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Jan 25, 2016 10 min read

January 26, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: New York state of mind.

January 26, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: New York state of mind.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: New York state of mind.                    

Looking out from my new apartment as the Jonas winter storm/blizzard was just starting to kick in. Photo: ©

Well, THAT was quite a welcome to New York this past weekend—Jonas delivered the city’s second largest snowstorm on record, dumping 26.8 inches of snow in Central Park! Whooooosh! I tromped around quite a bit in it—I had to witness the city all white and snowy! Quite beautiful. Although now the weather has warmed up and it’s a slushy mess on the streets—definitely thankful for my new waterproof SORELs. You can check out my blizzard pics on Instagram (or Facebook).

Another nice welcome to NYC was arriving at the Newark airport and finding my Blacklane driver waiting for me and ready to help with all my extra luggage (if you’re looking for a smooth and business-class level of transport, check out Blacklane with my code, GWHJZ8VJ, and you get 10 USD/EUR/GBP off—and they operate all over the world!). My driver was a New York native, so I got a lot of city navigation tips and even some history on our way into the city. It sure beat waiting in a cab line and trying to wrassle all my bags. Thanks for the smooth ride, Blacklane!

In case some of you missed the memo, the reason for all this New York chat is I won the Time Out Win the Ultimate NYC Life Contest! I just had my first week in the Time Out New York offices, and here are a couple of pieces I wrote for their daily blog on Lil BUB and the blizzard! You’ll see more pieces from me there later this week!

And to recap, in case you missed my note a couple of weeks ago about what this all means for tablehopper and when I am coming home and other questions you may have, read up here!

I’m having a blast exploring my new neighborhood, which borders Hell’s Kitchen/Times Square. There’s Ippudo West very nearby, the delicious modern Korean Danji, and I can’t believe how much I lucked out with this Shanghaiese dumpling shop (Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns & Ramen) just a block away. I also tucked into a pizza at Don Antonio by Starita, my new Neapolitan HQ. Follow along on Instagram for more of my NYC dispatches! I’m also going to be starting a fun series called “Just Visiting” on Instagram, stand by for the first post!

Meanwhile, if that pic just made you crave some pizza something fierce, be sure to check out the new Fiorella, opening in the Outer Richmond on Wednesday night (January 27th).

All righty, it’s time to get back to my double life. I hope you enjoy today’s column. It’s the new shorter format—well, almost, I had two weeks’ worth of news to catch up on, and I don’t have associate editor Dana Eastland to whack away at it with me anymore. Meow. (Missing you!)

See you next week! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Chef Moves and New Menus at Coi, Huxley, Gaspar, and Farallon


Chef Matthew Kirkley; photo via Coi’s website.


Chef Kirkley’s stunning turbot, winter vegetables, beurre Cancalaise. Photo via Instagram: @matthew_kirkley.

It’s a new year, which brings a lot of chef shuffles and moves and new menus. Let’s review.

Over at COI, Daniel Patterson has transitioned out of the kitchen. Executive chef Matthew Kirkley (L20 in Chicago) is in place, and his new menu has debuted. You’ll note a seafood-leaning menu, with dishes like geoduck clam, lardo, Bibb lettuce, buckwheat; turbot, winter vegetables, beurre Cancalaise; and abalone, bone marrow, black truffle. Nope, the tasting menu doesn’t finish with beef! The new menu price is $225 (plus a 20 percent service charge). Dinner is served Thu-Mon.

We previously noted that chef Sara Hauman has left HUXLEY, and taking her place is Manfred Wrembel (most recently at Schroeder’s, and previously Plum and Incanto). His new menu is up, with many local and seasonal dishes, including wild arugula, chicken liver ravioli, Half Moon Bay herring, and a burger, the Hux Deluxe. There’s also a small tap system, with beers on draft, and look for new bottles on the reserve beer list and new affordable wine selections as well. Open for dinner service Tue-Sat 5:30pm-10pm and brunch Sat-Sun 11am-2:30pm.

At GASPAR BRASSERIE, executive chef Chris Jones has transitioned to overseeing all of owner Franck LeClerc’s Au Bon Repas properties (Gaspar Brasserie, Gitane, and Café Claude); taking his place in the kitchen is Adam Nichol, who has been working as chef de cuisine at Gaspar. He did whole animal butchery and charcuterie while at Central Kitchen and Flour + Water and will be doing some more for the charcuterie program at Gaspar. The menu has morphed into an all-day format, take a look here.

