15, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Big
been brewing in Cow Hollow, well, the Triangle to be exact: Rob
Lam of butterfly
restaurant has taken over ~EASTSIDE
WEST~ and will be launching a groovy
new restaurant and lounge this spring/summer. While the concept
(and name) are still being fine tuned, look for a casual dining
establishment that will offer straightforward dishes made with
quality ingredients (read: sustainable, local, organic; think:
the perfect chicken, fresh oysters…). The menu will
rotate often based on what’s in season, and there will also
be weekly specials (meatballs and cioppino are being discussed).
Dino Vasquez, who has been working with Lam for over ten years,
will be running the kitchen. Not just any kitchen, but an all-new
kitchen, with a gorg Montague charcoal grill, woot woot. And the
best part: they will be serving after midnight.
Bermejo is putting together the drink program, so while the popular
bloody Marys and mojitos will remain, you know there is going
to be some additionally good cocktailing to be had. Some proposed
changes: the music will be less clubby but still upbeat, there
will be a strong focus on the food (so people won’t
just be drinking their dinner), some alfresco dining will be available
(the back room is going to be opened up), and the look will be
sleek since Walid Mando of FORMA LLC will be doing the redesign
(he also did the recent redesign of La Folie, Fleur de Lys, and
The Plumed Horse). Kurt Niver, general manager extraordinaire,
will be acting as GM, so service will be tight. Eastside West
should be going dark in late March, and the new concept should
be launching in May or June. I’ll reveal more in the coming months. 3154
Fillmore St. at Greenwich.
now, in the TV chef world: folks have been wondering what Food
Network star ~TYLER
going to do out here since moving to the 415 last year. (Any time
a hotel project said their restaurant was going to have a “big
time chef” moving in, people often wondered if it was going
to be Florence.) Well, the rumor mill can stop, because Florence
is partnering with Personality Hotels to open his first signature
restaurant here. The restaurant will be opening in the former Empire
Plush Room space, in the Hotel Vertigo (currently the York
Hotel), and should be
opening this summer. Thomas Schoos Design, Inc. is renovating The
York Hotel (past projects include the Huntley Hotel and O-Bar,
Koi, Table 8, and Tao restaurants). For you fellow cinephiles,
the York Hotel will be renamed Hotel Vertigo after the Alfred Hitchcock
film (it ends up Kim Novak’s character lived in the York
Hotel during the last half of the film). No word on the restaurant’s
food, style, etc. yet—the ink is still wet on this one, but
I’ll be able to share more details as the concept takes shape.
940 Sutter St. at Leavenworth.
all goes well, you may find legendary Washbag (and formerly Perry’s)
bartender ~MICHAEL MCCOURT~ behind
the bar at Amante’s during
the day. Yup, it seems the bar will be opening earlier in the day.
Which would mean two things: McCourt’s throngs of fans in
North Beach won’t have to wait too long in the day nor have
too far to go for their next drink, and his inimitable company.
570 Green St. at Columbus, 415-362-4400.
Things are moving along and getting close for ~EPIC
ROASTHOUSE~ and ~WATERBAR~—they
are both on target for their opening date of Jan 29. Impressive.
From what I hear, the test dinners are deeeeelish, and Camber Lay
is going to be the bar chef at EPIC, so you know where I’ll
be cocktailing soon. Nicole Burke is going to be the wine director
over there too (she was most recently at Garibaldi’s, and
415 Restaurant & Lounge). Get ready to make those OpenTable
reservations on the 29th (although you can actually call either
restaurant and make reservations now)! Epic Roasthouse, 369 Embarcadero,
415-369-9955; Waterbar, 399 The Embarcadero, 415-284-9922.
in Potrero will be bummed to hear that the charming ~PETITE
on 18th Street has closed. They have left a note on the window
saying they'd like to sell the business to someone who would
like to continue in a similar vein and continue the relationship
with the folks on the hill. You can call Rachel and Kirsten at
415-794-0319. 1415 Eighteenth St. at Missouri.
