August 15, 2017

August 15, 2017

Kuma Sushi’s Cory Jackson and Ryo Sakai. Photo via Facebook.

Color me impressed. Back in March, I wrote about the upcoming ~KUMA SUSHI + SAKE~, from best friends Ryo Sakai (Pink Zebra, Domo) and Cory Jackson, and they reached out to let me know they are now softly open on Polk. Nice work, guys. The official opening is this Thursday August 17th.

They are opening a neighborhood-friendly sushi spot, designed to work for all kinds of budgets, while not skimping on quality seafood, with much of it local (from TwoXSea). The menu features small plates and salads to start, like sakekawa ($8), fresh arugula leaves and crispy salmon skin dressed with ponzu; chawanmushi ($9), a savory egg custard with shiitake mushroom, smoked gouda, and crab; and there are some tasting spoons for those who love those one-bite wonders.

You’ll also find nigiri, sashimi, and maki rolls, from a California roll (with real crab) to some kookier ones, like the Hey Girl ($14), a tempura shrimp roll topped with layers of tuna and avocado, spicy mayo, and unagi sauce. You can sit at the sushi bar for omakase, which is definitely fun with Ryo driving the bus. Vegetarians will also find some selections.

Local and Japanese beers, an ever-changing list of sakes, and wines are available. There’s a custom sushi case at the counter, and look for the shou sugi ban wood at the entrance (it’s a Japanese technique of charring and preserving wood).There are 18 seats, with 12 at the bar, and no reservations. Hours are lunch Tue-Fri 11:30am-2pm, and dinner Sun and Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. Closed Mon. 1040 Polk St. at Post.


The Wagyumafia cutlet sandwich. Photo via @wagyumafia on Instagram.


The sushi counter at Omakase. Photo: ©

I know, you actually are reading that correctly. A $180 sandwich is coming to San Francisco from Japan’s Wagyumafia (careful, the video on their site is on blast), known as “Japan’s preeminent Kobe and Wagyu beef ambassadors and purveyors.” They basically buy the spendiest beef imaginable and feature it at their pop-ups around the world (they also opened a members-only club in Tokyo).

Co-founders Hisato Hamada and Takafumi Horie will be opening the first certified Wagyu butcher and sandwich shop in the United States in early 2018, their fifth location and first outside of Asia, which will sell Japanese Kobe and Wagyu beef in a retail setting. Sandwiches will be available at lunchtime, from $8 to $180, depending on the quality and cut of Wagyu or Kobe beef and if you stopped by your money tree that morning and picked a bushel of Benjamins (or not). There are also plans to host pop-up dinners with guest chefs from Japan.

They are partnering with ORG (Omakase Restaurant Group) owners Kash Feng and chef Jackson Yu (Omakase, Okane, Dumpling Time, Live Sushi, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s) on the shop. It will be part of ORG and Equity Residential’s One Henry Adams project in the design district (which also has a yakiniku steakhouse, whisky bar, and an udon noodle shop in the works).

To celebrate the partnership, ~OMAKASE~ is hosting an exclusive five-course dinner on Wednesday August 30th with Louis Roederer Champagne (yes, the Cristal will be flowing, and the Kobe beef “Shabusando” Chateaubriand cutlet sandwich is part of the menu). Seatings at 5:30pm and 8:30pm. $595 per person, excluding tax and gratuity (oof). For reservations, call Omakase at 415-865-0633.


Exterior of the Hotel Bijou. Photo via Facebook.

While waiting for chef Robin Song to get his Korean-influenced project Junju off the ground after departing from Hog & Rocks, it ends up he has pivoted and is now the chef behind ~GIBSON~, a restaurant opening in the soon-to-be-renovated boutique Hotel Bijou in the Tenderloin.

His contemporary American menu will be focused on live-fire cooking, seasonality (due to his close relationships with many small and nearby farms), sustainability, and also affordability, while still delivering quality and good service (well, that’s nice). The menu will be designed to share, starting with charcoal-grilled sourdough bread service with seasonal accompaniments that will literally have guests break bread together. There will also be classic cocktails featuring juices, shrubs, and ingredients from the kitchen.

