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Feb 15, 2016 10 min read

February 16, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: a New York minute.

February 16, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: a New York minute.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: a New York minute.                    

The New York brunch of your dreams at Barney Greengrass. Photo: ©

Greetings from rainy New York, which has already pummeled us with bitter cold this past weekend (it was the first time that the temperature in New York dipped below freezing in over 22 years—how about some -8 wind chill, what?) and more snow (which I like). I know, don’t let me interrupt your Cali heat wave. Fortunately the cold gave me carte blanche to take full advantage of a hearty brunch at Estela on Saturday, followed by a complimentary whiskey and bourbon tasting at Astor Wines, yes!

It’s also good carb-consuming weather (hey, your body is trying to keep warm!), so Sunday brunch was all about finally making the pilgrimage to Barney Greengrass, aka the Sturgeon King (since 1908!), for a meal of eggs, Nova Scotia salmon, and their sturgeon, of course. You gotta love a brunch plate that automatically comes with a bagel and cream cheese, yessss! Am already plotting a return visit for their off-the-menu latkes…and gravlax. Or maybe pastrami salmon. Or sable. Basically I’m gonna work my way through that menu, trust. Meanwhile, you all enjoy that Dungeness crab that is finally safe to eat, I’ve got the smoked fish covered.

Some other highlights from an action-packed week: a loco Tex-Mex dinner at Mission Cantina, with SF representing (Tartine’s Chad Robertson and sourdough tortillas from Loqui!), trying brown sugar kouign amann from Dominique Ansel Kitchen, and a fantastic New Zealand wine tasting, education session, and lunch at Colicchio & Sons.

My February calendar is already getting full, but one item that is shining extra bright is this this upcoming inaugural Charcuterie Masters event from NY Epicurean Events on February 27th here in New York (will be my first outing to Flushing!). More than a dozen charcuterie makers will be there for the competition, as well as dishes from local chefs, like a hog served Caja China-style from chef Hugue Dufour of M. Wells Steakhouse. Can’t wait to explore some local charcuterie/salumi makers, and am so excited ‘Nduja Artisans will be there, love their product.

Today is my one-month anniversary of arriving in New York, where does the time go? It’s flying. Like me, gotta go. See you next week! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Alfred's Steakhouse Reopens February 18th


The original Alfred’s, just a couple weeks before it closed. Photo: ©

In a rather speedy turnaround, DPG (Daniel Patterson Group) will be reopening ALFRED’S STEAKHOUSE this Thursday February 18th (opening night reservations are already all booked up!). As we previously mentioned, this is not about a big reconcepting—it’s about preserving this juicy slice of SF steakhouse history. DPG director of operations Ron Boyd is a big fan of the 88-year-old classic joint and was honored to be able to take over from the Petri family, who ran it for the past 42 years.

The 136-seat, burgundy-hued restaurant has been freshened up—with new flooring and paint, and the bar area got a more loungy vibe (and barrel-aged cocktails)—but will mostly look and feel like the Alfred’s you know and love. Although you will notice some new artwork by John Ricca: photography commemorating San Francisco.

The steaks are now sourced from California (aged for 15 and 30 days) but will continue to be cooked over mesquite/open fire, and with chef Charlie Parker running the kitchen, you can expect some quality vegetable sides. Since they are integrating a whole animal program, look for dishes like oxtails and pork shoulder too. Tableside cocktails will continue, and tableside salads will be brought back! There will be an expanded and updated wine list as well, with many California and old-world classics.

They are trying to keep the pricing affordable, and for you Alfred’s regulars, the Buckaroo Luncheon Club deal will come back on Thursdays, returning February 25th. They are also going to be running their own version of the School Night Special dinner, but every night—it will be $58, featuring three courses and wine. 659 Merchant St. at Kearny, 415-781-7058.

Mosu Opens Tonight on Fillmore, SF's Latest Newcomer to the Two-Bill Pantheon


A truffle and sea urchin dish at Mosu. Photo via Yelp by Dan H.

We mentioned this project a couple of months ago, and now MOSU is opening tonight (Tuesday February 16th), just across the street from State Bird Provisions.

The fine dining restaurant has posted a sample of its kaiseki-style tasting menu online, which will clock in at 10-12 courses, and feature Asian influences. The menu is $195 per person, tax and tip not included (pretty strong way to come out of the gates there, whoosh).

