The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
June 21, 2022
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Bo tai chanh (beef carpaccio) at Bodega SF. Photo: Erin Ng.

Back in January, I reported that ~BODEGA SF~ was working on opening a brick-and-mortar location in the former Mason House in Union Square/Tenderloin after popping up at Rooster & Rice in the Castro. (Read my original piece for background on this special Northern Vietnamese family business that has its roots on Larkin.)

Have you tried chef-owner Matt Ho’s delicate banh cuon? They’re hard to find around town and so delicious—you’ll see them on the lunch menu. There’s also bánh khọt on the menu, those incredible Vietnamese shrimp-turmeric-coconut cupcakes, as well as dry hu tieu, one of my favorites (rice noodles with shredded chicken, shrimp, ground pork, housemade fish cake [which totally rocks], cucumbers, cilantro, and crispy shallots in a garlic soy sauce or dry shrimp ragù that you mix up). You’ll also see some former Bodega Bistro classics: beef pho, shaking beef (bring on the Maggi butter), and I’m gonna keep a candle lit for the squab to return.

Look for elevated service and presentations (Ho has over 10 years of experience in fine dining), but a family-style vibe and casual atmosphere will keep things social and fun. Lunch will offer more traditional dishes, while dinner service will bring some modernized and creative presentations (like bánh khọt caviar and the bo luc lac comes with Maggi-truffle butter) and whole fish cha ca, plus a tasting menu for $88. There are also cocktails with ingredients like pandan and lemongrass. Hours are Mon and Wed-Sun 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. 138 Mason St. at Eddy.

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The trademark lime green and red exterior of Yuet Lee is illuminated once again. Yelp photo by Mike C..

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A look at the updated Maybeck’s. Photo: Marc Fiorito/Gamma Nine.

Thanks to Supervisor Aaron Peskin for tweeting the fantastic news that ~YUET LEE~ has reopened after a nine-month, soft-story retrofit. Bring on the late-night eats: the clams in black bean sauce, the salt-and-pepper squid (always better on-site at 1am), and chow fun. Join the likes of Jackie Chan and pay a visit to this classic Chinatown restaurant that would really love to see you (and needs our business!). Open daily 11am-11pm (Tue 5pm-11pm). 1300 Stockton St. at Broadway.

Another great comeback is ~LAI HONG LOUNGE~, a Chinatown favorite for dim sum (and sister to Hong Kong Lounge on Geary). They also closed for a soft-story retrofit, and made some major décor updates and added two new dining rooms. Time to get some friends together for a dim sum feast or evening banquet. Open daily 10am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-8:30pm. 416 Powell St. at Broadway. Via Hoodline

In a little over a week will be the reopening of ~MAYBECK’S~ in the Marina, this time with some ownership changes (Erik Lowe has departed and Lori Baker and Jeffrey Banker of the former Baker & Banker are joining chef-owner Aaron Toensing, and the talented Glen Schwartz has joined the team as chef de cuisine), a room refresh, and a major menu update (although the famed beef Wellington will continue on Wednesdays). I had some readers wondering about what what happening with the space, Eater reports it’s coming back June 30th.

The website mentions “a robust wine list created by wine consultant Rebecca Chapa” (yay, Chapa!) and “Coming this summer, Maybeck’s will open a wine shop as part of the restaurant, offering a selection of domestic and imported wines for purchase in addition to wine dinners. The wine shop will also serve as a private dining space.” Cheers! Hours (for now) will be Tue-Thu 4pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 4pm-11pm. 3213 Scott St. at Lombard.

After closing in Laurel Village after a nine-year run, ~ARTESANO~ has quietly moved to Dogpatch and has joined forces with The Plant to share fixed and utility costs, resources, the storefront, dining room, kitchen, and even some employees. Clever solution! You can find their housemade empanadas, lomo saltado, Cubano sandwich, grilled churrasco steak, ceviche, tres leches cake, and homemade sangria. Open weekdays only for the time being, with happy hour from 3pm-6pm daily. Kids eat free on Wednesdays after 4pm (kids 12 and under, with adult purchase). They offer indoor and outdoor dining, takeout, delivery, and catering. 2335 3rd St. at 20th St.

