sold in San Francisco
are also encouraged to register. An Eat Local newsletter keeping
the public advised of future events is also available by sign up
on the website.” The project
comes from San Francisco Small Business Commission vice president
Jordanna Thigpen, with support and underwriting from the Council
of District Merchant Councils. What is local, you ask? Any product
produced, grown, or sourced within a four-hour drive or a 250-mile
radius of San Francisco. Lets support local farmers and producers,
keep our money local, and our fuel consumption low. Readers, visit
the website and see what locally focused businesses and restaurants
you can support. For more information contact Jordanna Thigpen
at 415-409-4743 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I fully enjoyed a TWO-go boxed lunch when I was heading off to
Coachella and needed to bring something to eat while driving the
bleak I-5 strip to LA. Now TWO
is launching ~GOURMET TWO-GO AND READY TWO-COOK~.
Gourmet TWO-Go includes a selection of house-made stocks, dressings,
demi-glaces and other specialty items available for purchase via
the restaurant website, like Smoked Lamb & Garlic Sausage and
Double Smoked Bacon ($5), and the chive biscuits ($5 per dozen). Meanwhile,
Ready-TWO-Cook offers ready-to-make meals from TWO’s menu,
with ingredients that are measured, prepped, and packaged
with instructions for easy preparation at home—all dishes
take less than 15 minutes and can be ordered for any number of
servings. So the next time you want a meaty dinner, consider the
slow roasted marrowbones with caramelized onion broth and crusty
bread ($8) or braised lamb cheeks with creamy polenta ($12). Everything
can ordered online at www.two-sf.com and
picked up via the restaurant’s drive-through courtyard. Ready-TWO-Cook
dishes must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance; Gourmet TWO-go
items can be ordered within 30 minutes (unless it’s Sunday,
when TWO is closed). 22 Hawthorne St. at Howard, 415-777-9779.
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