One of the best abalone dishes I have ever had at Atelier Crenn at a lunch last week with the Basque Culinary Center. The Monterey Bay abalone was thinly sliced and topped with toasted seaweed, aioli, and a sauce made with abalone, served with egg yolk jam and smoked crème fraîche with oyster. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Buongiorno! You feeling some spring fever? I was so happy to be in Wine Country over the weekend—the fields are blankets of green velvet and everything is blooming, it’s all so lush. Saturday I drove to Petaluma for a class on California cheese at the Artisan Cheese Festival—great to get a history refresher on all our cheese pioneers!
I then scooted on over to Napa to check in to the Napa Marriott, a sponsor for Flavor! Napa Valley. But instead of hitting the grand tasting that night, I met up with friends to check out Miminashi in downtown Napa—what a styling space. Really enjoyed our meal, from all the robatayaki from their hearth to a fantastic okonomiyaki. And cocktails. And buckwheat soft-serve with sesame honeycomb and miso caramel, oh yeahhhhhh.
Sunday morning I emceed the final event for Flavor!, Bubbles and Brunch at Domaine Chandon. Chefs Brian Whitmer of VINeleven, Rick Moonen (RM Seafood), and Richard Blais (Juniper and Ivy) took no prisoners, what a spread! Thanks to Domaine Chandon for the beautiful venue and morning full of bubbles!
Don’t put those bubbles away just yet. Congrats are in order for chef Dominique Crenn, who placed 83 on this year’s list of World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 51-100 winners. Check it out—Benu also placed well, along with The French Laundry, The Restaurant at Meadowood, and Manresa. The top 50 will be revealed at the awards event on Wednesday April 5th in Melbourne.
Speaking of faraway lands…I am so thrilled to share I’m going to Thailand for my first time (finally!) in May! I’m honored to be included on the Thai mission with the organization Pencils for Kids, celebrating their 10th year of providing backpacks, school supplies, and uniform vouchers for children so they can go to school in developing areas in countries like Thailand, Bali, and Myanmar. You’re going to be hearing a lot more from me about this amazing organization in the coming months, which has provided 13,755 backpacks to children so far! I’m going to be involved in a San Francisco fundraiser event later this fall and look forward to telling you more.
So, before the mission starts, I’m going early to have a week on my own somewhere beachy and beautiful (it’s going to be hot as hell!) and am then spending a week eating and adventuring my way through Bangkok. I’d love any recommendations for any beachy paradise you know of (but nothing fancy—this needs to be on the cheap!), and Bangkok favorites, of course! The final week, I’ll be heading to the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort in Chiang Rai, our incredible hosts during the PFK mission. I know, what an amazing and once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thanks in advance—as always—for your excellent tips! You guys rock.
See you next week! Marcia Gagliardi
Opening in early May on Hayes is A MANO (“by hand”), the latest restaurant from Adriano Paganini’s restaurant group, Back of the House. The full-service Italian restaurant will specialize in housemade pasta; the executive chef is Freedom Rains (Belga), whose background also includes Flour + Water and Incanto, so he’s no stranger to pasta dough.
There will also be antipasti, salads, and two pizzas (a margherita and a seasonally changing pizza), along with a daily dinner special. The concept will be casual and affordable but still focused on quality, with some seasonal influences. There’s also a full bar, which will be Italian-centric, with classics like Negronis and Americanos, plus some new variations, as well as amari and Italian liqueurs. The wine list will be all Italian, while beers will span California and Italy. Look for an opening in early May. Dinner will be served nightly. 450 Hayes St. at Octavia.
