The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
August 15, 2014

The exterior of Woodward’s Garden. Yelp photo by Ann L.

Some damn sad news from my inbox today: the ladies of ~WOODWARD’S GARDEN~ have announced they will be closing very soon—the date isn’t exactly firm at this time. Sadly it’s one of those stories we seem to be hearing each week: their lease is up and won’t be renewed. Co-chef and co-owner Dana Tommasino tells me they have been looking for a new space for a while, so time will tell what they end up finding. She says, “We feel nostalgic, but also thrilled at the prospect of a new restaurant/project.” They are open to any suggestions.

Chefs and co-owners Margie Conard and Dana Tommasino opened Woodward’s Garden in its quirky Mission location over 20 years ago—in 1992—pioneers at a difficult corner under the freeway at Mission Street and Duboce. But no matter how desolate the location, within, the place is known for being all heart, with their soulful and seasonal cooking, and personal touches like fresh flowers, mismatched china, vintage silverware, and strong sense of community with their regulars.

After the restaurant closes, they plan to put together some pop-up Woodward’s Garden dinners and salons, partnering with artists around town (you can keep track on their website). We’ll definitely keep you posted on any events and once the closure date is confirmed, likely within the next month. For now, you have a little bit of time to go back in for a farewell meal—one that is sure to be meaningful. The ladies have this to share: “We are so grateful to SF and its fine support of our Garden all these years. Can’t wait for the next chapter.” Us too.

August 12, 2014

A look at the future exterior of Foghorn Bayview, via Facebook.


Foghorn is moving into the former Jackie Norman campaign space. Photo: Ariana La Porte.

Bayview continues to percolate with new projects, and come this winter, ~FOGHORN BAYVIEW~ will be sounding its horn. The project is from Eric Nyeste (Proof Grainworks), who some may recognize from the Bayview Underground Food Scene, and his friend and architect, Josh Wallace (Mock/Wallace Architects).

The duo envision a neighborhood place that is going to offer breakfast and lunch, one that is primarily “high-quality Southern” in feel. (Nyeste is from Atlanta, and confesses to be really big on making biscuits—look for ‘em to come topped with seasonal preserves.) Rotating dishes will feature seasonal and local produce, and many will be designed to be portable—the feeling is like a bistro-style version of a fast-casual spot, but with quality at top of mind. We’ll be able to share details about the chef, dishes, and more at a later date. Dinner service, evening events, and beer and wine will potentially come later.

Nyeste’s background includes extensive experience as a barista, as well as a bartender. They will be serving De La Paz and pulling shots off a Synesso, and there will also be a “cocktail” bar, but the sodas, coolers, and drinks will be nonalcoholic (but made with just as much creativity, quality ingredients, and care as a craft cocktail).

The duo are excited to be a part of Bayview; Nyeste says, “There are some phenomenal businesses in the neighborhood, and we want ours to tie in to the existing community. Everything we make will be quality, and will also fit in the context of the neighborhood. We want to be accessible and approachable.”

There will be 26 seats, with communal tables. The design and buildout are following sustainable building guidelines, and they are also grateful to the SF Shines program for their assistance with some components of the project, like refurbishing their sign and ADA compliance. They just finished demolition, so November is the current target for opening. 4608 3rd St. at McKinnon.


Construction at The Hall. Photo courtesy The Hall.


The vendor stalls at The Hall. Photo courtesy The Hall.

Back in June we broke the news on the marketplace moving into Mid-Market with involvement from Scott Peterson and Ted Wilson of ~FINE & RARE~. Some details of the project have emerged, and we’ve got an update on what’s going on.

First, the space is taking over the ground floor of the new development at 1028 Market Street and will be called ~THE HALL~, after the building’s former incarnation as a billiards hall. There will be a variety of vendors (more on that later), serving food and offering retail options, and restaurateur Matt Semmelhack (AQ, TBD, Mélange Market, Bon Marché) will also be helping with the design and operations of the new project. The space will feature an indoor/outdoor design, with a large outdoor grill. Picnic tables and trees both inside and out will integrate the interior with the outdoor seating, and high, soaring ceilings will keep the space airy and open. The space will have a rustic, industrial feeling, with eclectic touches and different spaces for each vendor.

And about those vendors. First, Fine & Rare will of course be represented, serving sustainable seafood with local and seasonal ingredients. Cassia from the Fuki food truck will be serving Moroccan and Peruvian cuisine, with an emphasis on spices and seasonings. The Whole Beast from chef John Fink will be offering their meat-centric and sustainably raised meats and seafood, with an emphasis on heritage breeds and utilizing every part of the animal. Raj + Singh offer seasonal Indian food with choices for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike, as rice bowls, plates, and wraps. Little Green Cyclo will also be in the house, with soups that are not normally available on their food trucks, including a pho made with oxtail broth and other choices made from scratch. Dignitá will run a café with coffee, pastries, and snacks. And finally, Anchor Brewing will be running the beer and wine bar.

