After trying to do a quiet soft-opening run for the Western Addition/Nopa neighborhood last week (ha-ha, good luck, not in this town), AUTOMAT abruptly closed since the demand exceeded what they were planning on about five times over. SF, you cleaned the shelves! After taking a quick breather, they are opening for daytime service for reals and dinner starting this Wednesday December 8th.
Partner Matthew Kirk is formerly of Lazy Bear (and working with David Barzelay on this project), so expect some soigné touches on things like the California hot fried chicken sandwich I ordered for takeout on day two: it had a seaweed aioli and the flavors of the coleslaw with pumpkin seeds was a cut above, plus it was on a housemade milk bun ($15).
Breakfast and daytime items range from two next-level breakfast sandwiches ($9-13) and inventive pastries (maple-y candy cap custard toas, $7), plus a veggie dip sandwich ($14). All the breads are made in-house, and you’ll be able to take home a loaf of honey-tahini-whole wheat sourdough, Baker St. sourdough, garlicky pretzel focaccia, and more ($10-14). There’s also coffee, tea, or me (kidding), and wine. Dinner service has a casual prix-fixe with sides they automatically include (we’ll see how that goes in our control freak town) and à la carte options as well, plus a big and little kids menu (cute—maybe the crispy beef tacos are a remembrance of the former Green Chile Kitchen?). Menus for everything here.
Love the airy feel and cheery design, with punchy colors and materials (terrazzo counters!) and textures, and a mural by Madeleine Tonzi. You can tell a lot of thought and good taste went into all the design touches, even the water glasses look cool. (You can see more pics in my Instagram post.) Open Tue-Sun 8am-3:30pm and 5pm-10pm; takeout window only from 3:30pm-5pm. Closed Mondays this December. 1801 McAllister St. at Baker.
Chef Matt Russell of Scopo Divino tipped me off to the recent opening of CAMINO ALTO in the former Pane e Vino in Cow Hollow. The chef-owner is Jason Copeland, who has put together a seasonally driven and edited menu that includes homey, NorCal-style dishes like local halibut with cannellini beans and braised escarole; wood-oven Japanese sweet potato with California romanesco; Klingeman Farms pork shoulder with Larry’s beans, Josh’s tortillas, and avocado salsa; and a half pastured chicken with morita salsa, celery root, market greens, and Josh’s tortillas again (these dark masa tortillas accompany a number of dishes). Brunch includes blueberry masa waffles and fresh-squeezed OJ. The wine list focuses on natural wines, with a couple skin-contact selections from Austria. The dining room has a clean, minimalist look. Open for breakfast Thu-Mon 9am-2:30pm and dinner 5pm-10pm. 1715 Union St. at Gough.
Here’s an incredible comeback story: the former owner of Takara, 91-year-old Lena Turner, just opened SUSHI AOBA in the previous location of Kiss Seafood, which closed during the pandemic. It doesn’t stop there: the sushi chef is Sachio Kojima, the OG chef from Kabuto A&S on Geary, who left for Shasta and later returned to SF to work at Hecho in 2012. Read about their $165 omakase offering and take a peek at the menu and more in this uplifting KQED piece. Open Tue-Sat 5pm-9pm. Call 415-517-1339 for reservations. 1700 Laguna St. at Sutter.
The former Farallon in Union Square is now ULA MEDITERRANEAN DINING & COCKTAILS from owner Krishan Miglani (Zingari). If you were sad you didn’t get to say goodbye to Kuleto’s underwater fantasy restaurant, well, the décor is still pretty much intact. The chef is also no stranger to Farallon: Ryan Simas, who has created a Gems of the Sea menu with seafood like oysters, ceviche, and calamari, plus Maine lobster, Louisiana prawns, and Alaskan salmon, and some Mediterranean dishes. The restaurant is open nightly 4pm-10:30pm, with the bar open until midnight, and a new weekend brunch 10am-2:30pm. There’s also live piano music in the evenings. 450 Post St. at Powell.
Our prince of Papalote and sultan of salsa, Victor Escobedo, decided he just wasn’t busy enough and has opened a new Latinix snack spot called LA SNACKERÍA DE LA MISSION in the Mission (thanks to a tablehopper reader for the tip-off). Escobedo saw a space on 24th Street was available, and says, “I didn’t want to see a Starbucks there to further dilute the Latino presence in the Mission District, especially the very heart of the Mission District, so I decided to open a concept that would feature the foods that my Latino friends and family like to prepare and share with their friends. I want to preserve and share my culture through drinks and tasty treats!” Here for it!
The soft opening is currently underway, with items like mangonada (a sweet and spicy type of mango smoothie), ceviche, aguachile, esquite, aguas frescas, and gelato and sorbetto by Fiorello’s Artisan Gelato, including a flavor he created as a tribute to Frida Kahlo. They’re finalizing some items on the menu (including tortas and salads) and hope to open fully in a couple of weeks. For now, you can swing by 11am-7pm, although they close at 6pm on the weekend. 3325 24th St. at Osage (near Mission).
Now open in Polk Gulch is SATO OMAKASE, the latest restaurant in the Mins Group trio of projects on Polk and Post. The 10-seat bar seats diners for an omakase menu of top-notch seafood—they’re keeping it at $135 for now to offer a more-affordable omakase experience (but still high-quality) since the local economy hasn’t quite bounced back. (I’d prefer we have more places keep it around that price anyway.) There’s also a new somm from The French Laundry and Quince, Richard Yeager, so perhaps you’ll want to consider the $65 pairing as well. Open Tue-Sat, with seatings at 5:30pm and 8pm. 1113 Polk St. at Post. [Via Eater]
Turkish chef Hazet of Sumac Istanbul Street Food is behind SOUPCHU, a new Russian Hill concept dedicated to soups (and toasts), made from scratch and designed for takeout and delivery. It’s the perfect time for chicken couscous soup, green lentil soup, and collard soup, plus stews, salads, and toasts. Check out the menu here—it operates out of Sumac’s location. Open Mon-Fri 11am-9pm. 1096 Union St. at Leavenworth.
A selection for breads at the new Automat. Photo: © tablehopper.com.