And over at FARALLON, Jason Ryczek is working for chef-owner Mark Franz as the new executive chef—the two collaborated on the upcoming chef’s tasting menu for Valentine’s Day. Ryczek was at Waterbar for the past three years.

Starboard Opens in the Mission: Meet Your New Late-Night Joint


The punchy banquette in the dining room. Photo: ©

Just a quick heads up that STARBOARD is having their grand opening this Thursday January 28th. We shared all the details about this Mission hofbrau opening next door to Slate in our recent post, so you can catch up there.

The hearty and affordable menu is all about getting you fed: check it out online—dear lord, ROBUCHON MASHED POTATOES with hella cheese curd (their words). And get excited for these business hours too: Tue-Wed 5pm-12am, Thu-Sat 5pm-3am, with a special late-night menu. And wines. And beers. Brunch coming soon. Enjoy. 2919 16th St. at S. Van Ness, 415-465-5830.

Sequels: DragonEats Open in Upper Haight, Plus Popsons Pops Up, New Locations of American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, and More


Banh mi from DragonEats. Photo via Facebook.


The Popsons cheeseburger. Photo: Michael David Rose Photography.


Sneak peek of the new American Grilled Cheese Kitchen space. Photo via Facebook.


The new Smokin’ Warehouse in Laurel Heights. Yelp photo by Karen L.

Some local businesses are expanding with new locations around town, starting with Vietnamese fast-casual spot DRAGONEATS, which opened a third location in the Upper Haight in the former Sunrise Deli. (DragonEats also has locations in SoMa and Hayes Valley.) According to their Facebook page, they are now open and serving their menu of banh mi, salads, bowls, and rolls. Open 11am-6pm. 1671 Haight St. at Cole, 415-795-1469.

While we’re waiting for the Causwells team to open POPSONS at 6th and Market in the Warfield Building this March, you can nab one of their outrageously good burgers at their new pop-up, starting today at 330 Townsend Street (the original Marlowe location, and then Marlowe Burger). They will be serving an array of burgers with different toppings, plus three kinds of fries, chili, and a salad; check out the menu. Lunch starts Tuesday January 26th (that’s today!), running weekdays 11am-3pm. Hours will extend to weekdays 11am-8pm on Monday February 1st. 330 Townsend St. at 4th St.

If everything goes according to plan, Heidi Gibson and Nate Pollak of THE AMERICAN GRILLED CHEESE KITCHEN will be opening their third location in the Broadway-Sansome Apartments (at 799 Battery Street) on Monday February 1st. Folks in the area will be happy to have a menu of AGCK’s cheesy sandwiches, salads, soups, and more (including shoestring fries and crispy maple Brussels sprouts), plus breakfast service (hello breakfast sandwiches), and beer, wine, and mimosas. Wylie Price designed the space, with 22 cozy counter seats and there’s some outdoor seating (12) as well. Initial hours are Mon-Sat 8am-3pm; look for hours to expand to 5pm on February 8th. (They will also be selling up to 10,000 grilled cheeses at Union Square for the Super Bowl, so someone is gonna be busy!) 799 Battery St. at Broadway, 415-872-9230.

We have been tracking the Laurel Heights opening of SMOKIN’ WAREHOUSE (in the former Eunice’s Café space) for a bit, and according to a tablehopper reader (and some posts on Yelp), they are now open. It’s definitely designed for takeout, and the menu includes beef and pork ribs, brisket, links, sandwiches or platters, sides, and burgers. Initial hours for now are Mon-Sat 11am-6pm; look for them to expand later. 3336 Sacramento St. at Presidio, 415-440-0088.

Fans of SMITTEN ice cream will be happy to know another location is coming to the Marina—so just when you get out of spin class, you can ruin your workout with a scoop of churned-to-order cookie dough ice cream with pretzels and chocolate chips! Founder Robyn Sue Fisher is excited to be moving into the former Judy’s Cafe this summer. In an interesting twist, Eastman Ice Cream operated in the space in the 1930s and ’40s. 2268 Chestnut St. at Avila.

Open and Shut: Nojo Open (Again), Ame and Bourbon Steak Closing


Nojo Ramen’s spicy chicken soboro tossed noodles. Photo via Facebook.

