There are a bunch of new openings happening, starting with the latest and third location of FIORELLA in the Sunset (in the former Park Chow) from founders and co-owners Brandon Gillis and Boris Nemchenok. (Fun fact: it was also the site of the first American restaurant Nemchenok’s parents dined at when they emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1983.) This project has been a long time coming, but it sure is worth it. The location has a fantastic rooftop deck, plus new dishes from the new chef, Fiorella’s first foray into cocktails (from Candice Jae: Evil Eye, Lolinda, Alchemist, Macondray), along with housemade pasta and gelato.
The bi-level space offers a variety of indoor and outdoor seating (hello, retractable awning!), with a working fireplace and their trademark Flavor Paper Bay Area Toile wallpaper (yup, that’s Dennis Richmond on there). Fiorella Sunset’s chef de cuisine Scott Schneider comes from New York’s Ai Fiori, where he was honing his fine-dining chops for over a decade. The team will be cranking out housemade pasta in the glass-enclosed dough room, and new dishes unique to this location include housemade farfalle with peperoncino, marjoram, toasted breadcrumbs ($22); a clam pie (yes!); king salmon crudo ($17); romaine cacio e pepe with Little Gems, house-cured anchovy, pecorino, black pepper, fried capers ($14); and tempura-fried seasonal vegetables with salsa rossa, pecorino, and lemon ($10).
The new bar program includes eight cocktails, a large selection of amari and vermouths, and their wine lists are always full of interesting (and affordable) selections, plus there’s a Far West x Fiorella collaboration “Nice for a Slice” hard cider. Open for dinner to start, followed by weekend brunch and weekday lunch soon. 1240 9th Ave. at Lincoln.
I’m happy to see new life in the former ICHI Sushi space in Bernal, and from chef-owner and former employee Erik Aplin, no less (some former Ichi crew will also be joining him). Open as of Tuesday night is CHĪSAI SUSHI CLUB, the latest addition to SF’s omakase scene, with an innovative, Bay Area-ingredient spin. There are three nigiri-focused, omakase tasting menus: 13 courses for $80, 17 for $110, and a 12-course vegetarian (or vegan) menu for $65 (complete with tomato “maguro” prepared like tuna).
After ICHI, Aplin also worked at Akiko’s and Robin, no strangers to innovative sushi. Aplin is putting together a version of a Louie salad (an SF classic) with pickled daikon, finished with shaved, miso-cured egg yolk, and his “open-faced” hand rolls include a BLTA in its own custom holder. (Check out the pic of the seafood tower with raw scallop, Fort Bragg uni, and ikura, topped with nori butter melted on top, inspired by the flavors and components of a traditional seafood tower.) There will be some non-nigiri dishes, like an uni carbonara with udon noodles. Open Mon-Wed 5:30pm-9pm and Thu-Sun 5:30pm-10pm. 3369 Mission St. at Godeus.
Our man of fried chicken fame, Christian Ciscle, has moved SF CHICKENBOX’s to its new North Beach coop. Get your box (and mochi muffins) delivered or for takeout. Open Mon-Sat 10am-10pm. (You can also check out their latest collab: Songs for Community, Vol. 3, with 100 percent of funds raised from the compilation going to Arm the Girls Mutual Aid.) 464 Broadway at Grant.
Just next door to Café de la Presse (in the former Herlen Place wine bar) is a new and fast-casual location of SCOTT’S CHOWDER HOUSE (the first in SF), with chef Laurent Manrique acting as culinary advisor on the concept. The abridged menu features a variety of chowders and soups, salads, and seafood sandwiches/rolls for dine-in (crab, lobster), to-go, or delivery, along with beer and wine selections, and ice cream sundaes. Opening hours to start are Wed-Sat 11:30am-6:30pm and Sun 11:30am-4pm. 334 Grant Ave. at Bush.
Over in the Mission, the former Top Round Roast Beef (in the classic Discolandia space) is now a brick-and-mortar location of LA VACA BIRRIA, a San Bruno food truck from Ricky Lopez (via SFGATE). The menu includes birria tacos/quesabirria, birria fries, and birria ramen, as well as a torta ahogada. Open Wed-Sun 11am-9pm. 2962 24th St. at Alabama.
North Beach’s BRIOCHE BAKERY & CAFÉ just opened a location in the Upper Haight (in the former Sparrow). Their breakfast/lunch/brunch menu includes eggy dishes for breakfast, sandwiches, hot panini, tartines, and fresh-baked pastries, coffee, and wine, with early dinner too. The outdoor deck is open as well. Open daily 8am-9pm. 1640 Haight. at Belvedere.
Another location of GOTT’S ROADSIDE is opening at Thrive City in Mission Bay on September 17th. Look for the Airstream trailer serving beer and wine to go with your burger. Thrive City at Chase Center, 1 Warriors Way.
A Cal-Italian spread at the new Fiorella Sunset. Photo: Hardy Wilson.