The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
July 29, 2014

The bar at Plin. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The dining room and entry, as seen from the bar area. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The communal table at Plin, with a floating fish light fixture. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. As noted on tablehopper back in June, chef-restaurateur Alexander Alioto is opening an Italian restaurant called ~PLIN~ on Valencia Street in the former home of Conduit and Another Monkey. It’s opening on Friday August 1st, and we got a first look into the interior.

Alioto has his whole family involved in the project (after all, he is a fourth generation restaurateur), and his mother, Joanne, helped with the interior design (Architects II designed the restaurant). It’s a large space, with seating for 100 in the 3,700-square-foot space. There is also a glass-walled private dining room in back, with seating for twelve. The bar area has about ten seats at the bar, with additional tall tables nearby. In the dining room, a long communal table stretches from the entrance back to the kitchen, while banquettes divide the room into two dining areas, with leather upholstery and walnut tabletops.

The light fixtures are a nod the restaurant’s focus on seafood, with organic shapes that reflect the ocean and its inhabitants. Over the communal table, three lit wire pieces from Jan Pauwels are designed to evoke floating fish, while blown glass pendants over the bar resemble bubbles. The whole front wall is lined with wood-sashed square windows that allow light to stream in, while also providing some distance from the busy street. The back wall, which has a large picture window into the kitchen, has been done in small, iridescent tile that resembles the scales of a particularly fabulous fish (or mermaid, really).

The seafood- and pasta-focused menu includes Alioto’s much-discussed raviolo uovo, as well as the namesake agnolotti dal plin stuffed with chicken, lemon zest, brown butter, and chicken skin. There is also a raw tuna dish with figs, mascarpone cream, and balsamic vinegar, as well as a fried lobster dish with onion and mushroom consommé. (The menu should be posted on the site soon.)

At the bar, Daniel Federico (of Harvard & Stone in Los Angeles) has created a selection of Italian-inspired and seasonal drinks, like the Americano Sour with rye whiskey, Carpano Antica, Cappelletti Aperitivo, lemon, and egg white. Nunzio Alioto Jr., Alexander’s father, and Chuck Furuya are responsible for the wine list, which will include a selection of wines by the glass and half glass, as well as a reserve list.

The restaurant’s hours are Tue-Sun 5pm-11pm. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-655-9510.


A look into the back half of the upstairs area (pre-construction). Photo: ©


The raw space where the downstairs bar will be located (and more). Photo: ©

Things are once again moving forward for chef Ravi Kapur’s upcoming restaurant project in the TenderNob with partners Jeff Hanak and Allyson Jossel of Nopa/Nopalito—permits have been secured, construction has started (yay), and now it’s time to share a few updates. First off, the team has decided to name the project ~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~ after all. (Liholiho has been the name of Kapur’s pop-up around town after he left Prospect a couple years back.) It’s a fun and personal name, connecting him to the name of his uncle’s pop-up in Maui 30 years ago. Kapur says the name helps reference the Hawaiian elements in his cooking style—it’s a nod to his heritage and the lens he now uses to view food and handle ingredients. I’m happy that the cuisine style will be following the path of what we were tasting at Kapur’s Liholiho pop-ups—I thought the food was so exciting, flavorful, and uniquely his, and of course his ingredient sourcing is tops.

Another big piece of news I’ve been holding under my hat is that Kevin Diedrich has been brought on as bar director. Not only is Diedrich a wicked talented barman, but he also shares some ties to Hawaii—his wife is from there—so they all share a strong sentiment of ohana (“family”). Diedrich has wrapped up his involvement at Gaspar Brasserie, and is working some shifts around town in the meantime (you can find him at The European and ABV).

For now, the new target for the opening is late fall/early winter. I had a chance to tour the raw space in the beginning of the year, and it’s a spacious one, with two levels (the bar will be downstairs). The architect is Brett Terpeluk (Farina), and I can’t wait for more details to be released about how the style of the space—it’s assuredly going to be a looker (love the brick walls and skylights). 871 Sutter St. at Leavenworth.

In the meantime, Kapur is going to be cooking a new pop-up series on Thursday evenings in August at ~BLOODHOUND~. This pop-up is called Paniolo Social, and will feature fun, casual, Hawaiian-inspired drinking food: think spicy noodles, yakitori, poke bowls, seasonal sashimi, and aloha dogs. To be clear, these aren’t test dishes for the upcoming restaurant, just Kapur and Bloodhound having some fun. Come by on Thursdays in August, starting at 4pm until they’re sold out (the first one is Thursday August 7th). 1145 Folsom St. at 7th.

You can keep up with updates and more from Liholiho Yacht Club on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Noodle making at Namu Gaji. Photo from Facebook.

It looks like the ~NAMU GAJI~ team is getting ready to open another outpost, this time in Dogpatch. Scoop reports that the new location (which doesn’t have an official name yet) is all about noodles. After their successful Monday noodle nights, and chef/partner Dennis Lee’s experience cooking in the neighborhood at Smokestack, they decided to bring their flavor to a new corner of the city. They won’t be focused on one type of noodle, though many will make appearances, including ramen and naengmyeon, a cold Korean noodle soup.

They’ll have a full liquor license, which means a large selection of not just sake and sochu but also Japanese whiskies and other spirits. The space will seat about 70, though a large portion of the 3,000-square-foot space will become a commissary kitchen for their street food operation and retail products. Right now, they’re hoping to open by the end of the year. 2405 3rd St. at 22nd St.

After vacating his original location in the Usual Suspects Cafe on Broadway, ~KIRIMACHI~ chef-owner Leonardi Gondoputro has found a new place at the Embarcadero Center. He said there is currently a tenant in the space, but he plans to open before the holiday season (ideally November). Not only will he be serving ramen, but there will be both Japanese and local craft beers on the menu. And if all goes well, Leo mentioned he’ll be making his own noodles too. Stand by for more in coming months.


The interior of the new Ferry Plaza Seafood in North Beach. Photo by Kristian Melom.


The bar at Ferry Plaza Seafood. Photo by Kristian Melom.


The dining room at Mason. Photo courtesy Mason.

We told you last week that ~FERRY PLAZA SEAFOOD~ was opening in its new North Beach location on Monday July 28th, and now we’ve got some additional details on the new spot. We swung by for a pre-opening party last week, and it’s practically kitty corner to Washington Square Park. The new space seats 49, with room for 11 at the bar and there are some outside tables; it has a minimal look, with elements of the previous location incorporated throughout: the tables are made with marble salvaged from the bar, and the taxidermy marlin and salmon still grace the walls, although now there’s a new salmon mural (by local artist Letty Samonte) too.

Many classics remain on executive chef Joey Ng’s menu, along with some new choices since there is now a kitchen at this location. There is now a larger oyster selection, with six current varieties and an additional six to nine more coming soon (depending on availability). There will also be a rotating meat dish on the menu, and a house-ground burger will make an appearance. There’s a new wine list, with white, rosé, bubbly, and red options, plus six beers on tap, and four by the bottle. There are plans in the works to offer lunch and happy hour in September, too. Right now, hours are Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. Closed Sunday. 653 Union St. at Columbus, 415-274-2561.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, chef Ryan Scott has a new project in Potrero Hill, called ~MASON~. It’s now open, serving Scott’s take on modern pub food. There’s a pizza oven, so look for pies on the menu, like a Margherita with smoked mozzarella ($12), along with small plates like radishes with cracklings, butter, and sea salt ($6) and deviled eggs with bacon, chives, and paprika ($6). Larger plates include choices like gnocchi with sweet corn, pancetta, and uni ($11), and smoked short rib with potato purée, cress, pickled cherry tomatoes, and horseradish ($14). There is also a soft-serve ice cream machine (porter floats, anyone?), local beer on tap, and a wallet-friendly wine list of bottles that top out at $30 (wines by the glass are also available). Hours are Mon-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri 11am-11pm, and 10:30am-3pm and 4pm-11pm Sat-Sun. 338 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-255-9335.


The sidewalk seating at Cafe Flore. Photo from Yelp.

There’s some good news to report at ~CAFE FLORE~ in the Castro, a landmark location that has been hosting guests on its garden patio since 1973. I was happy to hear that owner JD Petras has brought on Stu Gerry and Brett Klinker as managing partners, along with silent partner Pat McKune. Anyone who has ever met Stu during his 16 years at Bix will understand why his involvement is great news—there’s a reason he was one of my favorite servers in the city: he really takes care of his guests. While I was sad to lose Stu from the floor at Bix to the world of real estate not too long ago, I’m glad his touch will be felt at Cafe Flore. (Klinker and McKune hail from the Hi Dive, so now we have some experienced industry folks involved.)

The plan is to restore and rejuvenate the space gradually through small changes, like they are now offering beer on tap instead of just in bottles, and you’ll discover there’s new table service instead of having to wait in line to order a refill of your mimosa at the counter. The liquor and cocktail program is getting an update, the menu (by Shellie Kitchen) is getting tweaked (the Caesar salad is back), and look for things to get cleaned up, adjusted, and refreshed in coming weeks.

Stu and the gang know and respect how iconic the venue is, and are “looking to the past to inform their future changes.” Example: the cafe’s original architect, Alfred Finnila, was the chief iron worker for the Golden Gate Bridge, and designed the Bridge Roundhouse (now the visitor and gift center)—well, guess what Flore’s redesigned DJ booth is going to look like? Yup. What will be projected on the walls? How about Whatever Happened to Susan Jane? a cult film that was filmed at Cafe Flore?! Look for changes like this and more in coming months, which means the location’s 24-hour entertainment license and the fact it’s the only place in the city where you can drink alcohol on the sidewalk are going to be fully realized and appreciated (and many of Flore’s weekly events, like Sunday trivia night, will continue). I look forward to having a reason to come back to Flore’s pretty (and heated) patio and seeing some much-needed TLC in effect. 2298 Market St. at Noe, 415-621-8579.


The exterior of Ritual Coffee. Photo: ©

A few weeks ago I wandered over to ~RITUAL COFFEE ROASTERS~ for an afternoon iced coffee, and noticed there was quite a bit of construction going on. Owner Eileen Hassi Rinaldi has a big update for us, so let’s get to it. First things first: the shop is closed for the next three weeks or so, but they are hosting a pop-up out of Lost Weekend Video, right next door. You can grab your coffee from 7am-2pm. Nice solution!

It has been nearly ten years since Ritual opened, and Eileen says the poor café was falling apart from all the use (the floors were worn through!). She says the remodeled space will be opened up, and you’ll be able to see clear to the back when you walk in (they are working with Daniel Piechota of Sagan-Piechota on the space). There will be a garden in the back (for viewing only), designed by Daniel Nolan of Flora Grubb Gardens, and Laura Stevenson, a Mission-based artist and fabricator, is doing a really cool neon light fixture/installation. When they reopen, Paul Madonna’s work will be on the walls (it’s the ten-year anniversary of “All Over Coffee”).

The new brew bar is designed to be interactive, and they’ll do their usual V60 drip plus AeroPress (sometimes), as well as brew demos and daily tastings. A second espresso machine is being added, a custom Synesso (pretty rare in the Bay Area), so your espresso drink service will be a little quicker. The pastry lineup will include treats from Mr. Holmes, Sandbox Bakery, and gluten-free items from FlourChylde, and teas are from Song Tea.

One more cool thing: a parklet designed by Seth Boor of Boor Bridges will also be coming, but timing is currently TBD on that component. Congrats on the remodel, Ritual! We’ll see you in August. 1026 Valencia St. at 21st St., 415-641-1011.


The lobster roll at Farallon. Photo: ©


Aperitivo hour at 54 Mint. Photo: ©

Last week, I was invited to check out the new lunch service at ~FARALLON~ which officially started today (it’s served in the Jellyfish Lounge and Oyster Bar). Whether you’re looking for a spot for a leisurely “ladies who lunch” kind of vibe, a lunch date, a birthday lunch, or even for a nicer business lunch, this should do nicely.

The lunch menu includes small bites ($6), like Dungeness crab toast with a piquillo aioli, and of course there are a variety of oysters from the oyster bar ($2 each), including Coromandels from New Zealand and Fanny Bays from British Colombia. Caviar service, check. My lunch date and I enjoyed the little gems Caesar salad and the smoked sturgeon with brioche toast (both $10), but the winner was the lobster roll ($18) on a soft housemade brioche roll. The tuna panino ($18) was also very good—it’s a bit like a tuna melt with a layer of Parmigiano-Reggiano inside. The stone fruit galette with amaretto crème fraiche by pastry chef Terri Wu makes for a good finish. And whatever you do, be sure to have some Champagne. Lunch is served Tue-Sat 11:30am-3pm. You can stick around and seamlessly slide into happy hour, which begins at 3pm, with $6 specials on small bites, cocktails, beer and wine. 450 Post St. at Powell, 415-95-6969.

