June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012

Bun rieu. Photo courtesy Soup Junkie.


Braised pork bun. Photo courtesy Soup Junkie.

Well, this is exciting: after the success of their wonderful noodle soup pop-up, ~SOUP JUNKIE~ has found a brick-and-mortar location on Market Street in the Financial District. They will be replacing the former ~OISHII CAFE~ space at 388 Market Street, serving breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday. The opening is slated for Monday June 18th, so you won’t have to wait too long to get your paws on this stuff.

Hung Lam will be serving his excellent Vietnamese soups, including his signature bun rieu, which boasts a six-hour tomato and crab stock with a tender crab omelet, housemade pork meatballs, vermicelli rice noodles, spinach, and herbs. Yeah, it’s beautiful to behold, and, yeah, you should check it out. There will also be his usual exceptional renditions of beef and vegetarian pho, and Cantonese-style wonton soup with pork and shrimp filling. Oh, and if you weren’t sold already, that also comes with chicken, braised pork, and pork cracklings. There will be additional, non-soup vittles like Vietnamese crepes, braised pork sandwiches, and imperial rolls. And that’s not all, Lam says: “I’m also working a few new dishes that I plan to include as weekly specials such as rice bowls, dry noodle bowls, [and a] vegetarian dish with housemade vegetarian ‘fish’ sauce.”

For breakfast, you can look forward to pastries from Belinda Leong of b. patisserie and Gillian Shaw of Black Jet Baking Company and coffee from Bicycle Coffee Co. There will also be a Vietnamese iced coffee made from a custom blend that Lam’s mother and uncle created years ago. How adorable is that? Open Mon-Fri 7am-2:30pm. 388 Market St. at Fremont.


The famed Chez Maman burger. Photo via Yelp by Earl G.

My new tablehopper editorial assistant was doing some Hayes Valley scouting this morning, and discovered who is moving into the now-closed ~TERRA CAFE & BAKERY~ at the corner of Gough and Hayes: a second location of Potrero Hill’s ~CHEZ MAMAN~. (It’s a ballsy move considering Absinthe is just across the street, but I do love their burger.) They plan to open this month. 401 Gough St. at Hayes.


Lobster dip sandwich. Yelp photo by Steve S.


Hungry? Crêperie Saint Germain can help. Photo: © FrankenyImages.com.

It’s official: ~PRIME DIP~ has landed at the old Jubili Yogurt location at 1515 Fillmore Street (thanks to a tablehopper reader for the tip). They are serving the well-stuffed, quality classic sandwiches made notorious at their Larkin Street location. Look out for lobster, prime rib, and pastrami dip sandwiches. Open Mon-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat-Sun 11am-8pm. 1515 Fillmore St. at O’Farrell, 415-800-8244.

~CRÊPERIE SAINT GERMAIN~ is opening a second location on Friday June 15th in the Bank of America building at 555 California St. You’ll be able to swing by for Zeynep (“Z”) Aynaci’s traditional French buckwheat and gluten-free crêpes made with organic ingredients, like the braised beef crêpe with avocado, jalapeño, cheese, tomato, and green onion, or the original sugar crêpe with lemon, butter, or cinnamon. Hours will be 5am-5pm. A third location will be opening in the Metreon Center at 135 4th St. in early July; hours will be 10am-12am.

According to this post on Josey Baker’s blog, ~THE MILL~, the collaborative café and bakery with Jeremy Tooker of Four Barrel, is going to open a “teensy tiny coffee cart toast bar” any day now; the big opening is slated for August. 736 Divisadero St. at Grove.

A beer and wine license looks to be impending for ~THE WAY OUT CAFE~, which opened at the end of April but has escaped my radar until now. Reviews on Yelp are surprisingly positive, mentioning a nice vibe, a foosball table, quality pastries and coffee (which come with the option of almond milk), and housemade espresso ice cream. 3188 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-240-2743.

