11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I
followed up with ~DENNIS LEARY OF CANTEEN~ on
my little teaser from a couple months back about the new project
he has brewing. Brewing is about right: let's just say
mornings and baked goods and take-out are involved. And it will
be another tiny location, this time in the Financial District.
He just signed the lease, so stand by for more details soon.
Clement, formerly the executive chef of Fringale, opened his
own project ~L'ARDOISE~ last
Thursday. It's a 38-seat bistro in the old Los Flamingos space,
and designer-about-town Michael Brennan helped design it. The
petite menu will have dishes rotating on and off the blackboard
(that's what the name means), but for now, some dishes in the mix
are seafood raviole, a few salads, charcuterie, barramundi, hanger
steak and frites, and osso buco. Duck confit is coming, oui.
Open Tue-Sun for dinner, 5:30pm–10pm. 151 Noe St. at
so you know, the other Frenchie restaurant, ~CHEZ
PAPA RESTO~ will not
be opening next Monday, the 17th, as originally hoped. Who knows
when it will be ready to open—it's like making wine over
there. 414 Jessie St. at 5th St., 415-546-4134.
There's been some chef turnover at ~SUPPERCLUB~—the
new chef is Guus Wickenhagen, who was most recently the executive
chef at Supperclub Amsterdam (since 2001). He arrived in San
Francisco about a month ago and has taken over the chef reins
in the past week or so. He's reportedly got quite the creative
flair. 657 Harrison St. at 2nd St., 415-348-0900.
over at ~MECCA~,
they have a new executive chef, Moises Sikaffy, plus a new general
manager and wine director, Ginny E. Brown. Most recently, Sikaffy
served as executive chef for Beach Chalet and Park Chalet Restaurants,
but the Mediterranean chef's background also includes Arcadia,
San Jose; One Market Restaurant; Moose's; Restaurant LULU;
and Cantina Barbagianni in Florence. A variety of oysters will
continue to be on offer, plus some light starters and salads, and
most mains are around $25 (here's a link to his new menu
2029 Market St. at Church, 415-621-7000.
is also a new chef at ~COTE
SUD~, Pierre Smets, who has been working the past
10 years at Christophe restaurant in Marin. He has added a super-affordable
early-bird menu, available every day from 5:30pm–7pm for
$21, which features a choice from three different appetizers,
main courses, and desserts; the selection will change every two
weeks. Smets will also head the new catering department of Cote
Sud. 4238 18th St. at Collingwood, 415-255-6565.
so let's do this. To the scandal! Last year I received
a tip please request for a rather blush-inducing kind of "holiday" that's
a little below-the-radar (actually, below the belt is more like
it); the reader was wondering where to go for ~STEAK AND
It makes me laugh to no end. Still. (I know, snicker snicker, this
is all rather inappropriate, sorry if you are offended, but I never
said this column was about being squeaky clean.) So the idea is
that women get Valentine's Day, therefore the guys want to
make March 14 all about them. Google away, you can read all about
figured what the hell, let's do a giveaway! And no, I
am not giving away an hour with someone named Krystal—you're
on your own for that part. I am giving away a variety of prizes,
however. First, for the ladies (or the lady in your life), I have
three copies of the book The
Meat Club Cookbook: For Gals Who Love Their Meat, which
is chock-full of beefy/lambie/piggy recipes, plus tips on buying
meat from the butcher, and other useful meaty info.
grand-prize winner gets an $80 gift certificate to Bobo's on
Lombard, where you can eat one of the finer examples of steak
in the city: 100% USDA Prime dry-aged steak for four–six
weeks, to be exact. (The certificate excludes alcoholic beverages
and gratuity, but there is complimentary valet parking, woo hoo!)
Bobo's is famous for their bone-in
filet mignon—people even call to reserve this cut in advance.
I have never been a big fan of the red-and-black circus-like décor,
and if it's still there, don't let the namesake clown
hanging above the door freak you out. But the steak (or as they
call it, "The Steak") is truly transcendent here, and
the house-made burrata is a tasty treat too. 1450 Lombard St. at
how do you enter to win? Just forward this newsletter to one
person (or more, thanks!) and cc email@example.com when
you send it to your peeps—it's best if you explain why
you're emailing it to them, and what tablehopper is. I promise
I won't be collecting your friends' emails, those will stay private—I
just need to keep track that you forwarded it to some folks. The
deadline to enter is by 10am, this Wednesday, March 12. I
will be randomly drawing the winners and will email you ASAP to
let you know you've won. Good luck! And if you don't win a book,
you have two weeks to get The Meat Club for 20% off from our buddies
Just in case you want additional suggestions for where to score
some steak around town, here are a few idears:
1-LarkCreekSteak—Fab beef, and don't let the mall
location turn you off—the steak here is really, really good.
