After a pandemic season of changes, from running their takeout window to collaborative meals like Lord Jiu’s, LORD STANLEY’s husband-and-wife owners and chefs Rupert and Carrie Blease are transforming the restaurant into Turntable at Lord Stanley this fall. They are going to host world-renowned and up-and-coming chefs to collaborate, try out new concepts, or simply cook for a new audience—chefs can be in residence for up to two months at a time, and the Bleases will take them to local farmers’ markets and provide housing. They’re partnering with Michael Goldman, founder of TasteMakers, known for facilitating culinary collaborations and events, including Chefs Club in New York, Aspen, and Taipei.
First up, starting September 7th is Narda Lepes of Narda Comedor, an Argentinian chef, entrepreneur, media personality, food activist, and author who was named “Latin America’s Best Female Chef” by the World’s 50 Best list in 2020. Lepes is bringing with her three other outstanding female Argentinian chefs who will each spend about a month showcasing their menus in the Turntable space between September and the end of November, including Micaela Najmanovich, owner of restaurant Anafe, and chef Mercedes “Mecha” Solís of Café San Juan. Saturday, September 4th will be the final service of Lord Stanley as it has existed for the last six years. Cheers to this new chapter and thanks to the Bleases.
Chef Michael Mina is closing his namesake restaurant and this September is launching ESTIATORIO ORNOS A MICHAEL MINA RESTAURANT in its place, a Greek, seafood-centric restaurant with Las Vegas chefs Girair “Jerry” Goumroian (Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, Restaurant Guy Savoy and RM Seafood) and Nikolaos Georgousis (Estiatorio Milos). Mina already opened Estiatorio Ornos in Miami in 2020, and the “fish sommelier” role is coming over to this location as well. The transformation of 252 California will feel like a return to the space’s AQUA days, with a vibrant bar, coastal aesthetic, and Grecian color palette.
The shareable, seafood-centric menu will include dishes like Mediterranean sea bass ceviche with lemon citronette; ouzo prawns in a spicy tomato sauce with dill and feta; and an array of fish on the cart, from sea bream to wild branzino. There will also be roasted lemon chicken with Cretan potatoes, grilled Colorado lamb chops with oregano vinaigrette, and a “spread cart” showcasing dips such as tzatziki, melitzanosalata (roasted eggplant), and tirokafteri (whipped feta). The cocktail menu and wine list will also reflect the new direction. 252 California St. at Battery (just four blocks away from Kokkari).
Over in the Tenderloin, Fritz Quattlebaum has relaunched the BLACK CAT jazz club and restaurant, with a new team, menu, beverage program, and artist programming, now featuring multi-week residencies (the current lineup features jazz trumpeters Theo Croker, Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, and Keyon Harrold). I have always had a blast visiting the club, and am happy to see it return.
You can look at chef Yainiel Negrón’s menu here (previously at Commonwealth and the Proper Hotel), and sommelier/AGM Eric Forbes (previously Foreign Cinema) has assembled quite the grower-producer and vintage Champagne list. Craft cocktails are from Jason Moser (Villon and the Proper Hotel, Forgery, and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group), clocking in at $18 each, so don’t forget your plastic. There’s also the upstairs dining room and bar, featuring nightly DJs spinning vinyl. Proof of vaccination required for entry.
The standing bar (in the background). Photo by Robin Stein.