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Jul 30, 2012 23 min read

July 31, 2012 - This week's tablehopper: food food food.

July 31, 2012 - This week's tablehopper: food food food.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: food food food.                    

The beginning of a “ladies” lunch at Sam’s Grill. Photo: ©

Every week, I tell myself, “I’m going to write less. Today’s issue is gonna be short.” And every week, a ton of news and events and cool stuff flows into my in-box and on Twitter and Facebook. So, yeah, today’s issue is a biggie. Again. Me lo siento.

And whoa, it’s a busy week, with SF Chefs officially under way. There are a bunch of events, from seminars to the tasting tent to this Wednesday’s Mexican feast at Mijita. See you on the track. And don’t forget tablehopper readers get 10 percent off of all events (just use this code at checkout: tablehopper 12).

Today on You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio, I talk about the molto tasty take-home lasagne at Marcella’s Lasagneria and Cucina in the Dogpatch. Yeah, go ahead, blame me for the weight gain later.

Welcome back to all the liver-fatigued bartenders returning from Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. We missed you.

You ready to high-dive in? In honor of the Olympics, okay, let’s do this.

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Bar Tartine's Sandwich Shop Opens This Week: August 1st!


The oven and counter. Photo via Eater by Molly DeCoudreaux.


A sampling of smørrebrød during brunch service. Photo: ©

Release the loaves! At last, BAR TARTINE is opening its sandwich shop this Wednesday August 1st. You’ll be able to come by for sandwiches and more Wed-Fri 10:30am-2:30pm, either dine-in or for takeout. It’s almost like a shop within the restaurant: there’s a counter with a window and the behemoth custom Italian oven looms in the back, baking all kinds of unique and new breads. A look at the preliminary menu shows an array of Scandinavian smørrebrød on rye (which you will already be familiar with if you have come by for brunch in recent months), $6 each or three for $15. Some options include blue cheese, bacon, egg, and avocado; smoked sturgeon with potato and dill sauce; and corned beef with horseradish cream and fried onion. Yeah, I’ll have one of each, thanks.

You can also try some sandwiches on some of the new breads they’re baking, like lentil croquettes on spelt slab bread ($13). Two words: pork melt. There are some soups, salads, and snacks (yes, you can order the langos), along with sweet treats. You can also have some adult beverages to accompany your lunch, or try some of the housemade sodas. And in case you’re wondering, there won’t be any bread for sale just yet—hopefully this fall.

Also of note: Bar Tartine is no longer taking reservations for brunch on Saturday and Sundays (alas!).

Bar Tartine            - 561 Valencia St. - 415-487-1600

Two Unique Upcoming Projects in Historic Spaces: Firehouse 8 and Wingtip


Firehouse 8. Photo from Facebook.

A couple of interesting projects in historic buildings are on the horizon. First up, there was some liquor license activity for FIREHOUSE 8, a project that is going into a 1917 firehouse that has been vacant for 30 years: San Francisco Landmark #188 in Russian Hill. The site mentions: “the first floor will be mixed retail and coffee supporting local artisans, suppliers, and vendors. The second floor will be a community assembly space available for rental: seminars, meetings, gallery openings, weddings, and special occasions. We will host events with local talents, artists, chefs, musicians, photographers, speakers, and writers.” Their Facebook page mentions an early August opening, and a call for “artists, designers, and vendors to do pop ups here at space going forward.”

Inside Scoop adds owners Gavin Jefferies and Teresa Nittolo (of the shops Molte Cose and Belle Cose on Polk) have been working on the project for six years, and plan to find a restaurant operator for the first floor, which will be in addition to the café. The retail portion is due to open mid-August. 1648 Pacific Ave. at Polk.

WINGTIP, a combination men’s club, clothing store, barbershop, and more is coming the the almost-22,000-square-foot original Bank of Italy building in the FiDi. The SF Business Times has all the details on the multilevel space: the man behind the project is Ami Arad of On the Fly. There will be a bar and food service for members, and lots of cuff links. Read all about it here. 550 Montgomery St. at Clay.

Chef Hires (Navio at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, Range) and Moves (Chotto, El Paseo)


Navio chef de cuisine Sean Eastwood. Photo by Rick Camargo Photography.


