7, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO One
regret I had about my recent New York trip was I failed to visit ~FALAI~,
a contemporary Italian place in the Lower East Side from Tuscan
Iacapo Falai—I had a couple
tablehopper readers highly recommend it, one describing the food
as “alchemy.” Well, I shall cry not, because it looks
like Falai will actually be opening a location in SF! Well, not
for a year and a half or so, but still. I spoke with Mauro Buffo,
the sous at Falai, who said they are location hunting soon, and
if all maps out accordingly, he’ll be the chef of the 40–50 seat
restaurant out here. Falai is known for creative cuisine, integrating
global influences and cutting-edge techniques, and everything is
done by hand, from all the pasta to the bread. Buffo worked at
El Bulli in Spain for four years, so you know they take that “creative” thing
seriously. Let’s hope 2009 brings a Falai to SF—I’m
ready for trattoria 2.0 in this town!
we’re in “la zona,” some of you have been
asking for an update on ~SPQR~, the latest A16
project moving into the former Chez Nous space. Good news on
that front: construction is underway, and they are looking at
a hoped-for opening of the last week of September. Parola! (That
would be Italian for “word.”)
now, the three Bs. First is ~BOSSA NOVA~,
the latest project from the Maktub Group, which opened with a
bang last week in the old Buzz 9 space in SOMA. The staff sports
a variation of the Brazilian yellow soccer jersey—perhaps
they get to choose their favorite numbers? (According to some pics,
team player Kaka’s number 8 and Cicinho’s 13 were in
rotation.) The kitchen is open until midnight every night, serving
small plates like salt cod fritters, fish stew, mussels, and rodizio-style
beef skewers. Full bar in effect. The downstairs is reportedly
opening next. 139 8th St. between Minna and Mission Streets,
The small plates restaurant, ~BREEZY’S~,
which moved in to the former Blue Muse space on Gough, has opened
its doors. The owner, Bawer Tekin, also has Hayes and Kebab around
the corner. The menu from chef Rodney Boca has lots of French
touches, and includes a number of tapas like petit purses of braised
short rib and scallion cream with cognac reduction ($8) and fried
blue point oyster salad with radicchio, chive sticks, and Champagne
vinaigrette ($8); mains include potato-scaled John Dory with artichoke
confit and whole grain mustard ($24) and a black trumpet, chanterelle,
and truffle risotto with tomato ragout and vegetable stock for
you vegetarians ($18). (I’m relieved there aren’t any
beans on the menu—could be dangerous with the restaurant’s
name and all.) There is also a full bar and wine. 409 Gough St.
at Hayes, 415-552-3400.
changes are afoot at ~BACAR~:
pastry chef Leena Hung has departed, and is now doing part-time
consulting in the interim. (She’s
currently doing some work back at Fifth Floor, and is enjoying
a bit more time with her new husband.) Also heard through the
grapevine that chef de cuisine Ben Cohn (who came over from Masa’s)
has departed, and is now chef de cuisine in the kitchen at Spruce. Will
keep you posted on who comes in next. 448 Brannan St. at 3rd,
know some folks (namely oyster lovers, lesbians, and cocktailians)
have been wondering about the reopening date of ~MECCA~ since
the fire back in June. Well, we’re now looking at late September or early October for
the reopening. ETA Design (LOVE that name) of San Francisco has
been hired to do the renovations. 2029 Market St., 415-621-7000.
now, your Mission report: have you heard about the ruckus concerning
the closure at ~LA RONDALLA~? Remodeling?
Hardly. More like a cucaracha convention, and this was their Moscone
West. Check out what the SF
901 Valencia St. at 20th, 415-647-7474.
the cousin to Pancho Villa, is also closed for a remodel. (A
real one, not a “cucaracha closure.”)
After 25 years, I’d say they deserve a little freshening
up. Expect the bull to reopen in three weeks or so. 598 Valencia
St. at 17th, 415-431-3351.
fusion fans in Berkeley are familiar with ~UNICORN~—there
is now going to be a San Francisco location opening any day now
in the Financial District. 191 Pine St. between Battery and Front
somm shifts around town: ~SHANGHAI
has a new wine director, Johnathan Farr, who recently moved from
Miami and has six years of working in luxury hotels under his
lapel. (He is also reportedly cute and all of 26 years. Ladies,
no word on his availability.) He’s
going to be adding some more South American and Aussie vinos to
the list, and running some monthly specials highlighting some faves,
like Champagne and some roses, that will pair well with the cuisine
at Shanghai 1930. 133 Steuart St. at Mission, 415-896-5600.
over at ~BONG
SU~ it’s like the tides of Aqua:
former Aqua beverage director Chris Wright is scooting to work
with Peter Armellino at the Plumed Horse in Saratoga, and Ashley
Luna, who was also recently at Aqua, is taking Chris’s place at
Bong Su. 311 Third St. at Folsom, 415-536-5800.
before Chris left Bong Su, he sent me an email that was too good
not to share: “As
a parting gift to you before I leave Bong Su, I would like to
give you my secret SHRIMP CUPCAKE PAIRING! That's right, I've
spent the last month looking for it… Anyway,
the pairing is: 2004 Kruger-Rumpf Scheurebe, Spatlese, from Munster-Samsheim
in the Nahe. Here's the deal. This wine is full of tropical fruit.
There's lots of banana with dried papayas and mangos. It's also
got this wet stone mineral thing with some citrus going on but
really it's just the tropical fruit and some sugar which are perfect
with the coconut milk and the shrimp! It's also nice because it
has a relatively high acidity for this grape, which keeps it from
being cloying. To tell you the truth, it works well with lots of
the food.” And that’s all he wrote. Thanks Chris, now
I know. Wait, now we all know. Yup, he’s gonna rock it at
The Plumed Horse.
has a new GM, Brian Escobar, who was most recently sommelier
at Ame. Those of us dining tonight at the tablehopper supper
will have a chance to meet him and ask geeky wine questions.
550 Geary St. at Jones, 415-292-6360.
couldn’t hold back
my curiosity (that damned cat!)—some
pals and I went by ~SPRUCE~ to
check it out Friday evening after the Bay Guardian Best of the
Bay party. Let’s just say super-impressive for a second night
of biz, man. Tony space—the kind you actually want to spiff
up a little for. (No, it’s not stuffy nice, just contemporary
nice, in a sophisticated and simple way.) You’ll also pony
up a bit—mains on the American menu (with French flair) run
from $26–$36. As for those mains, wow, lobster prepared exactly
as it should be (tender and succulent and buttery), and the charred
pork tenderloin was a pig epiphany. Speaking of epiphanies, I never
thought I’d be craving a white chocolate dessert, but there
you have it: William Werner’s creation with crème
and hazelnut cake won over my entire table. You can sit at the
long, already-busy bar and order items like a burger, or house-made
charcuterie, and the can’t-miss boudin blanc. Wait until
you see the wine selection (and storage). Drool. Business diners—here’s
your latest destination. (I also savored the departing evening
light streaming through the original skylight.) Complimenti, and
congrats to the team on getting it open, and for training an excellent
staff that is already so on. 3640 Sacramento St. at Spruce, 415-931-5100.
your (bleary) eyes do not deceive you: one of the darlings of the
bar at Range, ~THOMAS
is gradually making his way over to the bar at Alembic.
He has a few shifts a week right now, and plans to be full time
in early September. 1725 Haight St. at Cole, 415-666-0822.
attention all you ~TOP CHEF~ hopefuls: Top Chef is holding their
Season 4 Open Call this Sunday, August 12, at Postrio from noon–4pm.
Check out the
link for more info about how to apply!
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply
to this email!