Last week, anyone who attended the tablehopper and Campari America event, Una Serata a Roma, would agree that ~54 MINT~ is the perfect location for aperitivo on their beautiful patio. Well, guess what: starting this week, you can enjoy their new daily aperitivo from 4pm-6pm, with complimentary snacks, and 2-for-1 on all wine by the glass and select beers. You’ll also find some special cocktails for $8 (including Aperol Spritz and the Negroni Sbagliato!). Take a look at the aperitivo menu full of goodies here.

One last thing to note: ~BAR AGRICOLE~ is now serving Saturday and Sunday brunch, starting August 2nd, from 11am-2pm. Other deals you’ll want to take note of include their $6 sandwiches for lunch Tue-Fri, and there’s also an oyster happy hour with $2 oysters Tue-Sat 5pm-6pm and all day on Sunday, along with cocktail, beer, and wine specials that go well with oysters ($6 cocktails, $3 Stiegl lager, and $6 muscadet).


Your new gameday snack: slices of Tony’s pepperoni pizza. Yelp photo by Reya L.

At a Giants game with a hankering for good pizza? You’re in luck: Tony Gemignani of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana has opened ~SLICE HOUSE BY TONY GEMIGNANI~ in AT&T Park. To start, they’ll be offering cheese and pepperoni slices, with Chicago Italian beef sandwiches and stromboli coming up to bat soon. View Level, Section 314, AT&T Park.

Liquor license activity tells us that ~ELEPHANT SUSHI~ is opening a third location. This one is on Geary in the Tenderloin. 705 Geary St. at Leavenworth.

Getting ready for Outside Lands and all the awesome food and beverages available at the festival? Yeah, us too. If you’d like to skip the cash, and even save a little dough, check out the Paypal app, which allows you to buy all the food and drink you need from your phone, so you can leave your wallet at home. Plus, many vendors are offering $3 off your purchase if you use the app, including Il Cane Rosso, Chino, and Wise Sons. Sweet!

~LONG BRIDGE PIZZA~ in Dogpatch has secured a beer and wine license, making their pies even tastier. There are two beers on tap, along with some in bottles, and wine by the glass. 2347 3rd St. at 20th St., 415-829-8999.


Brik, salad, soup, a date shake, and cookie from Nudnik Foods. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Some of the dishes at Salvi. Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux via Salvi.

Here’s a cool new pop-up to check out! Starting this Wednesday July 30th, Nudnik Foods is popping up every Wednesday evening at Linea Caffe in the Mission. Chef Dena Ehrlich is preparing fresh, modern Israeli-style food, including a weekly brik (fried meat hand pie), vegan soups, and grain salads. A recent preview menu included ground beef brik with boiled egg, a grilled eggplant and zucchini salad with pinenuts, and carrot saffron soup. There are also date shakes, Linea’s iced coffee, and delicious cookies. The pop-up starts at 5pm and goes until they run out. 3417 18th St. at San Carlos.

After his first pop-up a couple of weeks ago, chef Kevin Castellanos is doing more of his Salvi dinners at Bocadillos on Sunday August 3rd and 17th from 4:30pm-8:30pm. He’ll be serving his modern take on the Salvadorean dishes he grew up eating, including costillas de puerco, or pork ribs with white bean stew, and pupusas made with summer squash and cheese. Check out the menu here, and follow along on Twitter for more updates. 710 Montgomery St. at Washington, 415-982-2622.


The falafel salad from Liba Falafel’s truck. Yelp photo by Tikisha O.


The interior at Curbside Creamery. Photo from Facebook.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, food truck ~LIBA FALAFEL~ now has a brick-and-mortar location in Uptown Oakland too. After closely following the opening with owner Gail Lillian the past few months, we’re happy to report that it is now open! The space clocks in at 1,400 square feet, with a menu much like their truck. The freshly housemade falafel are available either as a sandwich or salad, with an open bar of seasonal toppings that allow maximum customization. Some sample offerings from the current menu include Moroccan carrot, braised eggplant in tomato sauce, and grilled curried peaches—they change weekly. For now, hours are Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, and will eventually expand to Mon-Sat 11am-3pm and 5pm-9pm. 380 17th St. at Webster, 415-806-5422.

Temescal Alley is getting a brand new ice cream spot, one we’ve been tracking since running a mention last year. ~CURBSIDE CREAMERY~, from owner Victoria Wentworth, has been operating as a mobile ice cream tricycle while the new space in Temescal Alley was under construction. It’s now ready, and the grand opening will be on Friday August 1st. Wentworth specializes in ice cream sandwiches, and also offers lots of vegan ice creams made with nut bases, in addition to seasonal fruit sorbet. She’ll also be offering gluten-free cones, so the tiny space will be able to accommodate lots of dietary restrictions. Don’t worry, though, there will be plenty of classic ice cream. Flavors include bourbon whiskey vanilla, mint stracciatella, and Thai iced tea. A soft serve machine is coming soon, too. Hours will be Tue-Sun 12pm-6pm to start, though they may change in the coming weeks. 482 49th St. at Telegraph, 510-250-9804.

Eater reports that ~BELLY~ is now open in Uptown Oakland. It comes from pair Alice Woo and Alan Chun, who moved here from Southern California. It’s all about the fusion tacos and burritos that are so popular down south, with Asian flavors in the meats and fixin’s. There’s the spicy, honey-roasted pork belly with pickled cucumbers and sesame slaw, or the surf, a panko-fried fish with sesame slaw, avocado, and sour cream. They’ve also got burgers, fries, and salads; take a look at the full menu here. Hours are Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, with later hours coming soon, along with a beer and wine license. 1901 San Pablo Ave. at 19th St., Oakland, 510-839-0000.

Periscope Cellars in the Swan Building in downtown Oakland is getting ready to expand into a full bar, with wine, cocktails, and bar snacks. According to a post on their website, once the expansion is complete the name will be changed to ~DEEP ROOTS RESTAURANT AND WINE BAR~. They will continue to serve Periscope wines, as well as some additional pours from local wineries. While the build-out and remodel continues, the wine bar will be closed; we’ll let you know when the new project reopens! 907 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland.

July 22, 2014

Cured hamachi with lemongrass, avocado, pumpernickel. Photo courtesy of Sabrina Huang Photography.

File this one under intimate and intriguing: this fall, Charles-C Onyeama is going to be opening a 15-table restaurant in the Noe Valley/Bernal Heights area, ~CHARIN~, that will only operate approximately one weekend per month. Diners will make reservations online, and a seven- to eight-course tasting menu of haute cuisine will be served. (Each weekend will be designed as a unique experience; the menu will be posted ahead of time on the website.) Wine pairings will also be available.

Onyeama, a self-taught chef, worked as a private chef for three years and then staged at top places like SPQR, Benu, and Manresa (for up to six months at each). He’s a California native, but has spent more than 10 years living in Japan, exploring the culture and cuisine. His team also has experience in top local restaurants, like Saison, Coi, Baume (Palo Alto), and Atelier Crenn.

The space will feature “custom conceptual design pieces” designed by Franc Zamudio (Mod Timber). You can sign up on the waiting list for a spot, which will be confirmed once the opening date is set (reportedly around the end of August or early September). Since there are just 15 tables, reservations will primarily be for parties of two; four-person tables will be available on a limited basis. Stand by for more in the coming weeks.


Oysters, crab and shrimp cocktail, and mussels at Ferry Plaza Seafood’s previous location. Yelp photo by Tracy T.

As previously reported on tablehopper, after ~FERRY PLAZA SEAFOOD~ left the Ferry Building last year, they found a new location on Union Street in North Beach. We got word that the new space is officially opening its doors on Monday July 28th.

The restaurant has a new team after the move, with an expanded menu and new oyster selections. In addition to fresh seafood, there’s a new beer and wine list designed to pair well with the food. Local beer selections include Fort Point Manzanita and Fort Point Park, as well as Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo and Anchor Steam. In the coming weeks, they will also begin offering happy hour specials, with a menu of small bites like a prawn cocktail, mini crab cakes with heirloom tomato sauce, and crab salad with avocado and micro-mustard green salad. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-10pm and Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. Closed Sunday. 653 Union St. at Columbus, 415-274-2561.


A peek into the new Le Marais Bistro space, which flanks the bakery (at left). Photo: ©


Fruits de mer. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Whipped burrata with Armenian cucumber, fried olive, and fennel pollen. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Saffron sciallatielli with clams, mussels, scallops, and tomatoes. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Panna cotta with plum cardamom sorbet. Photo courtesy Le Marais.

A report by Dana Eastland: Last week I had a chance to check out the new menu coming to ~LE MARAIS BISTRO AND BAKERY~ in August. As previously reported on tablehopper, the bakery in the Marina has expanded to include a kitchen and additional seating, and will be serving a bistro-style dinner menu starting within the next few weeks. They’ve brought on a new team in the kitchen, with Nicolette Manescalchi as executive chef, Emily Riddell on pastry, and Ty Mecozzi as head baker.

Mecozzi and Riddell have already been working with the bread and pastry at the café, while the kitchen ramps up for dinner service, which should begin in August. The menu is small and elegant, and Manescalchi is taking inspiration from the many different food traditions along the Mediterranean. She previously worked at A16, where she was immersed in the food of Southern Italy, and told me she has really enjoyed learning more about food traditions from a broader geographic region. There are touches of North African spice, as well as influence from Southern France, and, of course, it all has California’s seasonality and flair.

They’ve got an oak wood grill in the kitchen, which is allowing them to cook over open flame. You can look at the current menu here, but it will be changing regularly. Of course, the produce will change seasonally, but the meat and seafood selections will also shift constantly. Because they are butchering most of their meat in-house from whole animals (and the place is quite small), it’s likely that one protein will be featured prominently on the menu until it’s gone, and then a new animal will show up. In fact, almost everything on the menu will be made in-house, including the pastas, cured fish, and, of course, the bread.

I started my meal with the fresh fruits de mer, with house-cured anchovies and dukka (an Egyptian spice blend with nuts), smoked and fresh oysters, and a Lake Tahoe crawfish crudo. The oysters are smoked by sous chef Leslie Miller-Dancy (she’s the kitchen’s unofficial “smokemaster,” according to Manescalchi) in their liquor and at a very low temperature to preserve their delicate flavor and texture. Other starter-size dishes include the whipped burrata with fried olive, fennel pollen, and cucumber. I was skeptical about whipping burrata, since the texture is so specific and such a part of the burrata experience, but it totally worked.

There is a small selection of pasta on the menu, including the saffron scialatielli with clams, mussels, and scallops. This dish is based on the “celebration” pastas from the Amalfi coast, which are prepared for special occasions. They’ve added saffron to up the ante, too. Manescalchi has a light touch with seafood, and you’ll see it popping up all over the menu, from the fruits de mer to the anchovy croutons on the salad to the salmon en papillote.

Riddell has already been working on pastries at the bakery, as well as some ice creams and sorbets to serve with plated desserts. A plum sorbet with cardamom totally rocked, and there are delightful edible flowers sprinkled all over her creations, so pretty. Again, the focus seems to be on using bold flavors and seasonings, but with a light, delicate touch for balanced results.

Le Marais Bakery and Bistro will open for dinner sometime in August (of course we’ll let you know the exact date), and hours will be Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. The bakery, which is currently open daily 7am-7pm, will begin closing earlier once dinner service begins. 2066 Chestnut St. at Mallorca, 415-359-9801.


Wrecking Ball coffee. Photo from Facebook.

Local duo Nicholas Cho and Trish Rothgeb of ~WRECKING BALL COFFEE~ now have their own space in Cow Hollow, Eater reports. The pair, who have been working out of Marla Bakery Kitchen Communal, are opening their very own stand-alone shop in the former That Takes the Cake space on Union Street. Mission residents will still be able to get their coffee at the Kitchen Communal, though—they’re not moving out of that space. Rothgeb will serve as the roaster, while Cho will run the barista and brew side of things. Marla Bakery will provide the pastries, and there will be a bar where customers can sit and watch their coffee being made while talking with baristas about the process. They will also have a retail space to sell their beans, as well as Kalita brewing supplies from Japan. Right now, they plan to open Friday August 1st (so soon!), pending inspections. 2271 Union St. at Steiner.

Just can’t get enough coffee? Don’t miss CoffeeCon on Saturday July 26th, a special one-day festival of all things caffeine and coffee. It offers a chance to taste coffee from all over the world, explore different roasting techniques, and learn about different brewing techniques. It’s happening at Terra Gallery from 9am-4pm, and tickets are $20 per person. 511 Harrison St. at 1st St.


Roli Roti’s famed porchetta. Photo via Facebook.

