|SEPTEMBER 18, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO After a month or so of Patrick Robertson acting as executive chef
at ~SCALA'S BISTRO/DRAKE RESTAURANTS~, presto
change-o, he has departed. The official statement is as follows: “This
is a mutual decision, made with the best interest of the restaurants
in mind. Scala's has begun a new chef search with the goal of creating
the best possible fit for the restaurant.” It’s like
Cinderella! 432 Powell St. at Post, 415-395-8555.
After landing two and a half stars in a dining update from The
Chronicle just a month ago, opening chef Noah Tucker has
left ~BRICK RESTAURANT~ (his wife landed a job in Amsterdam). Taking over as executive
chef is Alex Marsh, who was the executive chef of Solstice—Marsh will
continue overseeing Solstice’s kitchen with the help of
his sous chef, who has been there for two years. I spoke with
one of Brick’s partners, Matt Strum, and he said Brick’s
former molecular gastronomy angle is out the window (so say goodbye
to the scrumptious Buffalo chicken wings with Gorgonzola foam—they
just flew the coop) and guests can look for more accessible dishes,
prices, and portions. The new menu should be intact by mid-October,
but a few additions for now include 11-hour short ribs ($20),
pancetta-wrapped whole quail ($17), and a beet and blue cheese
lasagne with Swiss chard, roasted shiitakes, and herb salad ($15).
changes at Brick: there will be a new pastry chef, Rikki Garcia,
who is currently at Cafe 150 at the Google complex, and was previously
at Michael Mina and Lark Creek Inn; the super-friendly GM, Leti
Saucedo, has left (she’s taking a break from the
biz)—a new GM should be announced shortly; and partner Chris
Cronk is also stepping back for the next 18 months while he gets
his MBA. That’s not all: look for the adjoining gallery space
to have some changes by the end of the year as well: the plan is
to launch a dine-in/take-out concept for neighborhood lunchers,
while keeping the space open for private events in the evening.
More on that soon. 1085 Sutter St. at Larkin, 415-441-4232.
driving me crazy that I haven’t
had time to swing by for brekkie or lunch at ~BRENDA’S
FRENCH SOUL FOOD~ yet (the crawfish beignets are callllllling
meeeeeee), but I now have one more day in the week to make it
happen: brunch on Saturday has now kicked in! I know Sunday is
the preferred day in this brunch-crazy town, but I dig Saturday
brunch much more. So yay. Check out the menu(s) here.
652 Polk St. at Eddy, 415-345-8100.
Upper Polk is the latest SF restaurant to join Madonna’s
Re-Invention tour (like TWO, CIRCA, and COCO500). The restaurant
has morphed into Bar Johnny (John Jasso is the owner), and can
be added to the ranks of restaurants around town with a small
plates format. Tablespoon’s contemporary American
style will continue, but the menu will be divvied up into a “bites” section,
with dishes like garlic truffle fries ($5), house-made charcuterie
($8), and grilled pizza ($11); plus “salads,” like melon and
duck prosciutto ($8) and smoked tuna with butter beans ($9); and
then there are dishes in the “more” section, like a flatiron steak and fries ($16), and fried chicken leg and house fries
($12). I’ve enjoyed the cocktails here since they got their
liquor license, so now you can have a casual bite to go with the
swell dranks. Dinner is served until 11pm, with a bar menu until
1am. 2209 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-268-0140.
new café alert: Andre and Jennifer Larzul, the owners
of Revolution Café, Alamo Square Seafood Grill, and Blue
Jay Café, have opened ~SOCHA~ in
the Outer Mission. The name stands for “South of Cesar
Chavez”—perhaps it will end up working like NOPA did
and put the mini-neighborhood’s name on the map. Socha has
an onsite baker churning out savories and sweets, like scallion
or red pepper and Fontina rolls, focaccia, danishes, scones, and
sandwiches. There are also some pizzas and flatbreads that will
be making even more of an appearance in the late evening once the
beer and wine license is approved, hopefully by the end of the
month—which will mean later hours, too. Coffee is from Fabrice
Moschetti in Santa Rosa. The space has groovy
art (currently artwork from Leif
Wold and Susan
Matthews is up), and free
WiFi too, with plans for acoustic music and films in the future.
Hours are 8am–7pm daily. 3235 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-643-6848.
on 24th Street, ~ROOSEVELT’S
TAMALE PARLOR~ has
new owners: Hector Flores, who was in the kitchen at Don Pico’s
in San Bruno for eight years, and his wife, who was at Pancho Villa
for close to ten. The restaurant has been closed while becoming
ADA compliant, and should be open in a couple weeks—by early October.
