|JANUARY 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO The Roman republic had its ups and downs, and things at ~SPQR~ are
no different. Co-executive chef Daniel Holzman is no longer with
the restaurant—his official last day was January 25th. The
statement from the restaurant is, “Daniel has decided to
pursue other opportunities. He was a great chef and we're sad to
see him go, but we wish him the best of luck.” Now, restaurants
are built on relationships, and we all know relationships are very,
very personal. So I'm just going to say I'm sorry it
didn't work out for all parties involved. Nate Appleman will
now be the sole executive chef of SPQR, while continuing to oversee
A16; they have great kitchen crews in place at both establishments,
so things will continue to be status quo (i.e. delicious). I spoke
with Holzman and he said, “I'm not looking at this
as a bad thing,” and he's got a couple options he's
thinking about pursuing, like a side venture he's had brewing
for a bit, and perhaps opening his own place. He said he'd
keep me posted.
talking Italian, I thought you may want to know ~A16's~
four-year anniversary actually falls on Valentine's
Day. They are offering a four-course menu ($95) with wine pairings
($55), so if you feel like celebrating with one of the city's
favorite restaurants over some veal meatballs, you know where to
go. 2355 Chestnut St. at Scott, 415-771-2216.
More paisano news: I'm happy to report an Italian buddy
(and fellow Calabrese) will be opening his restaurant, ~POESIA—OSTERIA
ITALIANA~. Francesco D'Ippolito (most recently part
of the opening team at È Tutto Qua) is taking over the Ararat
Mediterranean location in the Castro on February 16. After a freshening
up of the 49-seat space, Poesia should be opening in the beginning
of March. (It's in one of those upstairs 18th Street restaurant
spaces.) The chef is Italian import Ulisse Guastone (of course
the chef's name had to be Ulysses, of course), who will be
working closely with local Gregory Leon, who has worked at a variety
of places around town, like Kelly's Mission Rock and Tapeo.
The menu will be full of mostly Calabrese and other Southern-influenced
dishes, but the food isn't totally limited to the south of
Italy—there's reportedly a fantastic risotto that will
be available too. The menu will be tight, and changing every few
days depending on what's fresh at the markets. Dishes will
be affordable, ranging from $11–$12 for pastas, and mains
below $20. The well-chosen wine list will be about 80% Italian,
and there is also a cocktail list that will feature a variety of
Italian cocktails and spirits. Un bar Italiano! The petite bar
has room for eight. Well, actually, seven, because I will be sitting
in one of the seats, sorry. Dinner will be served nightly from
5:30pm–11pm, and even later on Fri–Sat, with brunch
on the weekends. Look for a poet's corner with some couches
and a coffee table for canoodling over bruschetta and vino, plus
a bookshelf of poetry if you are so inclined to read to your sweetie
(or yourself). 4072 18th St. at Castro.
town has been buzzing for weeks over the impending sale of ~MYTH~ and
the adjoining Myth Café.
Nothing is final yet, so I've opted to step back from reporting
much on it since anything I would say is just speculation. Once
the deal is done, I'll report back with the plans of the
potentially new Ron Siegel/Stephane Lacroix/Carl Pascarella team.
The two things we do know, however, is executive chef Sean O'Brien's
last day is Thursday; Nathan Foot, who has been working with Sean
and doing a great job, will assume the reins until the new owners
take over. I ran into Sean and his wife Pat at the crazy Kuleto-fest
(i.e. opening parties for Waterbar and EPIC) on Sunday—Sean
is optimistic about his options and said he'll have some
news to share soon. The second thing we know is wine director Alex
Fox will be staying on until the transition is complete, probably
until the end of February or so. Tom Duffy created a special and
incredibly popular restaurant that was all about showcasing the
talents of his rising star staff, and I can imagine how difficult
it is for him to say goodbye to it. So, let's stick with “soon” for
news on all of this.
of Duffy's protégés of sorts, Ryan Scott
has been announced as one of the four contestants on the upcoming
season of ~TOP CHEF—CHICAGO~, along with
Jen Biesty of COCO500,
Erik Hopfinger of CIRCA,
and Zoi Antonitsas, a consultant who also worked at Bovolo/Zazu,
Presidio Social Club, and the former Bizou—yup, seems that
Loretta Keller breeds killer talent in her kitchen. You can check
out all 16 contestants here.
The new season is kicking off on Wednesday, March 12 at 10pm—you
know the city will have viewing parties all over the place. Congrats
to all four contestants, doing SF proud!
winning: congrats to all the establishments who won in ~7X7'S
EAT AND DRINK AWARDS 2008~.
I really hoped to go to the party last night, but guess who was
having a late date with her computer and eating noodles while
writing this column? Glamorous, I know.
have a second to vote for bartender/bar manager extraordinaire, ~NEYAH
WHITE~ of Nopa? He's the only American finalist
in the Bols
Cocktail Master 2008 competition!
