July 23, 2013

July 23, 2013

Banquette seating and fab wallpaper, mirrors, and groovy lighting! Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The brass bar, covered in antique mirrors and painted vintage grate. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Vintage lighting from France, with painted mirrors. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The private dining area, which will be enclosed by curtains. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last week I got a look at the glammy ~CAFÉ CLAUDE MARINA~ that we mentioned was coming awhile back—while the design is very close, we’ll have to wait until mid-September to enjoy a glass of wine and frites there.

The building dates back to the early 1900s, and the design by Elmer Lin (Consortium)—working with owner Franck LeClerc—is one part boudoir and one part bling-bling. While LeClerc’s Gitane is swankity-swank, Café Claude Marina definitely has more of an old-world feel to it, with flocked damask wallpaper in a deep hue of burgundy, dark wood wainscoting, and painted tin ceilings.

For contrast, the vintage lighting sourced in France brings an eclectic-chic vibe to the look, and there are lots of reflective surfaces, like mirrors with frames that have a painted patina. Additional shimmer: there is a brass bar (LeClerc loves the one at Le Central), with a base that is covered in antique mirrors topped with a layer of vintage grating that has been painted a soft red. The bar is also surrounded in penny tile, adding to the vintage vibe. There will be classic bistro-style chairs and simple barstools that will lend a relaxed and approachable sensibility.

A sure-to-be-in-demand table is the private booth in the back, with room for five to seven people (the table will be enclosed in curtains). There will also be outdoor seating (six tables in all), and on nice days, the windowed doors can swing open to let in fresh air and light. While the infamous “triangle” (people get lost in a booze fog over there) is just around the corner, the 49 seats at Café Claude Marina will offer more of a sophisticated escape—I see this place becoming flirtation central, with lots of dates, and ladies who love their wine at the 12-seat bar.

A big difference from the downtown location (besides the more feminine look) is that this Café Claude has a full kitchen. Chef Doug Degeeter will be offering a traditional French bistro menu, but one designed to appeal to the neighborhood—stand by for more on that soon. The wine list by Sarah Knoefler will include both French and California selections—look for about 35 wines with many by-the-glass selections.

Hours will be Tue-Sun 4:30pm-11pm, Sat-Sun brunch and lunch will launch four to six weeks after the opening, with an aperitif hour from 4:30pm-6:30pm. Weekday lunch will come even later. You can’t miss the cheerful building—look for the bright red and wood exterior. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore, 415-292-3599.


Chef Justin Deering at 15 Romolo. Photo © Balthazar Digital Media (via Facebook).


The former entrance at The Purple Onion. Yelp photo by Luis C.

In January of this year, it was announced that Christopher Burnett of Darwin Cafe in SoMa is going to be opening ~DOC RICKETTS~ in the original (and historic) Purple Onion comedy club space in North Beach.

I caught up with Burnett for an update, and there are some announcements to make about the team and space. Charlie Brown, who has been the restaurant manager at Prospect since it opened, is going to be in charge of operations. The chef is Justin Deering, who has most recently been the chef at 15 Romolo (it was a temporary gig that happily went a bit longer than expected; he is departing in two weeks). Deering was previously at Café des Amis and prior to that, Conduit. Deering explains that while he has been doing very approachable food at 15 Romolo, he’s looking forward to developing the menu for Doc Ricketts, which will have lighter flavors (there was also a mention of charcuterie and a curing room).

Deering is also going to be honoring the legacy of Doc Ricketts: he was considered the father of marine biology, and was an early conservationist (John Steinbeck was a friend, and the character Doc in Cannery Row was based on Ricketts). Owner Burnett grew up in the Monterey area, hence the affinity for Steinbeck. So perhaps some sustainability and seafood will come into play in the concept. Deering’s culinary style is creative and very seasonal, so I look forward to seeing what he has in store—he said it will be casual and affordable. There will be lunch and dinner service—nearby workers will be able to swing by for takeout, or opt for a sit-down lunch instead.

