Can’t stop thinking about this summery dish at Bar Tartine: squash and tomato salad with quinoa greens and bottarga. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
How fabulous was that three-day weekend? I know I’m not the only one who needed it. For those of you who stayed in the city, I hope you enjoyed our annual colored fog. I took it easy over the weekend and enjoyed some home-cooked meals, although last week I had some fantastic dinners at Bar Tartine and checked out the new chef at Seven Hills (pasta lovers, you’ll be very happy there).
As promised, today we are releasing news (and tickets!) for an upcoming tablehopper and Campari America event on Wednesday July 23rd: Una Serata a Roma at 54 Mint. There will be an aperitivo hour, gnocchi all’amatriciana, porchetta, and a whole lot more. Hope to see you there, tickets are limited!
Today we are posting some last-minute news that Monsieur Benjamin opens tomorrow (woohoo!) and in case you want some more new places to check out, here’s my monthly post on 7x7.com on five new restaurants to try this month.
So sorry for anyone who was rooting for Brazil today (myself included), that was the most painful game I have ever seen, ever. Devastating. Also devastating: the horrible fire that Manresa suffered early Monday morning. Best wishes to David Kinch and team as they start the path to rebuilding and getting their beloved restaurant repaired and on the path to reopening—they have the support of the international restaurant community, that’s for sure.
Ciao ciao. Marcia Gagliardi
When you read my review of 54 MINT a couple of months ago, were you hungry to try chef Mattia Marcelli’s Roman menu (yeah, like the cheesy cacio e pepe?). Have you ever traveled to Italy, and miss the awesome aperitivo spreads you’ll find at bars in the early evening? Do you know how to pronounce “Negroni sbagliato”? Do the words “Aperol spritz” make you hungry and thirsty? Then this upcoming tablehopper and Campari America event, Una Serata a Roma (“An Evening in Rome”), is custom made for you.
On Wednesday July 23rd, we will gather on the outdoor patio and at the bar at 54 Mint for an aperitivo hour (starting at 6pm), featuring some classic Italian aperitivi, including an Aperol spritz and Negroni sbagliato (you’ll also be able to learn how to make an Aperol spritz—it’s as easy as 3-2-1). Chef Mattia Marcelli will be putting out an abundant spread of some fantastic bites, like supplí al telefono and salumi. We can pretend we’re in a piazza in Rome as we socialize, eat, and drink.
At 7pm, we’ll make our way into 54 Mint’s rustic-chic upstairs dining room for a family-style feast that will include two classic Roman pasta dishes (cacio e pepe and gnocchi all’amatriciana), and then get ready for a very special meat course, featuring chef Mattia’s perfect lamb chops, fennel pollen-spiked porchetta and housemade sausage (the pork is coming from Mark Pasternak’s Devil’s Gulch Ranch), plus sides like roasted potatoes and mustard greens.
Throughout the meal, 54 Mint partner and wine director Gianluca Legrottaglie will talk about Roman culinary traditions, and will also be pairing some wines to go along with the meal (you’ll learn about those too!). For dessert, expect a classic Roman dessert (torta ebrea) and a digestivo (perhaps Averna or Cynar will be making appearances). Let’s just say you may want to have a light lunch that day.
Tickets are only $75 per person, including all beverages, tax, and tip. 21 and over. Special thanks to Campari America for their partnership in this event. A donation will be made to the SF-Marin Food Bank. Ci vediamo!
Wednesday Jul 23, 2014 6pm–9pm $75, all-inclusive more info
54 Mint - 16 Mint Plaza San Francisco - 415-543-5100
And just like that, MONSIEUR BENJAMIN is opening tomorrow, Wednesday July 9th. To recap, the 90-seat project is from Corey Lee of Benu, Jason Berthold (previously RN74, and French Laundry and Per Se, where he worked with Lee), and Thomas Palauqui. Lee and company have had a year to prepare the large menu—as Lee notes, “a luxury”—and are taking classic French bistro and traditional French dishes and flavor profiles, giving them a modern update. Lee has been longing for a bistro and late-night destination since he moved to SF in 2009, so like they say, if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.
Tonight I’m going to a preview dinner, so I’ll have many more details for you on Friday about the interior (by Aidlin Darling Design), the inspiration, and what you’ll find on the modern French bistro menu (I do know they are committed to offering top-quality raw shellfish, including oysters that are shucked properly). When I met with Lee about a month ago, he said there would be snacks for $10 and under, appetizers from $10-$19, entrées in the $20s and $30s, plus cheeses and dessert (of course). The menu should be posted on the website soon, and we’ll be sure to run it here.