Navio’s updated 48-hour braised pistou beef short ribs, now served with tarragon and mascarpone grits. Photo courtesy of Navio.

Lots of chef moves to report on, starting with Sean Eastwood, the new chef de cuisine for NAVIO RESTAURANT (music alert!) at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. Eastwood’s extensive background includes time in France with the renowned three-star Michelin chef Paul Bocuse and in Britain with two-star Michelin chef Raymond Blanc. Locally, he has worked at La Folie and Kokkari.

A tablehopper exclusive, you can take a look at his new menu here, which highlights the bounty of local ingredients in Half Moon Bay. (Be sure to look for Eastwood and resort executive chef Xavier Salomon at SF Chefs in the Grand Tasting Tents on Sunday August 5th.)

Scoop reports chef Armando Justo of CHOTTO in the Marina (famed for his bacon-wrapped mochi and ramen) is off to lead the Japanese restaurant at Google. Stand by for news on his replacement.

A reader alerted me to the departure of chef Preston Clark from Tyler Florence’s EL PASEO in Mill Valley. Scoop mentions Clark is heading back to New York (he has a new baby, and it sounds like the Clarks wanted to be closer to their families).

And over at RANGE, Rachel Sillcocks (previously at Piccino) is now in the kitchen with chef-owner Phil West, according to Scoop. So much for that break she needed to take. Look for some updates to the menu in a month or so.

There's a Ruckus over the Next Tenants in The Eagle Tavern Space


Photo from via Facebook.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a protest was assembling on Facebook over a new owner taking over the famed EAGLE TAVERN in SoMa. Grub Street has a full recap of the story, the players, and what happened to the deal; not too long ago some former Eagle employees were trying to take it over, but the property owner went with someone else.

The new owners are Bruce McDonald (an investor-partner at Foreign Cinema) and one of the owners of Vessel nightclub. The new space will reportedly serve food and drinks and show films, as well as host DJs; the new owners will “allow the popular Sunday beer busts to happen at the new venue.” (That should be interesting.) The Eagle was a beloved space for many in the LGBT community (and their friends, including me!), so this is some hard news for many, and a lot of people are trying to fight the loss of this important queer space.

Currently objections are being raised about the liquor license transfer (listen to this piece on KCBS here and here’s more about yesterday’s San Francisco Supervisors Committee meeting). Keep up with happenings on the Save the Eagle Tavern Facebook page here. 398 12th St. at Harrison.

Coming Soon: A North Beach Deli from Pete Mrabe, and Brenda's Original Po'Boys


A muffaletta from Brenda’s. Photo via Facebook.

Owner Pete Mrabe of DON PISTO’S and THE CHUBBY NOODLE in North Beach will soon have a third place to add to his burgeoning empire: a deli. While he can’t announce the actual location just yet, he said he plans to open it in the next three months. The deli will feature housemade meats (like pastrami and beef tongue) and lots of housemade items like pickled chiles and more. He also said there will be a huge selection of cold cuts. There will be both hot and cold sandwiches, plus some prepared foods and salads. I’ll keep you updated as details emerge.

Eater picked up the news in The Accidental Wino that New Orleans native Brenda Buenviaje of BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD and her wife and partner Libby Truesdell are going to be opening a po’boy shop in the Lower Fillmore. BRENDA’S ORIGINAL PO’BOYS will have a menu with 15 different po’boys (check the Eater post for the menu), with a counter, outdoor seating, and beer and wine. Stand by for news on the location; look for a January opening.

New Openings (Both Permanent and Pop-Ups) and Tu Lan Closed for Health Violations


Thai Idea on Mission. Yelp photo by Chritin C.


Kirnon’s famed fried chicken while at Hibiscus. Photo: ©

Some quick opening (and closing) news for you:

Uptown Almanac pays a visit to THAI IDEA VEGETARIAN, a second location of the Polk Street restaurant. 3221 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-826-4639.

A couple of tipsters wrote in to tell me that a second location for SIDEWALK JUICE is set to open any day now. More smoothies for you. 3100 24th St. at Folsom.

A fourth SF location of SUPER DUPER has opened in SoMa at 783 Mission St. at 4th. St., 415-882-1750.