Some great news for Thomas Odermatt, the CEO of Roli Roti (aka the Maestro of Rotisserie, LOL): after an extensive search, he has found a new (and much larger) commissary in Oakland. What does this mean for us? Odermatt is going to be able expand Roli Roti’s catering service and product lines later this fall, and you’ll be able to get some products at your local grocery store. He’s planning to create small versions of porchetta, offer unique and different cuts of chicken (he’s working on a version of a small chicken porchetta right now, bring it on), and marinated chicken cuts. He will also be serving more salads and sides at the farmers’ markets too. Odermatt has come a long way since his company launched in 2002—Roli Roti now has six food trucks that hit 38 farmers’ markets in the Bay Area. Congrats on your well-earned success, Thomas, and we look forward to more of your delicious and carefully sourced and crafted food.

Looking for a classy brunch spot? The recently reopened ~BIG 4~ is now offering Sunday brunch from 10:30am-2:30pm. The menu has some seriously hearty egg dishes, like eggs in the hole with short ribs, polenta, and jus, or fried with milk-braised pork, cranberry beans, and salsa verde. And who can say no to smoked trout with cucumbers, watercress, pistachio, and crème fraîche? Of course, brunch cocktails will also be available. Take a look at the menu and drink list here.


Villa Romana. Photo from Facebook.

After almost 60 years in the Inner Sunset, Italian restaurant ~VILLA ROMANA~ has closed, according to Inside Scoop. The family-run business is owned by Antonio and Giulia Accardo, who are both in their 70s and ready to retire, so this is a bittersweet end to the restaurant (the vintage interior is pretty amazing—I wish someone would just come in and keep the space exactly as it is). Their last day was Sunday July 20th, and the Accardos are looking to spend some time with their family. 731 Irving St. at 9th Ave.

~CUCO’S~, the homey Mexican-Salvadorean restaurant in Lower Haight, may have to close. According to Hoodline, Domingo and Carmen Campos have been served with eviction papers and will have to vacate the space within 30 days. The couple’s daughter, Judy, says that they are going to do all they can to either stay where they are or find a new location. In the meantime, stop by and get one of their famed plantain burritos while you can. 488 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-863-4906.


Uncle Brother’s fried chicken. Photo by Wes Rowe.

Oh boy. There’s now another place where you can stuff your face with delicious crispy-fried chicken. Wes Rowe of WesBurger and his brother Walker Rowe are going to be serving fried chicken at their new pop-up, Uncle Brother’s Chicken, every Tuesday evening from 6pm-10pm at The Residence. The first one is actually tonight, July 22nd, and will continue regularly from now on. The menu will change weekly, featuring different fried chicken styles from around the world (not unlike the WesBurger concept). This week’s menu features Southern-style fried chicken, with pimento mac and cheese and fried okra. 718 14th St. at Church, 415-797-8866.

On Friday August 15th, ~LA COCINA~ will be gearing up for the San Francisco Street Food Festival on Saturday August 16th (you’ve got it on your calendar, right?) with a Friday Night Fried Chicken Family Meal. It’s all happening from 6pm-10pm at the SoMa STreat Food Park, and promises to be a cluckin’ good time. Here’s how it works: when you arrive, you receive a basket and a full, refillable flask. You walk around, visiting various vendors, and fill your basket with lots of fried chicken goodness. Oh, and maybe nip on that flask a little too. Fried chicken purveyors include the likes of Hopscotch in Oakland, the long lost Korean fried chicken from To Hyang, and Feirinha Gastronomica (hailing from Brazil!). There will also be a ton of delectable sides to check out, like a mac and cheese bar from Baia Pasta and cheese biscuits. Drinks will be from Rye on the Road and Campari. Tickets are on a sliding scale, starting at $50 (includes one drink ticket and unlimited chicken). There are also $75 (two drink tickets) and $125 (open bar) options—get ‘em while you still can! 428 11th St. at 13th St.


On the half shell at OysterFest 2012. Photo from Facebook.

On Sunday August 24th, ~WATERBAR~ is hosting their sixth annual OysterFest on their bayside patio. As you may know, Waterbar has the largest and most eclectic selection of oysters in San Francisco—the event will only feature sustainable oysters. Look for plenty of bites from Waterbar, EPIC Roasthouse, Farmer Brown, Farallon, Fish, and Blue Island Oyster Farm, plus Napa Valley wines and beers (including Anchor Steam, Trumer Pils, and Speakeasy). Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The San Francisco Surfrider Foundation, dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans and beaches. 12pm-3pm. $70. Nonrefundable tickets go on sale on Thursday July 24th here.


It’s lumpia o’clock. Photo provided by Savor Filipino.

Calling all lumpia lovers, we have a couple of cool events for you to consider. First up, did you know that the chef de cuisine of Spruce, John Madriaga, is Filipino? So who better to learn how to make some delicious dishes from (besides your auntie, of course)? On Saturday August 9th, Madriaga is leading a Flavors of the Philippines Cooking Class. The class will be demonstration style, and will feature Madriaga’s favorite Filipino-inspired pork preparations, with a whole pig from Stone Valley Farm. After class, you’ll sit down for lunch with wine pairings. The menu includes sizzling sisig, lumpia, longanisa de Eugenio (with fried Jidori egg), pork adobo, and crispy pata (deep-fried trotters with pickled green papaya). Tickets are $135. Class begins at 11am.

Mark your calendar for Saturday August 30th, which will be the inaugural Savor Filipino event at Justin Herman Plaza. Did you know Filipinos comprise the second-largest Asian immigrant group in the U.S., second only to the Chinese? One more fact you may or may not know: the Bay Area is home to the highest concentration of Filipinos outside of the Philippines, so you can bet this event will be well attended. The event is free, and will feature chef and author demos, a beer garden (with local beer, wine, and Filipino-style cocktails), music, and of course plenty of ways to get your Pinoy vittles on.

There will be different pavilions serving many specialties, like the Garden Pavilion, with vegan and vegetarian options (like ginataang sitaw, local long beans sautéed with organic coconut milk); a Street Food Pavilion (there will be balut!); a Fiesta Pavilion, featuring party food like lechon baboy (roasted pig) and lumpia; and the Carinderia (“restaurant”) Pavilion will have chicken adobo and kare-kare. There will be plenty of desserts too. A really cool component to the event: all food served will feature humanely raised proteins, sustainable seafood, and organic, local produce. You can read the upcoming list of food items that will be served here. 10am-6pm. Justin Herman Plaza.


Love eating kimchi and Japanese tsukemono and pickled mustard greens? Then maybe you should learn how to make some of your own. Local author Karen Solomon has a new cookbook out, Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves, and you can join her at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ for her release party on Wednesday July 30th, from 6:30pm-7:30pm. She will make a short presentation, and of course there will be plenty of pickles to taste. Click here for more local events planned around her book launch.

Have you ever thought about how to produce small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate? Coming up in August is a one-month Chocolate Intensive Course (from August 2nd-August 30th) at the ~FOOD CRAFT INSTITUTE~, designed specifically for entrepreneurs and budding artisan chocolate makers. You’ll learn from a variety of local instructors, $475; payment plans and financial aid available.
 65 Webster St. at Embarcadero West, Oakland.


Fried cheese curds sandwich at The Half Orange. Photo from Yelp.

~THE HALF ORANGE~ in Fruitvale opened a couple of weeks ago, but just for lunch. Now that they’ve got their bearings, hours have expanded to 11:30am-8pm, Mon-Fri. You can check out the menu here. They’re still waiting on a liquor license though. 3340 E. 12th St. at 33rd Ave., Oakland, 510-500-3338.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that ~TOWNIE~ is now open in the former Caffe Venezia. Initially, this one had a liquor license for Monarch Trading Co., but it looks like there is an entirely new team now. Owner Nima Shokat runs the Missouri Lounge and is aiming to offer “a neighborhood bar where people can just come by for a drink and hang out, but also get some exciting food.” To that end, chef Dana Ryan (RN74, Gather, State Bird Provisions) has been brought on to run the kitchen. They’re currently in soft open mode, which means a limited menu is being served, along with cocktails from 5pm until midnight or they run out. 1799 University Ave. at Grant, Berkeley, 510-356-4903.

For those of you looking to put some sushi away at a reasonable price, check out Sushi Monday at ~OZUMO~ in Oakland. From 5pm-9pm every Monday, you can order all-you-can-eat sushi while at the sushi counter for $40 per person. The menu includes some non-sushi options, too, like fried chicken and pork ribs. 2251 Broadway at Grand, Oakland, 510-286-9866.

July 15, 2014

The exterior of Monsieur Benjamin. Photo: ©


The left/south-facing dining room. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography courtesy UrbanDaddy.


The view from the bar, on the right side. Photo: ©


A look into the bar and kitchen. Photo: ©


The busy kitchen. Photo: ©


Oeufs mayonnaise with pimentón and chervil. Photo: ©


Marrow bones “Blue Ribbon” with bacon marmalade, country bread. Photo: ©

Exciting times in Hayes Valley. Last week we mentioned that ~MONSIEUR BENJAMIN~ was opening, and I got to attend a preview meal to experience it firsthand the day before it opened (I know, I’m a lucky lady). Corey Lee (Benu) has brought on chef Jason Berthold (RN74)—the two share extensive French Laundry and Per Se training and experience. Lee notes: “We know the playbook of French flavors well, and have stayed connected to them.” Lee said he and Berthold speak the same culinary language—their shared history and reference points make for a much more seamless workflow. Lee says, “I’m so lucky to have him. I want to be able to enjoy Benu and not lose sight, and Jason is what makes it possible.”

With Monsieur Benjamin, they are offering a modern bistro experience, which means they have updated cooking methods and use of ingredients with a modern sensibility, while making references to classic French flavor profiles. For example, the steak tartare (which Lee notes is a dish that has been done to death) is made with hand-cut beef, and there’s a pudding of yolk that is seasoned and piped onto the plate. You’ll also find a pissaladière that is sheeted (it has a crisp, lavash-like texture) with the flavors of anchovy and olive, and on the plate there are pulverized dried capers (which Lee notes are more delicate)—when you take a bite with your eyes closed, you taste a delicious (but updated) tartare.

It’s an extensive menu, with many small plates (from deviled eggs to oysters gratinées), a list of appetizers I want to try each and every one of (the sweetbreads and marrow bones “Blue Ribbon” with Della Fattoria bread were outstanding), plus 13 entrées that average around $27-$28—you’ll find steak frites ($36) and a burger ($18.50), as well as roast chicken and Artic char amandine. These à la carte dishes are not compositions: you have a sauce, a garnish, and voilà. Dessert includes a palmier ice cream with Calvados caramel; mon dieu was that good.

Aidlin Darling Design (Bar Agricole, Bar Bambino) is behind the urban and handsome 90-seat space. When you walk in, there’s a dining area both to the left and the right, with the bar in the center of the space—the open kitchen extends into the back. The south-facing side (closer to Hayes Street) has more light and a bar at normal table height (that is also ADA compliant), as well as a communal table made from a single piece of marble, while you’ll find a marble bar with tall bistro-style stools on the right side.

I had a cocktail at the bar, and they are doing a unique setup: your drink is prepared at an island in the middle of the bar area instead of assembling it in front of you, and you won’t see any liquor bottles—just the glassware that hangs above the island. It’s makes for a sleek and uncluttered view.

The dining rooms are in hues of charcoal (including the hex-tiled floor), with deep brown wood panels around the center bar island, and chestnut banquettes along the walls, with glowing filament bulbs suspended from the ceiling. The tables are topped with paper, and the wood chairs are in a classic shape. There’s definitely an urban aesthetic in play—especially noted in the custom metal shelving and the table legs of the communal table—mixing with references to classic Parisian style. Seamless windows surround the space with no breaks in the panels, creating a light-filled indoor-outdoor feeling; there will be outdoor seating added too.

A big deal is the fact this modern bistro is serving until 1am nightly. Lee has longed for a late-night bistro since he moved here in late 2009, but he didn’t want to create a super-traditional facsimile of a French bistro because as he says, “when it’s taken out of context, it feels hollow.” His first job was at Blue Ribbon in New York, and he learned how you have to commit to staying open late night consistently and you have to offer a full menu to truly cater to the late-night crowd. It will be the spot to go after the symphony and opera for sure. Hours for now are nightly 5pm-1am. Brunch will also be added soon.

A couple of other things that have Corey Lee extra-busy: in spring 2015, he has a book coming out with Phaidon, and he is casually looking into is creating a Korean barbecue spot—it’s another thing he thinks our city is missing. Lucky for us, Lee is a creative force who never stops pushing.


The front dining room at Loló Cevichería. Photo by Wes Rowe.


Ceviche negro at Loló Cevichería. Photo by Wes Rowe.


