2009 | SAN FRANCISCO There
have been countless rumors and rumblings over
what is happening at ~AQUA~.
Here's what we do know: chef de cuisine Ron
Boyd is off to lead R&D
the company focused on healthy meals for delivery
or pick-up. Boyd's replacement is Jason Pringle, currently the
executive sous at Epic. Pringle (30) was at
Aqua for six years, and then went on to stage
at Le Bernadin and Daniel in New York, helped
open Zuppa and Maverick, and then Epic. He
starts June 15th. Two new sous chefs have also
been hired. There are some legal and ownership issues between
the late founder Charles Condy's sons and their
stepmother, Mary Condy, which I am sure has
been fueling the cash flow rumors I've been
hearing. Anyway, we'll see how it all shakes
out in the coming months. 252 California St.
at Battery, 415-956-9662.
I'm excited to check out ~54
MINT~, which just opened last night for dinner. To
recap, this is the project from Alberto Avalle (an
original founder of Il Buco in New York) and partners. The chef
de cuisine is Giancarlo Bortolotti (most recently the chef-owner
of Mangiafuoco), and Ehsan Ganji is the bakery/pastry chef. Bring
on the homemade pastas and porchetta. There will be culinary
products on offer (like their wonderful olive oil), cheeses,
and more, plus wine for retail sale. I have a bunch more details
in this past
issue of tablehopper.
Hours this week are Mon–Sat
5:30pm–10:30pm, and lunch will begin next week Mon–Fri 11:30pm–3:30pm,
closed Sunday. Brunch will be added later. 16 Mint Plaza at Jessie,
Larkspur, there's been a big change-up: chef
Erica Holland-Toll has left the upcoming ~TAVERN
AT LARK CREEK~ project, and chef Randy Lewis is taking
the reins. Lewis was the chef at Mecca, then
worked on the local Best-O-Burger
with Steve Weber (Lewis remains a partner in
the operation). He has most recently been back
in his home state of Louisiana cooking with
John Besh at La Provence near New Orleans.
Lewis was also one of Food & Wine's
"Best New Chefs" in 2001. He is currently working
on developing the menu with nothing over $15.
The restaurant is due to open in early June.
234 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur, 415-924-7766.
~BAR CRUDO~ still
isn't opensometime this week is the plan.
I'd just call before
heading over. Hours will be 5pm–11pm nightly.
665 Divisadero St. at Grove, 415-409-0679.
As promised, here's more on what's going on at Levende
Lounge: after five years of business, Levende will
be closing and Chris Pastena and Bruce Hanson will be taking
over the space and transforming it into ~CODA RESTAURANT & JAZZ
CLUB~. (In case you didn't play piano when you were a kid,
coda is a musical term meaning the place you return to.) According
to the release, it will be "an evening destination showcasing
jazz in all its forms, from The Jazz Mafia on Tuesdays to gospel
brunch on Sundays." As for the food, look for a "fine dining
menu of classic California fare in a mix and match, à la carte
style" (kind of like Craft). There will be dishes like whole
chicken and whole-roasted fisheasy items to share with friends.
Co-owner Pastena mentioned he wants to bring back an intimate
feeling, with good food and performances, all at a nice price.
(Diners won't pay a cover for the entertainment, which should
kick in around 9pm, and 10pm on the weekends.) A new sound system
geared for live music will be going in, and there will be some
tweaks to the dining room. CODA will be open six nights a week
for dinner, cocktails, and music. The opening date is slated
for August 1st. Levende Lounge will continue to operate until
mid July. 1710 Mission St. at Duboce.
Meanwhile, Levende's operators, Ben Doren, Kiri Eschelle, and Dirk
Kahl will continue to focus on Levende
East in Oakland and are moving forward with the development
of new projects in the East Bay, including breaking ground on their
newest project I mentioned a few months ago: ~LIEGE~, a high-end
spirits lounge in downtown Oakland. 481 Ninth St. at Washington, Oakland.
will have a 100% organic crêpe house opening
later this summer called, appropriately enough, ~ORGANICA CRÊPE
The former liquor store will end up looking
sharp, with both indoor and outdoor seating.
