Due to open in a week or so is LORD STANLEY, a brand-new restaurant from first-time owners Rupert and Carrie Blease, who are also husband and wife. It will be a welcome addition to the Nob Hill/Russian Hill border, just on the corner of Broadway and Polk, in a neighborhood that doesn’t have many places that strike this kind of chic (yet casual) tone. The corner location is full of light and has an airy look, one that will definitely catch your eye. But more on that in a moment.
The Bleases first met while working together under Raymond Blanc at the two-Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, England. (Carrie, a Southern California girl, had her externship there after graduating from the CCA in SF and was then a commis for a year, while Rupert, an Englishman who did his culinary studies in Toulouse, started at Manoir as a line cook and left a sous.) The duo moved to New York together in 2005, with Carrie working as a line cook at Blue Hill New York and Rupert as a line cook at Per Se. A couple of years later, the couple moved to London to help their former Manoir colleague Agnar Sverrisson open the one-Michelin-starred, Scandinavian-inspired restaurant, Texture.
They then moved to San Francisco with the goal of opening their own restaurant, something they have talked about for the 10 years they have been married. It has been in the works for a couple of years, with Carrie working as a sous chef at Commonwealth and Rupert as a sous at Central Kitchen. At Lord Stanley, they’ll work in tandem, collaborating on the savory and sweet.
As for their vision for Lord Stanley, the couple stresses they want the dining experience to be casual and approachable. The dishes won’t be too complicated—they will exhibit a purity of flavor, so don’t look for a lot of components on the plate. But, of course, the ingredient sourcing will be tops, exhibiting beautiful preparations and skilled technique. Dishes will be lighter and cleaner—a bit Californian, Scandinavian, and European too (with a bit of a British accent). They will even be making their own bread and butter.
The compact menu (that’s a preview for you!) includes starters like salmon that is marinated with lemon and dill, lightly cold-smoked and confited (ditto the potatoes) and served with beurre blanc. Starters range from $12-$17, while mains like slow-cooked and grilled lamb shoulder with warm allium salad, and black cod with fava beans, avocado, and curry are $24-$29 (and please note the gratuity is included in these prices—Lord Stanley is following a service-included model). Desserts include one of Carrie’s favorites from living abroad: Eton mess ($12), with raspberries, strawberries, and elderflower, and a chocolate pouch ($13) made of crêpe batter with poached cherries and chocolate mousse. There is also going to be a seven-course tasting menu.
The restaurant has about 40 seats, with a mezzanine that has a communal table. Boor Bridges Architecture did a stellar job transforming the space, which was previously T2J Thai, though the building dates back to 1925. There is an open bar area, where guests will find a standing counter—you’ll see local beers on draft (Almanac Beer Company’s Golden Gate Gose and Magnolia Pub & Brewery’s Kalifornia Kolsch) and some bottled selections to go with a selection of bar snacks.
The clean lines of the space are enhanced by the poured and polished concrete floor, the light palette of white and gray, and custom-made poplar tables by Brandon Muñoz of Los Angeles (he also did the communal table that seats 14 upstairs, which can be used for private groups). Another eye-catching element upstairs is the “felting” art piece of sheep’s wool on the wall made from San Juan Islands sheep by Ashley Helvey; there’s also a cork floor. You’ll note some industrial elements throughout, like the seismic beams and stripped wood posts.
Wine director Louisa Smith, who is also a winemaker, will be overseeing the diverse and global list, which will feature many small producers (organic and biodynamic practices will be highlighted); good value is also a focus. She will be pouring sparkling wine by the glass from Les Capriades and Ruppert-Leroy, as well as bottles and glasses of Frantz Saumon Romorantin 2012, Tripoz Macon-Loche 2013, Domaine Guion Bourgueil, and Vinoterra Saperavi Kakheti, Georgia.
Open Tue-Thu and Sun 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. Weekend lunch coming soon. We’ll let you know when there’s a firm opening date. 2065 Polk St. at Broadway, 415-872-5512.
The dining room at Lord Stanley. Photo by Robin Stein.