Uppercasing reports the city’s fourth location of EL FARO is now open in the Upper Haight in the former Taqueria El Balazo space. 1654 Haight St. at Cole.

In the pop-up department: Laurent Katgely (Chez Spencer) is no longer doing the food service at DEAR MOM; the duo behind Fogcutter food truck, Guillermo Perez and Caroline Hummer, will be serving their feisty American, Asian, and Latino bar bites and dinner plates and weekend brunch, starting August 1st. 2700 16th St. at Harrison, 415-625-3362.

Grub Street reports on the opening of PIZANS ITALIAN SEAFOOD ROOM in The Doctors Lounge in the Excelsior. You can look at the seafood-centric menu here. Open Thu-Sun 5pm-10pm. 4826 Mission St. at France.

Want a taste of Sarah Kirnon’s amazing fried chicken before MISS OLLIE’S opens? Yes, you do. Swing by STAG’S LUNCHETTE for Kirnon’s first Friday pop-up, serving from 5:30pm until sold out. Along with the fried chicken, there will be her amazing saltfish and ackee, plantains and queso fresco, and more. Check it out! 362 17th St. at Franklin, Oakland.

And in the “I don’t think anyone will be surprised with this news” department, TU LAN has been temporarily closed due to health violations. Again. Stand by to see what happens after their hearing. (Hat tip to Deli Board for their tweet.) 8 6th St. at Market, 415-626-0927.

New Late-Night Eats at the SoMa StrEat Food Park


The pavilion at SoMa StrEat Food Park; photo from Facebook.

Hopefully my brand-new, late-night dining app has been keeping you well fed past 11pm. Here’s one more option for your radar: starting this Fri-Sat (August 3rd-4th), the SOMA STREAT FOOD PARK is going to have some trucks parked and serving late-night food from 12am-4am! Dude. Update: Word just came in on the trucks that will be serving this weekend! There will be Naked Chorizo, Golden Waffle, SFDelights, La Pastrami, Mr. Nice, Adam’s Grub Truck, Tacos El Paisano, and Gyros on Wheels to kick off the late-night trucking. And that’s not all! Beer and wine will be served until 2am. Best. News. Ever. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with who will be serving on future weekends. 428 11th St. at Bryant and Division.

Specials and Deals and Happy Hours This Week, Yo!


A pintxo at Txoko. Photo © Heath Orchard 2011.

By Dana Massey-Todd: Sometimes my twenty-one-year-old brother comes to visit me in the city, and we try to figure out fun things to do. It’s hard, because he has a huge appetite, no money, and loves beer. So you can be sure that come Thursday August 2nd, I’ll be dragging him over to SOLSTICE for all-you-can-eat sliders paired with a beer tasting from Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Tickets are only $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and you get three samples of Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s beer, so it’s really the perfect place for younger bros of all stripes. The deal lasts from 7pm-9pm. 2801 California St. at Divisadero, 415-359-1222.

As of today TXOKO will be offering a special chef’s tasting menu called “5 for 50,” (5 courses for $50 available every night from 6pm until closing). And starting August 7th, every Tuesday will be jazz night, meaning the Nick Rossi Trio will accompany your happy hour noshing and drinking from 5:30pm-8:30pm. And what a happy hour it is: from 5:30pm-7pm there will be $3 draft beers, $6 glasses of garnacha, $10 pitchers of sangria, and $1 pintxo specials.

And over in the Mission, IZAKAYA YUZUKI is now offering a pretty cool happy hour as well. They’re offering two otsumami, or appetizer snacks, intended to be eaten with sake, along with two sake samples, all for $9. So get snacking! Happy hour is Mon-Sat 5:30pm-7pm.

Izakaya Yuzuki            - 598 Guerrero St. San Francisco - 415-556-9898

Traci Des Jardins Hosts a Celebration of Mexican Restaurants with SF Chefs


The fish taco at Mijita. Yelp photo by Blissful G.