Behind the project are Norman Zawaideh, who
operates Cup-O-Java in the Outer Mission,
and his cousin Nabeel Yousef consulted on
the projecthe's the owner of Goood
Frikin Chicken and is the original founder of Truly Mediterranean.
Once the planning and permit details wrap up,
it'll be about three months out. 3465 19th
St. at Lexington.
So, about that coffee
house I was wondering about on 24th
and Folsom: UrbanDaddy broke
the news that
it's called ~HAUS~. It's now open, serving Ritual Roasters espresso,
plus drip coffee from De La Paz, and bites
from Noe Valley Bakery. UD also reports there's a fireplace and a back
patio that will be ready soon, plus some local art on the walls, too.
Open Mon–Fri 6am–9pm and Sat–Sun 9am–9pm. 3082 24th St. at Folsom.
More UrbanDaddy-supplied news: after months of wondering which burger
place was opening in the former Yum Yum House on
Valencia, here's your answer: ~URBAN BURGER~. Here's
a pic of the
place. Reminds me a little of the other burger
place on Valencia. The burgers will be made with Meyer Natural Angus,
and there will also be some vegetarian options, plus salads and milkshakes
made with Mitchell's ice cream. Soft opening tonight, and open officially
tomorrow (Wednesday). Hours will be Mon–Wed 11am–11pm, Thu–Sat 11am–12am,
and Sun 11am–9pm (hours subject to change, and perhaps run later!).
581 Valencia St. at 17th St., 415-551-2483.
Looks like Franck
LeClerc's Claude Lane project that was supposed to be all about salumi
and vino (~CINQUE~) will become an art gallery space instead.
Leila Seppa, who currently runs operations
for Gitane and Cafe Claude, will be moving over as director of the
gallery in the next few months. LeClerc is still in the final planning
stages, but plans to focus on interaction with the art community and
the SF public, plus local non-bayside patioprofit art organizations.
Sounds like it will be the perfect addition to the bohemian alley.
5 Claude Lane at Bush.
it when you get a press release with a very specific date about the
launch of something, but no follow-up when it's actually not happening
in time. For example: the launch of ~CARTE415~it
ends up the cart is JUST finished being fabricated in Canada (thanks
for the update, SF Weekly).
Enter the wonderful world of Twitter, ever
useful for all kinds of updates. You can follow Carte415's future wheelies here.
Twitter is also how you can keep up with the ~SPENCER
ON THE GO~ truck, which is supposed to park in front
of Terroir this Thursday at 6pm. Check
for Twitter confirmation on that, and future locations.
up and runningcheck their Twitter
menu updates. Mmmm, chicken and waffles. 360 Ritch at Brannan,
You can keep up with good restaurant deals and specials on Twitter,
like ~FARALLON'S~ tweets
of menu updates each week, and ~LUNA
PARK~ has special passwords for treats like a free dessert
and appetizer for home delivery.
Why isn't tablehopper on Twitter? Well, the person who has
my tablehopper identity still hasn't released the darn thing to me.
And I've already requested Twitter's help in contacting the person
twice, to no avail. Soon, someday. Whatever, I'm busy as hell writing
my book, yo.
note that ~A16~ closed
for renovations yesterday (May 18th) and will
remain closed through Monday May 25th. A16
will reopen Tuesday the 26th at 5pm.
I heard ~SUNFLOWER
ON POTRERO HILL~ is targeting June 1st for their
opening. A tablehopper reader reports this: "Inside
still looks pretty much the same, but
there is new signage, which isstrangelythe very same design
as the old signage, but bearing the new name." Hours will be
11:30am–10:30pm. 288 Connecticut St. at 18th St.
pig mania continues: EPIC
Roasthouse is hosting ~HIGH ON THE HOG~ on
Saturday June 27th on EPIC's bayside
patio. There will be a slow-roasted whole
fennel pig, plus three kinds of house-made
pork sausages, pulled pork sandwiches,
and more; a variety wineries on hand
pouring their pinot noirs (Peay Vineyards, Red Car, Iron Horse
Vineyards, Roessler Cellars, Hirsch Winery, Freeman Winery, Macphail
Family Wines, DeLoach Vineyards, and Ceritas Wines); and music
from Nell Robinson & Red
Level. Jordan MacKay will be on hand signing copies of his book, Passion
for Pinot: A Journey Through America's Pinot Noir Country.