Oakland-based Mister Important (Chambers Eat + Drink, Gitane) is behind the design, which will take some inspiration from Art Deco. Look for an opening in late summer. 111 Mason St. at Eddy.


The former La Urbana exterior. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The former Renoir Hotel flatiron building is now the San Francisco Proper Hotel. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Proper Hotel.

Adriano Paganini’s Back of the House restaurant group has confirmed they are taking over the former La Urbana space on Divisadero and will be opening their 22nd restaurant in the location. Their PR team hints it will also be their 12th concept, we’ll just have to wait and see what that will be. The plan is to open later this November. Stand by for updates. 661 Divisadero St. at Grove.

Meanwhile, details have emerged about the three food and beverage concepts that will be in the San Francisco Proper Hotel, opening in Mid-Market this summer. First will be Villon, offering an all-day dining experience by chef Jason Franey (Campton Place, Eleven Madison Park, Canlis, Restaurant 1833). Look for a menu of contemporary American cuisine featuring updated classics, or as Franey is calling it, “comfort geek cooking.” There will be a main dining room and lobby salon, with cocktails from Josh Harris and Morgan Schick of BVHospitality (their “7x7” cocktail menu—a tribute to SF’s seven-by-seven-mile radius—will feature seven thematic categories with seven cocktails in each), plus wine and beer. There’s also a private dining room that will seat 14.

Next will be Charmaine’s, the rooftop bar and lounge, with cocktails, large-format drinks, highball service for groups, and bar bites, and La Bande, serving housemade pastries, tartines, sandwiches, and salads, plus coffee, tea, beer, and wine. There will also be a specialty market, with products and housemade provisions to go. 1110 Market St. at 7th St.

There’s something new opening in late August on Belden Place in the former Belden Taverna: ~TOY SOLDIER~. The menu will focus on contemporary American cuisine paired with house-brewed beer. Executive chef and co-owner Fred Turner is working with general manager and co-owner Franz Meis and co-owners Nick Pigott and Johnny “Love” Metheny. The hearty menu includes rabbit arancini, Brussels sprouts Caesar salad, and hefty dishes like Toy Soldier IPA-braised beef short ribs. Cocktails, 14 beer taps, and an on-site microbrewery, plus a California-focused wine list will be on offer, with live musical entertainment Thu-Sat and occasional weekend DJs. Michael Brennan is behind the renovation, which includes a communal table, booths, and banquette seating, plus an upstairs lounge. Lunch, happy hour, and dinner will be served, plus there are plans for late night (until 4am, whoa) and brunch. Hours will be daily 10:30am-3pm and dinner 4pm-11pm. 52 Belden Pl. at Pine, 415-906-9048.


Absinthe. Image: ©

Just in case you’re planning on grabbing a Ginger Rogers cocktail or raw oysters or their soft garlic pretzels with Vermont cheddar Mornay sauce (the best!) at ~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR~, the restaurant is currently closed for a refresh until Thursday September 7th. I’ll remind you when the renovations are complete. And don’t worry, you can still book a table for opera season!


Enough Tea & Coffee is opening soon. Photo via Facebook.

A couple of quick notes for you fellow caffeine lovers. Just about to open in the Financial District is ~ENOUGH TEA & COFFEE~, a small shop serving hot and cold coffee, espresso drinks, brewed tea, milk tea, fruit tea, and their Enough Milk Mousse Tea: black, green, or oolong with sea salt. There are also some yogurt drinks if you need a break from a caffeine buzz. Follow along on Instagram at @enoughteasf for their official opening date in a week. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-6pm and Sat 8am-5pm. 49 Kearny St. at Maiden Ln.