But let’s not leave things like that. Here’s some
good news on the hill: hopefully by the end of the month, ~UMI~ will
be opening in the former Thai Bar-B-Que space (the name means “ocean” in
Japanese). This 30-seat sushi restaurant comes from three partners,
Stuart Chen of the former Skipjack Sushi in Cow Hollow (he has
19 years of preparing sushi under his belt—he reportedly
goes direct to distributors to select and then filet his own fish);
Shamus Booth (a contractor who did the Skipjack space and is doing
Umi); and Russell Richardson. Umi will be open for lunch and dinner,
and Beau Timken of True
who put together the Skipjack sake list, will also be refreshing
the sake list for this project, with something like 27 sakes to
choose from. In addition to the sushi offering, there will be seasonal
specials, and Chen is adding eight–ten new small dishes to
the menu, like albacore tataki with yuzu soy, and grilled miso-marinated
black cod with pineapple salsa. There is also a patio in the back
they hope to upgrade and open soon. Opening hours to start are
lunch Mon–Fri 11:30am–2pm; dinner Mon–Thu 5pm–9:30pm,
Fri–Sat 5pm–10pm, and Sun 4:30pm–9:30pm. 1328
18th St. at Missouri, 415-355-1328.
Was very bummed to be reading The New York Times food
section last week (although it was fun to be reading it while I
was actually in New York) and discover the talented ~JEREMY
BEARMAN~ is leaving LarkCreekSteak for a Brussels-based restaurant launching in New York, Rouge Tomate.
the paper being up in the windows for months, the mysterious
café at the corner of Turk and Divisadero has opened for
business. I swung by for a cappuccino yesterday, and got the word
on what it’s all about. The café’s name is ~APOLLO~,
and you can get Equator coffee and espresso drinks, a variety of
tea, beer and wine, along with an array of pressed panini, and
sweet treats like macaroons, brownies, Madeleines, and the like.
They are just having a soft opening for now, but look for Wi-Fi
and other details to come… The space has a contemporary
look, with wood tables, a bright color palette, and lots of tall
windows. Starting next week, the hours will be 7am–11pm.
It’s nice to see this stretch of Divis get a little something
something. 1064 Divisadero at Turk.
I know I already listed all the other unofficial alt names for ~THE
HUB~ neighborhood last week, but I couldn’t
resist this little bit from a reader, “Heh, I have a friend
that lives on Haight at Gough and he and his neighbors have always
referred to the neighborhood as 'The Flax'...” Love
Okay, I was pretty shocked with how many emails and reports I
received from folks in the industry who have received the exact
same phony phone call from the ~SCAMMING “DR. SUSSMAN”~ (the
fraud I mentioned last week who calls restaurants saying he’s
a big regular and asks for money so his son can get a cab ride
downtown because he locked his keys in his car, blah blah blah).
Here is what a few industry folks had to say:
received the exact same Dr. Sussman call, only I told him I did
not feel comfortable with his request and suggested his son go
to a fire dept., so they could break into his car!!”
“OMG – that Dr. Sussman tried the same scam here.
I told him I couldn’t give him money, but that I would be
glad to drive his son to the dealership. Imagine how surprised
I was that he turned down my offer!”
“About the scam artist "Dr. Sussman" you
mentioned. It happened to us as well. I took the call and had
the exact same conversation. I looked up the name in OpenTable
as he continued to compliment the restaurant, only to not find
his name in the system. Once he got to the cash part, I told
him I cannot give out cash, there are just too many scammers
out there to trust anyone. This guy was very convincing and I
actually felt bad saying no.
weeks later I walk to the front door of my restaurant to find
one of my managers standing there with an envelope. I asked him
what he was up to and he said a doctor called. I started laughing.
He said his son was on his way in. I thought man, this will be
fun. I didn't have the time to call the police as he showed up
a few minutes later. He came in and I took over the conversation
asking what's up. He starting telling me how pissed his dad was
at him and I said "I would be pissed off at you too since
you did the same thing just two weeks ago." He still played
it off asking what do you mean and then I got to lay into him.
It was great fun. I only now wish there would've been enough time
to have the police question him. Thanks for these posts. There's
enough of this out there to start a full time blog of these losers.”
“I had that guy try the same trick on us twice in the last
2 years! He looks up the managers’ names ahead of time. Last
time he made the call from the phone in the hotel lobby. I'm sure
he has made the rounds.”
too was contacted by Dr. Sussman, but I have been around a little.
