11, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Things
are seriously ticking in the Fillmore. Opening this Friday is the ~SUNDANCE
CINEMAS KABUKI~ in
Japantown. The multi-level project will include a cheese and wine
bar, with a wine list from Courtney Cochran of Hip
Tastes. Cochran tells me indie films inspired the 100-strong
selections: they’re small production, handmade wines with
a dash of flair (you know, a little quirk, like an indie flick!).
There will be an adventurous list of 25 wines available by the
glass at the wine bar (which you can take into the theaters), and
all 100 selections will be offered in the 130-seat restaurant next
door, Kabuki Kitchen.
about the restaurant: executive chef Vince Schofield, who has
worked at Boulevard and traveled and studied in Italy, has put
together a totally revamped menu of New American-Mediterranean
fare. A preliminary menu includes some SF classics, like a Little
Gem salad with Green Goddess dressing, and Dungeness cioppino,
along with small plates like shaved squash salad with a poached
egg; Coca-Cola pork ribs; and house-made chorizo with fried garbanzo
beans and tomatoes in a garlic paprika broth. Larger plates may
include a roasted game hen with sausage and spinach hash; pan-seared
pork chop al pastor; grilled sea bass; plus pastas; pizza; and
a burger made from Niman Ranch beef. The urban casual look features
a lot of steel, neutral colors, and there’s a counter overlooking
an open kitchen. Open 5pm–10pm nightly.
also a bistro, with both wine and vittles available, like pizzas,
make-your-own cheese plates, panini (spicy coppa, ham, and provolone
panino, here I come!), etc., plus a full-service 21-and-over
bar, offering high-end spirits and more bites; the
bar is made from reclaimed wood, and there is also a woven carpet,
and cool lighting. For the record, you don’t have to have
a movie ticket to visit the bistro or bar. Oh, and sweet detail:
you can reserve your seats in advance in the eight-screen theater.
This place is seriously going to become an all-in-one date destination.
1881 Post St. at Fillmore.
A bit further up the street, I know many have been wondering what
was moving into the ~FILLMORE GRILL~ space. I
had to sit tight with the news for months, but can now release
some preliminary info: Come March 1, ~THE LONG BAR AND
BISTRO~ will be opening in its place. The owner is Alan
Walsh, who is starting a new era of Irish ownership of the restaurant;
he has worked as a bartender at Campton Place, Pebble Beach, and
the Park Hyatt. The Fillmore Grill has been closed since March
31, but due to legal issues, the project hit some snags and delays—now
things are on track. The Long Bar will be a classic establishment,
with a look inspired by old-school hotel bars. The mahogany bar
is 30 feet long, and there will be dark woods, rich colors, three
fans suspended from the tall 17-foot ceilings, plus there will
be outdoor seating under heated awnings. There will also be high-top
tables close to the front windows, ideal for cocktails or a bite,
along with tables along the length of the room, and booths in the
back for more formal dining. The walls will be padded for noise
abatement in the 80-seat room, the bathrooms are being remodeled,
and painting begins soon. I’ll release more info about the
dining style and chef when I’m given clearance. Look for
dinner to start, with early hours for the bar. 1301 Fillmore St.
vegans and vegetarians: Here’s a new place to potentially
add to your roster! I got a notice about a recent restaurant opening, ~ALL
ABOUT HERBS~, a vegetarian restaurant that opened near
Union Square. (No, it’s not your latest pot club.) The restaurant
shares the Paris Café space (although there are two separate
kitchens), and according to the email I received, “specializes
in contemporary Asian fusion vegetarian and vegan cuisine. All
dishes are created just to order, blending the freshest local ingredients
with traditional spices to create delicious and healthy vegetarian
meals… Our cuisine is influenced by the flavors and styles
across Southeast Asia and all of our dishes are completely animal-free.” Some
dishes on the menu include a spicy lemongrass salad; laab made
with tofu, roasted ground rice, dry chili, mint, shallots, and
fresh lime; a few soups including a five-spice soup with egg and
shiitakes; and a red curry (with no fake meats). Let me know if
someone has checked it out! Open for dinner Mon–Sat 5:30pm–10pm.