Molotes at the new South. Photo courtesy of Slanted Door Group.

A couple of follow-ups for you on some openings we mentioned were coming. First, let’s circle back around to ~LOLÓ CEVICHERÍA~, which we broke the news about last week. Opening this Wednesday July 16th in the original Loló space, you’ll notice owner Lorena Zertuche has updated the space with a tropical look (complete with toucan wallpaper), banquettes upholstered in parrot-printed beach towels, and yellow woven baskets with Technicolor plastic flowers. Yeah, if you’re having a bad day, this place should perk you right up. Don’t forget: the 44-seat spot also has 16 outdoor seats.

Chef-owner Jorge Martinez has brought on Alberto Pitman from Mexico City to run the kitchen (his background is contemporary Mexican cuisine, and includes working for Enrique Olvera of Pujol in Mexico City, and for Benito Molina of Restaurante Manzanilla in Ensenada). We wrote about the menu last week, but here’s one more fun tidbit: the assistant general manager, Roberto Bocanegra, had his Peruvian mother share some of her family recipes for the ceviches (love it). Hours will be Mon-Thu 6pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-12am, closed Sun. 3230 22nd St. at Mission.

Last month we broke the news that ~SOUTH AT SFJAZZ~ had closed and was changing its format to a rustic Mexican menu from chef Rymee Trobaugh (formerly Zuni). Look for small plates like the molotes with black beans, queso cotija, and salsa de semillas, as well as heartier dishes like rabbit mole. According to the website, the opening is Thursday July 17th. Cocktails will also be shifted to emphasize rum, tequila, and mezcal. Hours will be Tue-Sun 5:30pm-10pm. 205 Franklin St. at Fell, 415-539-3905.


Photo from Beast and the Hare’s Facebook page.

As previously reported on tablehopper, chef Brett Cooper joined forces with the Daniel Patterson Group after his departure from Outerlands. Now, Scoop reports that ~BEAST AND THE HARE~ in the Mission is closing, and Cooper and DPG are moving in. They’re planning to open a neighborhood restaurant, but with some more refined options, and are also hoping to become a bit of an industry destination. No word at the moment on when Beast and the Hare will close, but look for the new spot to open in November after a quick revamp (with no major construction).


The fried chicken sandwich at Belcampo Meat Co. Photo from Facebook.

The new outlet of ~BELCAMPO MEAT CO.~ is now open for lunch from 11:30am-3pm daily. The menu includes sandwich choices like the fried chicken sandwich with slaw or a French dip with jus, a chopped salad, and of course their cheeseburger. 1998 Polk St. at Pacific, 415-660-5573.

~CAUSWELLS~ is now open for lunch Monday through Friday beginning at 11am, and for weekend brunch starting at 9am. According to their Facebook page, they’ve added some new sandwiches and salads to the menu. 2346 Chestnut St. at Scott, 415-447-6081.

Perhaps the review of ~SOUVLA~ we ran last Friday has you craving one of their tasty sandwiches or salads. You’ve got yet another day to get your fix: they are now open Mondays from 11am-10pm.


Coco500, at the corner of 4th Street and Brannan. Photo from Facebook.

As previously reported on tablehopper, Loretta Keller has sold ~COCO500~. It is now officially closed (sniff), and the Marlowe team will be moving into the space in the coming months.

~HOTEI~ in the Inner Sunset is closing after more than 15 years in business. Owner Steve Fujii, who also owns Ebisu across the street, is slowly retiring after more than 30 years of owning restaurants, though he will continue to operate Ebisu. The last day will be Sunday August 31st. 1290 9th Ave. at Irving, 415-753-6045.

Union Street’s adult candy fantasyland ~AMERICAN CUPCAKE~ has closed, at least for now, according to Scoop. It’s not clear if the spot will reopen, but a note on their Facebook page says that they’ve closed for the summer while the owner takes maternity leave. 1919 Union St. at Laguna.


The newly remodeled Noe Valley Bakery. Photo from Facebook.

Tipster Adam T. wrote in to let us know that there is a new Northeastern-style Chinese restaurant in the Excelsior, called ~SUNGARI DUMPLING HOUSE~. The chef hails from Dongbei, and the menu offers specialties from that region. Look for Northern ribs, braised duck, and hand-pulled soup noodles. The menu is one of the more, er, strangely translated ones we’ve come across (Sauce Obliterate Autumn or North Pot Package of Meat, anyone?), so it might be best to just go on in and try out whatever looks interesting. 4543 Mission St. at Santa Rosa, 415-333-3681.

Chefs Eddie Lau and Luis Villavelazquez are back with their Fortress: Solitude pop-up. The next one is on Saturday July 19th, with a dinner and cocktail social highlighting figs. Look for different varieties of the fruit, including Black Mission, Melissa, and Adriatic figs showing up in cocktails and dishes. You can check out the menu here. Dinner is from 6pm-8:30pm and costs $55 per person, then from 9pm-11:30pm there’s a cocktail social for $25. You can attend both (and get cocktail pairings at dinner) for $75 per person total. It’s all happening at Naked Kitchen. 945 Valencia St. at 20th St.

The ~NOE VALLEY BAKERY~ has reopened after a brief remodel, according to a tweet. They’re rocking a new look, and are now serving Sightglass coffee to go with their pastries. 4073 24th St. at Castro, 415-550-1405.


Hedge Gallery; photo via Hedge’s Facebook page.

How’s this for faaaabulous? While ~QUINCE~ is closed for renovations (from July 25th until September 19th), the restaurant will be holding a series of pop-up dinners just across the street at Hedge Gallery, called curATE (the experience will be designed and produced by the one-and-only Stanlee Gatti).

And the plot thickens: not only will the food be assuredly delicious, but each week a different gallery will be installing the work of modern artists (and mixed mediums) at Hedge. Guest gallerists include Jeffrey Fraenkel, Anthony Meier, Jessica Silverman, John Berggruen, and Iwona Tenzing. There will also be a thematic correlation between the gallerist and chef Michael Tusk’s menu for that week. For example, Anthony Meier’s exhibit, titled “Deconstruction,” will feature deconstructed dishes, while Jessica Silverman’s exhibition, titled “White Is the Warmest Color,” will be paired with an all-white menu, so chic. I die! (You can look at all the menus here.)

The events run Wednesday through Saturday from July 30th through August 30th, and you can opt for a gallery reception of wine and canapés from 6:30pm-7:30pm ($50 per person, inclusive of tax and service charge), or go for the gallery reception and five-course tasting menu ($199 per person, inclusive of tax and service charge); the seated dinner begins at 7:30pm. Wine pairings will be offered ($110, including tax and tip), along with select items from the bar and access to the full Quince wine cellar. No corkage, darlings. There will be a communal table for solo diners, or you can purchase an individual table (with seating for up to 10 guests). Tickets and more info here. Jump on it, people—this series is so special and unique. 501 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery.


Shakewell’s Tim Nugent and Jen Biesty. Photo: Devon Miller.


Churros with spiced bittersweet chocolate sauce. Photo: Devon Miller.

Last week we mentioned that ~SHAKEWELL~ was opening on Lakeshore in Oakland, and now we want to point you to a few more details of note. First up, the Cal-Med-Spanish menu from chef-owner Jen Biesty (previously executive chef of of Scala’s Bistro and the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, and a participant on season four of Top Chef) and GM-owner Tim Nugent (previously executive pastry chef at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel and a competitor on the first season of Top Chef: Just Desserts) is now posted on the website.

You can come in for a cocktail (there are 12 to choose from) and bites like fried anchovy and aji pepper-stuffed olives ($4), or ramp up with summery dishes like summer squash, feta, basil, garden tomatoes, green olives, olive oil-fried bread ($11) and a glass of rosé. There are a variety of “bombas” (rice dishes baked in the wood-burning oven that showcase local seafood, vegetables, and meats), seafood (like grilled shrimp with Moroccan spiced dried lime rub, yogurt sauce, $16), and meats (chicken albondigas for $12, grilled lamb kefta with harissa, yogurt cucumber sauce, quinoa, and mint for $17). Nice pricing there, right? And save room for dessert, like churros with spiced bittersweet chocolate sauce that are made to order.

The 70-seat dining room includes space for 30 in the bar area. The space was designed by Bon Vivants Design+Build, with lots of custom touches, from the handcrafted wood chairs to the banquettes, and you’ll see some Moorish, Spanish, and Mediterranean elements (you can look at some pics on Eater). Open for cocktails at 4pm, dinner at 5:30pm (until 9pm on Sun, Tue-Thu until 10pm, Fri-Sat until 11pm), closed Mondays. Weekend brunch and lunch will start a month later. 3407 Lakeshore Ave. at Trestle Glen, 510-251-0329.


The French toast at Doukkala’s brunch. Photo from Facebook.

~DOUKKALA~ in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood is now offering brunch on weekends from 11am-3pm. The Moroccan restaurant is offering brunch dishes with a California twist, like the Benedict with Merguez sausage and harissa hollandaise, or the fig jam-stuffed French toast (yowza). Take a peek at the menu here. For beverages, they offer a selection of teas and coffee, as well as Moroccan mimosas and a sparkling berry sangria. 4905 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland, 510-653-8691.

East Bay Express reports that ~STANDARD FARE~, the dinner delivery service from Chez Panisse alum Kelsie Kerr, is now offering curbside lunch pickup via Square. You can now order seasonal sandwiches and salads online or through the app. You just order, then get a text when your food is ready, and your bag lunch is brought out to your car (or bike or whatever) when you pull up. Options include a seasonal soup, rotating meat or vegetarian sandwiches, and salads. The lunch menu is available Tue-Thu from 11am-2:30pm. 2701 8th St. at Carleton, Berkeley, 510-356-2261.

Berkeley is about to get another coffee roaster, San Francisco Magazine reports. It’s called ~SUPERSONIC COFFEE~ and comes from John Laird, founder of Pacific Bay Coffee, and his wife, Björg Brend Laird, of the Nordic Barista Cup. The team will be importing and roasting beans, and will have a Nordic and European focus in their approach. They’re currently working with Dutch espresso machine company Kees van der Westen to import and distribute their machines, as well. By 2015, in addition to roasting coffee, they hope to have cafés in throughout the East Bay. To start, though, they’ll have a roastery and an Airstream trailer for serving coffee. 2322 5th St. at Bancroft, Berkeley, 510-542-2540.

Back in May, Berkeleyside Nosh caught wind that ~NORIKONOKO~ would be reopening this summer after closing due to a fire last year. According to Yelp, it looks like they’re back open and slinging Japanese comfort food once again! The menu is a bit smaller, but you’ll find the same cozy atmosphere and many home-style dishes. 2556 Telegraph Ave. at Dwight, Berkeley, 510-548-1274.


The exterior of Barkada in Oakland’s Temescal. Photo from Facebook.

Scoop reports that Oakland’s ~BARKADA~ is closed after just over a year in business, bummer. Their last day of service was Sunday July 6th, and there is no word on exactly what caused the closure or what might be moving in. 4316 Telegraph Ave. at 43rd St., Oakland, 510-601-7314.

Small whole-animal lunch spot ~MARROW~ has closed, East Bay Express reports. Apparently, owner Jon Kosorek has been trying to find a larger space for the restaurant, and was also struggling to keep his menu the way he wanted it while still appealing to the lunchtime crowd in the neighborhood. Kosorek and his wife also just had a baby, and are taking some time to decide what their next move might be. In the meantime, he’ll be working with a friend’s catering company in Napa. 325 19th St. at Webster.

July 8, 2014

The Aperol spritz. Photo courtesy of Campari America.


54 Mint’s plump gnocchi all’amatriciana. Photo: ©


The upstairs at 54 Mint. Photo: ©

When you read my review of ~54 MINT~ a couple of months ago, were you hungry to try chef Mattia Marcelli’s Roman menu (yeah, like the cheesy cacio e pepe?). Have you ever traveled to Italy, and miss the awesome aperitivo spreads you’ll find at bars in the early evening? Do you know how to pronounce “Negroni sbagliato”? Do the words “Aperol spritz” make you hungry and thirsty? Then this upcoming tablehopper and Campari America event, Una Serata a Roma (“An Evening in Rome”), is custom made for you.

On Wednesday July 23rd, we will gather on the outdoor patio and at the bar at 54 Mint for an aperitivo hour (starting at 6pm), featuring some classic Italian aperitivi, including an Aperol spritz and Negroni sbagliato (you’ll also be able to learn how to make an Aperol spritz—it’s as easy as 3-2-1). Chef Mattia Marcelli will be putting out an abundant spread of some fantastic bites, like supplí al telefono and salumi. We can pretend we’re in a piazza in Rome as we socialize, eat, and drink.