It’s closed, it’s open, oh wait, it’s closed again. And the former NOJO in Hayes Valley has opened once again, this time as NOJO RAMEN TAVERN, although original chef-owner Greg Dunmore is no longer involved with the project, so the menu is different.Hoodline mentions the focus is on five kinds of ramen made with a rich chicken broth (paitan ramen), and small dishes like gyoza and cucumber with spicy miso are available. Pictured here is their spicy chicken soboro tossed noodles, a soupless ramen. There’s also an extensive menu of beers, plus sake, soju, and wine. Hours are Wed-Sat 5pm-11pm and Sun 11:30am-7pm. 231 Franklin St. at Hayes, 415-896-4587.

This makes for a nice segue, since Nojo’s Greg Dunmore used to work over at AME at The St. Regis San Francisco in SoMa. Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone will be closing  the restaurant at the end of February. Taking its place will be a pop-up concept—The Grill—for eight weeks, starting March 1st, under the direction of St. Regis San Francisco’s executive chef Franck Desplechin. A new concept will be unveiled later; stand by for updates. 125 3rd St. at Mission, 415-284-4040.

And Michael Mina is closing BOURBON STEAK at the end of March. Eater reports the lease was up, and Mina is looking for a new location—the restaurant opened in 2010. It looks like the restaurant’s brand-new chef Thomas Griese will be staying with the group (he was previously working for Mina in Miami), and it’s worth noting the bar Clock Bar will remain open.

Bourbon Steak            - 335 Powell St. San Francisco - 415-397-3003

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Booze News: Jeff Hollinger Departs Comstock Saloon (SAD FACE), The Lark Bar Opens in Former Dave's


Jeff Hollinger doing his special voodoo at Comstock Saloon. Photo: Liza Gershman Photography.


The exterior of The Lark Bar. Yelp photo by Albertino M.

This Friday January 29th is going to be a dark day in SF: after 14 years with the Absinthe Group (currently celebrating 18 years), which includes more than five years at COMSTOCK SALOON, Jeff Hollinger (aka Jefe) is leaving his post as saloonkeeper. Sadly a barman’s late hours don’t coincide well with a busy family life, and he has decided—after at least a year of mulling it over—that he needs to move on. Hollinger started as a bartender at Absinthe and will be wrapping things up as a bartender this Friday, when he’ll be behind the stick starting at 12pm—we’ll have to see how long he lasts. There will be boots.

I’m sorry I won’t be there to raise a glass in person to one of my favorite and most talented people in the industry. Thank you, Jeff, for everything you have contributed to the SF cocktail legacy and craft. You have always been a font of information about cocktail history, a keeper of the flame of SF bar history, and you make a mean Martinez (and Cherry Bounce!). You have always been so hospitable, ever-ready with a big guffaw, and a mentor to many—we all learned from you in many ways. The ultimate barkeep. We’ll miss you, but now we hope to see you on the other side of the bar.

Meanwhile, THE LARK BAR has opened in the former Dave’s. To recap, Future Bars (Bourbon & Branch, and Cask, which is next door) took over the beloved downtown dive bar and are keeping things pretty simple. Look for a sports bar vibe (TVs still in effect), with affordable cocktails, shots, and beers. They have a an updated food menu, including chili (a Dave’s tradition, $4), hot dogs ($5-$6), a variety of panini (ham and cheese, cheese and bacon, and mozzarella and tomato, all $6), and a few snacky items. Hours are Mon-Sun 11am-2am. 29 3rd St. at Market, 415-952-7504.

The Punchdown Reopens in Oakland


The “I’m a Broke Ass” Flight: three wines for $9 at The Punchdown Yelp photo by Albertino M.

Fans of natural/minimal intervention wines will be happy to hear THE PUNCHDOWN has reopened in its new location in Uptown Oakland—they closed a little over a year ago when owners D.C. Looney and Lisa Costa lost their lease.

So the next time you’re seeing a show at the Fox Theater, you can swing by and check out the new and spacious digs. Look for more room, more retail wine, more flights, and more food options (well, once their gas gets turned on—so no food for now). Scoop also reports: “They’ll also bring back their daily happy hour, winemaker/importer events, and guest chefs, as well as organize their natural wine club.” Hours are daily 12pm to close (10pm during the week and 12am Fri-Sat). Follow @thepunchdown on Twitter for updates as they ramp up. 1737 Broadway at 19th St., Oakland, 510-788-7877.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

A TKO Kind of Night

Ever-ripped Dolph Lundgren, beloved by Rocky fans for his role as Russian boxer Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, was spotted at SLANTED DOOR. No word if he said “I must break you” to his plate of shaking beef.

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