2-Harris' Restaurant is a classic. Think large booth, martini
with a little extra chilling in a mini barrel, and a behemoth 21-day
dry-aged steak. Yes, it's Midwestern, and corn-fed. And it's
not cheap. Oh, and don't let the noir-sounding voice on the
website video scare you like it did me when the page loads. (You
can't turn it off. Like, annoying!)
the steak and frites at South
Park Café totally rock me. Oh, and of
does a famed hangar steak and fries too.
wandering gauchos at Espetus with
their skewers of meat makes this Brazilian churrascaria an all-you-can-eat
meat heaven for those with hefty, meat-lovin' appetites. You'll
get a total meat medley, though, not just steak—from
salty sirloin to pork to sausages.
and those craving some quality grass-fed options, there's
the delicious Acme
Chophouse, or you can go the South American
route and hit up El
for some Uruguayan beef and lusty Malbec. (Don't pass up
the grilled sweetbreads either.)
on beef, I got a note from the folks at the new ~BURGER
JOINT~ location on King Street
that they had to close due to a problem with their exhaust system.
They are resolving the issue and hope to reopen shortly. 242
King St. at 3rd St., 415-371-1600.
week I mentioned ~TATAKI
SUSHI & SAKE BAR~, the new Japanese sushi
place that opened on California at Divisadero. What I didn't
know is the menu features 100% sustainable seafood. Cool. Will
this be a trend in Japanese restaurants? It's
the first time I've heard it. Stand by. Want to read more
about how to order sustainable sushi? Here's a little
I found on Sprig, thanks Google. I also like to carry my handy
Watch Pocket Guide in my purse—have you ever seen/used
this guide? I recommend taking a peek and printing one off. 2815
California St. at Divisadero, 415-931-1182.
kicked off a happy hour, and how handy, it's every day!
Chef Alex Marsh has put together a special happy hour bar menu,
including country-fried maitake mushrooms, lamb sliders, and
herbed fries. Hours are 5pm–6:30pm
every day, and then there's a similar late–night menu
on Thursdays from 10pm–midnight, and Fri–Sat 11pm-1am.
Ryan Fitzgerald (Bourbon & Branch, Tres Agaves) has also designed
a new bar menu so you have something to help you put the slaphappy
in happy hour. You might notice the interior has been remodeled
a bit—the bar got a facelift, and there's an exhibition
chef's table. 1085 Sutter St. at Larkin, 415-441-4232.
After announcing the closure of the second location of the ~FRONT
ROOM~, Eater picked up some investigative slack for me (thanks
guys!) and found out "the reason behind the closure is actually
an unlawful detainer for non-payment of rent." You can read
Will it reopen? Hmmmm.
place that is opening is ~CANDYBAR~ from
owners Derek Chan and Tan Truong, perhaps by this Saturday, March
15. Some inspections and subsequent construction held up the
checkered flag last week; here's hoping we have clearance
this weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing the paper come
off the large windows. You ready for a lot of details? Ok, let's
rock. This dessert and wine bar/lounge will have a four-course
tasting menu of gourmet desserts for $14 from pastry chef Jake
Godby (Fifth Floor Restaurant, Tartare, Boulevard, Coi). He'll
be on staff for six months or so; I hear he's opening an ice
cream shop in the Mission—more details on
that in the next 'hopper! There will be two lists of innovative
and seasonal treats, like blood orange baked Alaska with candied
fennel and honeycomb; chocolate brioche with balsamic caramel ice
cream and spiced yogurt; or a Mission fig confit with fourme d'Ambert
panna cotta and cinnamon toast. Yeah, yum. The à la carte
lounge menu will feature simpler desserts, such as a bourbon Coke
float or tin roof sundae (vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, frosted
peanuts, and Maldon sea salt). All ice creams and sorbets will
be made in house, and with organic ingredients.
are also savory offerings for those who aren't sporting
a sweet tooth, thanks to savory chef Jason Edwards (Coi, French
Laundry, Hawthorne Lane, Enrico's), like fennel marmalade
and sweet onion relish with toast; jumbo asparagus with curry remoulade;
roasted Yukon gold potatoes with hazelnut romesco; plus some larger
plates like pork and pistachio terrine, and braised lamb shanks
with seasonal vegetables.