At 7pm, we’ll make our way into 54 Mint’s rustic-chic upstairs dining room for a family-style feast that will include two classic Roman pasta dishes (cacio e pepe and gnocchi all’amatriciana), and then get ready for a very special meat course, featuring chef Mattia’s perfect lamb chops, fennel pollen-spiked porchetta and housemade sausage (the pork is coming from Mark Pasternak’s Devil’s Gulch Ranch), plus sides like roasted potatoes and mustard greens.

Throughout the meal, 54 Mint partner and wine director Gianluca Legrottaglie will talk about Roman culinary traditions, and will also be pairing some wines to go along with the meal (you’ll learn about those too!). For dessert, expect a classic Roman dessert (torta ebrea) and a digestivo (perhaps Averna or Cynar will be making appearances). Let’s just say you may want to have a light lunch that day.

Tickets are only $75 per person, including all beverages, tax, and tip. 21 and over. Special thanks to Campari America for their partnership in this event. A donation will be made to the SF-Marin Food Bank. Ci vediamo!


Time to get behind the curtain! This is how Monsieur Benjamin’s construction scene was looking last month. Photo: ©

And just like that, ~MONSIEUR BENJAMIN~ is opening tomorrow, Wednesday July 9th. To recap, the 90-seat project is from Corey Lee of Benu, Jason Berthold (previously RN74, and French Laundry and Per Se, where he worked with Lee), and Thomas Palauqui. Lee and company have had a year to prepare the large menu—as Lee notes, “a luxury”—and are taking classic French bistro and traditional French dishes and flavor profiles, giving them a modern update. Lee has been longing for a bistro and late-night destination since he moved to SF in 2009, so like they say, if you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.

Tonight I’m going to a preview dinner, so I’ll have many more details for you on Friday about the interior (by Aidlin Darling Design), the inspiration, and what you’ll find on the modern French bistro menu (I do know they are committed to offering top-quality raw shellfish, including oysters that are shucked properly). When I met with Lee about a month ago, he said there would be snacks for $10 and under, appetizers from $10-$19, entrées in the $20s and $30s, plus cheeses and dessert (of course). The menu should be posted on the website soon, and we’ll be sure to run it here.

The look will have an urban San Francisco aesthetic, with references to classic Parisian style, like paper-topped tables and wood chairs that echo the classic bistro shape (nope, no faux bistro here). A few highlights: late-night dining hours, a casual and neighborhood vibe, cocktails (plus an exploration of French liqueurs and spirits), and Master Sommelier Yoon Ha has selected a wine list that features smaller family-owned producers from France (plus some from California too)—many will come from the Loire, and look for bottles to be less than $100, with 10 by the glass.

Hours are nightly 5pm-1am, eventually opening at 1pm on Sat-Sun for brunch in a few weeks. Reservations can be made starting tomorrow on OpenTable or by phone.


Toucan cuteness. Photo: Ryan Robles PR.


The new back dining room, complete with parrots! Photo: Ryan Robles PR.

Fans of the charming and intimate original Loló location on 22nd Street will be pleased to know it has reopened as ~LOLÓ CEVICHERÍA~, featuring five kinds of ceviches and some favorites from the original menu, like the tuna tacon and taco tropical, plus a few more small plates, like guacamole. Chef-partner Jorge Martinez designed the menu to be affordable, and a good place to swing by for a drink and a bite. Low-proof beverages from David Gallardo and Leon Vasquez (the bar managers for Loló Valencia) include some white and red sangrias, white port tonics, and their agave wine margarita slushies, including one variation made with tamarind.

The space was redesigned by partner Lorena Zertuche (of course it’s colorful). If you’re waiting for a table at ~LOLÓ~, this is a good spot for spillover (and large groups of eight or more). Loló Cevichería is doing some soft opening/trial runs during the next week, with a grand opening and full hours planned starting Wednesday July 16th. Hours will be Mon-Thu 6pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-12am, closed Sun. 3230 22nd St. at Mission.


Pastrami at Rye Project. Photo courtesy of Adam Mesnick.

Last week we mentioned ~RYE PROJECT~ from Adam Mesnick was about to open, and whaddya know, it’s now open! To recap, ~1058 HOAGIE~ has closed after two years (I’ll miss you, #1) and now Mesnick’s Jewish-style deli has taken its place—you can peep the menu here. You’ll find pastrami and corned beef (on rye bread from Detroit), and you know there will be some special combos coming too (just look at Mr. Adams on a kaiser roll). There are also some bagel options (the bagels are sent from New York parbaked and then finished here), with toppings like nova lox and smoked whitefish salad.

Soup of the day, check. The creative salads also look really good (that’s where the “Newish Deli” comes into play), with picks like the Rye House ($13), with romaine, corned beef, muenster cheese, hard-boiled egg, cucumber, cherry tomato, and chickpeas; and the Abuelas ($12), with spring mix, tuna salad, avocado, muenster cheese, pico de gallo, green pepper, cucumber, hearts of palm, and cherry tomato. Oh, and all salads come with a bagel, how about that? Other Jewish deli faves will appear, like chopped liver, mac and potato salad, blintz soufflé, and black-and-white cookies. Come hungry. Open Mon-Fri 11am-4pm. 180 7th St. at Natoma, 415-552-8984.


There’s about to be even more bubbly at Quince. Photo from Facebook.

~QUINCE~ is closing temporarily from July 25th until September 19th for renovations. The new space, which is being designed by Douglas Durkin, will increase the comfort of the restaurant, with a new entrance, custom lighting, and additional exposed brick. The warmth of the space will also be enhanced with new, curved leather banquettes and arched openings throughout.

In addition to these decorative changes, there will also be some new spaces within the restaurant. Two seats will be added to the chef’s counter, offering more opportunities for diners to watch the action in the kitchen. There will also be two more private dining rooms, each with seating for 12, in addition to the existing room for 18. A new private dining room, the Octavia Room, can be reserved for up to 12 people in the kitchen at the neighboring Cotogna as well.

Perhaps the most fabulous (and definitely bubbliest) addition is the new Champagne bar and lounge. It will be situated at the entrance to the restaurant, and will encourage walk-ins. At the bar, you’ll find cocktails, wine, and, of course, lots of Champagne, much of it available by the glass (selected by wine director Jai Wilson). As for food at the bar, there will be à la carte dishes from the main dining room’s tasting menus, as well as special daily appetizers.

During the renovation, the Quince team will be popping up at the nearby Hedge Gallery. Stand by for more details on those dates and tickets next week.


A peek into the new Le Marais Bistro space, which flanks the bakery (at left). Photo: ©

Back in May, we mentioned that ~LE MARAIS BAKERY~ in the Marina was not only expanding into the space next door to include a bistro space (Le Marais Bistro), but owners Patrick Ascaso and Joanna Pulcini-Ascaso also made some new hires (executive chef Nicolette Manescalchi, head pastry chef Emily Riddell, and head baker Kate Mooring).

The bistro side is now open, offering 38 new seats, plus another 6 outside. The airy room has a country bistro feeling, with reclaimed redwood floors and, like the café, it features a skylight, Bundt pan light fixtures, and iron Parisian balcony railings. A large picture of the rooftops of buildings in the Marais in Paris will also be installed soon. For now, the bistro is offering overflow seating for the café until dinner service begins on Wednesday July 23rd. Hours will expand, and another addition will be European wines and beers.

There are also brunch, lunch, and breakfast services (and menus) that will be launched in time—although you may notice some tweaks that have already happened to the sandwich menu (which now includes house-cured ham), with more coming. We’ll have a preview of the new Mediterranean dinner menu for you before it launches, stand by. Hours for now remain 7am-7pm. 2066-68 Chestnut St. at Steiner, 415-359-9801


Ice cream sandwiches from Cream. Photo from Facebook.

~CREAM~, the local ice cream sandwich chain whose name stands for “Cookies Rule Everything Around Me,” is opening their first San Francisco location in the former Ti Couz space on 16th Street, Eater reports. The customizable menu offers 20 ice cream flavors, along with 10 different kinds of cookies, including vegan and gluten-free choices. Owner Alexis Garcia is hoping to open by August. 3106 16th St. at Valencia.

Hot on the heels of the news of ~MARLOWE~’s move to Coco500’s space is the newest change from Anna Weinberg, Jennifer Puccio, and James Nicholas. They’ve hired pastry chef Emily Luchetti to run the pastry at all three of the group’s restaurants: Marlowe, Park Tavern, and the Cavalier. Luchetti was previously at Farallon and Waterbar, but will be starting her new position on September 1st. Look for some fun spins on British sweets at the Cavalier, and straightforward but well-executed choices at Marlowe and Park Tavern.

Getting a seat at ~TOSCA CAFE~ just got a little easier (or harder, depending on how averse you are to planning). They are now accepting reservations for all times the restaurant is open. They can be made here, but the bar area is still reserved for walk-ins.


Amber Dhara. Photo from Facebook.

It looks like ~AMBER DHARA~ on Valencia has closed, according to Scoop. Owner Vijay Bist says that although he has closed the space, he hopes to find some new partners and relaunch the space with a new concept. It’s a huge space (with seating for more than 275), and has a full liquor license, so there’s definitely a lot of potential there. We’ll let you know when we hear what might be happening.

Hoodline reports that ~NECTAR~ on Haight Street has closed. A sign on the door states that the location, which opened in the former Katz Bagels in 2012, has closed indefinitely. Right now, no additional information is available, though it sounds like Sprig is using the kitchen for their meal preparation. 663 Haight St. at Pierce.


Pan con pollo from Salvi. Photo from Salvi.

Kevin Castellanos, who is currently the sous chef at Bocadillos and previously worked at Range and State Bird Provisions, is starting a new pop-up, called Salvi. His very first pop-up is happening on Sunday July 13th from 4:30pm-8:30pm at ~BOCADILLOS~. Castellanos was raised in El Salvador, and his menu will feature dishes he remembers eating there, but influenced by the Northern California ethos of quality ingredients. Think bean and cheese pupusas with housemade masa and cabbage slaw, or a tamal de puerco with braised pork shoulder. Follow along on Twitter for more information and updates. 710 Montgomery St. at Washington, 415-982-2622.


Ready to eat some Pocky? Photo from the 2013 J-Pop Summit by Dave Golden.

On Saturday and Sunday July 19th-20th, Japantown will be overrun with ramen and sake at the The Pop Gourmet Food Festival, part of the J-Pop Summit. There will be a section just for ramen, with all bowls for just $8, each from a different ramen shop. Participants include Men Oh, Munta, and Horaiya, with choices including tonkotsu, shoyu, and spicy ramen. The infamous ramen burger will even make an appearance. There will also be snacks and bites from food trucks and other vendors, including Onigilly, The Chairman, and JapaCurry.

One entire section of the festival will be entirely devoted to sake tasting from some major sake makers and distributors, including Choya Umeshu, Hosoda Bros., and Nishimoto Trading Co. Admission to the sake area is $10, ages 21 and over only. There will also be a space set aside for beer, cocktails, and nonalcoholic beverages as well. The festival includes live music, activities, and, hello, a Pocky eating contest. The festival will run from 11am-6pm both days and is free to attend, with food and beverages available for purchase. Post St. and Webster St. at Fillmore.

Modern Coffee.jpg

Photo: DeCenzo-Cordova Photography.

Folks in the Uptown Oakland area will be happy to know a second location of multi-roaster coffee house ~MODERN COFFEE~ is opening, and whaddya know, they’re opening in another historic building, this time in the Leamington Building (on 19th Street, very close to the newly opened Drexl Bar). It’s also going to be about the same size: 800 square feet, with around 12 seats. One more funny similarity: both locations were hair salons at one point as well.

Like the original location, owner Kristen Nelson will be showcasing a variety of coffees and teas from roasters like Stumptown Coffee from Portland, Counter Culture Coffee from Durham, North Carolina, and Northern California’s De La Paz Coffee (SF), Chromatic Coffee (San Jose), and Verve Coffee Roasters (Santa Cruz). Teas will continue to be sourced from Smith Teamaker in Portland, Teance Fine Teas in Berkeley, and tea importer GS Haly in Redwood City. There will also be some food supplied by local purveyors.

This time around, it’s a full buildout; they hope to open at the end of July or beginning of August. And congrats on the upcoming fifth anniversary of the original location this October. 1814 Franklin (with the entrance at 381 19th Street, between Franklin and Webster).


Squid salad at Shakewell. Photo: Devon Miller.


A beautiful sundae from Fentons. Photo from Fentons.