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Bini’s famed momos (with the magical, inimitable spicy tomato-cilantro sauce). Photo: Eric Wolfinger

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Sugar eggs puffs from the original Shanghai Dumpling King on Balboa. Yelp photo by Christine C.

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A chic palette at Montesacro Marina. Instagram photo via @montesacromarina.

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The new Scott’s Chowder House on Fillmore. Photo courtesy of Scott’s Chowder House.

Great news, momo lovers: the third location of ~BINI’S KITCHEN~ is now open as a kiosk in the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace. Pre-pandemic, Binita “Bini” Pradhan, had initially planned to open her kiosk with the other six La Cocina Marketplace businesses, but decided to hold off and focus on her two other locations until the time was right. She will be serving lunch on weekdays from 11am-2:30pm, offering a similar Nepali menu to her other locations, including her well-known Nepali dumplings (momos), and combo meals with dishes like her Gurkha chicken (chicken thighs stewed in yogurt, tomatoes, and Bini’s Kitchen house spice blend), kwati (Nepali-style, nine-bean chili), housemade paneer, and more. FYI, her Montgomery Street location is set to reopen later this summer. 101 Hyde St. at Golden Gate.

Did you know ~SHANGHAI DUMPLING KING~ has opened a location in Duboce Triangle? Yes, the longtime dumpling joint known for their xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumplings), plus pan-fried bao, steamed dumplings, Beijing-style boiled dumplings, cold tofu salad, and famed sugar egg puffs (although sadly I don’t see them on the menu here, they must not have a fryer)! Their Outer Richmond location on Balboa closed back in 2018 (the original owner sold the business and then things went downhill—it reopened as Bao Bao Noodle, which is now closed), and there’s still an SDK location on Monterey Blvd. in Sunnyside, which I honestly haven’t trekked to, so I’m happy to see this new location. No idea how the quality here compares to the original, and I couldn’t confirm if it’s the same ownership with ABC licenses, and they’re closed on Tuesdays, so it will just need to be checked out in person! SDK took over the short-lived New Cathay Express. Open Mon and Wed-Sun 11am-2:30pm and 4:30pm-9pm. 720 14th St. at Church.

In February, I was the first to report about ~MONTESACRO~ opening a new location in the Marina, and it’s now open and slinging eight kinds of pinsa for the neighborhood. Since they have a full kitchen here, you’ll see an expanded menu, with some delicious-sounding pasta dishes (like fettuccine alla vignarola: artichokes, spring onion, peas, fava beans, or the simple but perfect rigatoni burro e Parmigiano, with 36-month Vacche Rosse Parmigiano and demi-sel butter), plus some lamb chops, rice-stuffed tomatoes, and whole fish. There’s also a full bar and weekend brunch. It’s spacious, with 75 seats or so, including some outdoor seating. Open Tue-Fri 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 10:30am-3pm and 5pm-10pm; happy hour is coming soon. 3317 Steiner St. at Chestnut.

This is a bit of an unexpected location, but a fourth ~SCOTT’S CHOWDER HOUSE~ has opened on Fillmore Street in the former Black Bark BBQ. You’ll find affordably priced seafood dishes like chowders (Boston, Manhattan, lobster bisque, and a vegan version), plus a lobster roll, crab roll, fish and chips, local oysters (fresh and BBQ style), mussels, and grilled fish. The project is from Steve Mayer, chef Sammy Reyes, chef Laurent Manrique, Olivier Daridon, and chef Patrick Albert, who have teamed up with chef Michael Mann (who will head up the kitchen and was most recently at Prospect Restaurant). Open Tue-Sat 4pm-10pm; lunch is coming later. 1325 Fillmore St. at Eddy.