Mega Coming Soon Report: Pie Shop and Dinette to Divis, Takers for Rose Pistola's Space, Berber, John Tesar's Knife, Norcina, The Grove
I have quite a lineup of coming soon news for you, so let’s rip through it. More news from the CHE FICO team, who are opening their project in a former auto body shop on Divisadero this fall. James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Angela Pinkerton will be opening a pie shop and dinette in the ground floor space next to Boba Guys (the restaurant, Che Fico, will be upstairs). It will be called THEORITA, in honor of her grandmother. There will be sweet and savory pies, plus a grab-and-go counter for breakfast and light lunch. In the evening, there will be a dinette, with seating at the counter or in a dining room area. On the menu: Che Fico’s David Nayfeld will be offering a spin on diner food around the U.S. (one can hope for some Greek diner love!) and some of Pinkerton’s childhood favorites from growing up in northeastern Ohio will be repped as well. There will be natural wine and beer from California and the Midwest as well. I’ll keep checking in on this one since it’s literally around the block from me, yay. 834 Divisadero St. at McAllister.
There is some ABC license transfer activity for Rose Pistola’s recently closed location, listing a DBA of Cantina di Liguria (considering Rose Pistola’s Ligurian focus, it’s hopeful). The new partners are Bonnie Fisher and Boris Dramov of Roma Design Group. Scoop reached out to them and received this tidbit: “We are looking forward to creating a new sociable gathering place that will build on the identity and traditions of North Beach but takes advantage of the innovations and evolution of the food culture that have occurred since Rose Pistola was first established 20-some years ago. We are taking the opportunity now to renovate the space and developing our concepts further.” Stand by for more. 532 Columbus Ave. at Green.
There’s a project called BERBER coming to the short-lived Killer Shrimp (and previous TAPS) on Broadway in Russian Hill. Here’s a little teaser we found online: “Berber is an exotic North African fine dining establishment and opulent nightlife venue that offers world-class cuisine, blending the traditions of the Mediterranean with the best and brightest of California. Our guests are invited to an experience of elegant cuisine, impeccable service, and a unique ambiance of art presented in a modern context, while enjoying Berber culture and entertainment at its fullest joyful vibration of community.” The executive chef is Ali Dey Daly from Tunisia, and it sounds like there will be quite the lineup of entertainment. I’ll fill you in with more soon. 1516 Broadway at Polk.
Dallas chef John Tesar is potentially opening one of his KNIFE steakhouses in SF in the Metreon at the end of 2018, according to Eater. The deal isn’t 100 percent confirmed, but it may take over the food court. Stand by for more.
Coming to the Waterfront Plaza this May is NORCINA, an Italian café and delicatessen from Kaitlynn Bauman of Levi Plaza’s Parlor 1255. Breakfast includes frittata, pancetta and cheese cornetti, and bombolini (think: Italian doughnut filled with pastry cream), plus coffee service by local Sausalito roaster Cibo. Lunch will have tigelle (a kind of Italian flatbread) sliced and filled with options like prosciutto cotto, stracchino cheese, and artichoke hearts (sounds like something I’d make at home, so yesssss!), plus salads and housemade gelato. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-5pm. 50 Francisco St. at Montgomery.
The folks behind THE GROVE said they were looking for another location after closing their location on Chestnut a few years ago. It looks like they found a spot in Showplace Square, and it will be opening this summer. 65 Division St. at Rhode Island.
Openings Include Barons Meats, Guerra's to Go, Mestiza Taqueria (Soft Opening!), Taproot, Me & Tasty, Blue Barn, More
There is quite the random pileup of openings this week, starting with BARONS MEATS opening in the former Drewes Meats in Noe Valley. Look for humanely raised meats free of hormones and antibiotics in the case, plus the addition of seafood! And bring on the sausages. Note the original Alameda location will remain open. You can read this interview with owner David Samiljan in the Noe Valley blog. 1706 Church St. at 29th St. [H/t to Noe Valley Blog.]
More meaty news: GUERRA’S TO GO, an offshoot of Guerra Quality Meats, is now open, offering prepared meats that are hot and ready to go, like pulled pork, pot roast, and Northern Italian beef stew, along with lasagna, eggplant Parmesan, and potato and leek soup. Check out the menu and what’s available at different times. Dinner is ready! Open Mon-Fri 2pm-8pm. 345 Taraval St. at 14th Ave., 415-564-5201.