Here's a link
to the flyer with more info. 1pm–4pm. $50 per person
(food tasting only: $20; wine tasting
only: $30). Note: a ten percent discount
will be given to Slow Food members. 369
The Embarcadero, between Folsom and Harrison,
cheesy? Saturday May 30th is ~TOUR
DE FROMAGE~, a bicycle tour of local fromage specialists.
The event will finish up with a cheese-sharing
picnic at a nearby park. Don't forget to bring cash for cheesy
purchases from our local vendors. Want
more info? Email jgallin [at] sbcglobal.net.
11am–3pm. Meet at the Panhandle statue,
Fell and Baker.
note the oyster event I mentioned last week
was postponed until Sunday June 14th due to Bay to Breakers and Fort
Mason Oyster Fest citywide mayhem. Here it is again: Sunday June
AT JACK'S~ will be celebrating its oyster house history
with a special party, Consider The Oyster, featuring seven
California oyster growers and 20 wines from
11 wineries, including Schramsberg, J, and
Iron Horse. There will also be live music. The party is from noon–6pm,
and is $60. 615 Sacramento St. at Montgomery, 415-693-0941.
Last week was full of Peninsula and South Bay news, so here's
some East Bay juice for you:
Just this past Friday, ~THE
GRAND TAVERN~ opened on Grand Avenue in Oakland,
just a little over a block away from Camino. This cozy tavern
opened in a turn-of-the century home, so there are two lounge
rooms, a dining room, a fireplace, and a bar in another area,
plus there's an outdoor patio. It's a mother and son business:
mom is the chef, Kay Eskind, and her son is Temoor Noor, a former
urban planner (this is his third restaurant opening). The affordable
menu features comfort food with some international touches, like
Cornish hen with ginger and onions ($16), and pan-grilled rib-eye
steak ($18). There are a number of vegetarian starters, including
a vegetarian chili ($6–$8). Cocktailians will be pleased to know
this place means business (they have a Kold Draft machine, which
means big ice), and are serving craft cocktails made with organic
citrus and quality ingredientssome feature Small Hand Foods
orgeat and syrups. Here are a few examples of the classic drinks
on the list: an old fashioned, a Hemingway daiquiri, and the
Trader Vic's mai tai (all $9). The beer list is also impressive,
and includes Affligem Blonde and Unibroue Chambly Noire on draft.
Hours are Sun–Thu 5pm–10pm or so, and Thu–Sat 5pm–12am. Weekend
brunch will start in June, running from 9am–2pm. 3601 Grand Ave.
at Mandana, Oakland, 510-444-4644.
According to this
Craigslist ad, Charlie Hallowell of ~PIZZAIOLO~ is
opening a new spot "just down the street from the Grand Lake Theatre."
After some sleuthing, I heard it's going to be the Café DiBartolo
Café space, but since I didn't get in touch with Hallowell by post-time,
this remains unconfirmed. 3310 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland.
I also heard Tanya Holland of ~BROWN
SUGAR KITCHEN~ is looking at spaces on Grand Avenue,
but nothing is final yet. She told me she'd let me know when
the ink is dry.
Pastena of CODA, the jazz supperclub opening in the Levende Lounge
space, plus Lev Delany and Jesse Branstetter have an East Bay project in the works: ~CHOP
BAR~ (slang for a local hangout). It will be opening in the former
Mono space, a small 1,500-square-foot restaurant.
It will be a tapas-style bar, and while the
focus will not be on Spanish food, there will be small plates for people
to share. It will be open all day serving light breakfast fare, and
lunch will include tapas, sandwiches, salads, and soups. There will
be a wine on tap system (a la TWO, Salt House, and Laiola), which means
a less-expensive but still high-quality glass of wine for you. This
and other features will be all sustainably and green-focused. Look
for an opening at the end of summer. 247 4th St. at Jackson, Oakland.
a hot tip? You know I'd love
it (and you). Just reply to this email