The former Wine Kitchen on Divis is now another location of ~CURRY AND KABAB~, serving Indian pizza; classic chicken, lamb, and seafood curries; dishes from the tandoori oven; biryani; and more. Open 11am-10pm. 507 Divisadero St. at Fell. [Via Hoodline]

Was happy to see on Instagram that founder Nabeel Silmi, Kimberly Kim, and Adrian Lopez got their second café open, ~GRAND COFFEE TOO~ on Mission Street. Stand by for some new drinks coming soon; you can take a peek at some pics on Eater. Open Mon-Fri 7am-5pm and Sat-Sun 8am-6pm. 2544 Mission St. at 21st St.

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Whoa, was there something in my beer? Nope, Outside Lands always delivers on the trippy lights! Photo: Tom Tomkinson.

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Otra’s carnitas tacos at Outside Lands. Photo: Carly Hackbarth.

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Big love for this mural. It’s like looking inside my brain. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Can you believe Outside Lands returns August 5th-7th? After taking last year off, my first ever (Miss Rona was headlining in the Heineken tent, kidding), I’m really looking forward to heading back into the foggy fray (my personal lineup includes Washed Out, SZA, Disclosure, Kim Petras, Franc Moody, Purple Disco Machine, Lido Pimienta, and Pussy Riot!). Of course, Outside Lands is known for having the best food and drink lineup of any festival I have ever attended, and this year includes 91 Bay Area restaurants and 300-plus items, the most ever to date! Nearly all 91 vendors offer a gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian option. There will also be 35 Napa and Sonoma wineries and brews from 30 northern California breweries—did someone say bubbles and oysters in the Courtyard? Mommenpop aperitifs? Cocktail Magic will also be in effect.

There are 18 new businesses joining the festival for the first time, including The Bussdown, Wahpepah’s Kitchen, El Chino Grande, Fowl + Fare (serving their bomb fried chicken sandwiches), Daytrip (with pork butt Parker House buns), alaMar Kitchen & Bar (braised oxtail or jerk chicken nachos), Jo’s Modern Thai (drunken Thai noodles, pork laab burgers, famous party wings, yessss), Trick Dog’s Quik Dog, and Fish-GO-Tec (a take on fish and chips) by Lord Stanley.

Returning faves include Abacá, El Garage, Merkado, Media Noche, Peaches Patties, Shawarmaji, Son’s Addition (with their chorizo dirty fries), The Lumpia Company (um, bacon cheeseburger lumpia!), and The William Tell House (lobster-loaded tots!).

I’m most excited to see there’s a La Cocina Incubator booth making its first appearance at Outside Lands, hosting a different entrepreneur each day of the festival: MexiQ with smoked chicken sandwiches on Friday, Origen with tlayudas Oaxacan on Saturday, and Noodle Girl with blue pea flower rice noodle bowls on Sunday.

If you’re one of those people who minted money during the pandemic, you’ll want to consider the Golden Gate Club, with an ultra-luxe festival experience (as in much more than VIP) designed by Ken Fulk, featuring bites from chefs Nancy Oakes and Dana Younkin of Boulevard Restaurant and Ravi Kapur (Good Good Culture Club and Liholiho Yacht Club), with more to be announced.

Look forward to seeing you out there!

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The Grand Hall will be open for the Foodwise Summer Bash! Photo courtesy of Foodwise.

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The view at Greens. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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A dish from Marlena’s Summer Camp at Hotel Zeppelin menu. Photo: Garrett Scafani.

It’s great to see events continue to return, and a big one is the Foodwise Summer Bash (formerly CUESA) on Sunday July 10th. Among their 30 food participants (including Causwells, Delfina, Mi Comedor, Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, Prubechu, Reem’s California, Shuggie’s, and Sister), they just added a few more food partners, including Hilda and Jesse and Pomella. Beverage partners (15 in all) include Brucato Amaro (love), Far West Cider, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Hangar 1, Wildhawk, and more! Peak-season produce will be in the house!

After two years apart, the event is going to be both outside in front of the Ferry Building on the sunny Embarcadero promenade and upstairs in the Grand Hall for the first time ever, making for a gorgeous and spacious experience. Beyond being a delicious party, this fundraising event supports Foodwise farmers markets and raises critical funds for free food access and education programs, such as Foodwise Kids and Foodwise Teens, which serve more than 3,000 SFUSD youth each year. A portion of the proceeds also underwrite the costs of their participating restaurants.

