Exciting news and a blast from the past: chef Sante Salvoni (previously the chef of Slow Club for seven years) is coming back to the stoves after a seven-year private-cheffing stint. He is the chef-partner in ~MAU~, a Southeast Asian spot opening in mid-July at 665 Valencia in the former New Yorker Buffalo Wings space. His partners in the venture are Hung Dang (Tin Vietnamese in SoMa) and husband-wife team Annie Abbott and Luke Wendler. An architect by trade, Wendler is also behind the transformation of the space. (The partners all live within blocks of the restaurant.)
MAU’s menu is going to be casual, based on rice bowls and noodle dishes that clock in under $15, with a whole fish or Dungeness crab for two for $20. The format will be more individual than family style, except for the whole fish dishes, and the menu will change daily (there will also be sandwiches for lunch).
Salvoni told me about a few dishes he’s been working on for the opening menu, like lemongrass shrimp bun, a braised barnyard chicken with rice and broth, neua nam tok (grilled beef salad with toasted rice, chile, and mint). He’s a huge fan of curry, so he’s talking about serving a beef massaman curry. He said this is how he’s enjoyed eating the past few years, trading in super burritos for pho, and he has been staging at Tin. Oh, and he’ll also be making housemade sauces and condiments. Salvoni said he has missed cooking for the public and is so excited to be back.
Construction is under way, with about 80 seats in all. There will be a bar and communal table in one room, along with banquettes, hardwood floors, wood chairs, and other reclaimed wood throughout; the walls will be shades of off-white to bring some light into the space. One more point: the partners also wanted it to be a family-friendly place since some of them have kids. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Stand by for more as the opening gets closer. And welcome back, Sante. 665 Valencia St. at 17th St.
Lemongrass shrimp bun; photo courtesy of Sante Salvoni.