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May 2, 2016 11 min read

May 3, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: back in the big smoke.

May  3, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: back in the big smoke.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: back in the big smoke.                    

At Coi: the absolutely stunning turbot with “scales” made of root vegetables by chef Matthew Kirkley. Double rainbow! Photo: ©

Hey gang! I’m back in NYC, after 10 glorious springtime days in SF and a week in Washington state for a visit with Wines of Washington and my cousin’s wedding—thanks WA for also being so generous in delivering some spring weather!

Today in New York is cloudy and perfect writing weather, which is what I have been doing a LOT of the past few months. (Fortunately I brought a bag home of the new Side Door espresso from Ritual’s new Haight café to keep me chuggin’!) So did you hear a giant whoooooooosh sound last night? That was me sending the third and final 18,000-word chapter to Louis Vuitton for their 2017 San Francisco guidebook. I’m still working on a few smaller things, but dear lord, the beast has left my life! I’m looking forward to having more time to explore this city—the time is passing so quickly.

A highlight of my trip home was dining at Atelier Crenn, what a magical meal. Dreamy. So I was even more thrilled to hear the news that Dominique just won the San Pellegrino World’s Best Female Chef title (the World’s 50 Best Restaurants will be released on June 13th at a ceremony here in New York). And the first episode of the new season of Chef’s Table airs on Netflix on May 27th, which Dominique is profiled in. Can’t. Wait. (You can watch the trailer here.)

Last night, as I was writing my column, I had the James Beard Foundation Awards on, and I can’t believe SF got the big ole goose egg. Our city is so en fuego right now! Whatever, we don’t need awards to validate how amazing SF’s culinary scene is, and yes, many of the other winners were so well deserving. (The full list of winners is here.) And don’t miss a look at the 2016 Book, Broadcast & Journalism Award winners too.

But you really should take the time to watch this video in homage to Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s in New Orleans, who won a Lifetime Achievement Award, and also get inspired by this video of Humanitarian of the Year, Father Greg Boyle. Both of them make us all look like a bunch of slackers, I tell you.

I may not have attend the JBFA event, but I am definitely looking forward to being back at the Beard House for dinner tomorrow night: Matthew Dolan of SF’s Twenty-Five Lusk is serving a dinner, Bay Area Seafood Sophisticate. Well then—pinkie up, darling!

Did you know this Friday May 6th is the seventh annual International #SauvBlanc Day? I will be celebrating at Cull & Pistol over some oysters, looking forward to it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! Sorry I didn’t get a roundup to you of places in time. We mention a couple of options in tablehopper today, and at this point, I’d say OpenTable’s list is your best friend. :)

I’ll have a lot more about events and other food news next week—someone has a LOT of catch-up to do, bags to unpack, and deadlines to meet. And a cold is trying to come on, and I’m like, uh, no. Been healthy for all of 2016 and I intend to stay that way, thankyouverymuch.


Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Openings: Homage, 'Aina, Mac Daddy, ATwater Tavern, More


The rustic-industrial décor of Homage. Yelp photo by Meredith B.


The Kiawe wood-smoked salmon at ‘Aina. Photo via Facebook.


Loco moco at the new ‘Aina in Dogpatch. Yelp photo by Simon F.

Here are some new spots for you to check out, starting with HOMAGE from David Kurtz (Maven). We broke the news about the project back in November, mentioning the daytime spot was moving in the former Galette 88 space in the FiDi. Well, it’s now open, and you can check out the opening menu here.

To recap, the menu will pay homage to local farmers by featuring a different farmer every two weeks. Guests will learn about the farmer’s backstory, products, location, and more, while seeing their products highlighted throughout the menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches, using housemade bread Homage is naturally fermenting for three days and baking in-house, using house-ground wheat. (Hello, Cubano, and eight-layer lasagna, and duck congee. And avocado toast, of course.) Breakfast, coffee (from a variety of roasters), tea, juices, pastries, hand pies, robust WiFi, and beer and wine round out the offerings.

The 49-seat rustic-industrial space was designed by Gi Paoletti, with reclaimed wood floors, smaller tables, high-top communal tables, a kitchen counter, and outdoor seats. Hours for now are Mon-Fri 8am-4pm; look for expanded hours soon. 88 Hardie Pl. at Kearny, 415-800-8741.

In our last issue, we mentioned Hawaiian brunch pop-up ‘AINA was close to opening their brick-and-mortar spot in Dogpatch, and they are now open. The project is from Hawaii-born-and-raised chef Jordan Keao (who also worked at La Folie here in SF) and his wife Cheryl Lieu. In case you are wondering, ‘āina is a Hawaiian word meaning “that which feeds us.”