Tickets are $165, but tablehopper readers get styled with a 15 percent discount code: tablehopperfriend. See you there! 5:30pm-8pm, Ferry Building.

Recently, ~GREENS~ announced their new executive chef, Katie Reicher, the fourth female chef to helm the San Francisco icon (since 1979!), who is implementing a new menu every month. And now, they just announced a guest chef summer dinner series, with a portion of proceeds benefitting Foodwise! The guest chef lineup includes Crystal Wahpepah of the Native American (and James Beard-nominated) Wahpepah’s Kitchen (June 28th), Heena Patel of Gujarati Besharam (August 9th), and Adiam Tsegaye of Oakland’s Ethiopian Mela Bistro (September 28th). Greens’ chef Katie Reicher will collaborate with the all-female trio on vegetarian menus made from locally sourced ingredients. Tickets are $120 per person, plus tax and fees. Seating is limited; book soon before the dinners sell out.

I am super-excited to hear James Beard Award winner chef Melissa Martin (of Cajun Mosquito Supper Club in New Orleans) will be at ~TURNTABLE AT LORD STANLEY~ for a month-long residency in August! More info/book here, and you can read an interview with her here.

While ~MARLENA RESTAURANT~ is waiting for their Bernal Heights dining room to finish being remodeled, they’re hosting a pop-up in Union Square: Summer Camp at Hotel Zeppelin, through September 3rd. The Michelin-starred, husband-and-wife team of chefs David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher have created a variety of menus designed to be a playful celebration of summer adventures in San Francisco (no, they aren’t bringing in a fog machine). There’s a seven-course tasting menu ($125) in the main dining room, with dishes like pea panna cotta with soft-boiled quail egg and chive tuile (pictured) and plankton pappardelle with salt spring mussels and a beurre blanc sauce, plus optional wine pairings for $85, as well as a selection of à la carte offerings (including roasted black cod with Coachella corn broth, morel mushrooms, and fava beans) in the 32-seat lounge for walk-ins, plus a list of bespoke cocktails from in-house team Fernando Becerra and Luis Padilla. Open Tue-Thu: bar opens at 4pm, dinner 5pm-9pm (Fri-Sat until 10pm). 545 Post St. at Mason.

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A dream dinner spread at Goood Frikin’ Chicken. Instagram photo via @gfcsfo.

Oh man, I was so sorry to see a tweet from Burrito Justice that our inimitable ~GOOOD FRIKIN’ CHICKEN~ has closed. What a bummer, that place has been a neighborhood standard for bomb-ass rotisserie chicken for almost 20 years. RIP, beloved mosakhan. Sending sumac kisses. 10 29th St. at Mission.

SF Business Times reports the much-adored ~MASSAWA~ has closed its North Beach location (it moved from the Upper Haight)—Massawa has been serving Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine since 1986. 532 Green St. at Grant.

May 17, 2022
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The incredible laksa from Dabao Singapore on Pastel. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The creamy kabocha-chicken udon from Kagawa-Ya on Locale. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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A version of my nightly noodle soup (with or without dumplings). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

With so many folks getting sick right now, I figured I may as well share some of my favorite things I ate and drank to feel better while I was home with Ms. Rona for three weeks. Luckily, I didn’t lose my smell (or taste), nor did my appetite really diminish—food was definitely my comfort. May some of these dishes bring the same to you. Please note some of my links below have discounts for first-time users, and I make an affiliate referral bonus with your order, so thanks in advance.

-As a single lady living solo, you gotta figure out how to take good care of yourself. Fortunately, I was able to place a couple orders with Good Eggs to get fresh groceries delivered (get their Savoy spinach, kale, broccolini) and they have a bunch of bone broths you’ll want to have around. They also have some good house soups—I loved their kale soup with smoked linguiça and potatoes for something more substantial, and I added extra kale to it.

-For breakfast, I went back to my Dad’s Italian farmer roots and made stracciatella soup for quite a few mornings. Warm up some chicken broth, add fresh spinach leaves, and then beat two eggs with salt, pepper, a pinch of peperoncino, and grated pecorino, and then gently drizzle and stir the eggs into the broth like an egg drop soup. So restorative.