The look will have an urban San Francisco aesthetic, with references to classic Parisian style, like paper-topped tables and wood chairs that echo the classic bistro shape (nope, no faux bistro here). A few highlights: late-night dining hours, a casual and neighborhood vibe, cocktails (plus an exploration of French liqueurs and spirits), and Master Sommelier Yoon Ha has selected a wine list that features smaller family-owned producers from France (plus some from California too)—many will come from the Loire, and look for bottles to be less than $100, with 10 by the glass.
Hours are nightly 5pm-1am, eventually opening at 1pm on Sat-Sun for brunch in a few weeks. Reservations can be made starting tomorrow on OpenTable or by phone.
Monsieur Benjamin - 451 Gough St. San Francisco - 415-403-2233
Fans of the charming and intimate original Loló location on 22nd Street will be pleased to know it has reopened as LOLÓ CEVICHERÍA, featuring five kinds of ceviches and some favorites from the original menu, like the tuna tacon and taco tropical, plus a few more small plates, like guacamole. Chef-partner Jorge Martinez designed the menu to be affordable, and a good place to swing by for a drink and a bite. Low-proof beverages from David Gallardo and Leon Vasquez (the bar managers for Loló Valencia) include some white and red sangrias, white port tonics, and their agave wine margarita slushies, including one variation made with tamarind.
The space was redesigned by partner Lorena Zertuche (of course it’s colorful). If you’re waiting for a table at LOLÓ, this is a good spot for spillover (and large groups of eight or more). Loló Cevichería is doing some soft opening/trial runs during the next week, with a grand opening and full hours planned starting Wednesday July 16th. Hours will be Mon-Thu 6pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-12am, closed Sun. 3230 22nd St. at Mission.
Last week we mentioned RYE PROJECT from Adam Mesnick was about to open, and whaddya know, it’s now open! To recap, 1058 HOAGIE has closed after two years (I’ll miss you, #1) and now Mesnick’s Jewish-style deli has taken its place—you can peep the menu here. You’ll find pastrami and corned beef (on rye bread from Detroit), and you know there will be some special combos coming too (just look at Mr. Adams on a kaiser roll). There are also some bagel options (the bagels are sent from New York parbaked and then finished here), with toppings like nova lox and smoked whitefish salad.
Soup of the day, check. The creative salads also look really good (that’s where the “Newish Deli” comes into play), with picks like the Rye House ($13), with romaine, corned beef, muenster cheese, hard-boiled egg, cucumber, cherry tomato, and chickpeas; and the Abuelas ($12), with spring mix, tuna salad, avocado, muenster cheese, pico de gallo, green pepper, cucumber, hearts of palm, and cherry tomato. Oh, and all salads come with a bagel, how about that? Other Jewish deli faves will appear, like chopped liver, mac and potato salad, blintz soufflé, and black-and-white cookies. Come hungry. Open Mon-Fri 11am-4pm. 180 7th St. at Natoma, 415-552-8984.
QUINCE is closing temporarily from July 25th until September 19th for renovations. The new space, which is being designed by Douglas Durkin, will increase the comfort of the restaurant, with a new entrance, custom lighting, and additional exposed brick. The warmth of the space will also be enhanced with new, curved leather banquettes and arched openings throughout.
In addition to these decorative changes, there will also be some new spaces within the restaurant. Two seats will be added to the chef’s counter, offering more opportunities for diners to watch the action in the kitchen. There will also be two more private dining rooms, each with seating for 12, in addition to the existing room for 18. A new private dining room, the Octavia Room, can be reserved for up to 12 people in the kitchen at the neighboring Cotogna as well.
Perhaps the most fabulous (and definitely bubbliest) addition is the new Champagne bar and lounge. It will be situated at the entrance to the restaurant, and will encourage walk-ins. At the bar, you’ll find cocktails, wine, and, of course, lots of Champagne, much of it available by the glass (selected by wine director Jai Wilson). As for food at the bar, there will be à la carte dishes from the main dining room’s tasting menus, as well as special daily appetizers.
During the renovation, the Quince team will be popping up at the nearby Hedge Gallery. Stand by for more details on those dates and tickets next week.
Back in May, we mentioned that LE MARAIS BAKERY in the Marina was not only expanding into the space next door to include a bistro space (Le Marais Bistro), but owners Patrick Ascaso and Joanna Pulcini-Ascaso also made some new hires (executive chef Nicolette Manescalchi, head pastry chef Emily Riddell, and head baker Kate Mooring).