To recap, it has 18 seats, and the chef is South Korea native Sung Anh, who was the chef de cuisine at Aziza, and has worked for chef Corey Lee at both The French Laundry and Benu, and at Urasawa in Beverly Hills. The wine list was assembled by Master Sommelier Kevin Reilly, who was at Cyrus and Quince. Hours are Tue-Sat 5:30pm-9pm, reservations only. 1552 Fillmore St. at Geary.

Hayes Valley Updates: Petit Crenn Ends Breakfast, Raxakoul Wine & Cheese in Former Gourmet & More


Petit Crenn during the daytime. Photo via Facebook.

A couple of quick Hayes Valley updates for you. First up, Eater has noted that PETIT CRENN has cut breakfast service but has added some of their more-popular dinner items to the lunch menu, like their Parisienne gnocchi. You can also enjoy their Petit Madame (Gruyère Mornay, sunny egg), a mushroom tartine, and the Petit Crenn omelette. Lunch is Tue-Sat 11am-2pm.

And I feel like I’m a bit late for not noticing this (I blame living in New York), but just in case you haven’t figured this out either: the former Gourmet & More (that amazing cheese shop on Gough), which was sold and supposed to reopen as San Francisco Wine and Cheese has actually reopened as RAXAKOUL WINE & CHEESE.

The new owners are Phithak Raxakoul (hence the shop’s unusual name) and Shirley Ng, who Hoodline originally mentioned were supplying cheese to Gourmet & More owner Laurent Recollon for years. Pantry items, wine, meats, sweets, and more are also for sale, and don’t forget the garden patio in the back, where you can enjoy a sandwich, or some wine and cheese. 141 Gough St. at Oak, 415-874-9133.

Wunderkind Chef Flynn McGarry Pops Up in SF with Feastly


Flynn McGarry at work. Photo courtesy of Flynn McGarry via Feastly.

If you have been curious about trying the cuisine of chef Flynn McGarry, the 17-year-old chef who is known for his fine dining pop-up in Los Angeles and New York, Eureka, he’s going to be in town for a series of Feastly dinners March 1st-4th. Tickets are going fast—each night there will be two seatings, at 6pm and 9pm, for 12 guests.

You can experience his 10-course winter tasting menu (and watch him put it together). Sample courses includes sea urchin cured in seawater with carrots and coffee, and aged beet roasted over embers with its own greens and beet bordelaise (peep his Insta for more pics).

The 10-course menu is $160, which includes tax and gratuity; wine pairing available for $60. Reservations online. Use my tablehopper link for $10 off your first Feastly meal! And here’s a New York Times article from a couple of years ago about McGarry, in case you missed it; more press here.

510 Openings: Antoinette, Belotti Ristorante e Bottega, Marzano Returns, and Vegan Deli, The Butcher's Son


An uni dish at Antoinette. Photo courtesy of Antoinette.


Agnolotti by Michele Belotti. Photo via Facebook.


Marzano reopens in Glenview. Yelp photo by Justin H.

Chef Dominique Crenn’s new project, ANTOINETTE, has opened at the historic and restored Claremont Club & Spa in Berkeley (it’s opening in the former Paragon). She partnered with the property to consult on and develop this ingredient-driven brasserie and brought on chef de cuisine Justin Mauz (he was most recently at Joël Robuchon at the Mansion in Las Vegas, and previously at Zahav and Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia, and L20 and Sixteen in Chicago).

On the menu (here’s an initial sample menu) you’ll note a modern take on French brasserie dishes with Northern California ingredients, including coq au vin with maitake mushrooms, Lyonnaise salad with Mangalitsa lardo, and salt-roasted parsnip barigoule with black trumpets, celery, and cardoons, plus large-format dishes to share, like a whole Liberty Farm duck off the rotisserie, and whole-roasted monkfish tail with bouillabaisse, couscous, and vadouvan. You can even partake in caviar service if you’re feeling flush. There are also some custom elements through their relationships with Firebrand Artisan Breads, Fieldwork Brewing Co., and Four Barrel Coffee.

The restaurant is currently open for dinner, and breakfast and lunch begin Thursday February 25th. Claremont Club and Spa, 41 Tunnel Rd. at Claremont, Berkeley, 510-843-3000.

