22, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Big
news out in Dogpatch (I’ve been working on an article
about this neighborhood for San Francisco magazine, stand
by): Erin Rooney, the owner of ~SLOW
CLUB~, is opening her second restaurant,
this time in the Dogpatch ‘hood; she hopes to have it open
by the fall. There is no name just yet,
but the idea is to create a sister restaurant to Slow Club, with
the same style cuisine. Both lunch and dinner will be offered,
with brunch to come. (She is also hoping to land a liquor license.)
The space is slightly bigger (60 seats compared to Slow Club’s
45) and the kitchen will also be a tad larger than Slow Club’s—which
means executive chef Chris Kronner, who is going to oversee both
kitchens, will be able to do a bit more menu-wise. He is developing
the menu, and since he’ll be at the new restaurant a lot,
his sous chef at Slow Club, Jesse Koide, will most likely be ramping
up in kitchen responsibilities (and probably title too).
has been looking to do a second restaurant for a couple years,
and will be happy to serve all the creative types who work (and
live) out in Dogpatch. The restaurant is moving into the former
Third Street Café—it was a Chinese American
cafeteria-style restaurant for 22 years. The space is going to
have a major overhaul, including removing the dropped ceiling that’s
obscuring the 18-foot-high ceilings and the sheetrock covering
the two brick walls. Rooney has tapped Eric Heid to design the
restaurant—he is behind the design of Range and Spork. The
space has some good history: it dates back to 1915 and was part
of the American Can Company; this location was the boiler room.
Yup, it’s gonna be hot. 2495 3rd St. at 22nd.
scoot on over to Glen Park, where two more spots will be added
to its growing roster of groovy restaurants: first is ~SANGHA~,
which a long time ago used to be a wine shop. The name is Sanskrit
for “community” or “a
gathering of people.” The 35–40 seat restaurant will
serve Japanese fusion and sushi; lunch will be more casual, while
dinner will be focused on finer dining. The executive chef is Gerardo
Torres, who has worked at Blowfish, Moki’s, and Mas Sake;
Ric Lopez, the owner of Modernpast is
behind the restaurant. The look will be modern organic/Zen, with
tables topped with cut granite, a pebble bar with a slab of stone
for the ledge, chairs in bent wood, and neutral tones. The dishes
are all by Heath, and local designer Julie Weston created the staff
uniforms. If all permits and approvals go according to plan, Sangha
should be open in early June. 678 Chenery St., at Diamond.
across the street in the former Red Rock space (another property
Ric Lopez owns) will be ~P'TIT LAURENT~, a classic “bistro
Francais” from Laurent Legendre, the original owner of Clementine
and Bistro Clement. Eliseto Soto, formerly of Plouf, Bistro Clement,
and La Suite, will be in the kitchen, cooking up some classics
like frogs’ legs, plus mains like cassoulet and rabbit. The
47-seat bistro will have a waiting room with a sofa and chairs,
and a black and white tiled floor at the entrance, while the dining
room will be carpeted, with tablecloths on the tables and
classic bistro chairs with leather, plus two banquettes, pressed
tin ceilings, and a hand-painted mural that gives the impression
you are under the Eiffel Tower. Expect some assorted French ephemera
as well, such as vintage serving platters, roosters, and other
details. There will be a bar with seven seats, and since they have
a liquor license, it should get some good use. 200 French, domestic,
and international wines will be served. Dinner will be served nightly
(opening hours are 5:30pm–10:30pm) and weekend
brunch from 9am–2:30pm. Expect an early June opening. 699
Chenery St. at Diamond, 415-334-3235.
changes on Haight Street: after a year of charming us with his
sliders and smiles, chef Eddie Blyden has left, and is currently
traveling in Sierra Leone in Africa—I’ll see what he’s
up to once he returns. Taking his place at ~THE
Joseph Boness, formerly at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco and Campton
Place. (He was also a sous at Macrina Bakery and Cafe in Seattle.)
Boness is really into local ingredients, sustainable practices,
and has a start-from-scratch mantra—he is even planting an
aromatic herb garden in the back this week (he’s also planting
types of hops [yes, those are hops, what the heck
did you think they were?] which he is considering using for some
food pairings and some small batch brews). While continuing the
comfort direction Blyden started, Boness is fired up to bring some
new items on the menu, like handmade pasta, salt-packed sardines,
and charcuterie too, which he’s
going to collaborate on with David Coleman, the new chef at Magnolia
(see below)—they are buddies who met back when they were
at the CCA. 1725 Haight St. at Belvedere, 415-666-0822.
