I had a chance to swing by the gleaming new ~PARK TAVERN~ on Washington Square Park before skipping town, and folks, it looks fantastic. Partners Anna Weinberg and chef Jennifer Puccio of Marlowe are bringing a Cali-French bistro vibe to North Beach, with a touch of swank brasserie and Bay Area rusticity. The former Moose’s (and Joey & Eddie’s) space now has chunky overhead wood beams (reclaimed from an Oregon barn, natch), penny tile floors, leather banquettes in brown-olive (black in the café), wood tables (I dig the round tables, always a nice feature for groups), subway tile on the walls and some fabulous wallpaper at the entrance, and tones of Prussian blue throughout. It looks crisp, a touch masculine, and very smart (the team worked with designer Kendra Nicholas). Some crafty touches include the huge chandelier-wheel in the dining room (it was actually used to cast wheels), the host stand that is a vintage icebox, and the open kitchen is a looker. Those who remember Moose’s fondly will find some thoughtful touches, like Mary Etta Moose’s table.
The dining room seats 65, with room for 40 in the bar area, while the more casual café area that flanks the sidewalk has room for 37. (Later on there will also be a private room, the Eden Room, on the mezzanine.) The marble bar has cushy stools with high wood backs, and a communal style bar table with seating on both sides. Meanwhile, the no-reservations café area in the front has warm terracotta tile floors, and lots of light: the doors even slide open to the outdoor sidewalk seating, which will be fabulous on sunny afternoons. Another bonus: valet parking for lunch and dinner (making it even more perfect for business lunches).
As for Puccio’s menu (note it’s subject to change!), it follows the Marlowe sensibility, but is definitely expanded. Smaller bites include a Raw section with yellowtail jack “Niçoise” ($9) and market vegetables with Green Goddess dip ($7), while the Fried section has Marlowe’s famed Brussels sprout chips ($6) and a chicken-fried green tomato with rémoulade ($7). The Smoked section has about five items, like fish dip, crackers, and PT hot sauce ($10). Moving into the appetizers, there are a variety of about five delicious-sounding salads, including one of wild arugula, mushroom conserva, porcini, and charred onion vinaigrette ($10). The entrées range from $13 (the Marlowe burger is on there, don’t you worry) to $28 for a New York steak with Mangalitsa butter, French fries, and red wine jus. There is also a mussels dish ($18) with fennel sausage and leeks, and lamb chops and merguez sausage ($26). A variety of sides from the wood oven will round things out, from potatoes to polenta.
Wine director Casey Doolin (nabbed from Blue Ribbon in New York) has put together a list with extensive by-the-glass choices, spanning Slovenia to the Sierra Foothills. Cocktails include many classics, plus some newer ones under “Parks and Recreational Drinking,” like the Washington Square, with Hangar One vodka, Aperol, clementine, and grapefruit. The whole shebang opens on Thursday September 1st, dinner 5:30pm-11pm to start (Tue-Sat). Congrats, ladies.
View into the dining room from the café. Photo: © tablehopper.com.