The modern Hawaiian menu includes malasadas (a filled Portuguese doughnut), loco moco made with braised short rib, Portuguese sausage hash, and their Spam musubi is served ssam style with housemade spam wrapped in a lettuce leaf with kimchi and egg yolk furikake. There’s also a smoked honshimeji and king oyster mushroom dish with slow-poached eggs. Look for many local ingredients, mixed with imports from Hawaii, like fresh hearts of palm from Puna Gardens and Kiawe wood for all of the smoked items on the menu.

Inventive low-ABV cocktails (from Jason Alonzo) featuring housemade syrups and shrubs, larger-format punches, and wine, beer, and sake will be available. ‘Aina will open with brunch service five days a week, Wed-Fri 10am-3pm and Sat-Sun 9am-3pm. 900 22nd St. at Minnesota, 415-814-3815.

When the craving for mac and cheese strikes, restaurateur Jocelyn Bulow (Chez Maman) has opened MAC DADDY in the former Chez Maman on Potrero Hill. Chef Brandon Peacock’s menu include 12 mac and cheese combos, from pesto mac to smokin mac and of course truffled mac, $12-$15. All items can be made gluten-free. Add-in options, plus soup, salads, vegetable sides, and a small number of entrées such as cassoulet, fried chicken, and fish and chips are available too. Open daily 11:30am-10pm. 1453 18th St. at  Connecticut, 415-872-6670.

Fans of the pizza from Tony Gemignani’s slice shop, TONY’S SLICE HOUSE, will find a location now at THE MARKET in the Twitter building, serving five to eight selections a day. Open 11am-9pm daily. (Via Scoop.) 1355 Market St. at 10th St.

And sports fans will want to note that John Caine of Hi Dive has opened ATWATER TAVERN today (May 3rd) in the former Jelly’s at Pier 50 near AT&T Park. There are two stories, great views, outdoor seating, and lots of shellfish and classic SF seafood dishes on the menu. [Via Scoop.] Open Mon-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, Sun 4:30pm-10pm; bar from 4am until 12am and later on game days. 295 Terry A Francois Blvd. at Pier 50, 415-512-7153.

We don’t cover chains in tablehopper, but since LEMONADE, the fast-casual, made-in-California, vegetable-centric restaurant from SoCal is coming to a lot of former La Boulange locations, we thought we’d quickly mention the first location is opening at The Metreon on Thursday May 5th. Open daily 10am-9:05pm (and not a minute more!). 781 Mission St. at 4th St., 415-522-0191.

Aster Adds Brunch, WesBurger Adds Lunch, Sam Wo Goes Late


The interior of Aster. Photo by Michael David Rose, courtesy UrbanDaddy.


The Hot Wes. Photo: Wes Rowe Photography.

Well this seems like the perfect place for brunch: ASTER in the Mission just turned one, and has decided to launch weekend brunch (the first day was this past Sunday). Chef-owner Brett Cooper’s delicious-sounding menu can be viewed here, and low-ABV cocktails will be available too. Hours are Sat-Sun 10:30am-2pm. If you procrastinated on Mother’s Day brunch reservations, here’s one idea… 1001 Guerrero St at 22nd St., 415-875-9810.

And then there’s lunch! WESBURGER N’ MORE has launched lunch, running daily 11:30am-3pm. You can get his badass burgers, sandwiches, fried chicken, and salads (the turkey club salad sounds righteous), but here’s the bonus round: free tots! Yup, the man loves his tots, so they will be free for all guests with each order during lunch service. 2240 Mission St. at 18th St.

Many of us remember late nights at SAM WO, and that will be happening once again in their new location. Hours have expanded to Wed-Sat 11am-4pm and 6pm-12am, Sun until 5pm, Mon until 4pm, and Tue closed. Starting May 20th, the real late nights will begin, with hours until 3am Fri-Sat. Also: look for their restored neon sign to be lit up—they got permission to transfer it from the original location. [Via Hoodline.] 713 Clay St. at Kearny, 415-989-8898.

Caputo Closes, Changes at Viking Room, Cowgirl Creamery Gets a Renovation


Seating and the smaller bar in the Viking Room.


The bar area at Caputo. Photo courtesy of Caputo.

A few programming notes for you: fans of the Neapolitan pizzas at CAPUTO will need to find another spot in the neighborhood. Scoop reports the restaurant from Marin’s Boca Pizzeria and Boca Tavern team has closed after six months in biz. And so, the bad juju of that space continues. 100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero.

Looks like there are some changes at CAFE DU NORD: the Ne Timeas and Bon Vivants teams have decided to close the Viking Room, which operated like a 30-seat supper club in the space. They are going to use it for private events and other programming instead—stand by for announcements about future music and other public events. You can still order food elsewhere in Cafe du Nord. (Via Eater.)