The new menu will feature some seafood ceviches and a Don Pico’s-style
menu, with a diminished focus on tamales. 2817 24th St. at
a few doors over at ~LA TORTA GORDA~,
there’s a new chef from Mexico City working there who is
reportedly integrating more classical and regional dishes on the
menu (don’t worry, Armando’s perfect tortas aren’t
going anywhere). I was told there is some killer mole the chef
brought back from Puebla right now, too. Oh, and the back patio
should be open soon. 2833 24th St. at York, 415-642-9600.
is a new pizza place under construction on Valencia, just next
door to New Yorker’s Buffalo Wings, which is going
to be called, surprise surprise, ~PIZZERIA~. The
reveal many details yet, but based on what I’ve heard
and have been able to dig up, it’s slated to open next
month, and will serve thin-crust pizzas and pasta. I also heard
the brick oven was something like 6,000 pounds, and was installed
with a forklift. I found a link
to some construction pictures if you’re interested in
looking at the space. I’ll let you know more when the
owner can talk! 663 Valencia St. at 18th.
closure really has me bothered. And I’m not alone.
San Francisco has lost one of the best Mediterranean places in
SPIRIT~ on Polk has suddenly closed. Like, what?
WHAT? No more of their incomparable falafel, and chicken shwarma,
and perfect hummus, and fluffy pitas, all served with a smile
and warmth? I thought we all had the spirit? Heck. This totally
sucks. Does anyone know what happened? I have no way to get in
touch with Khalil and Lubna to find out—the number is disconnected. Insert unhappy face
here. 1303 Polk St. at Bush.
closure: after 120 years and four generations of business in
the Wharf, ~A.
SABELLA’S~ is closing on November 3.
General manager Antone Sabella is ready to move on (after 45
years in the restaurant, I would be too), and is looking forward
to some travel, while sister Laureen is “really
going to miss the food.” There are a lot of employees who
have been working there for years, including a sauté cook
who started in 1967 as a dishwasher, so it’s certainly a
sad closure for many. As for the fate of the space, it seems there
are a couple offers the family is presently negotiating, I’ll
keep you posted. 2766 Taylor St., 3rd Floor, at Jefferson, 415-771-6775.
After eight years in Hayes Valley, ~FRJTZ~ has
closed—the landlord wasn’t up for renewing the lease.
A new Frjtz is slated to open by the holidays a few doors down,
at 581 Hayes—the space was formerly the furniture store,
Montauk. And there’s the new location that recently opened
in the Mission.
promoted Sarah Ballard to pastry chef. She has been at the restaurant
since its opening in October 2006, and was formerly at Frascati.
230 California St. at Battery, 415-955-0663.
this world we live in is really lovely and magical, and other
times it is just so disheartening and bleak. I was disgusted
with the news that the former Top Chef contestant from season
SMITH-MALAVE~, was gay bashed with her friend, Emily Durwood,
and sister, Julie Smith, in Sea Cliff, New York, over the Labor
Day weekend. The Advocate has some details about the vicious incident and
now one person has been arrested, details
Time for some corrections: I was misinformed about the winner
of the cocktail competition at the ~CHEF'S COOK-OFF FOR
AFTER SCHOOL~ event at Jack Falstaff—it should have
been Zole Andahazy, the bar manager/bistro manager from Bernardus
Lodge! Sorry about that. While we’re at it, it also
ends up the antique cavatelli machine from Italy belonged to Nate
Appleman of A16, not Craig Stoll. Double doh!
(and pumpkin heads), this Thursday you can pick up some produce
5pm–7pm—ends up Mariquita is drowning in tomatoes and
pumpkins and peppers. And basil. These produce drop-offs will be
on an every-other week schedule, likely through the winter! From
Mariquita: “We will have sugar pie pumpkins and the butternut-like
Zucchettas. Sugar pies are $4/each or 4 pumpkins for $10. (we leave
some good amount of stem on so they work well as carvers/decorations)
Zucchettas (GREAT fall decorations!) are large: at least 2 feet
long, most of them. They are $5/each or 3 for $10. Also: tomatoes
are cheaper for this delivery: Andy said we have way too many!
See the website for
more details. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org with
your orders by 9am on Wed. Sept. 19th.” Oh, and on Sunday
Sept. 23 there will be a Upick
you can score 50 cent a pound heirloom/San Marzano tomatoes! There’s
a pumpkin patch, too.
fall is here…
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply
to this email!