704 Post St. at Jones, 415-292-6856.
GraceAnn Walden had the (sad) scoop that Roy Fong’s original ~IMPERIAL
TEA COURT~ in Chinatown is closing by year’s end. You can still visit
the Ferry Building Marketplace and Berkeley locations. 1411 Powell
St. at Broadway, 415-788-6080.
the new beer and wine tavern in the Mission, was originally hoping
to open tomorrow, Wednesday, but that’s not looking likely.
So, when will you be admiring a nice pour? “Soon” is
the best we have right now. Will let you know next week if it opened!
3141 16th St., at the corner of Albion, between Valencia and Guerrero,
Also in the Mission, ~CAVA22~ opened
in the former (and somewhat cursed, but let’s change that) Bahia Restaurant
space. Look for Spanish-French-Latino tapas from chef Roman Beltran,
whose kitchen history includes COCO500, Dry Creek Kitchen, and
Splendido. There is also a full bar, with fifty-plus tequilas (look
for even more handcrafted tequilas to come). The exterior is nicely
spruced up, with chocolate and gold, and the interior has high
ceilings, rustic wood tables, and warm tones of burgundy and dark
chocolate; there will also be rotating art, with the first reception
on January 14. Owners are Ramon Valle, his brother Samuel Valle,
and Roger Magaña. Hours are Mon–Thu 5:30pm–10pm,
and until 11pm Fri–Sat, with brunch 10am–3pm Sat–Sun.
The bar is open later Thu–Sat. 3239 22nd St. between Bartlett
and Mission, 415-642-7224.
Mission spot that just had its soft opening last Friday is ~BOLLYHOOD
a relative to Bissap Baobab, and just next-door to Little Baobab.
The menu offers a contemporary spin on regional Indian street food—many
dishes are vegetarian (and affordable, yay), and ingredients will
be organic and local whenever possible. The chef is Roger Feely,
who has experience at Citizen Cake and a year of cooking, teaching,
and traveling in India under his belt. The 49-seat restaurant is
designed to be a modern space with a cinematic element (movies
will either be played in the background, or expect upcoming viewings),
and a sensibility that is inclusive and playful, dabbling with
Southeast Asian/Indian, European, and American cultures. Partners
are Ivan Jaigirdar, Marco Senghor, Andrea Pezzano, and Gianmaria “Giamma” Clerici.
Look for brunch kicking in soon, and they also have a special New
Year’s Eve event,
with all three spaces open (Bollywood, Bissap Baobab, and Little
Baobab) for food, dancing, live performances, and drinks ($42).
Open Tue–Sat 5pm–midnight. 3372 19th
St. at Mission, 415-970-0632.
yesterday in Dogpatch! The delicious-sounding lunch menu from
Chris Kronner includes sandwiches like pulled pork with egg and
cheddar; a Prather Ranch hamburger; chicken pot pie; and savory
bread pudding made with king trumpet mushrooms, fennel, Emmenthaler,
greens, and roasted baby carrots (does that sound freaking incredible
or what?). For dinner there is Chantenay carrot soup; small plates
of crispy oysters; rabbit liver pate; braised buffalo short ribs
with Anson Mills stone cut oats, grilled persimmon, and erbette
chard; roasted rabbit leg with brown butter nettles and spaetzle;
and seared black cod with sunchoke and parsnip chowder. The mains
are affordable: $24.50 is the most expensive item, for the Marin
Sun Farms flat iron steak. Lunch is served Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30 pm, and
dinner Tue–Sat beginning at 6pm. 2495 Third St. at 22nd,
KITCHEN AND WINE MERCHANT~ is
slated to open for dinner this Wednesday, December 12, but remember,
opening dates can shift, just like plate tectonics. 330 First
St. at Folsom, 415-777-3200.
word that ~FIFTH
FLOOR~ is closing on January 21 for the
remodel, and is slated to reopen in mid-February. Expect new floors
and furniture, and of course that new menu no one from Aqua is
ready to reveal yet. In the meantime, chef Jennie Lorenzo has her
pre-renovation menu in place, reportedly offering classic and good
staple dishes. 12 4th St. at Stevenson, 415-348-1555.
even though this project is waaaaaaaaay off (think 2009), it
ends up the rumor I heard was true: Michael Mina and Rajat Parr
are launching a wine bar and restaurant in the ground floor of
the 58-story Millennium Tower in SOMA. It will be called ~RN74~ (named
after Route National 74, the thoroughfare that passes through France’s
Burgundy region)—similar to A16’s freeway inspiration.