Almost got me with something similar years ago. Thanks again.”
I also wanted to post this from a reader, in response to the poor
restaurant worker who got robbed last week in the Marina. Some
good info here:
I suggest that people who are interested in knowing ~WHAT
THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS~ are completely
allowed to be in the know by asking the station commander at
your local police station to be included in the 'summary report'
that is a daily email thing. Our district Captain Chignell/Taraval
Station sends us one daily. All you need to do is call the station
and ask if they have such a report, I think they all do. The
one I get daily is very clear and concise and really helps, and
at our last community wide meeting the officers from OUR station
showed up and ASKED us to sign up for it. It makes us feel slightly
more secure, we do live in a city after all.”
also want to post this reader comment, because I think there’s
a really important observation here:
been tending bar or serving tables in SF for 20 years, and I
am always blown away to see my colleagues heading home in the
late night hours wearing the ~DEAD-GIVE-AWAY BLACK
SHOES AND BLACK PANTS!~ Why not wear a sign that says "Carrying
Cash!?” (and I have no comment for the guy on the BART platform
at midnight in all white still wearing the Cheesecake Factory apron).
Marcia, tell them to change clothes before heading out into the
So I am doing just that. Please be careful out there.
According to a tip on Eater, ~SAGE~, the casual café I
mentioned back in October that was going to open in the Performing Arts Garage is now open,
and its sister restaurant, ~THE BLUE MUSE~, offering
Asian fusion with French influences has reopened in its new location,
too. Sage, 340 Grove St. at Gough, 415-252-9887; Blue Muse, 370
Grove St. at Gough, 415-701-9888.
Looks like the ~LA CASTRO TAQUERIA~ is
morphing into an Indian place? According to the new permit, it
will be Kasa Indian Eatery. That’s about all I have; anyone
know anything? 4001 18th St. at Noe.
~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE AND BAR~ is
celebrating their ten-year anniversary, no easy feat in this
town. In honor of the decade, Absinthe will be rolling back the
prices of select signature menu items (so the French onion soup
will be $4.50) and cocktails (hello, Ginger Rogers) to reflect
their opening menu in 1998, as well as offer a selection of premium
1998 vintage wines (like a Nicolas Feuillatte Blanc de Blancs Champagne).
The promotion will run from January 20–February 1. 398 Hayes
St. at Gough, 415-551-1590.
now, some booze news. ~DOMINIC
VENEGAS~ has joined the Gitane team
as "bar chef.” And they are
still hoping to be open in May. Meow. 5 Claude Ln. at Bush.
the holidays I made some mugs of hot buttered rum for my pals
at our annual Christmas party. But I am quite sure the ones that
will be prepared at Elixir on
January 17, for ~NATIONAL HOT BUTTERED RUM DAY~,
will be far superior. I had no idea the drink dates back to George
Washington’s time. I guess there’s a reason this drink
has stuck around—it’s good. $6 Gosling's Hot Buttered
Rum cocktails, 6pm until close. 3200 16th St. at Guerrero, 415-552-1633.
was sorry to miss the benefit last night at Cantina for ~BROOKE
the poor bar manager at Range (and
also an employee of Umami) who is currently hospitalized due to
a horrible fire in her apartment on December 31. She suffered second-degree
burns on her back, and terrible lung damage from smoke inhalation
and soot—she is currently on a ventilator
and fighting some infections, but is slowly improving day by day.
Her co-workers, friends, and fellow bartenders
are trying to raise money for her to help cover the costs of her
hospital stay, the loss of all her belongings, and no income for
the past two weeks (and counting). At Range, their past bartenders
have helped by picking up her shifts and are trying to raise some
money for her. Tuesdays and Thursdays they will have guest ex-Range
bartenders, including Carlos Yturria, Dominic Venegas, Thomas Waugh,
Camber Lay, and Enrique Sanchez mixing drinks behind the bar and
creating a cocktail of the day in her honor. All tips for those
evenings will be matched by Range and put into a fund for Brooke.
Let’s make those evenings jam packed, and tip big, people.
There is also a website set
up to follow her daily progress, where you can also donate
money via PayPal. Here’s wishing her a speedy recovery—I
know a lot of people are pulling for her.
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to