On Wednesday August 1st, Traci Des Jardins will be hosting a party with 7x7, A Celebration of Contemporary Mexican Restaurants, at MIJITA IN THE FERRY BUILDING, featuring some of the city’s finest Mexican food and the chefs who make it. Antelmo Faria of Tacolicious, Laurence Jossel and Gonzalo Guzman of Nopalito, and Veronica Salazar of El Huarache Loco and La Cocina will be there, among others, celebrating regional Mexican cooking and the contemporary Mexican restaurants that serve it. Buen provecho!

Tickets are $85 ($75 if you have a Visa Signature card) and include Epsolón Tequila cocktails and food, plus a portion of the proceeds go to the amazing La Cocina. 6pm. Mijita, 1 Ferry Building, 415-399-0814.

INFORUM Event: Climbing Up the San Francisco Food Chain Panel and Dinner


Top of the food chain, indeed! Flickr photo by Zharth.

San Francisco can be a pretty vicious town for a young chef. Rents are high, the health and building codes are long, and the market is pretty saturated with wonderful places to eat already. So how is a creative young upstart ever to get going? On Thursday August 9th, the Commonwealth Club and INFORUM will be hosting a panel called Climbing the SF Food Chain. It will be made up of young chefs who have made it big in San Francisco, and they will be talking about the challenges they’ve faced and the creative and dynamic ways they’ve overcome them. Richie Nakano of Hapa Ramen will be there, riding high from a successful Kickstarter campaign (!!); as will Iso Rabins of ForageSF; Craig Stoll of Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina, and Locanda; and Anthony Myint of Mission Street Food and Mission Chinese. Valerie Luu of Rice Paper Scissors will moderate the event, and as you can see from the lineup, there should be a lot to talk about, from pop-ups to food trucks to traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants.

After the panel there will be a three-course “guerilla dinner” at Foodlab, sponsored by graffEats, which will put the panel’s principles into practice. The dinner includes drinks and tip, and admission to the panel. Tickets to just the panel are $20, or $12 if you are a Commonwealth Club member, and a mere $7 for students. To attend the dinner and panel, tickets are $75, or $60 for members. The panel is at 6pm at 595 Market St. at 2nd St., and dinner is at 8pm at 1106 Market St. at 7th St.

               Thursday Aug  9, 2012 more info

The Art of Chai Workshop at the Conservatory of Flowers


Pouring the chai. Photo by Sachin Patel.

For those of you seeking a relaxing escape from your typically insane lives, this sounds like the perfect way to spend an evening. Paawan Kothari of The Chai Cart will be leading a workshop on the Art of Chai at the Conservatory of Flowers on Thursday August 9th from 6pm-7:30pm. The class will focus on the art and history of chai preparation, as well as the culture of Indian street food, or chaat. Kothari will lead participants in the preparation of chai, from selecting the best milk, tea, and spices, to pouring the final cup. There will be samples, of course, as well as chaat to snack on. The cost is $35 ($25 for Conservatory members), and all participants will be sent home with a loose-leaf tea blend to try out their new skills. You can reserve your spot here. Thursday August 9th, 6pm-7:30pm. Conservatory of Flowers, 100 JFK Dr. at Conservatory, Golden Gate Park.

A Sad Farewell: Maurice Rouas


A warm moment with Maurice Rouas and Hubert Keller; photo via Facebook.

Many members of the restaurant industry were deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Maurice Rouas last week, the locally adored owner of Fleur de Lys (he bought the restaurant in 1970). He had such a legacy and was a tremendous influence on many of our city’s shining talents, from Shelley Lindgren to Gary Obligacion and, of course, chef-partner Hubert Keller, whom he brought on in 1986. His obituary states he passed at the age of 73 from “complications from diabetes, pneumonia and kidney failure. … Fleur de Lys will host a memorial for friends and family Aug. 6. The family requests that donations in Mr. Rouas’ memory be made to the American Diabetes Association.” Condolences to his family, to all who knew him, worked with him, and were touched by his kindness.

Limone Restaurant Now Open in San Carlos


Yep, there it is: spaghetti frittata. Photo from Limone.


The patio at Limone. Photo from Limone.

Are you a member of the “I Love Spaghetti Frittata Club” yet? NO? Then run, don’t walk (okay, you can take CalTrain) to the newly opened LIMONE in San Carlos, a sister restaurant to Locanda Positano. One bite and you’ll be hooked. You can find this amazing (and, yes, odd) dish on the menu seven days a week, during breakfast and lunch service.

