Smoked burrata and oven-roasted tomatoes at the new Il Casaro Castro. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Howdy gang! How are y’all doing out there? I’m still descending from the rainbow I was flying all weekend—this year was one of my top five Pride weekends in SF, and I’ve had a bunch! Such great parties, gatherings, reunions, dancing, lewks, and vibes! Wow, people. You can check out some photos over on @tablehopper or on Facebook, I was definitely the party-hopper this past weekend. It provided a much-needed blast of why I love SF and all its incredible inhabitants who really make this city special—and those of you who aren’t here, you were in my pocket and in my heart! Love you!
You’d think today’s column was late because I’m moving a little slow after this wild weekend, but I actually had some crazy tech difficulties over here an hour before post time. Grrrrreat! Anyway, all systems are back to go, so let’s get on with it—I have a lot of news for you.
Since we last connected, I’ve had some pretty special meals, and I want to be sure you can say the same! If you don’t follow me on Instagram (or Facebook), you will have missed this post about the wonderful dinner I recently had at Sam’s Grill, one of my old-school, SF favorites. It ends up David Gingrass has been consulting for them, and the food has been delightfully dialed a few notches up! Go get some celery Victor and fried smelts and sand dabs in a booth with friends over martinis and thank me later. We are so lucky to have Sam’s, now more than ever. What a place.
I was also pretty blown away with a tasting menu I experienced at Oji, a pop-up that offers an elegant exploration of Japanese washoku (home cooking) cuisine from some crew from Californios (David Yoshimura and Casey Kusaka). Their next pop-up is July 21st, and lucky you, they’re mostly repeating the phenomenal menu I had. Get your ticket ASAP! And spring for the wine pairings.
Are you around this weekend and looking for somewhere fun to go for Sunday brunch? Hit up Prairie for a delicious brunch that is not like the others. Get dishes like whipped uni and Japanese milk bread, and the Carolina Gold rice waffle with a Calabrian XO fried egg, and be sure to try their Bloody Mary (with charred onion-infused vodka and a cheese-stuffed Castelvetrano). I’m also going to start putting spicy sauerkraut in scrambled egg and cheese sandwiches—thanks for the inspo, chef Anthony Strong.
I have a couple other meals I’m about to post pics from (a weekend prime rib feast at One Market, and a soulful Singaporean dinner at Local), so stand by!
One last thing: I know some of you had issues with the discount code for Silvercar by Audi. Sorry about that! They fixed it, so if you want to try again, use my code Silvercarhopper for 30 percent off (you won’t find that discount anywhere!) until July 31st. Don’t get any tickets, those cars are fast.
Here’s wishing you a Happy Fourth (yay, colored fog, again!) with lots of good barbecue and pie and hopefully a long weekend too.
Ciao! Marcia Gagliardi
I know many folks in the Castro have been patiently waiting for a second location of IL CASARO to open, and that day finally arrived. It’s from owners Francesco Covucci and Peter Fazio, who are also behind the original Il Casaro in North Beach, as well as Barbara and Pasta-Pop Up.
This location has a bigger Stefano Ferrara wood-fired oven than Il Casaro’s original North Beach location, so you’ll find even more dishes with touches from the oven, like oven-roasted cherry tomatoes on a smoked burrata plate ($12), and romanesco with peperoncino, garlic, and capers ($9). Or how about some oven-roasted peaches and burrata ($12)? Yes, please.
The pizza section has about 10 options ($18 and under), including a Calabrese pizza with ‘nduja, and my personal favorite, their mortadella and pistachio pizza. They make a Neapolitan-style pizza, and will be using the same dough and sauce as their North Beach spot.
New to this location are five housemade pasta dishes, like bucatini ($17) with shaved summer squash, wood-oven tomatoes, Gulf shrimp, and fennel pollen, and lasagna ($15).
You’ll also have plenty of snacks to enjoy with a cocktail at their bar since this location has a liquor license (and drinks are only $10, hold the phone!). Some of the cocktails feature Italian ingredients, like balsamic vinegar, walnut bitters, and olive oil. You can also choose from five spritzes, all $10. The Italian wine list is also incredibly affordable, with many selections around $10 by the glass. Guess who’s going to be very popular in the Castro?
There’s seating in the front, which catches the early evening light, and a spacious bar that overlooks the open kitchen, and some high-top tables that flank it. There’s a patio in the back that awaits approval, let’s hope the neighbors realize what a gem this place is for the neighborhood. Il Casaro doesn’t offer reservations, but you can join the waitlist on their website. You will also be able to order delivery from Caviar soon.