Groovy New York firm AvroKo will
be designing it—I looooooove the spaces they have done in
NYC (Monday Room, Stanton Social, EU, Public). Yes, the wine list
will be fat, with a plan to offer 50 wines by the glass through
an enomatic machine (like Vino Venue’s).
The affordable menu remains TBD, but there are plans to take some
elements from regional French cuisine. Stay tuned for more in coming
months. 301 Mission St. at Beale.
like experiencing some bites of Ron Siegel’s delish
cuisine, but can’t afford the Dining
Room tasting menu prices? You can swing by the ~RITZ LOBBY
LOUNGE~ from 6pm–9:30pm for finger foods like crispy
chicken wings ($11), plates to share like bay scallops with leeks
and a carrot reduction ($21), and larger plates, like a creamy
risotto ($25). There is also fab sushi available Tue–Sat
5:30pm–9pm. 600 Stockton St. at California.
are now more late-night dining options in the NOPA ‘hood: ~POLENG
LOUNGE~ will go back to their original late hours,
and will have the kitchen open until 1am Sun–Thu (just remember it’s
closed Mondays). Nice! 1751 Fulton St. at Masonic, 415-441-1751.
let’s do some holiday chitchat. ‘Tis
the season, yo. I was happy to see this first blog
DES JARDINS~ on the Epicurious Epi Log about holiday
surprise she’s a girl after my own heart: she suggests stockpiling
Champagne, caviar, cheese, and charcuterie at home. And gougères
in the freezer. You really don’t need to leave home if you
follow her advice.
Throwing a party of your own? Here are a couple fab punch recipes
I got from Imbibe! author David Wondrich. And no, these
are not just for you to mix up for a quiet night at home by yourself.
Rocky Mountain Punch
5 bottles of Champagne
1 quart dark rum
1 pint maraschino
6 lemons sliced,
Sugar (superfine) to taste
(Some liquor recommendations from Dave: Perrier Jouet Champagne,
Goslings or Lemon Hart Rum)
Mix the above ingredients in a large punch-bowl, then place in
the center of the bowl a large block of ice (can be made by freezing
a gallon bowl full of water the night before), ornamented on top
with sliced lemons or oranges and fruits in season.
Iced Monongahela Punch
The day before you'll be making your punch, make a block of ice
by placing a quart bowl full of water in the freezer.
For the punch: Peel six lemons with a vegetable peeler. In a large
bowl, muddle the peels together with 1 cup superfine sugar until
the sugar is infused with the lemon oil. Juice the lemons and strain
the juice into the bowl. Add 1 quart water and stir until sugar is
dissolved. Remove lemon peels with a slotted spoon. Add 1 bottle
Wild Turkey 101 rye or bourbon and 2 ounces dark, full-bodied rum,
such as Gosling's Black Seal or Lemon Hart Rum.
lemons into thin wheels, float them in the bowl, slide in your
block of ice and serve. If you wish, you may grate nutmeg
over the top (do not use the pre-grated kind).
one major perk to being a food writer is exposure to all kinds
of great products, and the people who make them. I thought I’d
put together a little list of ~TEN GIFT IDEAS~ based
on some of the groovy things I have tasted, drank, read, and encountered
this past year, many of them local, because it’s good to
support your local talents and businesses.
Last week I just tasted the new line of ~INFUSED PASSOT
TROUT ROE CAVIAR~ from Tsar
Nicoulai made in conjunction with chef Roland
Passot. There is a vanilla, Kaffir lime, or brandy flavor, all
three totally lending themselves to delicious food pairings.
I liked the spark of the lime, but of course the brandy totally
won me over.
For the gourmand who has everything, how about some ~COLATURA
DI ALICI~ from Manicaretti? This fabulous little Campanian
potion is a descendent of garum, extracted during the anchovy
curing process: cleaned anchovies are layered with salt in plastic
tubs and left to cure for around five months. It’s
like an intense and pure Italian spin on fish sauce, and I loved
it on my Shanghai bok choy with garlic and red pepper—can’t
wait to top some pasta with it. You can get it at The Pasta Shop
and online at www.markethallfoods.com—here’s a link
to an article and recipe from
Melissa Clark if you want to read more.