At dinner, there will be classic Italian dishes with a California seasonality, including scialatielli pasta with rock shrimp, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and mint, or a grilled wild king salmon with lemon risotto. Check out the full menu here.

In the afternoons, the restaurant will become a Champagne lounge, with bubbly available by the glass or bottle. Hours are 7:30am-10pm every day. 619 Laurel St. at San Carlos Ave., San Carlos, 650-486-1479.


the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)

(Sponsored): SF Chefs 2012--The Foodie Event of the Year--Is Here!

Celebrate SF Chefs 2012, San Francisco’s food, wine, and spirits festival, this week in Union Square until August 5th! Mingle with the Bay Area’s finest chefs, bar stars, and wine experts in the epicenter of culinary inspiration—our very own San Francisco. Join fellow foodies on the legendary Union Square as it transforms into a culinary paradise under the Grand Tasting Tent. There are classes, the Industry Series, live demos, top chef challenges, hot after-parties, and a whole lot more—engage with some of the most respected chefs, winemakers, mixologists, and industry experts.

An impressive selection of wines and spirits showcase dishes from San Francisco’s most sought-after chefs including Thomas McNaughton, Gary Danko, Traci Des Jardins, Tyler Florence, Hubert Keller, Chris Cosentino, and countless more (plus visiting chefs like Marcus Samuelsson)! Check out all the participating chefs here.

Hungry? Thirsty? Want to experience it all? Then get your tickets to SF Chefs 2012!

And because you read tablehopper, you get 10 percent off of all events. Just use this code at checkout: tablehopper 12.

the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)

ODC Dance Hosting Indulge! Dance and Dessert Party Tuesday August 14th


Don’t bike and drink, unless you’re a highly skilled dancer. Photo from ODC website by Margo Moritz.

Event Info

Tuesday Aug 14, 2012 – Tuesday Aug 14, 2012 8pm–10pm

Who doesn’t love a buttery baked good and some dancing? ODC Dance will be celebrating both on Tuesday August 14th with a fundraising event appropriately titled Indulge! The event will feature baked goods from Arizmendi, Bar Tartine, Dynamo Donuts, Mission Pie, and La Victoria, among others. There will also be dance performances by ODC artists-in-residence, beer, wine, and cocktails from SF Vodka included in the admission.

Tickets are $50 at the door, $40 in advance, and $35 for Friends of ODC. If you really want to make a night of it, some neighborhood restaurants will be doing community dinners before the event for $125, including admission to Indulge! For reservations and a list of particpating restaurants, call Petrice at 415-863-6606 ext. 113. The event will be from 8pm-10pm at the ODC Theatre, 3153 17th St. at Shotwell.

La Cocina's 4th Annual Street Food Festival Now Includes Friday Night Market


Photo of the 2009 SF Street Food Festival from Facebook.

Event Info

Friday Aug 17, 2012 – Monday Aug 20, 2012 Website/info

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, for the first time ever this year, LA COCINA will be holding a Night Market on the eve of the annual Street Food Festival. From 6pm-9pm on Friday August 17th, La Cocina will take over the Alemany Farmers’ Market site with a market celebrating the amazing talents of their local purveyors and cooks. There will be 25 different vendors, all selling plates of food for less than $10. Local restaurants like Fifth Floor, Nopalito, and Locanda will be there, as will many of La Cocina’s incubator businesses, like El Huarache Loco, El Buen Comer, Chaac-Mool, and Estrellita’s Snacks.

There will also be cocktails from Rye on the Road and beer from Whole Foods Markets’ Steep Brew, so be sure to sign up for the free shuttle from the 24th Street BART station when you buy your ticket. Tickets are $25, include a gift bag full of treats and swag, and all proceeds will benefit La Cocina. Parking passes can also be purchased with tickets. 6pm-9pm, 100 Alemany Blvd.

Then, on Saturday August 18th, be sure to catch La Cocina’s SAN FRANCISCO STREET FOOD FESTIVAL, from 11am-7pm. For those of you who haven’t made it in previous years, it is a rollicking good time. More than 80 food vendors will be present, and many of them will be participants from La Cocina’s incubator program, which you can read more about here. It’s a truly wonderful program, because they not only do good work, but they do it well and it tastes delicious.