PUB & BREWERY~ now
has David Coleman manning the stoves as of the past couple weeks—he
was formerly at Salt House and Campton Place. He’s already
added some house-made Merguez sausage and bangers and mash to the
menu, plus he’s an avid homebrewer, so he’s obviously
into beer, and therefore knows the drill. (Yup, owner Dave McLean
is really stoked with his new chefs.) Did you know Magnolia offers
a full menu until midnight, and 11pm on Sundays? They also added
Blue Bottle coffee and espresso to the menu, with a beautiful new
espresso machine to boot. You can now get individual press pots
of organic, freshly roasted, and ground Three Africans coffee and
ristretto shots of Hayes Valley Blend espresso, plus cappuccinos
and lattes, using organic, local Strauss milk. 1398 Haight St.
at Masonic, 415-864-7468.
Some staff additions over at ~MECCA~:
they have hired a new wine director, Ginny Brown, who was formerly
at supperclub and the Park and Beach Chalet. And call me out
of the loop, but the ever-charming Gil Duncan of Olive sold his
little Larkin Street enclave (darn, I loved that joint) something
like five or six months ago, and is now the lead mixologist at
Mecca. He is crafting a new cocktail list—now you have
a great excuse to swing by and say hi in case you were wondering
where he was. 2029 Market St. at Dolores, 415-621-7000.
Now for some closings and hunches and deals and such:
the restaurant that opened up in the La Felce space in North Beach
after formerly giving it a go on Clement Street (in 2006) has
closed. I didn’t know how those guys were going to manage that monster
rent. I also didn’t get a response to a couple calls I made,
so that’s that. 1570 Stockton at Union, 415-989-0399.
Speaking of monster rent, I heard the steakhouse that was planning
on moving into the closed ~MACARTHUR PARK~ space
on Walton Park has backed out. Check this: the landlord wants something
like $33k a month. That’s a lot of ducats. Seems they are
hoping for some chain to move in. How lovely. With that rent, I
don’t know who could move in. Maybe a big-time drug dealer.
607 Front St. at Jackson.
been sensing things are afoot at ~SENSES~ on
Valencia for some time… I heard some folks have been looking
into buying the space (it’s been up for sale for a while),
and it’s now dark on Open Table. And the website is gone.
The phone line and the sign for two-for-one dinners are still up,
however. 1152 Valencia St. at 22nd.
the tapas place on Geary and a project from the Straits group
of restaurants (it was the former home of Straits Café before
it moved to the Westfield Centre), has shut its doors. It was
doing well on the weekends, but the slow business early in the
week and no liquor license made it a tough business to keep running.
The Straits folks are currently seeking another home for the
concept in the 650, like in Burlingame. I’ve heard about
a new potential tenant moving in, but they asked me to not mention
what it is until the deal is done, so stand by. 3300 Geary Blvd.
of deals, I found out the deal brewing between Jay Foster of
farmerbrown and the ~PLUSH ROOM~ in the York
Hotel is off.
found out that ~(415) ASIAN RESTAURANT & LOUNGE
AND CALIFORNIA STREET DELICATESSEN AND CAFÉ~ are
on the brink of being sold—not sure who the new operators
are yet. Their last day of operations will be this weekend. Maybe
the JCC can convince Zabar’s to come west? Now that’s
a thought. 415 Presidio Ave. at California.
folks at Joie de Vivre Hospitality seem to have beat Hubert Keller
at launching a gourmet burger concept in San Francisco: opening
at the end of June will be ~CUSTOM BURGER/LOUNGE~ in
the former Peppers Bar and Grill in the Best Western Americania
in SoMa. Yes, the Pepto pink hotel is now a JDV property that is
opening next spring (the pink will be painted over soon with white).