After hitting a few delays, the team behind ~SHAKEWELL~ in Oakland are happy to announce they are officially opening on Thursday July 10th. In our original piece, we noted that owners Jen Biesty and Tim Nugent are opening their eclectic Cal-Spanish concept on Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland. You can look at a preview menu here; we’ll have more for you next week, including details on the cocktails and the space (designed by The Bon Vivants Design+Build). Open for cocktails at 4pm, dinner at 5:30pm, closed Mondays. 3407 Lakeshore Ave. at Trestle Glen.

Oakland institution ~FENTONS CREAMERY~ is celebrating their 120th anniversary this year, can you believe it? They are celebrating with a big party on Sunday July 20th from 12pm-3pm in their parking lot. There will be free barbecue, free scoops of some of their signature flavors (did you know they invented toasted almond?), and the junior size of their Black and Tan sundae will be available for $1.20 (normally, it’s $9.25). Plus, 4-H, their community partner for July, will be on hand with animals to meet and greet, and the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse will be leading craft activities. Oh, and there will also be a raffle with lots of ice creamy prizes and a DJ playing nostalgic music. Happy birthday, Fentons! 4226 Piedmont Ave. at Entrada, Oakland, 510-658-7000.

As previously reported in tablehopper, Jay Porter has taken over the former home of Taco Grill near the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. The new place is called ~THE HALF ORANGE~ and is opening today for lunch. The menu is small and focused, with a burger made with Marin Sun Farms beef, a housemade sausage sandwich, and some Mexican-inspired plates like Ensenada-style beef tongue. For now, hours are only Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm, with dinner hours (and a beer and wine license) coming soon. 3340 E. 12th St. at 33rd Ave., Oakland, 510-500-3338.

Eater snagged some additional details on Chris Pastena’s newest venture, a Mexican restaurant in Uptown Oakland’s new development, The Hive. Pastena has partnered with Michael Iglesias and Jessica Sackler, both of Coqueta, on the Mexican project, which is called ~CALAVERA~ and should be opening in early 2015. The menu will be focused on traditional cooking methods and high-quality ingredients, prepared in house, including flour and corn tortillas. There will also be a wide selection of mezcal and tequila, with a bar run by Joe Cleveland of Coqueta. 2337 Broadway at 24th St., Oakland.

Starting Monday July 14th, ~OFF THE GRID~ is offering a new place for Monday dinner in Uptown Oakland. From 5pm-9pm there will be eight food trucks at the corner of William and Telegraph, with a rotating lineup of trucks that includes El Porteño, Doc’s of the Bay, and Roderick’s BBQ. William St. at Telegraph Ave., Oakland.

July 1, 2014

Mushroom and tofu ramen at The Ramen Bar. Photo: James Carriere.


The front terrace and entrance to The Ramen Bar. Photo: Drew Altizer.


A look into Pabu’s main bar area. Photo: Bruk Studios.


The dramatic bar and lounge at Pabu. Photo: Bruk Studios.


The sushi bar and main dining room at Pabu. Photo: Bruk Studios.


The irresistible Happy Spoon. Photo: Kevin J. McCullough.

Two big openings are happening simultaneously at 101 California Street: ~PABU~ and ~THE RAMEN BAR~ from Ken Tominaga (of Hana in Rohnert Park) and Michael Mina. Let’s start with The Ramen Bar first, the more casual of the two, which just opened yesterday (Monday June 30th).

Tominaga’s ramen is inspired by Tokyo-style ramen, which features a lighter broth, and a lot of attention will be paid to each of the top-notch ingredients, from the proteins to the fresh vegetables (I’m looking forward to finally having a soy-cured egg that isn’t cold). There are four kinds on the opening menu: Tokyo roast chicken ($12) with soy-cured egg, bamboo, spinach, and yuzu kosho; braised pork belly ($12) with wakame, soy-cured egg, and wilted spinach; shrimp and crab dumpling ($16) in a ginger clam broth, with sweet corn and mizuna; and mushroom and tofu ($11) with miso, mizuna, hon-shimeji mushrooms, sweet corn, and nori. Gluten-free noodles are available as well.

There is also a variety of salads and donburi available, plus Hong Kong milk tea, boba tea, LAMILL Coffee drinks, and more. You can dine in (there are 46 seats in the dining room, with a mix of counter seats and regular tables, and 44 seats on the terrace with umbrellas), or order ahead online and get it for takeout (there’s also an app for iPhone and Android, just search “Ramen Bar SF”). The design by Bishop Pass took the element of water as its inspiration, as well as integrating elements of a Japanese fishing village (rope and sails, check).

There was already a line out the door on opening day, so expect to be waiting with fellow ramen obsessives during these opening weeks. Fortunately it’s open Mon-Fri 8am-9pm, with food service starting at 11am. 101 California at Davis, 415-684-1570.

Okay, so now it’s time to shift our attention to the big one: ~PABU~, opening for dinner this evening. Upon walking in, you’ll notice the bar area to your right, with a notably elevated ceiling, and softly glowing lanterns above with cranes on them (the room has an airy feel, and if you’d guess that air was the element Bishop Pass was working with here, you’d be correct). There are tall windows, and comfortable booths along the back wall upholstered in a burnt orange, sure to get filled up during happy hour (Mon-Fri 3pm-6pm). Mina Group head bartender Carlo Splendorini and lead bartender Nick Jones are at the helm, creating house-carbonated beverages, fizzes, highballs, and more, with some Japanese ingredients making appearances. Look for fresh herbs and fruits embedded in the ice (you can look at the cocktails and more here). There’s also a Japanese whisky ceremony available if you want to celebrate a good day on the stock market.

To the left is the warm-feeling dining room that’s full of wood (including oak-paneled floors), with a loooong sushi counter (22 seats!), seating in the center of the room, and some booths enclosed with wood slats along the side with sea foam-green seats that create an even more intimate experience. There are also some beautiful private dining rooms, and I loved the Japanese landscapes and cherry blossoms painted on the concrete walls. There’s also an indoor garden dining room in a light-filled atrium.

Tominaga’s menu features both izakaya dishes and sushi, ranging from cold to hot small plates (there’s a wonderful ankimo dish, and don’t miss the happy spoon with uni, ikura, tobiko, ponzu, and crème fraîche), robatayaki (eight kinds), shabu-shabu, and some larger plates, including tempura, seafood, and A4 and A5 Japanese wagyu—look for a contemporary approach to this dishes, and they’re designed to share.

But anyone who loves sushi is going to want to beeline for the spectacular nigiri menu, and particularly Ken’s Nigiri Tasting Menu, which brings eight courses of beautiful Edo-style nigiri served two pieces at a time. The quality of the seafood is spectacular, from kohada to shima aji to a maguro pairing that will make you look at the fish in a different light. The sushi bar is at the hands of Yoji Harada, who started his culinary career at 18 in Japan, and he eventually came to the U.S. Ken got him to come to Hana from Gonpachi in Torrance, and then recruited him for Pabu Baltimore, which recently closed. All I can say is lucky us that we now have Yoji at Pabu SF, because the omakase experience I had at a test dinner was fantastic.

The other component to the omakase menu you don’t want to miss is the sake pairing from sake master Stuart Morris. You’ll learn more about sake in one meal than you probably have in a year, and the range of flavor profiles is very exciting. Even if you don’t opt for a sake pairing, you’ll still get steered to some excellent selections, and some are very rare.

Dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm, with weekday lunch service (11am-2pm) beginning on Monday July 28th. 101 California at Davis, 415-668-7228.


Interior photo by Michael David Rose Photography, courtesy of Urban Daddy.


The hot fried wild snapper. Photo courtesy of Chubby Noodle.

After blowing things up for their grand opening this past weekend, ~CHUBBY NOODLE MARINA~ is now open for regular business. Chef-owner Pete Mrabe keeps fine-tuning and tweaking the 12-item menu, which has a few dishes in each section (noodles, seafood, meat, and dim sum). The dim sum picks include chicken buns and pork and shrimp shu mai, and the seafood section features hot fried wild snapper (with arbol chile, garlic, ginger, and onion). You can order the chicken noodle soup, which is more like a ramen with fried chicken, and I kind of can’t wait to try the hickory-smoked bacon jook with a fried egg.

The former Gatip Thai has been remodeled by Bon Vivants Design+Build—it’s a 49-seater, with high-top communal tables (which you can also reserve for large groups) that are right next to the open kitchen, a stand-up bar, and wood booths with bench-style seating.

Co-owner Nick Floulis (Pushback Wines) is behind the wine and beer list, and clever wine-based cocktails (which we mentioned in our previous piece), plus there’s sake on tap, one of the first places in the U.S. to offer it.

Open 5pm-12:30am nightly, but they are pondering closing on Mondays (just double-check their hours on their website before you head over or give ‘em a call). 2205 Lombard St. at Steiner, 415-655-3335.


The interior at COCO500. Photo from Facebook.

Here’s some big news on the San Francisco restaurant scene: chef Loretta Keller has sold her beloved ~COCO500~ to partners Anna Weinberg, James Nicholas, and Jennifer Puccio of Marlowe, The Cavalier, and Park Tavern. The corner space, which housed Keller’s Bizou before Coco500, will become the new location of ~MARLOWE~, whose current building is slated to be torn down. The shuffle is good news for everyone, with Keller looking to spend more time in Los Angeles with family and at her newest project at the Exploratorium.

The new space will essentially double Marlowe’s size, from 40 to 80 seats. They also plan to offer a few additional menu options, including Keller’s famous fried green beans as an homage to the location’s history. And in the most excellent developments department, they’ve also scored a full liquor license, and plan to add a bar menu and late-night hours. They are also plotting an outdoor patio, as well as a walk-up window to sell the famous Marlowe burger.

Coco500’s last day is Wednesday July 9th, and Marlowe will open in the space in October. Marlowe will remain open until further notice (h/t to Scoop).


Hideki (on the right) getting his swerve on. Yelp photo by Chris E.

Some big changes at Outer Richmond’s izakaya mainstay, ~OYAJI~, namely that chef-owner and top dog boozer Hideki Makiyama has sold the restaurant after something like 11 years of holding it down and is said to be returning to Japan. He is reportedly going to try to open something in Japan, but it sounds like he could potentially open a smaller place here (with no sushi) if that plan doesn’t work out. His last day was Sunday June 15th.

The new owner, Masa Kumagai, worked for Hideki around eight years ago. Right now the restaurant is closed for a couple of weeks while the license transfers and inspections are under way. There is an interim team in place until the new owner returns from Osaka in the end of July (and it sounds like there won’t be any beer or sake to drink until Masa gets back because the ABC needs his fingerprints). They will be changing the menu since many of the dishes were from Hideki’s special recipes; expect it to include more nigiri and maki.

Hideki, thanks for always bringing the party, and I know some of us (but I’d wager probably not all of us) will miss your boob and testicle jokes.


The dining room at 1760. Photo by Daniel Morris Photography.

A few chef changes around town: first up, chef Adam Tortosa has left ~1760~ after nine months on Russian Hill—there is no word yet of his replacement (via Eater).

Fans of Ricky Yap’s sushi at ~AKIKO’S RESTAURANT~ will be sorry to hear he has moved on, “citing differences with ownership.” Stand by for what’s next from this talented chef. (Via Inside Scoop.) 431 Bush St. at Claude, 415-397-3218.

Over in the Mission, ~TRICK DOG~ has a new chef, Michael Logan (previously at The Battery) who is taking over for Chester Watson. Logan will be adding new dishes, but don’t worry, favorites like the Trick Dog burger, thrice-cooked fries, and kale salad will stay put. Look for some chefs to be making some pop-up appearances during the menu transition as well. Also moving on is the Zodiac menu: the new cocktail menu is launching next week. 3010 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2999.

~BOURBON STEAK~ in The Westin St. Francis has a new executive chef, Pajo Bruich, who will continue with a modern American steakhouse style. His background includes executive chef of Enotria and Lounge ON20, both in Sacramento.


The behemoth double corned beef on rye from Rye Project. Photo courtesy Adam Mesnick.

Back in May we reported that Adam Mesnick of Deli Board and 1058 Hoagie was going to be closing ~1058 HOAGIE~ after two years and switching it to a new concept, ~RYE PROJECT~. We hope you got your last hoagie fix over the last couple months, because 1058 Hoagie is now closed as of June 27th. We have a bunch of details in our previous piece about what’s coming, but to recap, it will be a Jewish-style deli (he’s calling it a “Newish Deli,” ha!), featuring ingredients sourced from around the country (including rye bread from Detroit and bagels from New York that are parbaked, shipped, and then finished here, and of course, his favorite, Cleveland brown mustard), plus matzo ball soup, and more. UPDATE: WE JUST FOUND OUT RYE PROJECT IS OPENING ON MONDAY JULY 7TH, AND THE MENU IS LIVE! Hours will be Mon-Fri 11am-4pm. 180 7th St. at Natoma, 415-552-8984.