License transfers from the former Chilayo on Chestnut point to a new business, ~BLACKWOOD THAI CUISINE~. Scoop shares additional details that the owner of Sweet Maple in the Fillmore area, Steven Choi, is behind the project, which should be opening very soon. 2150 Chestnut St. at Pierce.


Amy Brown’s amazing scone at nopa. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After five years as the oh-so-talented pastry chef at ~NOPA~, Amy Brown has departed for her next venture. I caught up with nopa’s chef-partner Laurence Jossel, who said she was a huge contributor and that we have her to thank for brunch. Fortunately Amy’s recipes for the sopaipillas, scones, burger buns, bagels, French toast, and more will stay—and taking her place is Anna Lee, who has been Amy’s assistant for the past year.

Amy is going to be staging in Seattle for the next month (including Sitka & Spruce), and will then be off to Budapest and Istanbul for more inspiration for another month. (Funny side story: the Turkish president’s chef was in the restaurant recently and showed her how to make phyllo!) When she returns, she will be looking for a café space with her fiancé (Joe Wolf at Wise Sons Deli) in the Outer Richmond—stand by for more on that soon.

And over in Oakland, ~PICÁN~ has a new chef, Sophina Uong, previously at Waterbar, 900 Grayson in Berkeley, and Betty Zlatchin Catering. New dishes include Lake Pontchartrain blue crab profiteroles with hickory-smoked pimento cream, and smoked Berkshire pork belly with Creole mustard, cherry piccalilli, and pan-fried hasty pudding made from grits.


The Steps of Rome Caffe. Photo from Yelp.

Last week, I received a call from Scott Holley, the owner of ~STEPS OF ROME CAFFE~ in North Beach, who told me that the Steps was now closed. About six months ago, he also closed the neighboring Steps of Rome Trattoria; he owned both businesses for 10 years. No more swarthy buskers with heavy accents, no more pasta alla vodka, no more tiramisu, and no more raucous parties during the World Cup. Oh wait, that was all fun in my 20s—it’s been awhile. 348 Columbus Ave. at Grant.

The Market Street location of ~CAFFE TRIESTE~ has closed. According to their website, the building has been sold, hence the closure. 1667 Market St. at Gough.

LiveSOMA noted that ~EDDIE RICKENBACKER’S~ has closed; Scoop picks up that Rick Howard (Harry’s on Fillmore, Bruno’s) is reportedly taking it over and will be keeping the name as is (although the motorcycles suspended from the ceiling are being auctioned off—those things always made me nervous). 133 2nd St. at Mission.

Was sorry to see that ~LA CICCIA~ will be closed from June 12th-17th for a family emergency; the restaurant will reopen on Tuesday June 19th.


Canales’ paella. Photo from Duende website.

Summer is bringing us some exciting new pop-up events. Paul Canales, formerly of Oliveto, will be hosting a preview of his new venture ~DUENDE~ at ~NAKED KITCHEN SF~. Canales has just returned from a culinary trip to Spain in preparation for Duende’s opening in the Fall, and will be sharing some of his discoveries at a five-course tasting on Saturday June 16th. Each course will be accompanied by Spanish wines and small batch sherry selected by Rocco Somazzi, Duende’s wine director and Canales’ collaborator in the venture. Seatings will be at 6pm and 9pm, and there are only 10 seats available per seating, so hurry to get your tickets now. The dinner will happen in the Mission; exact location to be emailed on the day of the event.

Also on Saturday June 16th, ~RICE PAPER SCISSORS~ will be celebrating summer with, what else, a Vietnamese grill pop-up at ~MISSION DISPATCH~. They’ll be there from 11am-4pm, to satisfy both brunch cravings and weekend late lunch. They will be offering their bun with a choice of grilled toppings, as well as a grilled baby octopus small plate with salt, pepper, lime, and chili that sounds pretty killer. Of course iced Vietnamese coffee will be available, never fear. 1975 Bryant St. at 20th.