-For lunch and dinner, I needed something easy and clean and I was trying to stay away from dairy since I was so congested. Time for dumpling soup! I would warm up some broth, add chopped scallions and freshly minced ginger, and then add a combo of different greens (bok choy, broccolini, and/or spinach) and throw in some frozen dumplings that I boiled separately, maybe some noodles too, occasionally an egg. Top with sesame oil and chile crisp. Eat. Slurp. Go back to bed.

-I’m so grateful I had placed some orders from small delivery services like Locale and Pastel before I knew I was sick. From Locale, I love the alllllll the noodle kits from Kagawa-ya Udon Noodle Company, like creamy kabocha chicken udon, kitsune udon, and their hearty niku udon (get extra sous-vide soft boiled eggs to drop into your soups). They also sell Roli Roti’s tasty chicken and beef bone broths. Don’t miss the dumplings from Dragon Beaux.

-From Pastel (not just a sponsor, I love their service!), I was way into Chiang Beef Noodle soup (don’t forget the extra pickled mustard greens), laksa from Dabao Singapore (get extra marinated soy eggs), and the massive kyay oh si chet khao swe (Burmese dry noodles) from Love Khao Swe (I turned it into two meals). They also have fancy dumplings from Dumpling Club, treat yo’self. I see they added pozole rojo from Donaji, awesome. (You’ll need someone to pick up your treats at a Pastel pick-up point.)

-I tried to avoid delivery, but sometimes you just gotta get the caldo tlapeño from Nopalito—chicken consommé, seasonal vegetables, garbanzo beans, avocado, queso fresco, and chipotle adobado. (Get a second order to have around, trust.) The matzo ball soup from Wise Sons is another good one.

-I was drinking a bunch of turmeric and ginger (golden milk) drinks, check out my post here.

-For some reason, I got a mad craving for sweets while I was sick. My friend dropped off a trio of cupcakes from Noe Valley Bakery for me, the only cupcakes I like to eat. Check out these cookies I got on Pastel, so good.

-Shoutout to cannabis for helping with the muscle aches—I used topicals on my shoulders, back, and legs; took a couple baths with cannabis bath salts; and ate plenty of low-dose edibles to chill out and watch movies. Add Maat Apothecary infused spiced honey to your tea! Use my code mymilligram on Sava for a $30 discount off your first delivery.

Do you have a friend who’s sick and want to help them out? Get them a gift card to any of these delivery services. My friend gifted me an Instacart credit, so sweet, and I was able to treat myself to a bouquet of flowers from Bi-Rite Market (flowers really help elevate one’s mood!) along with their fantastic chicken noodle soup (it’s so damn good).

-I was sent some beautiful teas from Art of Tea—their Wellness Collection has some winners (Breathe, Bright-Eyed, and Endurance are all lovely and resorative).

What to Watch:
Here’s what I watched, in no particular order: Minx (so fun), the final season of My Brilliant Friend (gah, so damn good), Tokyo Vice (covered my eyes during the gross violent parts), The Gilded Age (great escape), Bridgerton (of course), Russian Doll, Julia, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, The Muppets Take Manhattan (yes, I was stoned), Rocky (flashback time), and What We Do in the Shadows (always makes me laugh). I watched The Andy Warhol Diaries before I was sick, it’s absolutely brilliant.

Feel better, take care, rest.

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Smoked Hokkaido uni and ikura hand roll. Photo: Albert Law.

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The airy and welcoming interior of Handroll Project. Photo: Albert Law.

The team behind Michelin-starred Ju-Ni in NoPa is due to open their latest project, ~HANDROLL PROJECT~ this Wednesday May 18th, the first hand roll sushi bar in SF. They held a soft-opening period (which was predictably busy AF), but sadly had to halt their trial run last week when some team members got sick with Covid (we’re seeing this a lot right now, it’s like December and January all over again—hopefully their staff is feeling better).