The bistro side is now open, offering 38 new seats, plus another 6 outside. The airy room has a country bistro feeling, with reclaimed redwood floors and, like the café, it features a skylight, Bundt pan light fixtures, and iron Parisian balcony railings. A large picture of the rooftops of buildings in the Marais in Paris will also be installed soon. For now, the bistro is offering overflow seating for the café until dinner service begins on Wednesday July 23rd. Hours will expand, and another addition will be European wines and beers.
There are also brunch, lunch, and breakfast services (and menus) that will be launched in time—although you may notice some tweaks that have already happened to the sandwich menu (which now includes house-cured ham), with more coming. We’ll have a preview of the new Mediterranean dinner menu for you before it launches, stand by. Hours for now remain 7am-7pm. 2066-68 Chestnut St. at Steiner, 415-359-9801
CREAM, the local ice cream sandwich chain whose name stands for “Cookies Rule Everything Around Me,” is opening their first San Francisco location in the former Ti Couz space on 16th Street, Eater reports. The customizable menu offers 20 ice cream flavors, along with 10 different kinds of cookies, including vegan and gluten-free choices. Owner Alexis Garcia is hoping to open by August. 3106 16th St. at Valencia.
Hot on the heels of the news of MARLOWE’s move to Coco500’s space is the newest change from Anna Weinberg, Jennifer Puccio, and James Nicholas. They’ve hired pastry chef Emily Luchetti to run the pastry at all three of the group’s restaurants: Marlowe, Park Tavern, and the Cavalier. Luchetti was previously at Farallon and Waterbar, but will be starting her new position on September 1st. Look for some fun spins on British sweets at the Cavalier, and straightforward but well-executed choices at Marlowe and Park Tavern.
Getting a seat at TOSCA CAFE just got a little easier (or harder, depending on how averse you are to planning). They are now accepting reservations for all times the restaurant is open. They can be made here, but the bar area is still reserved for walk-ins.
Tosca Cafe - 242 Columbus Ave. San Francisco - 415-986-9651
It looks like AMBER DHARA on Valencia has closed, according to Scoop. Owner Vijay Bist says that although he has closed the space, he hopes to find some new partners and relaunch the space with a new concept. It’s a huge space (with seating for more than 275), and has a full liquor license, so there’s definitely a lot of potential there. We’ll let you know when we hear what might be happening.
Hoodline reports that NECTAR on Haight Street has closed. A sign on the door states that the location, which opened in the former Katz Bagels in 2012, has closed indefinitely. Right now, no additional information is available, though it sounds like Sprig is using the kitchen for their meal preparation. 663 Haight St. at Pierce.
Amber Dhara - 680 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-913-1969
Kevin Castellanos, who is currently the sous chef at Bocadillos and previously worked at Range and State Bird Provisions, is starting a new pop-up, called Salvi. His very first pop-up is happening on Sunday July 13th from 4:30pm-8:30pm at BOCADILLOS. Castellanos was raised in El Salvador, and his menu will feature dishes he remembers eating there, but influenced by the Northern California ethos of quality ingredients. Think bean and cheese pupusas with housemade masa and cabbage slaw, or a tamal de puerco with braised pork shoulder. Follow along on Twitter for more information and updates. 710 Montgomery St. at Washington, 415-982-2622.
On Saturday and Sunday July 19th-20th, Japantown will be overrun with ramen and sake at the The Pop Gourmet Food Festival, part of the J-Pop Summit. There will be a section just for ramen, with all bowls for just $8, each from a different ramen shop. Participants include Men Oh, Munta, and Horaiya, with choices including tonkotsu, shoyu, and spicy ramen. The infamous ramen burger will even make an appearance. There will also be snacks and bites from food trucks and other vendors, including Onigilly, The Chairman, and JapaCurry.
One entire section of the festival will be entirely devoted to sake tasting from some major sake makers and distributors, including Choya Umeshu, Hosoda Bros., and Nishimoto Trading Co. Admission to the sake area is $10, ages 21 and over only. There will also be a space set aside for beer, cocktails, and nonalcoholic beverages as well. The festival includes live music, activities, and, hello, a Pocky eating contest. The festival will run from 11am-6pm both days and is free to attend, with food and beverages available for purchase. Post St. and Webster St. at Fillmore.
Saturday Jul 19, 2014 – Sunday Jul 20, 2014 11am–6pm more info
Folks in the Uptown Oakland area will be happy to know a second location of multi-roaster coffee house MODERN COFFEE is opening, and whaddya know, they’re opening in another historic building, this time in the Leamington Building (on 19th Street, very close to the newly opened Drexl Bar). It’s also going to be about the same size: 800 square feet, with around 12 seats. One more funny similarity: both locations were hair salons at one point as well.