are also wine pairings available for each dessert selection courtesy
of Paul Einbund of Coi who consulted on the list, with a focus
on dessert wines from around the world. There will also be some
non-desserty vinos, micro-brewed beers, loose-leaf teas, and
Blue Bottle Coffee. There are also specialty drinks, like the
Apple Push (Pomeau du Normandie, Fee Bros. Peach Bitters, and dry
vermouth) and the Dreamy Night (Toro Albala Pedro Ximenez sherry,
Carnegie Porter, and vanilla ice cream). How's THAT for
some non-spirits beverages?! Impressive. You'll be able
to hang out in the 20-seat lounge area in the front (vintage
board games are available) or take a seat in the 16-seat dining
room toward the back. Look for wine and chocolate seminars and
special wine salons on weekend afternoons. Hours are Tue–Thu
4pm–midnight, Sun 4pm–10pm. 1335 Fulton St. Ste 101
at Divisadero, 415-673-7078.
additional news from pastry land: the kiosk at ~ORSON~
in SoMa should be opening around the weekend or so, serving to-go
bakery items starting at 7am in the morning. Breakfast of champions.
I also hear the restaurant's pizza oven is up and running.
~EASTER~ is early this year (Sunday, March 23), and while our
family will be busy preparing baby kid and probably some lasagne
for dinner, I know a lot of folks are into going out for the Easter
brunch thing. Here are a few ideas around town:
starting a gospel brunch on Sundays, kicking things off this
Easter. They are working with a non-profit called Old
Skool Café, teaching at-risk youth how
to work in the restaurant industry as servers and cooks. 25 Mason
St. at Turk/Market, 415-409-FARM.
D'ASTI~ is hosting their
first-ever Easter brunch from 12pm–3pm. You can check out
their menu here.
They are also doing their annual St. Joseph's Day Dinner the week
before on March 15, a family-style feast; $50 per person, children
under 10 pay their age. 640 Sacramento St. at Montgomery, 415-395-9800.
the 4th floor at the St. Regis in SoMa is hosting an Easter brunch
until 4pm. 125 Third St. at Mission, Level Four, 415-284-4049.
Don't forget ~ENRICO'S~ in
North Beach recently launched their Sunday brunch, and ~BIN
38~ in the Marina just started brunch
each Sunday from 10:30am–3pm; both places have heated
patios! You can read Bin 38's PDF menu by clicking here.
course the ~RITZ-CARLTON
SAN FRANCISCO~ does quite the spread. There's an
Easter Bunny Tea in The Lobby Lounge with Binky the Bunny (not
kidding) from 10am–11:30am,
$75 per guest, inclusive of tax and gratuity. Then there's
the Easter Buffet Brunch in The Terrace, with a jazz trio, 10:30am–4pm,
$98 for adults, $49 for children five to 12, exclusive of tax and
gratuity. From 5pm–9pm, Ron Siegel is featuring an à la
carte menu or a five-course Easter tasting menu with dessert in
the Dining Room. 600 Stockton St. at California, 415-296-7465.
you folks down in the Peninsula, ~SOFITEL
SAN FRANCISCO BAY~ has a buffet, and
a special appearance by the Easter Bunny. Seatings are available
at 10am or 12:30pm; $50 for adults, $25 for children five to 12
years old, and children under five are free. 223 Twin Dolphin Dr.,
Redwood City, 650-508-7126.
from bunnies to booze. A belated congrats to bartender ~VICTORIA
D'AMATO-MORAN~, who attended the "Battle of the Mixologists
Competition" in Las Vegas last week. Bartenders of note were
invited from all over the country; Victoria was the only female
finalist and came in fifth place. (No one else from SF won.) Her
drink was called "Sophia" and incorporated Don Julio
and Aperol. Victoria works Sunday Brunch at Bar Johnny's on Polk
Street and day shifts at Monaghan's in the Marina during the week.