Open Sun-Thu 11:30am-11pm and Fri-Sat 11am-12am. Brunch is coming as well. 235 Church St. at Market.
Some details have emerged about Aaron London’s (AL’s Place) latest project that is opening mid-July, AL’S DELI. As previously mentioned, it’s opening in the former Izakaya Yuzuki space on Guererro. With this fast-casual concept, he’s going to pull influences from Israeli street food and East Coast Jewish delis, with his own creative, technique-driven spin.
The menu has five sections, including sandwiches that will highlight rotisserie meats, like a spiced chicken shawarma sandwich, along with options like blistered cauliflower and eggplant, and a smoky brisket that pays homage to Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal (a favorite of London, and his team has been perfecting their technique for some time); “Crispy Crunchy Things” will feature items like a potato “Hot Pocket” filled with smoked salmon, avocado, grapefruit and preserved lemon or cream cheese, red onion, and capers (think of it like a stuffed latke designed to be on on the go); sides will include ”The Real Deal Creamy Hummus,” served with cracked cucumber and lemon vinegar, or slices of housemade malawach (a puff pastry-like pancake); desserts will feature a frozen labneh with toppings. There will also be fresh-baked pita (daily).
Wine director Justin Roberts will curate a small but eclectic list of worldly and esoteric wines, plus beers, and there will be low-ABV cocktails and non-alcoholic options from beverage director Kyle Greffin. The space will be stylin’, with bright color accents, Moroccan tiles, and floral displays. Hours will be daily 11am-9:30pm, with delivery and pick-up with Caviar. Stand by for more from me just before they open on July 17th. 598 Guerrero St. at 18th St.
Some quick updates on future projects: Eater reported that the upcoming project from Liholiho Yacht Club’s Ravi Kapur and Jeff Hanak and chef David Golovin (Nopa, Spruce, Rubicon, La Folie) will be called DEAR INGA, an homage to Golovin’s grandmother. As I previously mentioned, there will be Eastern European influences (think preservation/fermentation and slow smoking); Kapur and Hanak have been traveling in Georgia for menu research (there will be Georgian wines as well), so yay to all of that. They’re aiming for a September opening in the former Farina space—Seth Boor (Boor Projects) is behind the redesign. 3560 18th St. at Guerrero.
It looks like FOXSISTER on 24th Street, the Korean-inspired drinking den from chef-owner Brandon Kirksey, is going to be morphing into GREAT GOLD, a “modern, American-Italian, wine-focused, neighborhood restaurant.” According to their Poached ad, “Great Gold will offer all of the red sauce-style Italian American comfort classics. All pasta is made fresh daily, all produce is sourced from local farmers, and meats are sourced consciously and sustainably. This is a farm-to-table restaurant showcasing our love for old-school, Italian-American food with a modern twist, as well as beautiful Italian wines.” I reached out to Kirksey for more, but he’s not ready to talk details yet. He previously worked at Flour + Water, so we can assume he has some pasta skills. The ad mentions an August opening—not sure when they are closing Foxsister for renovations, but they already have red booths, so there’s that. Stand by for more details soon. 3161 24th St. at Shotwell.
Taking over the former Coffee Bar space in the Mission will be ERNEST, a project from Brandon Rice, most recently chef de cuisine of Rich Table. He’s aiming to open in the two-level space in January 2020—downstairs will be a nine-seat bar, while the main dining room will be upstairs, with a raw bar, open kitchen, and a wood-fired hearth.
Look for his love of Asian ingredients and his Southern upbringing to be present on the menu, as well as the option for communal meals. His trademark beef tartare will be served with sushi rice, ikura, and toasted nori, meant to be eaten like a DIY hand roll. His Southern roots will show up in the aged Liberty Farm duck with KC BBQ sauce, cornbread, and B&B pickles. He will also offer seasonal fried rice, and bread from the hearth (almost like paratha) with house-cultured butter and dips. Charles Hemminger (State Bird, Cala, Tartine Manufactory) is redesigning the industrial space, which will also gain a private dining room. 1890 Bryant St. at Mariposa.
I was happy to see BEIT RIMA’s post about opening a second location in another one of their family’s Burgermeister locations, this time in Cole Valley. Eater added some details: Samir Mogannam’s father, Paul Mogannam, will be closing the 20-year-old burger spot at the end of July, and they hope to open in September (and retain as much staff as possible). Cole Valley, you have some awesome Arabic comfort food coming your way. 86 Carl St. at Cole.