When they resume service, the menu will feature 10 different types of temaki/hand rolls, as well as specials and small plates, and a small, curated list of wine, sake, Japanese beers, and non-alcoholic beverages from GM and beverage manager Alice Lee. This casual concept from executive chef Geoffrey Lee and partner Tan Truong is designed to be approachable and fun, while still featuring quality sourcing and ingredients.

The menu has 10 different types of hand rolls, including salmon and sesame (ikura, bonito flakes), spicy tuna  (shiso, shichimi aioli, cucumber, gari), spicy kani (tobiko, negi, miso aioli), smoked hamachi (shiso, negi), chef’s poke hand roll (chef’s choice poke, ikura), creamy scallop (tobiko, negi, spicy miso aioli, avocado), and toro takuan (fatty tuna, pickled radish, shiso, negi). The hand rolls will be available in sets of five, seven, and ten. Chef Lee will also offer specials including A5 wagyu (garlic chips, shiso, chives), smoked uni and ikura (smoked Hokkaido uni, ikura), and ikura and ankimo (salmon roe, monkfish liver pâté).

Located in the former AL’s Deli in the Mission (really, this time, this corner space’s curse has gotta end!), there are dual counters on either side of the restaurant with seating for 16 guests, murals from local artist The Apexer, and an airy, modern feeling. No reservations, walk-ins only (use Yelp Waitlist), open Wed-Sun 5pm-9pm. Look for lunch and takeaway kits later. 598 Guerrero St. at 18th St.

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The Palm Court restaurant at RH San Francisco. Photo courtesy of RH.

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The exterior of RH San Francisco in the restored Bethlehem Steel Building. Photo: RH.

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Sheng jian bao (SJB) pan-fried pork buns at Mom Dumpling. Photo courtesy of Mom Dumpling.

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The latest Elephant Sushi, now open in Hayes Valley. Photo courtesy of Elephant Sushi.

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The charming exterior of Aedan Koji Kitchen. Image courtesy of Aedan Koji Kitchen.

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Vegetarian malfoufa at the new Savor from Mohamed Aboghanem. Yelp photo by Shabbir S.

Before we dive in here, have you seen pictures of the new ~THE PALM COURT~ restaurant at RH (formerly known as Restoration Hardware) San Francisco’s new gallery at Pier 70? Whoa, it’s like Vegas just dropped off a live-fire restaurant inside the historic Bethlehem Steel Building in Dogpatch, with two wine bars and a rooftop garden, complete with Medjool date palms and chandeliers and a whole lot of Taos taupe. Meet influencer headquarters for the next six months. (Maybe RH will finally launch an Instagram account?)

Sadly, the menus read pretty safe instead of scintillating. Lunch includes a $32 rotisserie chicken salad (with tragically chopped chives) and a $14 wood-grilled cob of corn side dish—just hope someone else invited you to your lunch date (unless you happen to be completely loaded, and you won’t even blink at a $16 butterscotch brûlée, which hilariously says “no words” underneath it, my thoughts exactly). You can view the other menus here and more images in this Eater piece. I still want to check the space out—it’s a jaw-dropping project—but I hope that menu steps up and gets interesting, especially at those prices. Open daily 10am-9pm. 590 20th St. at Illinois.

There are some mighty fine-lookin’ dumplings coming out of the new ~MOM DUMPLING~ in Park Merced (they have an original location in Pleasanton). I’m already plotting my first visit ASAP, stand by for a field report on @tablehopper on Instagram very soon! The menu’s main event is all their housemade dumplings, like five kinds of steamed XLB (xiao long bao) and Chinese spinach bao, to pan-fried dumplings, like sheng jian bao (SJB) pan-fried pork dumplings (which look amazing) to potstickers. There are a variety of appetizers, soups, and noodles, like dan dan noodles and braised beef brisket noodles, plus some main dishes (walnut shrimp, Mongolian beef, ma po tofu). Open 11am-8:30pm. 31 Cambon Dr. at Cardenas.