We broke the news back in December that Michele Belotti, most recently at Ristobar in San Francisco, was opening his own project in Rockridge, BELOTTI RISTORANTE E BOTTEGA. Pasta fans, rejoice, because it’s now open, and with a pasta-heavy menu that features stuffed pastas like his trademark agnolotti, plus his mother’s casoncelli (he’s from Northern Italy), along with risotto, pappardelle, and some antipasti (including an elegant steak tartare), vegetable sides, and a couple of larger meaty dishes too (check out the menu here).

The 40-seat restaurant is casual, and you can even come by for fresh pasta you can take home and cook yourself (there are a few sauces too). Bonus: there’s full liquor, so if you want to unwind with a Negroni or Aperol soda, you can do that too, plus there will be a happy hour. The cocktail menu is a bit limited for the opening; look for more options soon. You can look at the cocktail and wine list here.

Hours for now are Mon, Wed-Thu 11am-10pm, Thu-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat 10am-11pm, and Sun 10am-9pm (closed Tue). Look for hours to shift as he gets a sense of what the neighborhood needs. 5403 College Ave. at Hudson, Oakland, 510-788-7890.

Fans of MARZANO in Glenview, which closed a couple of years ago, will be happy to hear it has returned (in the interim, The Growlers’ Arms was in the space, which closed last fall). Scoop reported some of the original team is back in place, including general manager Manna Tekie and chef Rob Holt, who bought the restaurant from owners Justin Hafen and John Hurley. Look for many of the original dishes to return as well, from pizzas to the roast chicken. 4214 Park Blvd. at Edgewood, Glenview, 510-479-1448.

We have previously mentioned the vegan deli coming to Berkeley, THE BUTCHER’S SON, and they have set a soft opening date of Monday February 22nd. They will be serving vegan sandwiches, salads, cheeses, and meats, plus espresso, coffee, bagels, croissants from the Vegan French Choco Croissant crew, cannoli, and a few other things (which will expand in time). Their Facebook page shows an array of creative nut-based cheeses they’re making, from feta to cotija to drunken goat, plus vegan beef bologna and roast beef—even smoked carrot lox. Hours will be 7am-3pm. 1914A University Ave. at MLK, Berkeley.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Pete's Opens This Week in the Former Amante


The bar at Pete’s. Photo courtesy of Pete’s.


Some of the comfortable seating. Photo courtesy of Pete’s.

We have been tracking the transformation of Amante in North Beach into PETE’S, and we’re happy to announce Pete Mrabe (Chubby Noodle, Don Pisto’s) is officially opening the bar this Thursday February 18th.

The space got quite the refresh, with new booths, surfaces, banquettes, and a new bar. It will continue its tradition as a popular place to watch sports, but it’s also a comfortable spot for a drink and a bite. He brought on Duggan McDonnell to consult on the cocktail menu; take a look here. You’ll see some classics, like the OG Martinez, the Boothby Manhattan, and of course a pisco punch (a true SF original); all drinks are $11. The beer and wine list also got a nice update, but still spans the low to the high, so don’t worry about things being too fancy.

As we previously noted, Mrabe has brought on Daniel Sudar (Fog City Diner, Betelnut) as chef. Dishes on the all-American menu include smoked wings, a blue cheese wedge salad, a housemade turkey potpie, popcorn shrimp, a double Kobe burger, and mac and cheese. There’s even a dessert menu, ranging from amaretto bread pudding to their peanut butter cup (take a peek at both on their Instagram).

Hours to start will be 5pm-2am, eventually expanding in a week to 10am-2am. (Mrabe hired three old-timer bartenders from the neighborhood to run the bar during the week in the daytime, love it.) 570 Green St. at Columbus.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

This Grill Is on Fire!

The lovely Alicia Keys was in town for a performance at Super Bowl City the day before the Super Bowl, and dined at Lolinda with a group (they had empanadas, the entraña skirt steak, and more). Alicia was very polite and gracious, and after her group left, the Lolinda staff got creative by changing up Keys’s lyrics by inserting Lolinda-inspired lyrics into her songs (hence the cute title of this blurb, thanks for sharing).

A Wild Dinner in Monterey

Now this sighting is definitely far afield, but come on, it’s Reese Witherspoon. She recently dined at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey with her HBO crew—she has been filming a new HBO series Big Little Lies (by David E. Kelley) in the area.

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