There’s a good-looking new restaurant that just opened in the Inner Sunset (in the former The Korean Kitchen space) called UM.MA, serving Korean food from chef Chris Oh (a busy guy in L.A., who’s the founder of Seoul Sausage Co., co-founder of Hanjip, managing partner of Escala, co-owner of Nomad Kitchen, and Chingu in Hawaii). The name means “mom” in Korean, and the menu includes classics like kimchi fried rice, soups like soon dubu and kimchi jjigae, and charcoal barbecue dishes like kalbi and bulgogi. The banchan looks downright delicious, and a Yelper mentioned (soon) you’ll be able to reserve a picnic table in the back patio and grill your own meat.
Open Mon-Fri 11am-2:30pm and 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm (during the weekend, when they’re open all day, they offer Korean café service, with flavored lattes and Lamill Coffee). 1220 9th Ave. at Lincoln.
If you want to get your munch on, there’s a new café in the Tenderloin called SLINGSHOT, serving breakfast burritos and bowls, like their “Dirty Beast” (bacon, eggs, sautéed vegetables, home fries, topped with aioli) until noon, and then burgers, pastrami or chicken sandwiches, and salads for lunch. Oh yeah, and “Dirty Dog Fries” (with cheese, grilled onions, and bacon). They also offer Andytown Coffee service. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat-Sun 9am-2pm. 422 Larkin St. Golden Gate.
Looking for a new Saturday lunch spot? The chic VERJUS is now open for Saturday lunch (12pm until late), and you won’t have to battle the Financial District crowd so much for a table. 528 Washington St. at Hotaling.
BARVALE has a brand-new happy hour at the bar, which involves nine kinds of $1 pintxos (bites served on toothpicks, from Spanish tortilla to their tasty croquetas to albondigas) and offering $6 drinks (including their Gin Tonic #1). Mon-Fri 5pm-6:30pm. 661 Divisadero St. at Grove.
TANK18 in SoMa is hosting a new Friday happy hour, with house-brewed beer ($3), select Tank18 label wine ($5), cocktail specials, and $1 oysters (!), $5 fries and dipping sauce, and other bites. Fridays 5pm-7pm. 1345 Howard St. at 10th St.
And how about a weekend happy hour? WATERBAR has expanded their happy hour to Saturday and Sunday, from 2:30pm-5:30pm. You’ll find $4 beer, $7 wine, $8-$9 cocktails, and dishes like Alaskan halibut crudo, oven-baked Golden Fog oysters, and more. And let’s not forget the daily featured oyster, for just $1.05 every day from 11:30am-5:30pm. Enjoy happy hour at the oyster bar or waterfront patio.
510 News: 4505 Burgers & BBQ Now Open in Oakland, Mama Oakland Is Close, Tartine Coming to Berkeley, More
Now open is the Oakland location of 4505 BURGERS & BBQ, taking over the vintage Glenn’s Hot Dogs in the Laurel District (the owners retired). You can’t miss the sign! Founder Ryan Farr is adding whole hog barbecue to the menu, as well as soft-serve ice cream (featuring Double 8 Dairy from Petaluma). There’s also a spacious and kid-friendly patio! Open daily 10:30am-10pm. 3506 MacArthur Blvd. at 35th Ave., Oakland.
I’ve been tracking the opening of MAMA OAKLAND from Bay Grape’s Josiah Baldivino and Stevie Stacionis in Lake Merritt, and they’re gunning to open on Monday July 8th. To recap, they’re going to serve three-course, prix-fixe ($29.95) suppers that should make you feel like you’re having dinner at nonna’s (even the space will be outfitted with some Stacionis family furnishings).
Seasonal and market-fresh produce will be highlighted in a soup or salad option, plus there will be two pasta choices (gluten-free is possible—and one vegetarian option, with vegan possible), and one signature “Mama’s sugo” red sauce option, plus a seasonal dessert or gelato and biscotti. Mama’s sugo was the inspiration for the restaurant, based off Stacionis’ Abruzzese great-grandmother’s cooked-all-day red sauce with braised pork and beef. You can also order a supplement of Mama’s meatballs (sounds like a good idea), or bread and butter with anchovies.