As for the building, it’s a unique one—it’s 102 years old and was brought down to the studs. Yeah, it has been a major renovation as the team converts it into a full-service restaurant (the entrance and staircase were both moved, and the former barber shop is no longer there). There will be oak floors, bistro tables with cast-iron bases topped in white marble, plus there will also be redwood, and hot-rolled steel beams in the kitchen. The layout is a little quirky: the kitchen is on the second floor, while the 49-seat dining room (previously Caffè Macaroni) will be on the first floor. The basement, which used to be the Purple Onion, will be Doc’s Lab, which will have a full bar and will be a space for music, book readings, comedy, and local talent to gather (look for the place to be open until 2am on the weekends). While a bar manager hasn’t been named yet, there will be barrel-aged cocktails and they will be making their own bitters. They are looking to open in October; stand by for updates (and pics!) between now and then. 124 Columbus Ave. at Jackson.


The bar and interior at Ziryab. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

A report from Dana Massey-Todd. Thanks to a tip from a reader, we learned awhile back that ~ZIRYAB~ on Divisadero is reopening with a new bar program, a revamped menu, and a face-lift. Owner Salim Nasser has redone the interior, with moodier paint colors and art that evokes the restaurant’s namesake Ziryab, a ninth-century musician and inventor of the fork (nice work, that). They’re also opening up the back patio, with new seating and greenery, so they’ll end up with both a front and rear patio area.

The bar program is being run by Zach Taylor (check out an interview with him on Haighteration here), who previously worked at Hog & Rocks. He’s created a drink list that incorporates the flavors of the Mediterranean, with drinks built around the anise-based spirit arak, pomegranate, and yogurt. The Ziryab Manhattan is made with date-infused Bulleit rye, Lapsang souchong tea, and a touch of arak; the Ostwald Ripening has arak, yogurt liquor, Pavan, and freshly grated cinnamon. There are nine beers on tap that haven’t been finalized yet; Taylor reports that there will be at least a couple of rotating handles, plus some bottles of Belgian beers. They’ll be pouring wine primarily from Spain and Portugal, with a few other Mediterranean offerings available as well.

In the food department, look for updated interpretations of Mediterranean food, ranging from Morrocco to Jordan to Turkey. They’ll have a vegetable tagine, a merguez flatbread, and a roast duck with lentils, chard, and dried cranberries. Shawarma and kebabs will be cooked over the charcoal grill; take a look at a sample menu here. The chef, Khalid al Morabet, will also be offering daily specials to keep things interesting. Opening is slated for early next week, hopefully Monday July 29th or Tuesday July 30th. Hours are daily 5pm-1am. 528 Divisadero St. at Fell, 415-522-0800.


A view of what will be the main dining area, with the mezzanine level above. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.


The mezzanine level, with the future fireplace site. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Dana Massey-Todd. As announced on tablehopper back in December, Ivan Hopkinson is bringing suds to Western Addition in the form of ~BARREL HEAD BREWHOUSE~. The project is a biggie, headed into the former Fulton Street Bar space, and they’re in the middle of a pretty major overhaul to the building. At a party on Friday night I caught a tour of the space and got to hear a little bit about Hopkinson’s plans for the space.

Hopkinson, who was assistant brewmaster at the Park Chalet, plans to brew a variety of beers on-site. He hopes to offer a little something for everyone, from more traditional staples to more adventurous choices. The space has been designed to accommodate and showcase the brewing equipment; a second floor loft will be mostly removed, leaving a mezzanine level for seating and the rest of the 16-foot ceilings for shiny machinery. Despite the vast nature of the space, they’ve tried to keep intimate and cozy corners, with details like an upstairs fireplace and tucked-away areas for larger groups. Right now, they’re still working on the construction, like getting the floor in and the rest of the loft out, but the space is definitely starting to take shape.

Chef Tim Tattan has been working as a sous chef at Monk’s Kettle, and is looking forward to bringing his beer-pairing skills to Barrel Head. While the details of the menu are still being finalized, the scheming has already begun. He’s planning to keep the menu simple and seasonal, with inspiration coming from Bavarian pub food and California cuisine. He intends to offer two different types of roast chicken from his rotisserie, composed salads, a Monte Cristo sandwich, and a housemade charcuterie program. He’s also hoping to offer whole-animal dinners to large groups, which can be booked a week in advance. The various animals and preparations available will change based on what he can get his hands on. The plan is to offer brunch Fri-Sun, and dinner seven nights a week, though they may start with just dinner and go from there. They’ve got a 2am liquor license and would like to keep the kitchen open with a full menu until 1:30am. Opening is currently slated for late fall-early winter; we’ll keep you updated as those details solidify. 1785 Fulton St. at Masonic, 415-745-1570.