Meanwhile, Hoodline caught the closure of ~TROUBLE COFFEE COMPANY~’s location in Bayview, which opened in 2013. Bummer news, but let’s congratulate founder Giulietta Carrelli on Trouble’s 10-year-anniversary—and for being the progenitor of our toast scene. The original Judah Street and the West Oakland locations remain open. 1730 Yosemite Ave. at 3rd St.


Bubba’s breakfast sandwich. Photo: New Revolution Media.


Eleven wine bar and bistro in Bolinas. Photo courtesy of Kate Sterlin.

New Orleans-inspired ~ALBA RAY’S~ in the Mission just started lunch and brunch service. You’ll find po’boys on Leidenheimer’s French bread, a muffuletta (chef Adam makes the bun in house), salads, and check this out: on Fridays, lunch patrons can purchase $1 MARTINIS. Whut.

Brunch includes red beans loco moceaux (white rice, red bean gravy, andouille sausage, two sunny-side up eggs), boudin Benedict with scallion purée and Cajun hollandaise, crawfish omelette with chèvre and Creole gravy, and Bubba’s breakfast sandwich (fried eggs, ham, andouille, fried eggs, roasted tomato, caramelized onion, pimento cheese, rémoulade). Lunch is Wed-Fri 11am-3:30pm, brunch is Sat-Sun 11am-3:30pm. 2293 Mission St. at 19th St., 415-872-9409.

Meanwhile, if you’re near Bolinas over a weekend, ~ELEVEN~—a newer wine bar and bistro that opened in early summer from sisters Kate and Rebecca Sterlin—is now serving Sunday brunch. They updated a long-shuttered building that dates back to the 1890s with a farmhouse chic look, a crisp color scheme, and furnishings made by their brother. Sunday brunch is 10am-3pm, but you can stay until 6pm for oysters, natural wines, and pizza as the day goes on. 11 Wharf Rd., Bolinas, 415-868-1133.


Exterior of the new Paradise Park Cafe. Photo courtesy of PPC.

Back in April, I reported that ~PARADISE PARK CAFE~ was coming to the former Actual Café in the NOBE (North Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville) neighborhood, historically known as Paradise Park. The grand opening is this Thursday August 17th, and 20 percent of the day’s proceeds will benefit the East Bay College Fund and Oakland Promise.

It’s the fourth cafe from Rachel Herbert and Dana Oppenheim of SF’s Park Cafe Group (Dolores Park Cafe, Precita Park Cafe, Duboce Park Cafe). The casual, seasonal, and affordable menu includes sandwiches (BLT, fried chicken), burgers (meaty and not), housemade pastas, salads, and organic juices and smoothies, plus vegan and gluten-free dishes. Like a true neighborhood café, they want to have something for everyone, even the kiddies. Weekend brunch will also be offered (Sat-Sun 8am-3pm). Equator Coffee, local craft beers, California wines, and wine cocktails are also available. Open daily 7am-8pm. 6334 San Pablo Ave. at Alcatraz, Oakland, 510-756-4141.

Meanwhile, the Temescal location of SF’s ~ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL~ has closed (thanks to a tablehopper Twitter follower for the tip). We reached out to Rosamunde’s Josh Margolis, who said, “We would like to thank the neighborhood and all of our friends and fans who made Rosamunde a great place to hang out with friends, enjoy delicious grilled sausage and fantastic beer. Although we are unable to continue serving in Temescal, we invite you to get your sausage fix downtown Oakland at Swan’s Marketplace (911 Washington St.) or in San Francisco at 2832 Mission Street or 545 Haight Street.” 4659 Telegraph Ave. at 46th St., Oakland.

Was also sorry to receive the news that Jay Porter and Katie Mayfield decided to close ~THE HALF ORANGE~ in Fruitvale. Their note said: “Thank you very much to all of you who’ve eaten here and supported us in many ways! It’s been a very fun experience for us, and we are grateful to everyone for welcoming us so warmly to the community.” They are looking for someone to purchase the restaurant space from them, so be sure to reach out to them if you’re interested. 3340 E. 12th St., Ste. 11, at 33rd Ave., Oakland.