DECEMBER 9, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO ~SERPENTINE~ is
undergoing some executive chef changes: Chris Kronner, the executive
chef of Serpentine who has been working at owner Erin Rooney’s
Slow Club and Serpentine for a combined total of almost four years,
is departing at the end of the month. Kronner is currently looking
into other opportunities—will keep you posted. Taking his
place is Mark Young, who just came over from Ottimista
Enoteca, where he was the chef for the past three years. Young
actually worked at Slow Club previously with Sante Salvoni, so
you could say he’s coming full circle. Young has already
started on lunch service, and will be doing dinner service once
the transition is complete. Rooney mentioned prices might come
down a bit, and menu changes will be subtle—they still want
to maintain their close relationships with farmers and purveyors,
Serpentine is also turning one this
Thursday, so they are celebrating from 5pm–7pm, offering
a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and snacks, as well as
their specially priced Neighborhood Night cocktail list. 2495
3rd St. at 22nd St., 415-252-2000.
taking Mark Young’s place at ~OTTIMISTA~ is
Glen Tinsley, an alum of Joe's Restaurant in Venice Beach, and
most recently AKA in St. Helena. Here’s more from Ottimista: “You'll
find an expanded selection of large plates and more market-driven
specials, including three–four contorni (vegetable sides)
each night. To whet your appetite, think baked penne with porcini
fonduta, Robiola, and guanciale; pizza with duck confit, figs,
butternut, and balsamic; pumpkin ravioli with crispy chestnuts,
chanterelles, and brown butter; and roasted figs with Valdeon blue,
Iberico ham, chestnut honey, and aged balsamic, just to name a
few.” Wine director Don Jost has also moved on to boutique
import companies Trilussa and Zigzagando, but you'll still find
him behind the bar at Ottimista on Sunday nights. GM Lorraine Castillo
has transitioned into the role of GM/wine director. 1838 Union
St. at Octavia, 415-674-8400.
I was so sorry to learn ~TAJINE~ on
Polk has closed—the last night was December the 2nd. The
charming owner Mohamed Ghaleb has some personal family matters
to attend to, and between his trips home to Morocco and running
the restaurant, he sadly had to choose to close the business for
a while. He hopes to reopen in a year. For now, let’s all
wish him (and his family) well. 1338 Polk St. at Pine, 415-440-1718.
sad closings: the Western Addition’s ~KATHMANDU
CAFÉ~ has closed. I will miss their butter chicken
and momos! But then again, I swung by last week and tried to
get some take-out, and was told it was going to be 30–45
minutes. Huh? (Let’s just say it wasn’t very busy
in there.) Oh well, I guess that was my last chance to have their
butter chicken and I lost it. According to a Yelper,
the owner “Udim was tired of running the restaurant and
wanted to return home where the majority of his family lives.” And
according to some permits, Saffron Grill will
be moving in—no idea who is behind it, what it is, or when
it’s opening, so stand by. 1279 Fulton St. at Divisadero.
Also found out the ~CALIFORNIAN BAR AND RESTAURANT~ in
the Gramercy Towers on Nob Hill has closed. This place is now officially
on the “cursed locations of San Francisco” list. 1177
California St. at Jones, 415-474-2000.
Not too far away on Mason Street, ~LALOLA BAR DE TAPAS~ just
opened over the weekend. I personally find the name to be way too
similar to the Spanish Laïola in the Marina, but hey, it’s
not my restaurant. It’s a sleek tapas place that has opened
in the former Fortune Wok location, serving a variety of pintxos
(one for $3/two for $5), and small or large tapas to go with wines
off the all-Spanish list (plus some beer and sangria). Thrillist
transcribed the food and wine menu, check
it out here. 1358 Mason St. at Pacific, 415-981-5652.
A tablehopper reader tipped me off to this little Thai tidbit: ~THE
MONKEY CLUB~ in the Mission (most recently the Syn Lounge)
now has the chef from SoMa’s Manora’s
Thai, Maa Dom, cooking for them. She has been the chef at
Manora’s since 1989, and is still helping the restaurant
as she transitions off her full-time duties. For now, she is
cooking lunch Mon–Fri 11am–3pm and dinner Fri–Sat
5pm–1:30am at The Monkey Club. The plan is to eventually
offer dinner service during the week as well. The menu is very
reasonable—check it out on the restaurant’s MySpace
page. There is also a rather generous happy hour that runs
from 5pm–9pm. 2730 21st St. at Bryant, 415-647-6546.
More goodies and renegade-style cooking in the Mission: this Thursday,
Ryan Farr, most recently the chef of Orson, will be cooking at ~MISSION
STREET FOOD~ at Lung Shan. One look at his menu and
you can see why this guy is one of our top local talents. How about
corned lengua, fried farm egg, spiced pork belly rice, and fennel
sprouts ($12), or pork and kumquat sausage, curry Brussels sprouts,
persimmon, and herb salad ($12)? Uh huh. But dessert is the one
that really make me arch an eyebrow: reconstructed pecan pie, bourbon
cream, and lines of bacon "snow" ($7). Bacon snow, is
that the latest thing the Mission kidz are getting hopped up on?
It’s gonna be a late night. 6pm-midnight. 2234 Mission St.
at 18th St.