Paul Arenstam of Americano is consulting on the concept and sourcing
the ingredients for CUSTOM. You’ll be able to choose off
a pad and customize your burger, with choices like Angus, or American
Kobe, or even a weekly special, like an ahi or salmon burger (plus
some low-fat options, like turkey, chicken, or vegetarian). There
will also be some unique apps and both fresh-cut fries and sweet
potato fries, plus soups, salads, and dessert. There is an adjoining
lounge, with an aquamarine color scheme and a David Hockney kind
of look. You can opt to eat your burger in the lounge, and there
will be DJs playing on the weekend. Renovation started Monday,
and the plan is to open by the end of June, July 1 by the latest.
121 Seventh St. at Howard.
Many folks in Nob Hill have noticed that ~THE NOB HILL
GRILLE~ has new owners: Rich Paez and Fabio Stefani,
who met while they were working together at Bobo’s on Lombard.
They bought the 44-seat restaurant back in January and closed
it to renovate—they reopened in April with a new look
and menu. The chef, Eric Rud, was formerly in Minneapolis, earning
three stars from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune when
he was the executive chef of Biella,
and after a few projects here in the City, he really wanted to
get back in a kitchen. (Some may remember I reported on Rud as
the new owner of Union Street Pantry back in September, but he
sold it after a landlord dispute.) This Wednesday he will start
offering dinner, with a menu mostly geared toward American comfort
food. Dishes include a beef salad, with entrées
like pork chops, a flatiron steak, and burgers. Entrées
are priced right for what I like to call low-impact dining: most
average out to $15. Breakfast and lunch have also been spiffed
up in recent months, with offerings like breakfast sliders (three
mini breakfast sandwiches on brioche) and lunch includes a Thai
fish burger, a Reuben, and a BBQ pork sandwich. Weekend brunch
has a new favorite amongst regulars: crab Benedict. 969 Hyde
St. at Pine, 415-474-5985.
I had a chance to chat with ~ROBERT CUBBERLY~,
who recently left Le Petit Robert (reported in last
week’s tablehopper)—seems he decided
it was time for a change and is going to enjoy taking a little
time off (well-deserved after more than 25 years of working hard
in various kitchens). He is looking into some potential consulting
or corporate gigs—we’ll
see where he pops up.
So I went to the friends and family opening of the new wine bar, ~DELL’UVA~ in North Beach on Friday night—they still need to get the
window counter installed, but the bathroom ceiling is mighty clever.
It’s right across the street from Nua. 565 Green St. at Grant,
Not too long ago I wrote of Campo dei Fiori, the Italian café/restaurant
opening on Columbus and Broadway in the old Bank of America building.
After partying at the opening of Dell’uva, my friend and
I got to join Campo’s owner, Enzo Pellico, and some peckish
pals for a late-night spaghettata at the restaurant (we had some
fab pasta all’amatriciana made with some heavenly guanciale
and drank up some vino rosso, ma certo!). I found out the name
was changed to ~`E
TUTTO QUA~ (it’s Italian for “it’s all
here”). Based on everything Enzo was telling us about what
was going to be on the menu, I have to agree. Things are looking
good for a June opening. 270 Columbus Ave. at Broadway.
of Italians, the ~“SLOW FOOD/CARLO PETRINI
VS. FARMERS”~ flap was seriously burning up some
blogs and sites last week. To catch up on the ruckus you can
check out some
posts on the Ranch Gordo website (I have to admit the fight
cracked me up, complete with some luchador mask action), I
Heart Farms and The
I am sure there are more, but trust me, that’s plenty
to read at the moment.
in Potrero Hill, opening in the former Klein’s Deli
space will be ~JAY’S
It’s from a husband and wife team, and is named after their
son. The grand opening is this Thursday, May 24. They are focused
on organic meats and products for their deli sandwiches (and they
are using Acme bread), plus homemade soups will be offered (one
is a Tuscan ribollita), salads, specials, and they mentioned a
very tasty vegetarian black bean patty too. A variety of coffee
drinks will be offered, with coffee from Mr. Espresso. There will
also be a monthly wine and chocolate club on Thursday evenings,
when you can taste wines from a featured winery (sidebar: the husband
in the venture, Allan Ransley, is a winemaker from New Zealand)
and taste some cheeses and chocolates. There is seating in the
front and back, and inside there are six four-tops. The business
has a green and sustainable focus; for example, their countertop
is made of recycled material, they will use recycled products,
and they have a goal of composting and recycling up to 100% of
their waste. Open Mon–Fri 7am–7pm, Sat–Sun 8am–5pm.