Vote for his drink, the Wing and a Prayer, which has pepper and
lavender in it, so Cali. Good luck Neyah! (And you might win
a trip to Amsterdam for voting, cool yo.)
night I had a chance to attend the reception for ~V
which biz partners Jefferson McCarley and Emory Etheridge plan
on making the greenest restaurant in the world. They will be using
all recycled or used materials instead of buying new (even the
groovy green dishes and glassware are previously used!), and the
vegetarian menu will feature organic/local/sustainable produce,
plus they will be using solar power, and green build-out practices.
The chef is Stephen Sonke—he currently manages a café at
Gap Inc. headquarters and provides direction for the food at all
four Gap Inc. cafés. The goal is to open later this year,
and they plan to open in the Mission. Right now they are looking
for investors, and I gotta say, these kind gents have done their
homework and have assembled one heck of a team, so if you're
looking for some investment opportunities, I'd check out
their project. Saturday's reception at the Women's
Building had some bites from chef Sonke, organic and biodynamic
wines from Quivira, and the current Miss Trannyshack, Pollo del
Mar, unveiled the sign. Here's hoping we see it lit up soon.
(Here I am with Pollo and Jefferson, making me look like I am barely
five feet tall!)
and vegetarians will be bummed to hear veggie goldmine ~MEKONG
RESTAURANT~ in the TL has closed according to a post on
But dry those tears. The new place, Bang
San Thai Cuisine,
which already has a location in the area (at 505 Jones), has taken
its place and will be continuing to offer vegan and vegetarian
substitutions, plus Halal meat for the carnivores. 791 O'Farrell
St. at Larkin, 415-928-2772.
Here's another place where you'll
be able to Thai one on: a third location of ~THAI HOUSE EXPRESS~ (one of my fave Thai places) is coming to the Mission, their biggest
location to date. It will be possibly opening in late May or June,
at 530 Valencia at 16th. (Odd factoid: it's the former site
of the Deaf Club, a punk venue, waaaaay back in the day.)
~METRO KATHMANDU~ is now open Monday nights, so dinner is a nightly thing 5:30pm–11pm.
The happy hour continues from 5:30pm–6:30pm, with all soju
drinks, wines by the glass, and beers for 50% off. 311 Divisadero
St. at Page, 415-552-0903.
we have a bookworm from Pete of Green Apple Books this week,
I wanted to bring up this story about ~ANOTHER SCAM~ that's
happening—this time bookstores are being targeted! The East
Bay Express had the
story about this crazy new twist about people impersonating
authors who are due to come in for book signings (in this case,
Eric Gower of The
and trying to work the bookstore for some cash—it seems there
was a similar scam at University Press Books in Berkeley too. Pfffft.
The Hotel Nikko San Francisco is opening a nightclub called ~THE
RRRAZZ ROOM~ featuring jazz and cabaret acts six nights a week. The 200-seat
space is currently under construction (it was formerly a board
room) and is slated to open February 12, on the lobby level.
There is a full bar, and there will be light food service. Fridays
and Saturdays will bring two shows, with “LAST CALL!” starring
Terese Genecco & Her Little Big Band running later into the
evening (it's supposed to be a great show). Tickets will
range from $25–$65 with a two-drink minimum, offering seating
on the main floor at small cocktail tables, and at a few levels
of banquettes. Shows are kicking off with Paula West. 222 Mason
St. at O'Farrell, 415-394-1189.
I usually take advantage of this opportunity to grab brunch somewhere
normally too popular to get into, or I go shopping. (I know I'm
in the minority here.) For those of you fired up for the game,
a couple options include the “Club Level” at ~ENRICO'S
which will be furnished with couches, inside and out. You'll
be able to have some Level vodka drinks (they're sponsoring
the event) and eats from chef Seamus Cronin while viewing the game
on several big screens. Doors open at 11:30am; the party continues
after the game with live music. Guests can reserve sections of
Enrico's for their own personal party within a party, and
their own couches for groups of 6–20 people. There is a minimum
charge of $250 for drinks and food for the first six people, but
no additional minimum or cover charges. 504 Broadway at Kearny,
Those of you hosting your own party, ~LUNA PARK~ will be offering a special delivery service with a "Tailgate
Platter," perfect for city-dwellers living without a grill.
Dishes offered include Niman Ranch BBQ chicken and ribs, coleslaw,
French fries, beans, and mashed potatoes, and will be available
from 2pm until the end of the game. Cost is $29.99 for two people
and $49.99 for four people. Guests can order online or over the
phone. Oh, you might need the number, won't you? It's
this is gonna sell out quick, so get on it if you're
interested! ~HENDRICKS GIN AND ABSINTHE~ are hosting a special four-course cocktail dinner by executive
chef Jamie Lauren, paired with cocktails developed by Jeff Hollinger,
author of The Art of the Bar.
The dinner is February 13, and is $85. To reserve your place, RSVP
with Absinthe Private Dining at 415-551-1453 or email email@example.com.
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