The space will be open all day, with some purveyors offering coffee and breakfast in the morning, and others focusing on lunch and dinner. The plan is to open in late September, and of course we’ll keep you updated as that gets closer. 1028 Market St. at 6th St.


The exterior of the new Twofish. Photo from Facebook.


Morning buns at Twofish in Sea Ranch. Photo from Facebook.

Here’s an update on ~TWOFISH BAKING COMPANY~, the Sea Ranch bakery we announced that is opening a location in South Beach from Margaret Smith and Hilla Ahvenainen. They are officially opening their doors tomorrow, Wednesday August 13th. The new space will offer their rather famous baked goods (they are known for selling out at the Sonoma Coast location), including the signature sticky buns and apricot windowpanes, along with scones, muffins, banana bread, and cakes. There will also be some gluten-free choices. Coffee and espresso is from Equator, whose beans they’ve been using since opening 11 years ago.

At lunch, look for three daily changing salads and a variety of calzones. Smith says they are hoping to revive the calzone (Ben Wyatt would be proud), with lighter choices and fresh toppings. There will be a few options, including “Hylla’s Thrilla” with mozzarella, roasted onion, Mike’s Hot Honey, and soppressata; a white calzone with olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, ricotta, and basil; and a vegan option with garlic, onion, mushroom, artichoke hearts, and olives.

For the moment, they are going to try out these different menu options and see what is popular. In the future, there may also be a breakfast calzone, more dishes at lunch, and weekend hours. For now, hours are Mon-Fri 7:30am-3:30pm. 240 Ritch St. at Bryant, 415-970-6965.


A look into Beso’s dining room. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography, courtesy of Urban Daddy.

The Castro is getting a new Spanish-inspired hangout, ~BESO~, from the folks behind nearby Bisou (no word if Bacio is next). The restaurant opens on Thursday August 14th. Executive chef and co-owner Nicolas Ronan worked with consulting chef and partner Anthony Lemortellec (Boqueria, New York) on the menu of tapas that feature local and seasonal ingredients from their Napa Kitchen Garden in Napa Valley. Dishes include steamed mussels with chorizo, mushrooms with Manchego, steak tartare, and seasonal paellas, plus cut-to-order jamón and Spanish cheeses.

The contemporary 54-seat space was created by Tecta Associates, and the kitchen features some open (glass-encased) areas where guests can watch their food being prepared to order. There are brick walls, a marble tapas counter, small group tables, and a custom communal table made from oak. There are plenty of Spanish and California wines, selected by co-owner and general manager Damien Chabaud-Arnault. Open for dinner nightly. 4058A 18th St. at Castro, 415-801-5392.


Frito pie from Old Bus Tavern. Photo from Facebook.

A new bar and chili shop is coming to Bernal, called ~OLD BUS TAVERN~. It’s a partnership of Old Bus Tavern, a local brewer, and Barchili, which is currently doing an occasional Tuesday pop-up at Pizzahacker. There will be chili on the menu, of course, and their beer, though no other menu details were available. Barchili appears to focus on regional chili specialties, like Cincinnati-style and Frito pie, and of course they have a chili burger. No word yet on an opening date. 3193 Mission St. at Fair.

There’s a new place for clean eating in the Marina, according to Eater. It’s called ~SEED + SALT~ and comes from owner Mo Clancy in the former Tuttimelon space on Chestnut. She’s partnered with chef Ariel Nadelberg to create a vegan menu with no gluten or refined sugar, including an eggplant BLT, beet burger, and sprouted buckwheat granola for breakfast. It will most be a takeout spot, with only about 14 seats for those wishing to dine in. The opening date is targeted for mid-October. 2240 Chestnut St. at Avila.

~UDUPI PALACE~ has opened a third location in the Marina, according to Scoop. The vegetarian restaurant, which also has locations in Berkeley and the Mission, is known for its dosas, as well as a thali plate that packs a lot of food for a low price tag. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut.

Liquor license activity tipped us off to the new ~TRUCK STOP~ opening on Duboce in the Mission. Owner King Lei reports that it will be in the same vein as the SoMa STreat Food Park, with trucks and a bar with beer and wine. However, details are still quite sparse: though they plan to open softly within the next couple of weeks, no trucks have been officially signed on. Lei, however, reports that there has been “lots of interest.” 55 Duboce Ave. at Woodward.


