May 28, 2013

May 28, 2013

Thali plate at Kasa. Photo from Facebook.

It looks like the former ~FOURTH WAVE COFFEE~ location on Polk has a new taker: none other than the fine folks of ~KASA INDIAN EATERY~ (thanks to tablehopper intern Rebecca Kinney for the tip!). Owners Anamika and Suresh Khanna hope to have the new spot up and running before June 25th, hopefully the week of the 17th. It’s a little uncertain at the moment, as owner Anamika Khanna is recovering from being hit by a car (take care, dear!).

The new outpost will have the same menu as their Castro location, with some more colorful design elements. They may also stay open later on weekends, to accommodate the Polk Street crowds. For now, hours will be 11am-10pm, and we’ll keep you updated with a firm opening date. Best wishes with your recovery, Anamika! 1356 Polk St. at Pine.


The grill and counter. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The downstairs bar, made of walnut. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


Daniel Hyatt pouring cocktails (nothing says hardhat like plastic cups). Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

A report by Dana Massey-Todd. As previously noted on tablehopper, international chain ~ROKA AKOR~ is opening an outpost of their well-regarded Japanese steakhouse and sushi empire here in San Francisco. Their new location, at 801 Montgomery St., is the former home of Cypress Club, Scott Howard, and Zinnia, and they’re giving it quite the revamp. Right now they’re in the middle of a major renovation, and I had a chance to take a peek (hardhat on, of course) last week.

The new space has two levels—the main dining room at street level and a subterranean bar—and has been designed by Arcanum Architecture. Take a look at this rendering to get a sense of how the two spaces will work together. The upstairs dining room’s main focus is the very large robata charcoal grill, where meats will be prepared over an open flame. The grill faces counter seating for 10, which should be a great place to watch the grill in action. The dining room seats 118, and the wall opposite the grill will have large windows at street level, to take full advantage of the natural light. The wood is primarily poplar, beech, and Monterey cypress, and a few of these light wood touches were visible during the hardhat tour. The mood is kept light with seafoam-green glass throughout, including over the very large hood above the grill.

Below the dining area is the Roka Bar, which is much darker and moodier than the upstairs space. The large L-shaped bar is made from reclaimed walnut, and the rest of the materials in the bar are also dark and a bit sexy. There is very little light below ground, and the goal of this space is to be quite timeless—you really shouldn’t know what time of day it is while you’re drinking here. The bar program is being run by former Alembic bar manager Daniel Hyatt. There will be a full list of cocktails, with infused liquors and Japanese whiskies as the highlight. Hyatt is excited to offer service that is hospitable, not stuffy or pretentious. He wants customers to feel comfortable ordering what they want to drink, not what they think they should want to drink. He’s been experimenting with infusions, particularly of shochu, and the infused spirits will be displayed in handblown glass jars along one wall of the bar area. They’ve also invested in an ice machine that produces 300-pound ice blocks, which will be hand-cut by the bar staff.

The executive chef of the project is Roman Petry, who also opened Roka Akor locations in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Hong Kong. He will be utilizing classic Japanese techniques, but with California products, which he is quite excited to have the opportunity to do. There isn’t a menu for the San Francisco location yet, but we do know the focus will be on grilled meats and seafood, and sushi, with some tempura and appetizers as well. The bar will have a separate menu of smaller bites to go along with all those expertly mixed cocktails. For a hint of how the menu will look, take a peek at the Chicago location’s current menu. They’re planning an opening in July, with hours in the dining room of Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. Look for lunch service in the fall. The bar will be open Mon-Thu 3:30pm-12am and Fri-Sat 5pm-2am. 801 Montgomery St. at Pacific.


Booths at Kama Izakaya; Yelp photo by Cathy K.

Fans of dim sum, rejoice: ~MAMA JI’S DIM SUM AND DINNER~ has finally reopened in the former Queen Malika’s space in the Castro, and since they got approval to put in a hood, they are no longer just a pop-up. Yup, they’re all grown up and full time now. Look for Szechuan dinner items, in addition to dim sum all day and night (plus coffee in the morning). Hours are 9:30am-9:30pm daily (10pm on the weekends). 4416 18th St. at Eureka, 415-626-4416.