3. One of my favorite games to play with friends is “what
would your last meal be?” (If you’re curious, here’s
what my last meal in San Francisco would be.) It felt like destiny
when I won Melanie Dunea's book, ~MY
LAST SUPPER: 50 GREAT CHEFS AND THEIR FINAL MEALS~ at
the recent Anthony Bourdain dinner (yes, it’s signed by
Tony). Perfect book for a globetrotting gourmand.
For the meat lover/salumi lover in your life, get them a subscription
because as I was quoted saying in their media kit, “Meat
is the new black.”
Of course I have to include some bubbles! Upon two sips I was
smitten with the fruity and flirty ~BRUT
DE LA POMPADOUR~ from Domaine Carneros. Gorgeous
for $36. Hmmmm, I need to get some more for New Year’s Eve!
6. Need to bring a good host/hostess gift to a party? Have you
ever tasted ~MEYER
As a little package I received in the mail fully attested, it’s
great paired with some Point
Reyes Original Blue Cheese and Red
Barn Chandler Walnuts.
Heck, buy an extra trio of these goodies for yourself and call
it a party!
a bourbon girl through and through, but I was very impressed
with the quality and flavor of ~SWAN’S
NECK VODKA~, especially the lemon
zest one, made from grapes grown on French vineyards and distilled
in copper alembics. Here’s where you can buy
it around town.
I heart cookies. I know, who doesn’t? If you don’t
have time to make some sugar cookies, check out the goods from
Laura Mandracchia, who has been a pastry chef at restaurants around
town like Circa and Fog City Diner, and has a baking company called ~LITTLE
Her cookies rock, especially the oatmeal raisin—and I’m
not even a fan of raisins. (Yup, one of the very few things on
this earth I don’t like to eat.)
For those into San Francisco history, why not buy a gift certificate
for one of ~GRACE
ANN WALDEN’S GOURMET WALKING TOURS~?
She holds them in North Beach, Nob Hill, or Chinatown, or there’s
the Food Lover’s Tour, which will take you all over the city.
This year I wrote an
article on local restaurants who make
their own hot sauces for San
Francisco magazine, and I’ll be damned if I don’t
reach for my bottle of ~YOUK’S HOT
SAUCE~ at least five times a week. It’s handmade
and bottled by Maverick’s executive chef Scott Youkilis.
I adore this stuff—it’s made from Hungarian wax peppers,
and retails for $10. You can get it at Maverick, through the website,
or at Avedano’s on
Looking for a place for a holiday lunch? A couple more places are
adding holiday lunch service around town: chef Robbie Lewis at ~BACAR~ is
cookin’ up lunch every Friday at 11:30am–2pm,
and for the holidays bacar will open for lunch on Thursday, December
13, and December 20. The new lunch menu includes the SOMA chopped
salad with hearts of romaine, smoked bacon, chopped eggs, radish,
cucumber, and avocado vinaigrette; a classic Reuben; and an open-faced
crispy trout sandwich.
open for lunch on Friday December 14 and 21, offering selections
from chef Joseph Villanueva's French Vietnamese menu (from 11:30am–2pm).
and be aware the holiday ~RESTAURANT SCAM~ continues,
with the fake group booking and cash advance mumbo jumbo. Here’s
an example of a letter sent to South:
I am Dr Adams Owen ,the director of Abbey Business center in Glasgow
Scotland .I want to book dinner for my group of workers arriving from Scotland.They
will all come for dinner in your place on 18th,19th and 20th Dec, 2007 by 7:00pm
each day. They are are 15 in number.Get back with your response if there is
availability in your restaurant.
Adams Owen ABBEY BIZ. CENTRE
Glasgow . Scotland
nothing to do tomorrow night? On Wednesday, December 12, Maverick
is featuring the Carneros institution, Havens Vineyards, and
winegrower/owner Michael Havens for a ~WINEMAKER
$72 per person (tax and gratuity not included), and includes a
four-course dinner prepared by executive chef Scott Youkilis, along
with wine pairings. A vegetarian four-course option will also be
available. Seatings are available between 6pm–10pm. For reservations,
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to