This year, the festival will be another awesome outdoor street food extravaganza. They’ll be taking over Folsom Street from 20th Street to 26th Street, plus additional seating and vendors on adjacent streets. You can enjoy street food and beverages from tons of local vendors, so get a group together and try a little bit of everything. All dishes will cost $8 or less, and if you weren’t sold on it already, admission is totally free. If you want to save yourself some time and money, be sure to check out the Passports that are available. You can earn some extra “street dollars” and beverages if you buy these packages in advance. Multiple people can use one passport, so get your crew of good eaters together and make it happen! 11am-7pm, Folsom St. at 21st-26th Sts.

If you still haven’t had enough (and you know you haven’t), Sunday August 19th kicks off the Food & Entrepreneurship Conference with the Eat Your Cart Out Brunch at SOMArts. Brunch will be prepared by visiting chefs Matt Jennings, Nick Pihakis, and Suvir Saran, partnered with some of La Cocina’s newest businesses: Mariko Grady (Aeden Foods), Guadalupe Guerrero (El Pipila), Adriana Lahl (Sal de Vida Gourmet), and Olive Loew (Saint & Olive Bakery). Mimosas, tea, and coffee will be bottomless, and tickets can be purchased here and cost $75. The conference will continue into Monday with some great panels and workshops on varying issues, like women in the restaurant industry, how to write about and present your food, and using technology to benefit food entrepreneurship. The full schedule can be found here, and tickets can be purchased for various levels of access to the conference. Scholarships are still available as well. All conference events will be at SOMArts, 934 Brannan St. at 8th St.

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)

Estate Closing, 522 Gets a New Owner


Estate Restaurant (courtesy of Estate).


Chef Rudy Mihal (courtesy of Heather Irwin).

By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin. Sign up for the BiteClub Newsletter.

ESTATE RESTAURANT, owned by chef Sondra Bernstein of THE GIRL & THE FIG in Sonoma, will close in late September 2012.

The news comes on the heels of the sale of the historic property that’s been home to the restaurant since it opened in 2008. Once owned by the daughter of General Mariano Vallejo, the two-story building has been purchased by Darius Anderson, owner of Kenwood Investments and the Sonoma Index-Tribune. Anderson also recently purchased RAMEKINS CULINARY SCHOOL AND EVENT CENTER located next door and reportedly plans to operate the properties jointly. He takes over October 1st, 2012.

The lease originally ran until 2013, but reps say Bernstein and managing partner John Toulze decided to close Estate in the wake of the sale and refocus on their other restaurants, including a new Sonoma event space called Suite D. “They’re in a place of recalibrating,” said Anne Abrams, a company spokesperson. There is no plan to reopen Estate elsewhere.

“We appreciated the opportunity to steward the historical Sonoma property at 400 West Spain Street and know it will now transition into good hands with Darius Anderson,” said Bernstein. Toulze added, “Our exploration of Italian cuisine won’t end with this closing. We are excited about hosting pop-up dinners featuring some of the favorites from Estate’s menu at Suite D.”

Estate will continue serving dinner Wednesday through Saturday beginning at 5pm and Sunday brunch from 10am-3pm. 400 W. Spain St., Sonoma, 707-933-3663.

Also in Sonoma, CAFE 522 (522 Broadway, Sonoma) quietly closed over the weekend, less than a year after opening. Despite positive reviews, owners have sold the business to chef Rudy Mihal.

Reached by phone, Mihal (formerly of Odyssey) says he plans to take over the space on August 1st, 2012, with a soft opening slated for late August. He’s bringing in a front-of-the-house manager from the Michael Mina Group and hopes to transform the restaurant into a contemporary American eatery. No word on the name yet, but Mihal assures us the black truffle and short rib burger (minus the foie) is coming back.