The Kama Sushi (and Dash in San Mateo) folks have opened a fourth location in the Outer Sunset, but this time it’s ~KAMA IZAKAYA~. For now, no sushi is served at this location—just hot dishes like chicken karaage and gyoza, plus ramen, udon, and more. Hours are daily 5pm-12am, and lunch is served Sat-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm. Delivery coming soon. 2555 Judah St. at 31st Ave., 415-742-5670.


The Black & Blue burger from Acme. Yelp photo by Gary B.


Gilberth’s dining room. Photo via Facebook.

Haighteration reports that the Divisadero location of ~ACME BURGERHAUS~ has closed. The closure comes right on the heels of the opening of a Tenderloin location for Acme at 620 O’Farrell, so you can still get your fill of their customizable burgers (and lots of beer, by the looks of it). Looks like Jay’s Cheesesteaks wins round one in Divisadero burger battles. 559 Divisadero at Hayes.

A tipster let me know there’s a grocery store that is supposedly coming to the AIC (American Industrial Center) in Dogpatch at 22nd Street and Illinois. Details are sparse on this one; do let me know if you’ve heard anything?

More Dogpatch gossip: ~ORALIA’S CAFE~ (2347 3rd St.) lost their lease and rumor has it that it’s going to become a pizza-by-the-slice place (although I don’t know who will be operating it). Oralia’s will be moving their sandwich operation into ~GILBERTH’S ROTISSERIE & GRILL~ (they have the same owner). I will keep you posted! 2427-2429 3rd St. at 22nd St., 415-913-7163.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the ~331 CORTLAND MARKETPLACE~ is getting a new shop on Saturday June 1st: the ~SUITE FOODS WAFFLE SHOP~. Look for European-style waffles with sweet and savory toppings. Hours are 8am-5pm daily, closed Thu.


Gaslamp Cafe; photo via Facebook.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, ~GASLAMP CAFE~ is now open in SoMa. Look for Blue Bottle Coffee, Five Mountains tea, breakfast offerings like pastries and egg sandwiches, sandwiches for lunch, outdoor seating coming soon, and free Wi-Fi is with the purchase of a beverage or food. 1599 Howard St. at 12th St., 415-580-7493.

A tipster sent in news that the laundromat next door to Martuni’s, ~MISTER BUBBLES~, is going to be serving Verve Coffee—there is quite the mini café setup in the window, with a brand-new La Marzocco GB/5. It should be open and serving coffee very soon—the team finished their training and are just waiting on final inspections. So yeah, you can get seriously caffeinated all along Valencia Street now. 8 Valencia St. at Market.


The new Bernal Cutlery. Photo by Liam Passmore.

The wonderful knife shop ~BERNAL CUTLERY~ has moved their operation from Cortland Street in Bernal to the former Pot and Pantry space in the Mission. They’re celebrating their opening with a knife buyback program that allows you to drop off an old knife anytime in June and get credit in return, which is a pretty sweet way to score an upgrade. Stop by on Saturday June 1st from 5pm-8pm to say hello and welcome them to the neighborhood. For those in Bernal who need knife sharpening, you’ll be able to drop your knives off and pick them up at Avedano’s Meats. Bernal Cutlery is open Mon-Sat 10am-6pm. 593 Guerrero St. at 18th St., 415-902-6531.


Corn dogs by Sean Lackey. Photo from Facebook.

Chef Sean Lackey is popping up at ~TRUCK~ again this month, on Wednesday May 29th. He’s named the pop-up Bite Me, and this time around he’ll be showcasing the miracles of the deep fryer, with corn dogs made from Prather Ranch hotdogs and fresh corn, plus chicken liver pâté, deviled eggs with salmon, and a bourbon-braised brisket slider. Food o’clock is 6pm, and you can get menu updates on the event’s Facebook page. 1900 Folsom St. at 15th St., 415-252-0306.

This Saturday June 1st, Tango & Stache will be serving brunch at ~DEAR MOM~. Last month featured the famed Flaco’s tacos, Huevos Stacheros (two sunny-side up eggs over a pile of either bacon fat or olive oil tortillas, plus vermouth baked beans, crispy panfried ham, whiskey-pickled jalapeños, and cilantro gremolata), and a bacon-stuffed buckwheat waffle with fried duck egg, maple syrup, and fresh strawberries. Looking forward to seeing what he has in store for our lipid levels this month. 11:30am-4pm. 2700 16th St. at Harrison.