Here’s an older image capture of the Aliment space via Google Maps.


Onigiri from Onigilly. Photo from Onigilly website.


The Gaggia at Iron & Steam. Photo from Facebook.

There will be a new place to munch downtown, very soon: ~ALIMENT~, from Matt Sullivan (formerly at Blue Plate). They’re not talking details, and seem to want to keep the project in stealth mode for a little while longer. But the paper is off the windows and the space is pretty (complete with upholstered booths and a long marble bar, plus high ceilings, big windows, and industrial-modern shelving for wine behind the bar), so that’s going to be tricky. 786 Bush St. at Mason.

Financial District workers will have a new place to get delicious lunchtime rice balls: ~ONIGILLY~ is opening a new location in September. It will be in the Embarcadero Center Four on the street level, serving their delicious onigiri-style dishes in an “express” environment oriented toward takeout. Hours will be Mon-Sat 10am-6pm and Sun 12pm-3pm. Embarcadero Center Four at Sacramento, 415-671-4706.

Downtown Mexican restaurant palace ~ROSA MEXICANO~ has a new bottomless morning breakfast buffet (you still have to wear pants—it’s all you can eat). Mon-Fri from 8am-10am, they’ll have a buffet set up with a variety of Mexican breakfast items, including options like jamón con chilaquiles, a corn tamal with bacon, and Mexican-style scrambled eggs. Take a look a sample menu here. And get this: the spread is only $11.99 per person. So get yourself ready to start showing up for work stuffed. 30 Mission St. at Steuart, 415-874-4300.

We have been tracking the opening of ~IRON & STEAM ESPRESSO BAR~ for the past month, which is now open on Polk Street. The new caffeination station is located in front of the Hi-Lo Club and serves espresso from Santa Clara-based Chromatic Coffee. Right now, it’s just coffee, but in coming weeks, look for croissants and a rotating pastry of the day. Tue-Fri 8:30am-3:30pm, Sat-Sun 9am-3:30pm, Monday hours coming soon. 1423 Polk St. at Pine.

Eater reports that there’s a new café in the Tenderloin: ~JOY’S PLACE~. The cozy little spot has free Wi-Fi, lots of tables, and seems oriented toward the laptop crowd with a menu of simple snacks like crisp waffles with ice cream, grilled cheese, and a full espresso bar. 611 Post St. at Taylor, 415-817-1391.

The West Portal location of Ryan Scott’s ~MARKET & RYE~ closed on July 22nd for renovations and will reopen on Friday July 26th with a new menu and delivery. They’re also getting ready for beer and wine service in October. 68 West Portal Ave. at Vicente, 415-564-5950.


Yelp photo of Murasaki Sushi by Kevin Y.

A Twitter pal shared the unfortunate news that longtime sushi chef Toshi (Toshihiro Sasaki) of ~MURASAKI SUSHI~ has sadly passed away, and the restaurant has temporarily closed. There are some very sweet missives to Toshi posted on Yelp (for a change). Condolences to his family and friends (and many fans). The page on Yelp says the restaurant will reopen on September 1st, but ABC license activity points to a new name and ownership. 211 Clement St. at 3rd Ave.


The cavatieddi alla Silana at Barbacco. Photo courtesy of Waverley Aufmuth.

Last week I had a chance to get back to my roots and check out the Calabrese regional menu that ~BARBACCO~ is serving now through August 12th. Chef de cuisine Nick Kelly’s Calabrese menu really excelled on the pastas, like hand-cut maccheroni larghi with swordfish, tomato, garlic, and chile ($14)—and my favorite—the cavatieddi alla Silana, handmade cavatelli with tomato, sausage, mushroom, prosciutto, guanciale, chile, and pecorino ($14). Yeah, that sauce ripped. Of course you have to start your meal with the ‘nduja ($6-$9), and the braciolette di alici ($8, baked anchovy rolls stuffed with bread crumbs, pecorino, parsley, oregano, and garlic) is another winner. You can finish the feast with the flavor-packed tonno bianco alla ghiotta (local albacore tuna “glutton style” with tomato, capers, and olives) for $18. My great aunt would have had problems with the onion frittelle ($7), so I’d pass on that one. Here’s the entire menu—you have a couple more weeks (though August 12th) to check it out! Oh, and be sure to let them do some wine (and beer) pairings for you—we had some really fun discoveries that way.