The restaurant has seen a whirlwind of owners in the last four years, first as Shiso, then as Lokal, and most recently as 522. Stay tuned for details.

the hardhat

Project Sneak Peeks (watch your step)



The arched windows in the future dining room space. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The flatiron bar. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


Future home of the Ling Ling lounge. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


View of the wok station in the kitchen. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The man in charge, with his hardhat: Richard Toshio Miyashiro. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

A report by Dana Massey-Todd: Last week I got a sneak peek of HAKKASAN, the new restaurant opening in the One Kearny building downtown. The project comes to us from the Hakkasan group of restaurants, which started in London and now has locations around the world. Heading up the project locally is Richard Toshio Miyashiro, formerly of Jardinière, Farallon, and Boulevard, who led our tour.

The focus of the Hakkasan restaurants is modern, exceptional Cantonese cuisine served with high-end wines, cocktails, and sake, and paired with a haute approach to traditional Chinese design. When I visited, it was very much under construction, but even unfinished the second floor location has the feel of an intimate aerie above the loud hum of busy Market Street.

The restaurant space, which will seat 170 diners all told, looks out over Market on one side and Geary on the other, and the bar neatly divides the two sides. The flatiron-shaped bar, which seats 25, will have lit blue glass and mirrored paneling, and is the centerpiece when you arrive. On either side are ceiling-high arched windows, and the Geary side will have the dining area, while the Ling Ling lounge and bar will be on the Market side. The windows of the dining area will be partially covered with “caging” made of carved wood and cut marble. The banquettes will be made from embroidered leather, and individual seating areas will also be defined by the caging, to create intimate spaces.

The Ling Ling lounge will seat 50 and will have the same caging as the dining area, just a lot more of it to keep things loungy, dark, and mysterious. The lounge will also feature a DJ booth, home of the “Hakkasound” program, which will keep the restaurant’s soundtrack ever so cool and of the moment. Behind the lounge are two private dining rooms, which will be able to accommodate groups of either 10 in one room and 20 in the other. The private dining rooms will have embroidered silk walls, warm wood floors, and mirrored ceilings.

I also got to take a peek at the kitchen, although it is still very unfinished. The centerpiece of the kitchen is the wok station, which holds five woks in special burners. Richard said that when all five woks are operational, the supercharged hood truly roars and it is so loud he says it really is “like a dragon.” Fortunately, the kitchen will be partially open, so you’ll be able to check it out for yourself. There will also be a special dim sum station, a duck roasting station (yeah, I want one of those in my kitchen), and a pastry station.

The menus, which have not yet been created for the San Francisco location, will feature lunch and dinner. Lunch will be focused on dim sum made to order, and the dim sum menu will be available until 3pm for late lunchers and snackers. Dinner will also have some dim sum as well as signature prix-fixe menus and à la carte options.

You can peek at the menus for the New York location here, which should at least give an idea of what to expect. Chef Ho Chee Boon is reportedly very excited to work with the amazing produce California has to offer, so the menu will likely have a more seasonal focus than at other Hakkasan locations. The opening date is currently set for November, so stay tuned as more details emerge.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Woody Allen on the Town

Okay then! You ready for some Woody Allen sightings? He’s in town filming a new movie starring Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, and comedian Louis C.K. (There isn’t a title for the film yet.) Anyway, Woody came in for lunch at Rose Pistola with a group from a local production company. My starstruck spotter said, “He was very kind, as was everyone, and had a plate of heirloom tomatoes and cherry upside-down cake.”

He then dined that evening at Kokkari with Soon-Yi. (I also heard Star Jones was at Kokkari on the same day.)

Adrian Grenier's SF Bar Crawl

Adrian Grenier (of Entourage fame) was at Jasper’s Corner Tap Sunday night (he just wrapped a movie that was being filmed in Anderson Valley for the past few weeks, and then came in to SF for the night). Seems he was on a crawl to promote his new Churchkey beer. He was reportedly super-nice, stayed for a bit, and then moved on to his next stops: R Bar, 540 Club, and Benders.

Thinking Pink (in Yountville)

A tablehopper reader told me she spotted Pink dining at Redd on Friday night. My spotter said: “She drank a bottle of Silex (that I ended up paying for since my son asked for an autograph while I hid). She was with her husband and another couple. She sat on her husband’s lap for a moment and they looked really cute. She was super-nice according to my son.” (I hope this kid knows his mom is hella cool.)

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