Yay: Deanna Sison Foster’s MESTIZA TAQUERIA is holding its super-soft opening and is now ramping up with lunch for the next two weeks. They will be open for their full hours the week of April 11th. Come by for consulting chef Sophina Uong’s taqueria-style menu, with flavors and ingredients from the Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Here’s the first look at the opening menu. Dishes on the preview menu include tacos, burritos, or bowls (your pick) with Filipino pork adobo with ginger salsa cruda and green papaya achara; Khmer lemongrass chicken with avocado crema, peanuts, escabeche; and Thai red curry beef with pineapple-arbol chile salsa, roast shrimp powder, coconut flakes, basil.
The weather is so nice this week, which means you can enjoy their patio (with that beautiful mural) and a cold beer cocktail or michelada, but the cute tropical interior is great too. More details are in my previous post. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm. 595 Bryant St. at 4th St., 415-655-9187.
Mission Bay residents and workers: you have a new casual eatery and café to add to your neighborhood list. Now open is TAPROOT from Bon Appétit Management Co., the same folks behind nearby STEM Kitchen & Garden. Come in and order a custom sandwich with your choice of charcuterie and artisan cheeses, salads, and heartier Mediterranean-inspired entrées like porchetta with seasonal vegetable sides or something lighter like poached salmon. You can dine on-site (there’s seating) or get it to go. Since it’s like a deli, Taproot should come in handy for stocking your fridge or supplying a party or picnic. There are some pantry items, like honey, plus a selection of wine as well (including wines on tap). There’s also coffee service and espresso (they plan to open in the morning soon). Hours for now are Mon-Fri 11am-7pm. 409 Illinois Ave. at 16th St.
There’s a quirky little spot in the Castro that opened called ME & TASTY, serving Thai rice plates, breakfast and brunch dishes, sandwiches, and more. Dishes range from omelettes to tea leaf salad to shrimp and grits to Thai red curry vegetables to fried chicken and waffles to shrimp tacos. When you have no idea what you’re craving, this place may be able to help you figure it out. Open Mon-Fri 10:30am-3pm and 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 8am-2pm and 5pm-10pm. 3970 17th St. at Hartford, 415-923-8498.
There is a second Noe Valley Bakery location that has opened in West Portal, NOE VALLEY BAKERY WEST PORTAL. Hoodline reports it’s now open, and unlike the original location, it has seating so you can take a load off while you enjoy your croissant or cookie. Open Mon-Frid 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 7am-6pm. 28 West Portal Ave. at Ulloa.
BLUE BARN GOURMET has moved to a bigger location on Chestnut. It’s now in the former Barney’s, which means there’s more room and a patio where you can enjoy your salad. Open Mon-Fri 11am-8:30pm, Sat-Sun 11am-8pm. 3344 Steiner St. at Chestnut, 415-896-4866.
If you’re craving some Hong Kong-style street food, there’s a place that has opened in South San Francisco that sounds really fun: THE NIGHT MARKET. The menu pays homage to the dai pai dongs (street food stalls) of Hong Kong, with curry fish balls, soy-marinated eggs, BBQ pork noodle soup, steamed buns, Hainanese chicken rice, and yes, Hong Kong milk tea. But here’s where it gets extra cool: the food is actually prepared at food carts/counters, and you sit at folding wood tables on red plastic chairs, beside a wall displaying images and sounds from night markets around the world (and movies). I will be checking this out ASAP (hello cheung fun with roast BBQ pork), follow me on Instagram for an update soon! It’s only open during the day for now, Mon-Sat 11am-2:30pm. 230B S. Spruce Ave. at Myrtle, 650-634-8388.
Consider this your meatball report. Mondays are now Meatball Mondays at BARBACCO, where they will be serving them up with complimentary spaghetti alla marinara. Look for the classic polpette (Sicilian meatballs with pine nuts, raisins, braised chard, spicy tomato sugo), and two other kinds, like beef or chicken (all $16). Available for lunch Mon 11:30am-3pm and dinner Mon 5pm-10pm.