We already noted that ~THE LIBERTY CAFÉ~ had a new owner (Vega Freeman-Brady of Vega, you can read a note from her about the changes on Bernalwood) and was going to be focused on beer, brunch (daily), and burgers, and now we have the name: ~BERNAL STAR~. You can look at the menu here; initial reports on Yelp are a bit rough, but their website says they’re using 100 percent organic eggs, meats, and produce, so there’s that. Also: guest chefs, movies on the patio, half-off wine on Tuesdays, and a burger and beer happy hour offer (just $15) daily 4pm-6pm. Hours: Sun-Mon 9am-3pm, Tue-Fri 10am-10pm, and Sat 9am-10pm. 410 Cortland Ave. at Bennington, 415-695-8777.


A pair of tacos from Street Taco. Yelp photo by Eva H.

We’ve been trying to get some intel on this place for a while now, and it looks like Hoodline caught the opening of ~STREET TACO~ from owner Victor Juarez. He also owns Chilango, Casa Mexicana, and Azteca, and it looks like the new spot is offering classic choices like tacos, burritos, nachos, and quesadillas (you can peek at a menu here, and based on initial photos, they’re pretty hefty looking tacos). They’ve got a few less common meat offerings, too, like campechano (chorizo and beef), nopales, and alambres. 1607 Haight St. at Clayton, 415- 525-4435.


The Big 4’s grand dining room. Photo courtesy of The Scarlet Huntington.

The newly reopened ~BIG 4~ is now open for lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm. The lunch menu highlights classic dishes, including deviled eggs ($7), chicken liver mousse ($7), a burger ($14), and Cobb salad ($10/18). Check out the whole menu here and start plotting your next business lunch, you tycoon.

Outer Sunset’s ~OUTERLANDS~ is now open on Mondays after closing to remodel and expand. They’ve already added dinner service, so Monday hours are now 8am-10am for café service, lunch 10am-3pm, bar bites and cocktails 3pm-5:30pm, and dinner 5:30pm-10pm.


The communal table, overhead branch, and window-counter seating at Namu Gaji. Photo: ©

~NAMU GAJI~ is now offering free snacks with every drink ordered during happy hour, Tue-Fri 5pm-6:30pm. Each day, you’ll have a choice of three different dishes like spiced beef jerky, duck pâté, or kimchi arancini to accompany any beverage from their list. Their regular happy hour menu and dinner menu will also be available.

Remember that ridiculous glove law, and the petition the hopper asked you to sign back in February? Well, good news, friends! Sometimes grassroots campaigns really do work, and this one did. The part of the law that stipulated all cooks and bartenders wear gloves was repealed last week, just before the July 1st effective date. Good job, everyone who worked to get this law repealed!


Fireworks on the Fourth of July. Flickr photo by DVIDSHUB.

The Fourth of July is this Friday (meaning a nice long weekend, woohoo!), and it’s a great excuse to enjoy some American foodstuffs and plenty of grilled meats. Here are some places to enjoy yourself, as well as some excellent spots to pick up all the supplies you’ll need for your own feast.

~BAR AGRICOLE~ is having their 36th Annual July Fourth Cookout party from 4:30pm to 8:30pm (we’re not sure how they got to 36 years, since they opened in 2010, but okay). There will be all-you-can-eat oysters and grilled sausages, plus your first American beer is included (and of course you can buy more). Ten percent of all proceeds are going to save the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm, which hit another legal roadblock this week. Tickets are $50 in advance or $55 at the door.

San Francisco has a pretty serious lineup of cool butcher shops, so don’t miss a chance to grill some of their fine meats at your party. First up, despite their French roots, is ~OLIVIER’S BUTCHERY~, where you’ll find a full selection of specials for the holiday, including Louisiana hot links, cheese-stuffed burger patties, chicken wings, and baby back ribs. Here are all the choices; consider ordering ahead for large quantities. 1074 Illinois St. at 22nd St., 415-558-9887.

It wouldn’t be the Fourth without hot dogs, and local butcher shop ~4505 MEATS~ makes some of the best in town. They also butcher sustainable whole animals in-house and offer a huge variety of cuts, as well as housemade sausages. Plus, they’ll be open on the Fourth from 11am-5pm. Call ahead for large or special orders, and check out this informative (and funny) tutorial with owner Ryan Farr on The Bold Italic. 1909 Mission St. at 15th St., 415-255-3094.

~BELCAMPO MEAT CO.~ is raising all their own animals on their ranch in Yreka, then butchering and selling them at shops here in the Bay Area. If you’re headed out of town, they’ve also got locations in Larkspur at the Marin Country Mart, and in Palo Alto, in addition to their newly opened Polk Street location. Starting today, July 1st, they’re offering 20 percent off all ground beef, and also have a great selection of pastured meat, including ribs, sausages, and wings. San Francisco: 1998 Polk St. at Pacific, 415-660-5573; Larkspur: 2405 Larkspur Landing Circle #4 and Lincoln Village, 415-448-5810; Palo Alto: 855 El Camino Real Suite 161 at Alma, 650-561-3492.


On Monday July 14th, learn all about banh mi from author Andrea Nguyen, who recently released her book, The Banh Mi Handbook: Recipes for Crazy-Delicious Vietnamese Sandwiches. She’ll be celebrating the book’s launch at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ from 6:30pm-9:30pm. The free event will include a banh mi bar, cocktails, and party favors from Red Boat fish sauce and Ten Speed Press, plus Nguyen will be on hand, signing books and talking about her recipes.

On Sunday July 27th, head to Devil’s Gulch Ranch with CUESA, Allstar Organics, and chef Thomas McNaughton for a farm tour and luncheon. Mark Pasternak, who runs the beautiful Devil’s Gulch, will discuss the mutually beneficial relationship between farmers and restaurants in the Bay Area with McNaughton, while touring his property where animals including rabbits, pigs, and quail are raised. Then, at Allstar Organics, farmers Janet Brown and Marty Jacobson will talk about their land, where they specialize in heirloom vegetables and herbs.

The event begins at 8:40am at the Ferry Building, and buses return from Marin at 5:30pm. Tickets are $60 per person and include farm tours, transportation from the Ferry Building, and catered lunch. And speaking of Devil’s Gulch, they are eligible for a Kiva Loan with endorsement from the Agricultural Institute of Marin. It will allow them to grow the farm, and loan amounts start as low as $5! And you get paid back. Check it out, people.


The exterior of the former Café Aquarius. Photo from Facebook.

After reopening about two years ago, it looks like Berkeley’s ~SKETCH ICE CREAM~ is closing again, this time forever. Chowhounders originally caught the news from Sketch’s Facebook page, saying their last day will be Sunday July 6th, with modified hours. It sounds like they are hoping to spend more time with their daughter, but we’ll definitely miss them! Best of luck to everyone. 2080 4th St. at Addison, Berkeley, 510-984-0294.

Berkeley has another sad closure, this time on Solano. According to Berkeleyside Nosh, ~LA FARINE~’s Solano location closed unexpectedly this morning. Apparently, they’ve been involved in negotiations with their landlord about a sloping floor and mold issue, and were ultimately unable to reach a lease agreement. After 10 years in the neighborhood, owner Jeff Dodge says they hope to reopen nearby, and soon. In the meantime, both of La Farine’s Oakland locations remain open. 1820 Solano Ave. at Colusa, Berkeley.

As mentioned last year in tablehopper, the former ~AQUARIUS CAFÉ~ space was vacated after a rent increase from the landlord. Now, it looks like a new tenant has been found, according to E’ville Eye. It’s called ~BACANO BAKERY~, and it’s a gluten-free bakery currently based in Oakland. They’ll be moving their operation to the Emeryville location, which will function as a bakery and café. Eventually, they plan to move the bakery side of the business off-site. In the meantime, you can try out their goodies at various farmers’ markets, including Grand Lake on Saturdays, Temescal on Sundays, and Clement Street in San Francisco on Sundays. 1298 65th St. at Hollis, Emeryville.

And speaking of trendy dietary restrictions, East Bay Express reports that Berkeley is getting a new paleo-centric café. The new spot, which aims to open in September, is called ~MISSION: HEIRLOOM GARDEN CAFÉ~ and comes from partners Yrmis Barroeta and Bobby Chang. The pair are currently operating a food delivery business with chef Christian Phernetton while they get the restaurant off the ground. While their offerings won’t be “strictly” paleo, or “preachy,” they will focus on foods that are gluten-free, without sugars, refined flours, grains, legumes, or chemicals. Everything will be organic and GMO-free, as well. Because the space doesn’t offer a full kitchen, most preparation will be done off-site at a commissary kitchen and then delivered. They’ll also offer Intelligentsia coffee and those crazy “bulletproof” butter lattes with butter in place of milk in coffee. 2085 Vine St. at Shattuck, Berkeley.


Baguette sandwiches at Bio Café. Photo courtesy Bio.

As of Thursday June 26th, you’ll find Off the Grid at the Vintage Oaks Shopping Center in Novato every Thursday from 5pm-9pm. There will be nine trucks in attendance each week, with a rotating roster of trucks including El Porteño, Rib Whip, Smokey’s and the Oyster Guy, and Johnny Doughnuts. Vintage Way at Rowland Blvd., Novato.

There’s a new location of ~BIO CAFÉ~ in Sausalito. The new location marks their first Marin outpost (the original is in San Francisco’s Financial District). It’s a full-service restaurant with seating for 60. They’ll offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week, along with beer and wine. On the menu, look for healthy, French-inspired choices that can accommodate various dietary restrictions including vegan and gluten-free—check out the menus here. Hours are Mon-Fri 6am-10pm and Sat-Sun 7am-10pm.

June 24, 2014

The bar at South at SFJAZZ. Photo via Facebook.

Some changes to Charles Phan’s ~SOUTH AT SFJAZZ~: the space is closed for renovations as of Sunday June 22nd, and when it reopens on Saturday July 12th, the Southern menu will be scrapped for a Mexican one. (No one can accuse Phan of being a one-trick pony, that’s for sure.)

The chef is Rymee Trobaugh (formerly Zuni), and the new menu will be “small plates, with rustic Mexican flavors,” with dishes ranging from $5-$19. We got an initial look at the preliminary menu, which includes dishes like flores de calabaza rellenas (stuffed squash blossoms with sheep’s milk ricotta and salsa de aguacate) and molotes (Oaxacan masa empanadas with black beans, roasted salsa), while larger plates include conejo en mole amarillo (rabbit in yellow mole with masa dumpling and carrots) and puerco con chile verde (pork in salsa verde, turnips, black beans, and purslane). With a menu like that, it can be appeal to more than just show attendees.

Cocktails will also be shifted to emphasize rum, tequila, and mezcal. Stand by for an update when the opening is closer. 205 Franklin St. at Fell, 415-539-3905.


An opening party (with live music) at Red Hill Station. Photo via Facebook.

We’ve been tracking the opening of ~RED HILL STATION~ in Bernal Heights, and we’re happy to report this 36-seat neighborhood restaurant is now open for dinner. Owners Amy Reticker and Taylor Pedersen are both longtime Bernal residents, and both worked at Anchor Oyster Bar. The seafood-focused menu has shucked oysters; a Caesar salad with bay shrimp; tuna carpaccio; sea trout with browned butter, asparagus, carrots, fingerling potatoes, and almonds; and skirt steak with baby carrots and small potatoes. Look for menu items to rotate nightly.

There are also four beers and four wines on tap, all local picks. The space was previously Blue Star Elephant space, and it now features a bit of an East Coast seafood shack vibe, with a soft blue and white color scheme, copper-topped tables, and industrial metal chairs.

Their current hours are Thu-Mon 5pm-10pm. There will also be a fish market in a month or so, and weekend brunch is also in the plans. 803 Cortland Ave. at Ellsworth, 415-757-0480.


Big Chef Tom’s Banh Baby, Banh burger, from last year’s Outside Lands. Photo: ©

We were sorry to miss the pre-opening party of ~BIG CHEF TOM’S BELLY BURGERS~ last week, but we’ll be coming by for a belly burger soon enough! Tom Pizzica’s brand-new brick-and-mortar spot is now open in the former Taqueria Reina’s in SoMa. Congrats on moving on from pop-up status, Tom! (He was a contestant on The Next Food Network Star, and a host of Food Network’s Outrageous Food.)

As you can ascertain from the name, his burgers feature ground pork belly patties (although you can also get ground chicken thigh or a vegetarian patty subbed on any setup, and lettuce instead of a bun). The menu has all kinds of clever combos—I am a fan of the All-American, with rosemary mayo, sliced apple, and sharp cheddar cheese, but the Banh Baby, Banh is also damn tasty (Vietnamese caramel, sliced jalapeño, hard-boiled egg, and cilantro). You’ll find a number to choose from, plus some fried items on the side, like crispy onions and slaw; on the beverage side, Eater mentions beer will be available in a couple weeks. Hours are daily 10:30am-9pm. 1550 Howard St. at Lafayette (in between 11th and 12th Streets), 415-513-1331.