Like the original location, owner Kristen Nelson will be showcasing a variety of coffees and teas from roasters like Stumptown Coffee from Portland, Counter Culture Coffee from Durham, North Carolina, and Northern California’s De La Paz Coffee (SF), Chromatic Coffee (San Jose), and Verve Coffee Roasters (Santa Cruz). Teas will continue to be sourced from Smith Teamaker in Portland, Teance Fine Teas in Berkeley, and tea importer GS Haly in Redwood City. There will also be some food supplied by local purveyors.
This time around, it’s a full buildout; they hope to open at the end of July or beginning of August. And congrats on the upcoming fifth anniversary of the original location this October. 1814 Franklin (with the entrance at 381 19th Street, between Franklin and Webster).
After hitting a few delays, the team behind SHAKEWELL in Oakland are happy to announce they are officially opening on Thursday July 10th. In our original piece, we noted that owners Jen Biesty and Tim Nugent are opening their eclectic Cal-Spanish concept on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland. You can look at a preview menu here; we’ll have more for you next week, including details on the cocktails and the space (designed by The Bon Vivants Design+Build). Open for cocktails at 4pm, dinner at 5:30pm, closed Mondays. 3407 Lakeshore Ave. at Trestle Glen.
Oakland institution FENTONS CREAMERY is celebrating their 120th anniversary this year, can you believe it? They are celebrating with a big party on Sunday July 20th from 12pm-3pm in their parking lot. There will be free barbecue, free scoops of some of their signature flavors (did you know they invented toasted almond?), and the junior size of their Black and Tan sundae will be available for $1.20 (normally, it’s $9.25). Plus, 4-H, their community partner for July, will be on hand with animals to meet and greet, and the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse will be leading craft activities. Oh, and there will also be a raffle with lots of ice creamy prizes and a DJ playing nostalgic music. Happy birthday, Fentons! 4226 Piedmont Ave. at Entrada, Oakland, 510-658-7000.
As previously reported in tablehopper, Jay Porter has taken over the former home of Taco Grill near the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. The new place is called THE HALF ORANGE and is opening today for lunch. The menu is small and focused, with a burger made with Marin Sun Farms beef, a housemade sausage sandwich, and some Mexican-inspired plates like Ensenada-style beef tongue. For now, hours are only Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, with dinner hours (and a beer and wine license) coming soon. 3340 E. 12th St. at 33rd Ave., Oakland, 510-500-3338.
Eater snagged some additional details on Chris Pastena’s newest venture, a Mexican restaurant in Uptown Oakland’s new development, The Hive. Pastena has partnered with Michael Iglesias and Jessica Sackler, both of Coqueta, on the Mexican project, which is called CALAVERA and should be opening in early 2015. The menu will be focused on traditional cooking methods and high-quality ingredients, prepared in house, including flour and corn tortillas. There will also be a wide selection of mezcal and tequila, with a bar run by Joe Cleveland of Coqueta. 2337 Broadway at 24th St., Oakland.
Starting Monday July 14th, OFF THE GRID is offering a new place for Monday dinner in Uptown Oakland. From 5pm-9pm there will be eight food trucks at the corner of William and Telegraph, with a rotating lineup of trucks that includes El Porteño, Doc’s of the Bay, and Roderick’s BBQ. William St. at Telegraph Ave., Oakland.
Eat Drink SF, San Francisco’s annual food, wine, and spirits festival (formerly known as SF Chefs), heads to Fort Mason Center, August 1st-3rd, 2014. The epic foodie festival weekend features tastes and flavors from the Bay Area’s finest chefs, mixologists, brewers, and wine experts including bites from A16, Aveline & the European, Copita, Delfina, Dirty Habit, Flour + Water, Fog City, Stones Throw, and many more. With classes, demonstrations, tastings, and parties—there’s something for every palate!
Special offer for tablehopper readers: receive 15 percent off all Lexus Grand Tasting events with the code TABLEHOPPER. See you there!
Last week I was very happy to see a picture on Facebook of a license transfer (posted in a bar window) and a telltale hat peeking above it. That’s right, friends, Presidio Social Club’s snazzy bar manager, Tim Stookey, is partnering with his fiancée, Leslie Cole, and her cousin, Aaron Cole, to take over the former Yong San Lounge in Lower Nob Hill. (Eater noted the license transfer as well—the past year the space was operating as The Royal Tug Yacht Club from Duncan Ley, Benjamin Bleiman, and Mark DeVito—yeah, the place with the 20-foot squid.)