After the sad closure of SHORTY GOLDSTEIN’S in the FiDi, ABC license activity reveals who is taking over the space: MEATBALL BAR. Eater reports the Italian owners (Gianni Chiloiro and Angelo Sannino of Doppio Zero) will be serving meatballs from all kinds of cuisines, not just Italian. And we’re not just talking sandwiches: there will be different sauces and broths, plus vegetable sides and rice and quinoa. They plan to open in May after a quick refresh of the space, serving a fast-casual lunch and early dinner. 126 Sutter St. at Montgomery.
If you feel like playing around this Saturday April 1st (April Fools’ Day)—and I’m not talking about telling people you’re pregnant or you won the lottery or other tomfoolery—you may want to consider swinging by one of the four CRAFTSMAN AND WOLVES locations and order a Rebel Within. If you end up with one of the four Rebels without an egg inside (a Rebel Without!), you win a free Rebel Within every month for one year. I know, if I bought one and didn’t have the egg inside, I’d be upset! But really, it’s a good thing. Swing by CAW Valencia, CAW Pacific, CAW Den, and the CAW Ferry Plaza Farmers Market stand.
(In related news, CAW may be opening a doughnut shop in Bayview and offer training to local residents; read more in Hoodline here.)
More breakfast fun: the folks at BLUESTEM BRASSERIE are serving brunch for dinner on April Fools’ Day. (I kind of love this, been waiting for someone to have a brunch for dinner restaurant for a long time.) Chef John Griffiths will be serving their new cinnamon roll with brown butter-cream cheese frosting; Dutch baby with Comté cheese, bacon, caramelized apples, and fried rosemary; steak and eggs with a grilled bavette, charred herb salsa verde, griddled potatoes, and scallions; and a crispy buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with Calabrian chile aioli, bread and butter pickles, red onions, and Little Gems. You can even get a Bacon Bloody Mary with bacon-infused vodka, celery salt rim, and housemade pickles. Reservations or 415-547-1111.
Bluestem Brasserie - 1 Yerba Buena Lane San Francisco - 415-547-1111
Word up, the LocoL crew is opening LOCOL BAKERY this Friday March 31st and will be feeding their neighborhood affordable and well-prepared items like their line of bunnzz (plain, buttery, or egg and cheese), pizza (whole or by the slice), chili, salads, and coffee for a buck, plus green juice and aguas frescas. Hours are daily 8am-8pm. They’re throwing the grand opening party from 3pm-7pm this Friday. 3446 Market St. at 35th St., Oakland.
Looks like there is a taker for the former Capone’s Speakeasy in Alameda: a tablehopper reader said there’s a sign for THE STAR ON PARK in the window, and their website says it’s coming soon! Get ready for their family-friendly menu of pizza (both thin and deep dish), sandwiches, salads, and hearty apps, plus craft beer and cocktails. 1400 Park St., Alameda.
Now opening Saturday April 8th (originally the plan was for the 1st, no fooling) is SLÁINTE, a new Irish pub opening in Jack London Square from owner and beverage director Jenny Schwarz of Hopscotch. Look for a traditional and home-style Irish menu from Irish-born chef and co-owner Jackie Gallanagh, with classic cocktails and imported Irish beers. Traditional Irish breakfast will be served all day, and there is also shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, sausage roll, and more. The menu will be available all day, with food service until 10pm and drinks until 12am. It has a cozy Irish pub style, complete with a fireplace and armchairs. 131 Broadway, Oakland.
More Oakland beer news: Linden Street Brewery is now Oakland United Beerworks, and owner John Karnay and brewmeister Shane Aldrich plan to open a taproom late summer near Jack London Square (on 2nd St.). Their inaugural lineup of core beers includes a black lager, pilsner, common lager, and IPA, which you’ll find at local restaurants and bars.
Nosh brings news about the opening of CORNERSTONE, a beer garden (with 42 taps!) and music venue in the former Thalassa—there are craft cocktails as well. 2367 Shattuck Ave. at Durant, Berkeley, 510-214-8600.