To get in on some serious chef action, check out the fourth annual Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Guest Chef Series, hosted by Tacolicious. Here’s how it works: at the Thursday Farmers Market, head to the Tacolicious stand to try a taco from a different local chef every week. This week is Brett Cooper from Outerlands, and upcoming chefs include Greg Dunmore of Nojo, Liza Shaw of the upcoming Merigan, Mourad Lahlou of Aziza, and Leo Beckerman and Evan Bloom of Wise Sons Deli. All proceeds benefit CUESA, so you can be sure that these tacos are not only great for you, but for a wonderful local organization too. Thursdays 10am-2pm, Ferry Plaza Marketplace.

On Sunday July 28th, catch the Myriad Gastro Pub from chef Trish Tracey at ~DEAR MOM~ from 4pm-11:30pm. Look for fried chicken sandwiches, Tracey’s take on an iceberg wedge, and grilled peaches; take a peek at the menu here. 2700 16th St. at Harrison, 415-625-3362.


The Noise Pop festival is coming to 20th Street in the Mission on Saturday August 24th, with its ~20TH STREET BLOCK PARTY~. The event features food from local merchants, and this is 20th Street, so that means Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, Rhea’s Deli, and Trick Dog, plus beverages from the Bon Vivants, Sightglass Coffee, and Benders.

In addition to the neighborhood’s vittles, catch live music from Two Gallants, Mac DeMarco, and Quinn Devereux and the Blue Beat Revue. The event is free and family-friendly, and you are encouraged to bring your party shoes. There will also be a workshop tent with craft projects, and performing arts happenings from Z Space. The event takes place from 12pm-6pm. 20th St. between Harrison and Bryan, and Florida between 19th and 20th Sts.

On Saturday evening, from 6pm-10pm, don’t miss the Dark is the Night After Party at ~MISSION DISPATCH~. Look for drinks from Derby Cocktail, food from the likes of Phat Thai and the Burr-eatery, and live music. Entrance is $5 at the door, all ages welcome. 1975 Bryant St. at 18th St.


Learn to identify the spices at Brundo Ethiopian Culinary Studio. Photo from Facebook.

Slow Food East Bay is bringing it with some pretty exciting classes in the coming months. On Sunday August 4th from 2pm-5pm, join them at Brundo Ethiopian Culinary Studio for a class on Ethiopian food from founder and author Fetlework Tefferi. You’ll learn all about the different spice blends that are used in Ethiopian food, with a particular emphasis on berbere. She’ll sample several recipes, which you’ll be able to try too. Tickets are $60, and $5 goes to Slow Food East Bay. 1960 Mandela Pkwy. at 20th St., Oakland, 510-601-7999.

Then, on Monday September 9th, catch a class on Nigerian cooking from Florence Anadu of the market Man Must Wak. The class will be held at the Finnish Hall of Berkeley; more details are coming soon. 1970 Chestnut St. at Hearst, Berkeley.

Diablo Dish reports that another San Francisco spot has made the trip east. This time it’s ~THE BARREL ROOM~ wine bar from sommeliers Sarah Trubnick and Carolyn Johnson. They’re planning to have small, boutique wines available, like at the San Francisco location, but this time around they’re also planning to offer a more substantial food menu, with entrées as well as smaller dishes. Look for a September opening. 5330 College Ave. at Bryant.

James Syhabout’s ~HAWKER FARE~ suffered from vandalism on Friday night, according to a tweet from Syhabout and a follow-up from Scoop. Security cameras caught three masked vandals setting a blaze that melted the restaurant’s electrical system, and they are now closed indefinitely. It’s not clear that the incident is related to the vandalism and violence of last week, though it does appear that the city of Oakland is expediting the building process and they’ve already got new meters up. Tweets from Christin Ayers, a reporter at KPIX, mention Hawker Fare may reopen this week, and she also posted a photo of the suspects. 2300 Webster St. at 23rd St., Oakland, 510-832-8896.

Related Archives

« July 16, 2013 | July 30, 2013 »