Just in case you swing by COWGIRL CREAMERY in the Ferry Building Marketplace and see the cheese shop is closed, they are doing a renovation! The new design will have the cheesemongers in a central island stacked with whole wheels of cut-to-order artisan and farmstead cheeses. Yay, cheese island! The perimeter will be outfitted with ready-to-go cuts, small-format cheeses, and accompaniments. The shop is slated to reopen in June. During the closure, you’ll find a pop-up store in front of their current space with a select lineup of their favorite cheeses.

Sidekick Café & Milk Bar is also having a little refresh and will reopen on Friday May 6th.

510 Update: Itani Ramen and Delage Open, Ba-Bite Brunch, Genova Delicatessen and Salsipuedes Close


Shoyu ramen with Jidori egg at the new Itani Ramen. Photo: Jessica Warner.


A pic from the new Delage. Yelp photo by Jenn B.

Well, East Bay, I have some good news and I have some bad news. Let’s start with the good stuff: opening today in Uptown Oakland is ITANI RAMEN from Kyle Itani of Hopscotch, working with executive chef Brian Ikenoyama. And how handy, it’s right by the Fox Theater.

To recap, the seasonal menu will highlight ramen from different regions (prefectures) of Japan while showcasing seasonal Bay Area ingredients and housemade noodles. Some menu items include shoyu (soy) spring ramen with ground chicken, yu choy, bamboo shoots, and green onion ($12); and nanban zuke ramen (cold) with pickled sardines, jicama, peppers, and green onion ($12). Starters like pork gyoza ($7 for 5) and mini rice bowls with uni, ikura, and jidori chicken egg ($15) will be on offer, plus an in-restaurant vending machine offers desserts like Kracie Soy Ice, Pocky, It’s-It Ice Cream, Baumkuchen roll cakes, and other Japanese treats. Local and Japanese beers, sake, shochu, and beer-and-a-shot combos, plus cold-brew coffee on tap, cans of green tea, Ramune soda, and Calpico yogurt drink will be available too. Open daily for dinner 6pm-12am. 1736 Telegraph Ave. at 18th St., Oakland, 510-788-7489.

The East Bay Express mentions that Chikara Ono of the popular AS B-Dama at Swan’s Market has soft-opened his next project, DELAGE, also in Swan’s, in a former bubble tea shop adjacent to the food court area. This is a sushi-based project (AS B-Dama is more of an izakaya), and the sushi chef is Masa Sasaki, previously at Maruya in SF’s Mission. There will also be some modern appetizers from Keisuke Akabori, previously at Spago in Beverly Hills. It sounds like it will be omakase to start (an affordably priced one, this isn’t about crazy SF omakase pricing), and dishes will be added in time. There are 10 seats at the bar and 12 seats at four-tops. Hours sound a bit TBD as well, starting Wed-Fri 5:30pm-9pm. 536 9th St. at Clay, Oakland, 510-823-2050.

More good news: fans of Mica Talmor’s delicious Israeli and Mediterranean dishes at BA-BITE will be happy to have a new weekend brunch to hit. Shakshuka in the house! Open Sat-Sun 10am-3pm. [Via EBX.] 3905 Piedmont Ave. at Montell, Oakland, 510-250-9526.

We knew this was coming, but it doesn’t diminish the sadness: after 90 years (yes, 90) in business, GENOVA DELICATESSEN has closed. The DeVincenzi family is looking for another location where they won’t have to raise prices, and reportedly the landlord is looking for another local deli to take over the space. BIG, LONG, SLOW SIGH. [Via Mercury News.] 5095 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland.

Over the weekend, North Oakland’s SALSIPUEDES closed. Owner Jay Porter, who is also behind The Half Orange restaurant in Fruitvale, has not decided on the future of the space yet, so it’s currently available for one-off events and pop-ups. 4201 Market St. at 42nd St., North Oakland.

the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): This Mother's Day, Cook a Fantastic Brunch with Parties That Cook!

On Sunday May 8th, celebrate the mother in your life by treating her to a Mother’s Day Brunch that you create together! Join us at the Parties That Cook kitchen in North Beach where you and your mom (or the favorite mother in your life) will be greeted with a Peach Bellini Cocktail to sip while the Parties That Cook chef gives a lively, interactive cooking demo.

Then you’ll break into teams to prepare a variety of elegant and seasonal dishes for brunch. After cooking, you will sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labor at the table. Click here for the full menu and details.

Nothing inspires connection better than cooking. Make this an unforgettable Mother’s Day creating new memories and delicious food together! Our classes also make great gifts—check out our calendar of upcoming classes.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

It Adds Up

Last weekend, Dev Patel of the recently released film The Man Who Knew Infinity (with Jeremy Irons)—about Srinivasa Ramanujan, the math genius—was spotted with other cast and crew (including Stephen Fry and Devika Bhise) at Starbelly for brunch. The posse feasted on pizzas, the fried chicken po’boy, challah French toast, and more.

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