A couple of changes to report: Amy Murray (who is still at Revival Bar + Kitchen) and Dave Korman of VENUS BERKELEY have sold the restaurant after 16 years to the owners of Tigerlily. Nosh reports they are not making drastic changes to the menu, though the staff is now accepting tips. Brunch will continue daily 8am-2:30pm, and dinner is Thu-Mon 5pm-9pm. 2327 Shattuck Ave. at Durant, Berkeley.
And after 14 years of numerous cooking classes and more, PAULDING & COMPANY has sold their location and founder Terry Paulding is going to start enjoying her retirement. It sounds like the new owners, In the Kitchen Culinary (ITK), will continue with cooking classes and more. The new owner, Doug Eng, lost his kitchen in Sausalito when the landlord wouldn’t renew his lease, so he’s thrilled to be taking over the space. 1410 D 62nd St. at Hollis, Emeryville.
(Sponsored): Wine Trade and Media, You're Invited to a Global Comparative Tasting with Washington State Wine
Attention wine trade, restaurant industry, and media! Join us next Thursday April 6th when Washington State Wine comes to Oakland for a Trade and Media Seminar at Sunset Magazine’s Headquarters in Jack London Square from 11am-12:30pm, with lunch provided.
This is a global comparative tasting of riesling, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon led by Bob Betz, MW, the founder of Betz Family Winery. Panelists for the seminar and tasting include Sara Schneider of Sunset Magazine, Greg Harrington, MS, of Gramercy Cellars, and David Rosenthal of Chateau Ste. Michelle. This seminar is sure to fill quickly. Open to qualified trade and media only. Email (mention you saw it in tablehopper) or call 707-938-9703 with any questions. For those of you who enjoy blind tasting, you especially won’t want to miss this amazing event.
Regulars at TWO SISTERS BAR AND BOOKS will be sorry to learn the duo is moving on from their little San Francisco library/bar nest. They opened in 2011 and have become quite the hideout for the neighborhood. It ends up they have been looking for a place in the East Bay for the next phase of their dreams, so sisters Mikha Diaz and Alana O’Neal will be working on their next venture, LES ARCEAUX. It will be a café and wine bar right on Shattuck Avenue, just north of the Downtown Berkeley BART station. They hope to be open by fall of this year and will continue their Monday Night Mixology classes there.
Diaz will also be planning a cocktail bar in the East Bay with Kathryn Kulczyk and Branden Cardelli, which they hope to have ready in 2018. Another update for next year as well: their bartender “Michael Cecconi is in the necessary permitting processes with the federal government to bring his line of bottled cocktails into your homes in 2018.” Cheers.
For now, the license is being transferred, and when it looks like they are about 30 days out, they will send a letter notifying their community and will post a note on their website. So go visit the sisters and their tight crew for a final Back 40 while you can. 579 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-863-3655.
Here are a couple of watering holes where you’ll be able to pull up a stool. First up, Dennis Leary (behind bars House of Shields, Natoma Cabana, Rx, and Cafe Terminus) is opening TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD in the former DaDa space in SoMa (which moved to Post Street). Considering Leary’s literary background, the pun is no surprise.
Look for straightforward cocktails and a good selection of tequila and mezcal, according to Eater. You can peep the agave-forward menu here. There will be 14 drafts! There are some brightly upholstered bar stools and an upstairs private booth, with eclectic pendant lights and an illuminated star behind the bar that you won’t miss. It opens Thursday March 30th, and hours will be Mon-Sat 2pm-2am. 86 2nd St. at Jessie, 415-797-9262.
Within a couple of months or so, THE RESIDENCE will be closing up, and new owners Justin Lew and Ian Scalzo (of the stylin’ Horsefeather on Divis) will be opening their bar, NOBLE SAVAGE (the name may change!), although there aren’t any details on the concept at this time. Hoodline reports that Residence co-owner Peter Paul Garcia is literally sailing off into the sunset (don’t call it a retirement!) and opening a sailing charter business in the Caribbean with his wife Erica. 718 14th St. at Church.