Spruce’s SMIP Ranch, where many ingredients for their L’Arpège dinner will be sourced. Photo from Facebook.

You like soft-shell crab? Yeah, me too. Swing by ~BLUESTEM BRASSERIE~ on Thursday May 30th for the lastest stop on their “American Road Trip” rotating menu. That Thursday evening, chef Francis Hogan will pay homage to Maryland with crispy soft-shell crabs, served with blue crab cake, Old Bay roasted potatoes, braised red kale, and roasted garlic hollandaise, and Smith Island cake for dessert.

Get wild (rawr) with chef Kory Stewart at ~AMERICANO~ on Thursday June 6th for their annual Wild Foods Dinner (Kory loves foraging for mushrooms—he’ll be heading out with foraging expert and author Connie Green for the dinner). The dinner features four courses highlighting wild and foraged ingredients: possibilites include morel and porcini mushrooms, ramps, elderflower, and king salmon. The evening will open with a cocktail reception including drinks mixed with wild ingredients, plus wine pairings from Medlock Ames. The reception begins at 5:30pm (dinner at 6:30pm) and costs $85 per person, including beverages but not tax and tip. Reservations can be made by calling 415-278-3777.

At ~SPRUCE~, check out a seven-course dinner from chef de cuisine John Madriaga on Monday June 10th. The dinner is an homage to Alain Passard’s Paris restaurant, L’Arpège, with a focus on hyper-fresh and seasonal produce from Spruce’s SMIP Ranch. The dinner includes wine pairings with each course, and you can check out the menu and wines here. The dinner costs $195 per person, not including tax and tip. Reservations can be made by calling 415-931-5100.


High on the Hog 2012. Photo © GammaNine Photography via Facebook.

Enjoy some sunshine on the bay at High on the Hog at ~EPIC ROASTHOUSE~ on Saturday June 29th. The afternoon of barbecue, pinot noir, and live music runs from 1pm-4pm and costs $65 per person. You’ll find porky dishes from chef Jan Birnbaum like roasted fennel porchetta, maple roasted pork legs, and Manila clams with pork jowl and white beans, plus pinot noir from lots of local wineries like Flowers, Kutch Wines, and Hirsch Vineyards. You can get your tickets here (they go quickly), and if you order them before May 29th you get a free EPIC T-shirt. Bonus.


On Tuesday June 11th, head to ~18 REASONS~ for Gnocchi! A Primer, where you’ll learn to make potato-, semolina-, and vegetable-based gnocchi with Viola Buitoni. Tickets are $65 for the general public and $55 for 18 Reasons members, and the class runs from 6:30pm-9pm.

On Monday July 15th, learn all about the underrated and fabulous cuisine of Hungary with Michelle McKenzie at The Flavors of Hungary: Summer. You’ll learn three different dishes: an appetizer, main dish, and a dessert. The class runs from 6pm-8:30pm, and tickets are $65 for the general public and $55 for 18 Reasons members.

On Thursday June 13th, Urban Kitchen will be holding a Whole Fish Fabrication and Preservation class with Neil Davidson of Mission Gastroclub and WhipOut! Food Truck at CUESA’s outdoor Dacor kitchen. You’ll get a whole black cod to butcher yourself, with Davidson’s help of course, and then you’ll learn how to preserve the resulting fillets by smoking and poaching. Author and former commercial fisher Maria Finn will also be in attendance to talk about sustainability in the fishing industry. Tickets are $68 per person. Dacor Outdoor Kitchen, Ferry Building.


Showing that flame who’s boss at American Oak. Photo from Facebook.

Here’s another one to add to the Phoenix rising file: East Bay Express reports that ~AMERICAN OAK~ in Alameda reopened May 16th after a December fire. They’ve revamped their menu too. 2319 Santa Clara Ave. at Park, 510-521-5862.

Just a reminder that ~CHEZ PANISSE~ is due to reopen on Friday June 21st, and they will be taking reservations once again via phone starting Wednesday May 29th at 9am (online reservations through their website and OpenTable will begin Thursday May 30th).

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