501 Connecticut Street at 20th, 415-824-JAYS (5297).
only revolving restaurant, the ~EQUINOX~,
atop the Hyatt Regency at Embarcadero 5 is closing—the last
day is May 30. After a renovation this summer, it will be converted
into a Regency Club, an extra amenity for hotel guests and a place
where they can enjoy cocktails, breakfast, and lunch. Kind of like
an airport Admirals Club. 5 Embarcadero Center, 415-291-6619.
now for a couple items the Chronicle had to have before
Lauren, who was formerly the executive chef at Levende Lounge
and the executive chef of the now-abandoned Prana project, has
been hired as the executive chef at ~ABSINTHE
BRASSERIE & BAR~. She is currently coming in
a couple days a week while wrapping up her work at Bar Crudo (her
last day is June 9); she will be in Absinthe’s kitchen full-time
starting June 21. Lauren is excited about all the possibilities—she
is eager to integrate a local and seasonal focus on the menu, and
perhaps add some more Italian and Mediterranean touches. Some “raw
ideas” at the moment include adding a daily crudo, shellfish
platters, and an all-day menu. Congratulations, Jamie. 398 Hayes
St. at Gough, 415-551-1590.
wrote about this project that was taking over the old Jester’s
space last June,
perhaps you remember? Well, it’s about to open. Just adjacent
to The Westin San Francisco Market Street (formerly the Argent
Hotel) in early June will be ~DUCCA~, a restaurant
after my own heart since it’s inspired by Venice, Italy (I
lived in Venexia for a year while I was going to school). The name
is a spin on the word for doge, duca. The executive chef
is Italian-born Marta Cristina Causone (no, not Nick Stellino like
some people were led to believe), who is crafting a menu that will
highlight seasonal Northern Italian-inspired cuisine with a focus
on the sea. There will also be a menu of cicchetti, or
rustic bar snacks, which is a huge part of Venetian culture, with
a Cal-Ital wine list. The Puccini Group designed the space; you
can check out some renderings
I especially love the silk-screened images of the Duke and Duchess,
the three smoke and black Murano glass chandeliers, and the curved
marble bar in the lounge made of yellow sienna Italian marble.
There is an alfresco terrace that by night will become a lounge,
with communal tables and a fire pit that is actually a 68-inch
metal fire bowl. Ducca will be open for lunch daily 11:30am–2pm,
and dinner is Sun–Thu 5:30pm–10pm and Fri–Sat
5:30pm–11pm. The bar and lounge will stay open until 1am.
50 Third St. at Market, adjacent to The Westin San Francisco Market
Some cool menu news at places around town:
Sunday May 27, ~THE
FRONT PORCH~ is going to be open on the
first Sundays of every month through September, hosting an all-you-can-eat
Caribbean barbecue. The barbecue will go on from noon until sundown,
with BBQ jerk steak, chicken, fish, and fresh veggie sides on offer.
The price for a “roundtrip
ticket” to the West Indies (i.e. all you can eat) is $25,
and the price of a one-way ticket (i.e. one plate) is $17.50. There
will also be a kid's plate price, and special prices on draft beer
and select wine. No reservations necessary, and all the tables
will be put together for family-style dining. I got this from the
restaurant: “The barbeque itself was invented by the Carib
Indians, legend says, when they soaked planks of wood in seawater
and cooked meat over a fire much like we use grills. Here's
a cool link.” 65A
29th St., at Mission, 415-695-7800.
lovers take note: ~MASA’S~ executive chef, Gregory Short, is serving premium Wagyu Kobe for
a limited time at the restaurant. He is grilling a very specific
part of the beef, the calotte (ribeye cap) and serving it with
daikon radish sprouts, maitake mushrooms, and a bordelaise vinaigrette.
I had an opportunity to taste real Japanese Kobe beef a while back
down in Cupertino at Alexander’s Steakhouse at
a special Kobe beef-tasting event (I know, my job really sucks),
and I have never tasted anything like it—it was beyond luxurious,
almost like meat custard. I know, that doesn’t sound so pretty,
but that’s exactly how it felt—you could seriously
eat it with a spoon. Masa's Restaurant, 648 Bush St. at Powell,
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply
to this email!