Camper English had the scoop on
his blog, Alcademics.com, that Todd Smith is no longer going
to be the manager at ~BOURBON & BRANCH~ (although
he will continue to take charge of the Beverage Academy). Both
Joel Baker and Yanni Kehagiaras, who have been at B&B
the past year, will replace Smith. More news: B&B is also
nearing completion on the new extension. It will be called Russell's
Room, and is a luxurious private room, reminiscent of the old
JJ Russell's "cigar
shop" which stood in place of Bourbon & Branch during
Prohibition. The room will have a plush loungey feel, with a full
one-man bar and comfortable seating with some design twists. The
room is quite intimate, and will hold no more than 40. And check
this out: while removing a wall in Russell's Room, they found
some amazing old treasures from the late 1920s, which they will
be displaying in a glass case. It should be open in April...
some big changes here in 'hopper-land, which should
make some of you "across the bridge" folks happy: I'm
going to start mentioning new restaurant openings in the East and
North Bay, along with new openings in the Peninsula, too.
Gasp! I know! But I won't be reviewing places (sorry—this
is what happens when it's just me, an army of one!), or chasing
down news like I do here in SF, but if new restaurant news crosses
my desk, I'll be happily mentioning it for y'all. Meow?
kick things off, I had a nice time chatting with chef Russell
Moore, who has been at Chez Panisse for 21 years, and the chef
of the Café for 12 of 'em. I know, wow. He is opening
his pet project in Oakland, ~CAMINO~,
in a former furniture store, a brick building that will have room
for about 80, with a bar area with space for around 25 or so. The
name is not an homage to the tuff El Camino muscle car—it's
actually an Italian word for fireplace, and this one will be the
Mack of all fireplaces, a waist-high and mighty spacious number
made of limestone. Moore loves the freedom of cooking in a fireplace—you
can grill, do cazuelas, bean pots, spit roast… the options
are endless. There will also be a wood oven for gratins, flatbreads,
whole fish, sausages. Hungry yet? The seasonal menu will be well
edited, with something like four–five starters, three–four
mains, and just as many desserts; and you know all the purveyors
and products will be stellar. Simple, honest, straightforward are
the words Moore used to describe the food, and he said vegetarians
will eat well here too. He is doing the project with his partner
Allison Hopelain, who will be the GM—she formerly had an
organic gardening company, and has recently been working at Zuni
and Bar Tartine. Thad Vogler will be customizing some kitchen-driven
cocktails—there will only be a few offered each day, but
they'll be just right. Plus some house-made spirits will
turn up, like nocino, and brandy infused with quince. Dinner only
to start (Wed–Mon, closed Tuesday), with perhaps some brunch
and lunch later on. The construction is almost done—they
are targeting April for now. 3917 Grand Ave. at Boulevard Way (more
commonly referred to being between Safeway and Ace Hardware), Oakland,
tablehopper reader tipped me off to a new restaurant in San Carlos
that just opened called ~THE
It seems gastro-pub madness has also hit the 650, but this joint
has a wicked twist: the menu features five–six options
of home-cured hot pastrami sandwiches, plus an extensive selection
of charcuterie, house-ground American Kobe burgers, fresh sliced
rib-eye cheesesteaks (everything is around $13 or so), plus some
salads. There are reportedly 12–15 Belgian beers, many on
tap, plus 20 or so mostly French wines on their menu (with a focus
on biodynamic wines). Sounds killer. Chef-owner Matt Levin's
background includes acting as chef de cuisine at Viognier and extensive
cooking in France; his chef de cuisine, Michael Greuel, is
also from Viognier. Tue–Sat 11:30am–2:30pm and 5:30pm–9pm,
until 10pm or later Fri–Sat. 963 Laurel St. at Morse Blvd,
San Carlos, 650-598-9813.
and I was interviewed by The Wave a couple weeks back about ~WHERE
I LIKE TO EAT IN THE 650~ (remember, I grew up in San
Mateo) and the 408, so here are some
of my faves
in the area that I mentioned.
know a lot of folks are heading north to Healdsburg this weekend
for Charlie Palmer's third annual ~CELEBRATION
OF PIGS AND PINOT~ event
at the Hotel Healdsburg, running Friday and Saturday (I'm
actually going up there this Wednesday—look for a Healdsburg
jetsetter piece soon!). Some local SF chefs will be joining chef
Palmer and Michael Ellis of Dry Creek Kitchen, including the Boulevard
crew (Nancy Oakes, Ravi Kapur), and Luke Mangan of South is in
town, plus some talent from elsewhere, like David Burke, and Philippe
Rispoli of France. And then there's the wine. Ahhh, yes.
For tablehopper readers, they would like to offer a special rate
of $100 for the Saturday seminars, lunch at Barndiva, and a signed
cookbook from Chef Palmer of his latest book, Practical Guide
to the New American Kitchen. The ticket is actually worth $150, and
then there's the book too! Enjoy! Oink!
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to