The dining room and bar. Photo from Hopscotch.


The counter at Hopscotch. Photo from Facebook.

Back in April, I mentioned the upcoming ~HOPSCOTCH~ in Uptown Oakland from chef Kyle Itani and co-owner Jenny Schwartz. It’s going to open this Friday June 15th (and the burger is supposedly outstanding). To recap, it’s a Japanese-inspired American bistro opening in the former Chef Edwards Bar-B-Que spot.

Here’s the just-released menu.

Chips and Dip: duck fat potato chips, yuzu aioli
Little Green Salad: Little Gems, tomatoes, sea beans, cucumber, tarragon croutons
Heirloom Tomatoes: marinated in dashi, pickled king trumpet mushrooms, tatsoi
Beer-Steamed Clams: savory clams, lamb, duck fat potato chips
Oyster on the Half Shell: daily oyster, Schramsberg mignonettes
Yonsei Oyster: sea urchin, salmon roe, citrus soy
Duck on Toast: foie gras mousse, shiitake duxelles

Sweet Potato Gnocchi: king trumpet, hen of the woods, and shiitake mushrooms; sage crème frâiche
Corvina Sea Bass: pea shoots, salt cod-stuffed squash blossom, cedar-aged miso
Roasted Chicken Loin: ginger stuffed, kabocha squash risotto, treviso
Three Little Pigs: braised belly, prosciutto meatball, ham hock kale, apple-celery root mash, black garlic
Uptown Burger: Black Angus chuck, pickled onions, sesame miso aioli, Kennebec chips
First Base Burger: Black Angus chuck, griddled beef tongue, pickled onions, sesame miso aioli, Kennebec chips

There will also be craft beer, wine, and small-batch spirits, particularly Scotch. Cocktails include the Domino, made with Scotch, amaro, blackberry, jalapeño, and lemon, served up. The 40-seat space has a midcentury American diner look, with a Carrara marble bar (with 10 seats) and a cork checkerboard floor. Hopscotch will be open for dinner Tue-Sun. Reservations can be made via email or by phone. 1915 San Pablo Ave. at William, Oakland, 510-788-6217.


Nick’s vegetarian brunch pizza. Photo courtesy of Nick’s Pizza.

Starting this month, ~NICK’S PIZZA~ in Oakland will be offering brunch on Saturdays throughout the summer. Brunch in pizza parlance means fresh eggs baked on top of both vegetarian and bacon pies, of course, as well as waffles with seasonal fruit and biscuits with housemade sausage gravy. Brunch begins at 11:30am and continues until 3pm, when they’ll switch to the dinner options.

Nick’s will also begin hosting community dinners every so often, and the first will be Sunday July 8th. Nick Yapor-Cox, the owner and North Oakland native, will be offering free slices and salad to anyone who stops by between 6pm and 8pm as a gesture of gratitude to the neighborhood for the ongoing support of his business. 6211 Shattuck Ave. at 62nd St., Oakland, 510-658-3903.


The porch at The Olema Inn. Yelp photo by Helen S.

Up in Marin, Inside Scoop reports that ~THE OLEMA INN~ has been taken over by Margaret Grade and Daniel DeLong of ~MANKA’S~. Grade reports to KWMR radio in West Marin that they will stay true to the building’s roots as a roadhouse (since 1876!) by keeping the menu and ambiance approachable and casual. She says they will open in the afternoon for folks looking for a late lunch or snacks, and offer a simple dinner menu until late in the evening.

There will be six guest rooms upstairs for those of you seeking a getaway (and who just want to walk up the stairs when it’s time for bed). Grade reports that they will not make any drastic changes to the location, but will be bringing the building up to code and layering their own sensibility over the current setup. No word yet on a new name, but after limited remodeling, the pair hopes to open for business in August. 10000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Olema, 415-663-9559.

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