Over in Hayes Valley, ~ELEPHANT SUSHI~ has opened their third location in the former Little Gem. There’s a full bar, with creative, low-proof cocktails from beverage consultant Elmer Mejicanos (of Red Window low-proof fame), like an elephant spritz and yuzu highball. The extensive menu from chef Temuujin Batkhu includes sushi bites like the Beastie Boys (uni, ankimo, quail egg) and 10 pieces of nigiri for $56, as well as a flaming sea bass dish, and seasonal dishes like soft-shell crab right now. Open Wed-Sun 5pm-9:30pm. 400 Grove St. C1 at Gough.

It’s always wonderful to see a La Cocina incubator business graduate to a brick and mortar, and the latest business to do so is Aedan Fermented Foods, a traditional Japanese koji company from Mariko Grady, who just opened ~AEDAN KOJI KITCHEN~. She has been making umami-packed, koji-based food products since 2011—Mariko sold her fermented products to friends to fundraise for victims of the tsunami in Japan.

At her new Mission koji storefront, she’s selling products like her miso paste and shio koji (all-purpose marinade), plus bento boxes ($15-20) for a to-go lunch. Similar to the bento boxes she sells at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, they will include a base of rice and dishes made with her products, like tofu, chicken, fish, or mushrooms marinated in shio koji, miso soup, sagohachi cucumber pickles, or tamagoyaki (a Japanese homestyle omelet). There are also some drinks, including warm barley and hojicha teas, and I can’t wait to try her drink made from amazake, an all-natural Japanese sweetener made with koji and rice, flavored with cardamom, turmeric, or ginger. Mariko will also be offering monthly classes on making miso and cooking with koji on first Sundays of the month. Open Tue-Fri 10:30am-2pm. 613 York St. at 18th St.

I was so happy when a tablehopper reader told me Mohamed Aboghanem (of the former Saha in the Hotel Carlton and then Saha Berkeley) has opened a vegetarian Middle Eastern café in the former Martha Brothers coffee shop in the Inner Sunset called ~SAVOR~. You’ll find vegetarian sandwiches on griddled lavash, salads (including fattoush), falafel, a Mediterranean platter, and a tasty-looking dish called malfoufa (instead of a beef-stuffed cabbage roll, it’s made with potatoes, onion, sage, and mustard), served with babaganoush and a side salad. There are also a variety of bagels and toppings, from vegetarian to vegan options. Open daily 9am-2pm for now. 401 Irving St. at 5th Ave.

Noe Valley has a new Japanese restaurant, ~DASH JAPANESE TAPAS & SUSHI~ in the former Bacco (the original is in San Mateo). On the sushi side of the menu, you’ll find nigiri (can’t beat six pieces of chef’s choice with a California roll for $28, or five pieces of special nigiri for $36), plus maki, temaki handrolls, and donburi. But then there are the tapas Dash is known for, like the Top Secret (spicy tuna on crispy rice) or raw oysters with sea urchin. The extensive menu also includes soup, salads, and more traditional Japanese appetizers (karaage, tempura, yaki onigiri), and ramen and udon. You can make a dinner set for $22 as well. Open Mon-Thu 5pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-9:30pm. 737 Diamond St. at Elizabeth.

Over on Broadway in Chinatown is a new Thai-Vietnamese spot called ~SPORK~ serving Asian fusion brunch items like pandan waffles with fried chicken, Thai iced tea French toast, a tom yum omelette, and bo luc lac (stir-fried and diced tenderloin with onions and hoisin) with sunny side up eggs, potatoes, and garlic toast. There are also savory dishes for dinner service, like fried crispy sole with eggplant curry sauce. Open Wed-Sun 10am-2:30pm and 5pm-9pm (no dinner service on Sun). 631 Broadway at Grant Ave.

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Kung pao chicken at Mamahuhu. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The iconic Cafe Flore will bloom once again. Photo via Cafe Flore on Facebook.

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Ghirardelli’s World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae (and others) at Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Experience Store. Photo courtesy of The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company.

Folks in Noe Valley are gonna be happy with the news that Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s and Ben Noore and Anmao Sun will be opening a second location of Inner Richmond’s ~MAMAHUHU~ in the former Toast on 24th Street location (vacant since 2019). Bring on the Chinese American dishes, like beef and broccoli, and their sweet and spicy chicken sandwich. The fast-casual format will continue. Noe Valley Voice reports they hope to open before the end of the year, maybe by November. 3991 24th St. at Noe.