Americano photo by Cesar Rubio.

Some changes over at ~AMERICANO~ and Hotel Vitale: executive chef Kory Stewart is departing after seven years (he is reportedly going to be a part of a restaurant that’s being constructed from the ground up in the Napa Valley—best wishes to you, Kory). His replacement is chef de cuisine Josua Perez, who has been with the Hotel Vitale for seven years (he began as a sous chef in 2007), and his background includes working at Zuni Café for five years under Judy Rodgers. He will continue the restaurant’s cuisine style of handcrafted Cal-Italian cuisine with locally sourced ingredients (it’s pretty handy having the Ferry Building just across the street).


Brunch at Loló. Photo courtesy Ryan Robles PR.

~LOLÓ~ is bringing brunch to their colorful new Valencia Street location, every Friday (oh yeah!), Saturday, and Sunday from 11am-4pm. The menu includes the Mexican Benedict eggs, with corn gorditas, creamy poblano sauces, refried beans, and shishito peppers ($10), or check out the egg scramble with chorizo, spring onion, and peppers with tortillas. Chilaquiles with carnitas ($12), check. There is also a selection of brunch cocktails like La Dama with mezcal, St. Germain, watermelon, bitters, and celery seeds ($11), or the Francisco Reyes with Aperol, mezcal, Ancho Reyes, agave, lemon, and orange bitters ($11).

The recently opened ~PALM HOUSE~ is now serving brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am-2:30pm. On the menu you’ll find dishes inspired by tropical breakfasts from around the world, including a Pacific tuna ceviche with lime, orange, mint, cilantro, and mango pickle, or check out the fried eggs revoltillo with plantains, rice, beans, and Puerto Rican spices. There are also brunch cocktails, and their slushies will be available. 2032 Union St. at Buchanan, 415-400-4355.

Over at ~THE SQUARE~ there are two new menus available. Starting Saturday June 28th, they’ll be open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am-2pm. Menu options include a smoked trout served with pickled onions and a bagel, or an eggs Benedict with braised greens, Surryano ham, and crispy potato. Then, starting Monday June 30th, they’ll be serving a new bar bites menu from 4pm-6pm Monday through Friday. There’s a Firebrand pretzel with melted cheese ($5), or roasted bone marrow with parsley salad ($6). There will also be some drink specials, including a Corpse Reviver No. 2 with gin, lemon, Lillet, and absinthe ($8). 1707 Powell St. at Columbus, 415-525-3579.


Urban Picnic’s newest Castro location. Photo by Trang Nguyen.

As we reported in January, Financial District Vietnamese-inspired restaurant ~URBAN PICNIC~ has moved in to the Castro in the former Zadin space. Their second location is now open, with a new look and some new menu items. Their downtown location is all about quick lunch service, but this one will serve their new neighborhood in a different way. They’ll offer their healthy choices at brunch, lunch, and dinner, with the addition of late-night hours and weekend service, plus beer (including gluten-free and organic beer) and wine. Like the original location, it also has a strong eco-friendly philosophy.

On the menu, look for new choices like a four-grain oatmeal porridge and egg banh mi sandwiches at brunch, and a new sriracha citrus chicken sandwich at lunch. They’ve also added the new superfood salad with kale, spring mix, cabbage, carrots, raisins, grapes, coconut, and sunflower seeds in a lemongrass ginger vinaigrette. They are softly open now, with a grand opening scheduled for Tuesday July 1st. Hours (which may change after the soft open phase) are Mon-Wed 10:30am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10:30am-11pm, Sat 9am-11pm, Sun 9am-10pm. 4039 18th St. at Hartford.


The rainbow plethora of flavors at Papabubble. Photo from Facebook.


Dapper Dog. Photo courtesy Jason B.


Chicken wontons with spinach from Kingdom of Dumpling. Yelp photo by Janette L.

~PAPABUBBLE~, the Barcelona-based candy shop we reported on last year is now softly open in Hayes Valley, according to Hoodline. The space is a former sewing machine shop, where they’re making beautiful small-batch candies with a mix of traditional and unusual flavors. Look for options like root beer, sparkling wine, coffee, and bergamot, each with a different design. They can also do customized designs and flavors for special events, including a hilarious (and NSFW, if you work somewhere stuffy) lollipop for Pride. Watch your teeth on that one. Hours are daily 11am-7pm. 488 Fell St. at Laguna, 415-355-1188.

Tipster Jason B. sent us a photo of what looks like a new hot dog shop in the Castro. It’s called ~DAPPER DOG~, and is owned by Bassel Khoury (not @thedapperdiner), according to Castro Biscuit. Khoury didn’t respond to our call in time, but his father Riyad Khoury owns the Castro Nail Salon on the same block, and confirmed that it’s his son’s project. 417 Castro St. at Market.

~MARKET & RYE~’s West Portal location closed on Sunday, and Scoop reports that there is already a new project planned for the space. It’s called ~CALIBUR~ and comes from partners Sean Patrick and Jorge Ortigas, who currently work together at Sysco Food Systems. It will be a burger joint with California style: think all-organic ingredients, including beef from Panorama Meats, hand-cut fries, and milk shakes with Three Twins ice cream. Vegetarian and gluten-free options will also be available. They are making limited cosmetic changes to the space, and plan to open in August. 69 W. Portal Ave. at Vicente.

As for Ryan Scott’s plans now that his original Market & Rye location is closed, he’s decided to focus on his Potrero location, as well as his upcoming project, ~MASON~, which will be open for dinner in the evenings. He’ll be serving pizzas, small plates, and desserts there, and all items will clock in at less than $20. The new restaurant is set to open Monday July 21st, and will be open daily 4pm-12am, plus brunch Sat-Sun 10am-3pm and “power lunch Fridays” starting at 11am. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St.

Fans of the takeout dumplings from the Parkside location of ~KINGDOM OF DUMPLING~ will be happy to know they just got a change-of-use approval from the city to expand their Taraval Street retail location into a limited restaurant (this would be in addition to their 1713 Taraval Street restaurant). Stand by for details on the construction timeline soon. I just may have to go out there to get some dumplings and the full story. Heh. 2048 Taraval St. at 31st Ave.

There is a change at ~IZAKAYA YUZUKI~, in addition to the chef shuffle we reported last week. The name has changed to ~YUZUKI JAPANESE EATERY~. They’ve apparently dealt with some misconceptions about the term “izakaya”, and the new name should help avoid any confusion.


La Boulange’s Pride macarons. Photo courtesy of La Boulange.

This week in San Francisco is super-mega rainbow-powered, and here are a few places and treats you can track down to taste the rainbow (and bonus, all three of these places give back to the community with these purchases).

First up, when you’re bringing a couple of bottles of champers to various Pride brunches this weekend, a fab host gift would be a box of ~LA BOULANGE~’s rainbow macarons. Each box contains seven flavors: orange, passion fruit, pistachio, cassis, chocolate, lemon, and vanilla, and will be available at all La Boulange Bakery locations in San Francisco. A box is $12.50, and La Boulange will donate $1 to the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation (REAF) for each box of Rainbow Macarons de Paris sold during the month of June.

Meanwhile, ~SOUVLA~ in Hayes Valley is topping their fab frozen Greek yogurt with “Rainbow Surprise,” a blend of classic fruity (sugary) cereals. For each of the Rainbow Surprise yogurts sold from June 24th-June 29th, Souvla will donate $1 to the San Francisco LGBT Center. 517 Hayes St. at Octavia.

More frozen action: ~THREE TWINS ICE CREAM~ has created some themed ice cream flavors to celebrate Pride weekend (available from Friday June 27th-Sunday June 29th). The newly reopened Lower Haight shop will be serving up Two Tops Don’t Make a Bottom, Hot Cookie, Tea Bag, and others! Hilarious. Just $3 for prepacked (hold the jokes, okay?) pints. Ten percent of sales will be going to a fund to help persecuted members of the LGBT community in Uganda. 254 Fillmore St. at Haight.


The Street Food Festival on beautiful Folsom Street. Photo from Facebook.

One of the best food events of the year is coming up August 15th-17th: ~LA COCINA~’s Street Food Festival. This year, the party is going to be even bigger, because it turns out this is the last year they’ll be throwing it in the Mission. Wah! They’re scouting new locations, but if they don’t find one, it’s possible the festival may discontinue. We’ll update you with that news, but in the meantime, here are all the ways you can get pumped and celebrate the fabulous fête now.

First up, on Friday August 15th catch the Friday Night Fried Chicken Family Meal at the ~SOMA STREAT FOOD PARK~ from 6pm-10pm. Food vendors both local and far-flung will be on hand, frying up their tastiest birdies and slinging them into your bucket. There will also be a bar serving cocktails and craft beer, plus you get a filled-up flask upon entry. Nice touch. Tickets start at $50, and you can add lots of perks and VIP options during purchase.

Then of course there is the festival itself on Saturday August 16th. It will be from 11am-7pm on Folsom St. from 20th Street to 26th Street, and promises to be even bigger and better than before. We’ll have lots more details coming soon, but early bird tickets and passports are available now, as well as tickets to the unlimited Aperol Spritz brunch happening on Saturday from 11am-1pm. Are you fired up? Yeah, we are too.


The interior at Sextant. Photo from Facebook.

There’s a new coffee roaster open to SoMa, Eater reports, called ~SEXTANT COFFEE ROASTERS~. Kinani Ahmed—who also owns Jebena Coffee and hookah bar Nile Cafe—is the owner, and he has a roaster in the back of the shop where he’ll do all the roasting. For now, he’s only using Ethiopian beans, though Brazilian ones might make an appearance in the future. There is also a back patio, and pastries are coming soon. In the meantime, it’s all about espresso and drip coffee. Hours are daily 8am-4pm, though expanded hours are coming soon. 1415 Folsom St. at 10th St., 415-355-1415.

~RAINBOW GROCERY~ is adding a new outdoor café to their exterior, according to The Bold Italic. It’s moving into the corner of their lot, to the right of the garden area, at 13th Street and Folsom. They’ve been working with Stumptown on the coffee, right down to which machine to use, and are planning to offer a variety of small-batch, organic, and ethically produced beans, as well as tea from their bulk section. The opening is set for July. 1745 Folsom St. at 13th St., 415-863-0620.


Kombu-cured halibut from Peko Peko, Sylvan Mishima Brackett’s previous project. Photo from Facebook.

A few pop-ups for you to consider this week. The fabulous chanteuse Veronica Klaus is also a fantastic cook, so she’s back at ~TRUCK~ for another pop-up dinner (Miss V’s Vittles and Juke Joint!) this Wednesday June 25th. Details here. Three courses, and live cabaret featuring special guest Tammy Lynne Hall-Hawkins and Ms. Klaus! You get chocolate cake and a show, how’s that for a swell night? Get tickets and make reservations by sending $32 per person, details on the event link. 1900 Folsom St. at 15th St., 415-252-0306.

If you’re curious about the cuisine at Sylvan Mishima Brackett’s upcoming ~RINTARO~, he is hosting a couple of izakaya dinners this Thursday June 26th at ~NAKED KITCHEN~. Details and tickets here. 945 Valencia St. at 20th St.

From Tuesday June 24th-Sunday June 29th, ~NOMBE~ is offering a special offal menu, from spicy fried pig ear to assorted kushiyaki (skewers). $35 for a four-course menu paired with a flight of three Yamahai sakes. Order tickets or make reservations via OpenTable: visit online or call 415-681-7150.


The bar at Handlebar. Photo from Facebook.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that West Berkeley has a new restaurant and bar, from partners Roland Robles and Jennifer Seideman. Robles, who owns the popular Fivetenburger truck, is running the kitchen, while Seideman, owner of Acme Bar & Company, is running the bar. The food menu is simple and small, with mac and cheese, burgers, a salad, and a small dessert. Though the menu may expand in the coming months, Robles intends to keep it small, simple, and good. The bar has a similar focus on simplicity and quality. Seideman wants to offer simple cocktails with quality spirits, so your bartender can focus on offering good service to the neighborhood regulars.

The space is set up more like a bar than a restaurant, though there is plenty of seating and all ages are welcome before 8pm. The bar itself is a remnant from a previous tenant, and it is a dramatic one, with wooden columns and large mirrors. They’ve also invested in some beautiful glassware and vintage silver-plated utensils, which are nice details that elevate the whole experience. As for that name, which is prominently displayed via the front marquee, it is indeed all about the mustache: Robles rocks a pretty serious handlebar. 984 University Ave. at 9th Ave., 510-484-5360.