Are you keeping up on ~BURRITO
EATER’S 2008 SLAB SCRUM~? The semifinals
are almost done! And I thought my job was tough on my body…
Over at ~AQUA~,
Ron Boyd has been named executive chef after two years as chef
venture to see what the Italians are up to. Stefano Coppola,
the owner of Lupa in
Noe Valley and the new owner of the Kookez location, has decided
to open an American grill in the space, called ~CITY GRILL~.
He plans to have the restaurant open Tue–Sun for dinner and
Fri–Sun for brunch. The interior is getting freshened up—will
keep you posted on the opening date and menu. 4123 24th St. at
the Giuseppes of Tiramisu and their other Belden properties are
opening up ~QUATTRO STAGIONI~, a casual pizza
and to-go place in the former Pasta Paradiso spot in the Financial
District. In addition to pizza, there will be salads, soups,
plus cannelloni, and other lunch items. There are only 25 seats,
so it’s primarily meant
for to-go orders. Timing is TBD while they are waiting on permits,
but the space is almost done, so stand by. Lunch Mon–Fri.
318 Kearny St. at Bush.
A small name change: due to some legal issues, Lettüs Organic
in the Marina is now ~THE
PLANT CAFÉ~. Same owners, menu, hours, everything—just
a different name. When the Pier 3 location opens (for now it’s
looking like mid-March), it will also be The Plant Café—Pier
3. 3352 Steiner St. at Chestnut, 415-931-2777.
More holiday menus: ~LE
COLONIAL~ is doing a special three-course holiday
prix-fixe lunch this Friday the 12th and next Friday the 19th
for $21.95 (excludes tax, gratuity, and beverages). You can
take your choice of soup, a vegetarian roll, or crab cakes;
then lemongrass chicken, red snapper, or vegetable curry; and
chocolate flourless cake for dessert (no substitutions). The
regular menu is also available. 20 Cosmo Pl. at Taylor, 415-931-3600.
I was at ~INCANTO~ last
week for an, ahem, enchanting wine tasting dinner, where
we tasted a variety of Il
Molino di Grace wines (I personally loved the ’04 Chianti
Classico Riserva—super smooth, and an awesome pairing with
the dish of corzetti with trotters, foie gras, dates, and breadcrumbs,
swoon). I was talking to chef Chris Cosentino about their private
room and parties, and in case you haven’t figured out a location
for your friends/family/office holiday party yet, and you’re a bunch
of bona fide carnivores, it’s hard to beat the deal of a
Whole Beast Dinner! $1500 (food and beverage minimum) for a whole
pig, goat, or lamb, plus side dishes, and wine, and you can fit
12–20 people in the private room. I know, total bacchanalia!
Check it out. 1550 Church St. at Duncan, 415-641-4500.
this campaign isn’t quite as dire as the post 9/11 “America:
Open for Business” campaign, but locals should check out
YOUR ZIP CAMPAIGN~. Residents in the nine-county Bay
Area (San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Contra Costa,
Alameda, Solano, and Santa Clara) can show their ZIP code in San
Francisco during the month of December and get special offers at
participating merchants, from restaurants to museums and more.
(It could be on a driver’s license, business card or other
proof of residence.)
There is only one week left to vote in ~7X7’S
EAT & DRINK AWARDS~. Vote for your favorite
places and help support local businesses—winners will
be announced in the February 2009 issue.
up for Wednesday’s episode of ~TOP CHEF~?
Even though local chef Jamie Lauren was on the chopping block last
week (side note: damn, why are eggs so difficult? I guess it’s
because they are so delicious.), her corn soup seems to be Padma’s
fave dish of the season so far. Go Jamie!
This Thursday December 11th, chef ~DEBORAH
SCHNEIDER OF THE RANCHO LA PUERTA FITNESS RESORT & SPA~ in Tecate,
Mexico, is coming to San Francisco on tour for her new book (co-authored
with Deborah Szekely), Cooking
with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta. She will demo
a selection of winter recipes at the Macy’s Cellar: quinoa
cranberry salad, saffron vegetable stew with lemon zest aioli,
and Mayan chocolate sorbet. She will be available to answer questions
on essential cooking tips and techniques, and will show ways
to transform favorite recipes into healthy meals. Copies of her
cookbooks will be available for purchase and signing after the
demo. 6:30pm. 170 O'Farrell St. at Stockton.
Then on Saturday December 13th, ~MARISA CHURCHILL~ of
Bravo’s Top Chef season two, the Food Network Challenge,
and pastry chef at Zaré at
Fly Trap, is all about indulging without the guilt. In this
demo, she’ll show you how to make decadent desserts that
won’t completely sabotage your skinny-kick: one of the top-selling
desserts from Zaré at Fly Trap’s dessert menu: a silken
panna cotta, and her low-fat chocolate torte. 2pm. 170 O'Farrell
St. at Stockton.
This Thursday December 11th is the second ~DIVISADERO
CORRIDOR ART WALK~. From Geary to Haight, a total of
25 galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and bars are offering discounts,
food and drink specials, and showcasing local artists. The festivities
start around 5pm. Shop, eat, drink, repeat.
John Hurley, Justin Hafen, and Scott Sasaki have opened their
40-seat neighborhood place, ~MARZANO~,
in Oakland. Chef Robert Holt (formerly of Cetrella in Half Moon
Bay) is preparing dinner (antipasti, pizzas from the wood-fired
oven, a few larger plates, contorni, and soft-serve gelato for
dessert) and brunch on the weekends. Check out the site for the
menus. Full liquor too! 4214 Park Blvd. at Glenfield, Oakland,
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to