Opening soon in the Inner Sunset is ~MIDNITE BAGEL~, which is due to open its retail shop and café on Monday May 23rd (via Eater). Owner Nick Beitcher will be offering his whole-grain and very sourdough-bready bagels, some breakfast pastries (don’t forget: he was the former head baker at Tartine), and coffee service. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7:30am-4pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm. 646 Irving St. at 8th Ave.

Thanks to Castro man-on-the-street Michael Petrelis for tagging me in a tweet that announced ~CAFE FLORE~ is coming back (thank goodness) and new owner Serhat Zorlu, a “Turkish-German emigre” will be selling coffee at the storied location. Honestly, it’s one of those special, iconic spaces (since 1973!) that we just can’t afford to lose. Grateful for the fantastic news, look forward to being able to update this with more details soon. 2298 Market St. at Noe.

Here’s another great comeback story about ~HAMBURGER HAVEN~ (since 1968!), a beloved local diner that is reopening in the Inner Richmond. 800 Clement St. at 9th Ave. [Via SFGate]

Over at Ghirardelli Square, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is unveiling a newly redesigned flagship store on Friday May 20th as it celebrates its 170th anniversary. ~GHIRARDELLI’S CHOCOLATE EXPERIENCE STORE~ will showcase new chocolate offerings and experiences, with chocolatiers handcrafting chocolate bars on-site (a first for the brand) and their hot fudge. Guests can order from a full fountain menu, which, of course, features Ghirardelli’s World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae. And then there’s that beautiful view. The 5,000-square-foot space was reimagined by Bay Area design firm Eight Inc. (which designed the original Apple stores); they included tiles from Heath Ceramics, vintage advertising, and hand-painted murals. Hours are Sun-Thu 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-11pm.

One more coming soon item: Carrie and Rupert Blease of the recently launched ~TURNTABLE~ at Lord Stanley have announced the latest lineup: June will have the duo back in the kitchen serving fish and chips out of the to-go window, a full tasting menu, a four-course midweek menu, and Sunday Suppers in the dining room. Look for an extra-special menu on June 11th, celebrating Lord Stanley’s seventh anniversary!

July brings chef Daniel Burns (a Halifax Nova Scotia native) of Luksus in Brooklyn, known for his Michelin-starred restaurant, the first to only offer beer pairings (without any wine or spirits on the menu). August will have chef Melissa Martin of New Orleans’s famed Mosquito Supper Club will be taking up residence for the month, offering her “Gulf Coast-swamp-Cajun” cuisine. Reservations for July will become available at the end of May, and reservations for August will be available at the end of June.

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Owner Nite Yun with guests (celebrating the Lunar New Year and having nom krouch sesame balls!). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Hot, glazed doughnuts at Johnny Doughnuts. Photo via Facebook.

Across the Bay, chef-owner Nite Yun has announced the end of her five-year lease for ~NYUM BAI~, and her decision to quietly close her deeply personal Cambodian restaurant in Fruitvale. There will be a farewell event soon, and she is planning to reopen in a new location—the ‘60’s Khmer rock will play on.

Fans of ~JOHNNY DOUGHNUTS~ will be sorry to learn they recently closed their Hayes Valley location, but there’s some good news in this mention: “We are in the process of finalizing our lease for the new location and will share the news with you very soon. While we transition to our new SF neighborhood you can find us every Friday evening at Off the Grid at Fort Mason Center.” Their Marin Country Mart location remains open. Stand by for details soon, and it sounds like there will be a new limited edition flavor, depending upon who wins this flavor nomination contest (you have until May 20th to enter), and the winner will receive a free dozen doughnuts every month for a year. Dangerous!

Noe Valley Voice reported owner Charles Kung of ~24TH STREET CHEESE COMPANY~ is putting the business up for sale, after more than 36 years of business. All inventory is currently 30 percent off. 3893 24th St. at Sanchez.