Taking its place will be STOOKEY’S CLUB MODERNE, a sophisticated cocktail lounge that should feel like a little time machine back to 1934, at the end of Prohibition. (The name is also a tip of the cap to the Club Moderne that used to be at 555 Sutter.) The 1930s-themed cocktail bar will feature 1930s music and décor—they are on the hunt for an Art Deco back bar, and will be putting in linoleum over the current concrete floor. The place will feel like a little jewel box where you enjoy a cocktail (or two) before or after dinner or a show, and to create a destination for people who want to spiff up and hit the town. In the spirit of creating an atmosphere of connection and conversation, Leslie Cole mentioned they want to host some monthly gatherings to discuss San Francisco history, cocktails, books, films, and the like.
We had a quick chat about the cocktail list, and Stookey is thinking about including drinks like the Corpse Reviver #2, the Southside, and a Chelsea Sidecar (he also mentioned he was considering a special cocktail that was made in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge). Of course there will be fresh and seasonal fruits and ingredients, and he’s hoping to secure a barrel of 100 Reasons rye; they will also be offering some quality wines on tap.
The current targeted opening date is October 1st, and Stookey’s departure from the Presidio Social Club (he has been there for more than seven years!) depends upon when they get the keys, which could be a couple of weeks or a month. Now we all have something to really look forward to this fall. 895 Bush St. at Taylor.
Congrats to BLACKBIRD in the Castro, which is turning five on Sunday July 20th, and you know there will be a party. At 8pm that evening, come by to check out their new barrel-aged cocktail menu (15 drinks in all!) that have been aging since Blackbird opened! The barrel-aged program will continue until y’all drink ‘em all up. Also that night: you can nosh on some cured meats, cheeses, and other light bites, plus there will be sparkling wine for $5 by the glass, and special “early bird” cocktails for $5. 2124 Market St. at Church, 415-503-0630.
Last week we broke all the details about ABV, the new Mission bar from Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud (who owns Dalva/Hideout), Ryan Fitzgerald, and Todd Smith, and the latest word from Alcademics is that the space is softly opening tonight, Tuesday July 8th, but don’t all rush over at once, okay? Cheers, and enjoy the late-night bites from Kevin Cimino, served nightly until 1am. Open daily 2pm-2am. Yeah, you saw that correctly. Day drinking! 3174 16th St. at Albion, 415-400-4748.
Those industrious Bon Vivants over at TRICK DOG are switching up their seasonal menu again (remember, it changes every six months). This time, they’re phasing out the astrological menu and replacing it with “The Tourist,” a menu inspired by vintage San Francisco postcards and locations. Check out the map-style menu right here. They’ve also created some postcards that you can send to friends, just put them in the labeled box and the bar will cover postage (some restaurants used to do this back in the day). Forget drunk dialing, this is way better. 3010 20th St. at Alabama, 415- 471-2999.
One more item to note: the new bar going into the former Jazz at Pearl’s in North Beach from the Future Bars crew is going to be called THE DEVIL’S ACRE. More on that project soon. 256 Columbus Ave. at Broadway.
Monday Jul 14, 2014
Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate all things French on Monday July 14th for Bastille Day. Ready for some berets, stinky cheese, and lovely wine. Bon!
Raise a glass to liberté, egalité, fraternité at CAFÉ DES AMIS on Bastille Day. They’ll be offering an all-day happy hour from 11:30am-10pm, with a special menu that includes the addition of the D’Assaut la Bastille cocktail (brandy, yellow Chartreuse, Benedictine, lemon, sparkling wine), and all bottles of rosé will be half price. There are snacks like oysters and pâté de campagne too.
At the CAFÉ CLAUDE family of businesses, including CLAUDINE, GITANE, and GASPAR BRASSERIE, Bastille Day will be quite the celebration. Each location will have a slightly different special available, like the $17.89 special prix-fixe at Claudine, or the $17.89 French wine flight at Café Claude. At Gaspar, check out the flight of French Champagnes for $17.89, as well. All locations will be serving the gâteau de libération, starting Saturday July 12th. Oh, and the queen herself, Marie Antoinette, will be making appearances with treats on Monday July 14th. Ooh la la, don’t miss it!
On Thursday night, Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland was at Waterbar for a wedding reception. We’re not sure if she was an independent woman all evening, or just a bug a boo, but we’re hoping she didn’t leave any writing on the wall of the bathroom.
Last Wednesday, former 49ers quarterback (and current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback) Alex Smith was spotted at District Wine Bar. He was with his wife, and they were reportedly in the area for the Giants game.