Of course, the global wine list will rock—it was designed to be approachable, affordable, and there will be a small reserve list for those who want some baller bottles. Open daily 5pm-10pm. Walk-ins only. 388 Grand Ave. at Ellita, Oakland.
Co-owners Jennifer Cremer and Richard Clark will be opening Oakland’s BOOT AND SHOE SERVICE for afternoon service and become an all-day eatery, starting this Saturday July 6th. The restaurant’s existing café menu will be expanded to include small bites (like polenta porridge toast with butter and strawberry jam, or salmon rillettes with cucumber, caraway, and fermented leek on seeded levain); larger dishes (such as an egg and avocado sandwich with maitake mushrooms and Fiscalini cheddar; crispy rice salad with sorrel, mint, and soft-cooked egg); sweet or savory porridges; plus coffee, tea, and new housemade pastries. Enjoy a glass of wine, batched cocktails, and nonalcoholic beverages to go with your lunch, and there’s Wi-Fi too.
Come by over the weekend and you’ll find new, grandma-style square pizza slices (Sat-Sun 8am-2pm), and you can purchase whole, housemade loaves of bread Thursday-Sunday. New hours are as follows: counter service breakfast and lunch Tue-Sun 8am-2pm; dinner Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm, Sun 5:30pm-9:30pm; weekend brunch Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. Closed Mondays. Counter service operations will run during the weekends concurrently with sit-down brunch service, take your pick.
Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson of TARTINE are going to be opening a café and bakery in the historic Graduate Berkeley hotel this summer, featuring their pastries (there will be morning buns!) and breads, as well as an extensive offering of breakfast and lunch items, including sandwiches and salads. You can also pick up éclairs, tarts, cookies, muffins, and tea cakes, and there will be coffee service from Coffee Manufactory. Studio BBA is behind the design. Hours will be 7am-4pm daily. 2600 Durant Ave. at Bowditch, Berkeley.
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Congrats to Eric Ochoa, Alvaro Rojas, and Jay De Natale on getting their beautiful ELDA open in the former Bar San Pancho in the Mission. It’s a tropical oasis (designed by ROY), with pan-Latin and Caribbean cocktails and food (from sikil pak with vegetables to carnitas tacos), plus natural wines and local beers. I was hoping to swing by before this week’s issue to check it out and give you some firsthand details, but someone was buried with too many deadlines last week (halp!). Take a peek at the Eater post for some pretty pics. Open daily 4pm-2am. 3198 16th St. at Guerrero.
PICCINO’s full liquor license is in full swing, with a list of cocktails, a selection of amari, and a short list of whiskey, Cognac, and other spirits. You can enjoy their Bloody Mary at brunch, with San Marzano tomatoes, Espelette pepper, and a skewer of garden pickles from Piccino Fields. They’re going to be building out a full bar in the building next door as part of a new casual eatery exclusively focused on pizza and drinks, slated to open before the end of this year! I’ll have more on that soon.
July is here, which means it’s a great time to book a table for lunch or dinner at ONE MARKET to celebrate Women in Wine! All month long (July 1st-31st), One Market will feature over 100 wines by female winemakers, growers, and owners for 50 percent off, curated by sommelier and wine director Tonya Pitts. I recommend coming in on a Friday or Saturday for their excellent prime rib, prix-fixe dinner, with a Pt. Reyes blue cheese wedge salad, and their Market Street ($47.95) or bone-in cut ($55.95) of rotisserie, wood-fired prime rib (served with creamed spinach, horseradish cream, and a popover). Add one of their Singular Sensation desserts for just $4.95 more (Bradley’s butterscotch pudding, duh).
They are also collaborating with La Cocina vendor Aedan Fermented Foods on a four-course menu available à la carte for lunch and dinner, with 10 percent of prix-fixe proceeds donated to La Cocina.
Bourbon fans, you can kick off the holiday weekend at this bourbon and beer tasting happening on the rooftop of the Hotel VIA on Wednesday July 3rd. There will be barbecue available as well, and bluegrass. Tickets and more details here. 5:30pm-8pm. 138 King St. at 2nd St.
Last Thursday June 27th, actress and comedian Melissa McCarthy had lunch with two guests at the recently opened The Vault in the Financial District. They made it a boozy lunch (atta girl) with specialty cocktails, and McCarthy dined on the Vault burger. Maybe she needed a place to hide away while the internet discusses whether it’s right for her to play Ursula in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. (Personally, I think it should be Andre Leon Talley. Or Lizzo!)