I heard awhile back that the Rosenthal brothers—you know, the ones behind Town Hall, Anchor & Hope, and Salt House—had a new coffee project brewing (har). After a tablehopper tipster sent me a pic of their new café window, well, it’s time to release some details. Mitchell and Steve have partnered up with Hanna Suleiman of Caffè Greco to create ~LA CAPRA COFFEE~. The Rosenthals have been fans of Greco forever, and have talked about opening a café with Suleiman for a long time. But when it came time to figuring out which local coffee to serve, they had a hard time finding something that came close to their love of Italian roasts. So they decided to figure out their own roast!

They have been working closely with a toll (contract) roaster on an Italian-inspired espresso blend and a drip coffee, and have been cupping for months. Things are getting close as they figure out what they like… And we’ll be able to see what made the cut at the end of September (or maybe early October) when they open a café in the Financial District. Sagan Piechota Architecture (Piccino, Blue Bottle) is behind the design, which will feature marble counters, dark wood, and a little bit of seating. Mitch also said he plans to add some sandwiches (but not grab and go) and is trying to figure out how to get their beignets in there (it’s tough because there isn’t a kitchen). We’ll keep you posted on the opening, and who knows, knowing the Rosenthals, they may even start their own roasting facility someday—you know how chefs are. 50 Fremont St. at Mission.

Fans of ~BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE~ will have another spot to get their fix: they’ll be opening a new location in the Financial District, and it’s close to 2,000 square feet. Eater reports the offering will be like Blue Bottle Mint Plaza (think waffles and some other bites to go with your coffee). It should open in a few months. 115 Sansome St. at Bush. (There’s also going to be a location in the Twitter building, actually a kiosk, at 10th and Stevenson—that one is looking like early 2015.)


A dish from Robin Song’s pop-up at Hog & Rocks. Photo courtesy Hog & Rocks.


The truffle waffle from Ante Meridian. Photo: ©

Every Thursday this month at ~HOG & ROCKS~ you can check out a special late-night Korean pop-up from chef Robin Song. It begins at 10pm on August 14th, 21st, and 28th, and goes until the bar closes. Menu items are inspired by the street food and drinking culture of Korea, and include bibimbap; a zucchini pancake with soy, peppers, and cress; and kimchi tofu stew with a slow-cooked egg.

On Sunday August 24th, chef Anthony Yang (of Per Se and Michael Mina) is doing his Ante Meridian brunch pop-up at Naked Kitchen from 11:30am-2pm. The four-course prix-fixe menu will be seasonal and costs $40 per person—the man is famous for black truffle waffles, just sayin’. Beverages are BYO, so feel free to bring a delicious bottle of bubbles (or two, depending on how you roll). Get your tickets and check out a sample menu here. 945 Valencia St. at 20th St.

According to an announcement on Facebook, Dogpatch’s ~SMOKESTACK~ is now open for lunch. They now open at 11:30am, so their new hours are 11:30am-12am daily, with the bar staying open until 2am Fri-Sat. 2505 3rd St. at 22nd St., 415-864-7468.


Looking for a little taste of North Beach, but in the Mission? On Sunday August 24th, ~TRICK DOG~ is hosting a late-night North Beach-inspired Italian dinner with Aviation American Gin/House Spirits Distillery and Imbibe magazine. New chef Michael Logan has put together a menu that includes fritto misto and ricotta and eggplant cannelloni. But wait for the drink pairings! One of them is the “Pizza Negroni,” with mozzarella-washed Aviation gin, Campari, Martini & Rossi Gran Lusso, and tomato water. Whoa. The three-course meal ends with Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches, and the pairing has some grappa in it, oh you know it. Tickets are $55, all-inclusive. Seats are very limited, so reserve your spot quickly. Reservations can be made here. 9pm. 3010 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2999.

If you want to get out of town, check out this farm lunch and estate tour with the ~NOPA~/Nopalize crew on Wednesday August 20th at Devoto Orchards in Sebastopol (it’s first in a series called Seasons—take a look at upcoming events!). You’ll get to taste their heirloom cider, Nopa chef Laurence Jossel will prepare lunch, and pastry chef Anna Lee will provide a morning pastry to go with your Blue Bottle Coffee on the ride up. Depart at 9am, return at 4pm. $150. Tickets and details here.


The front window at Perry’s on Union Street. Photo from Facebook.

~PERRY’S~ has been on Union Street since 1969 and is celebrating their 45th anniversary this month. Yeah, that’s a good one. They’re having a party on Friday August 15th from 5pm until closing, with live music, guest bartenders, and a chance to play dice with owner Perry Butler. You can read more about Mr. Butler and the iconic bar and restaurant here. There will also be half-price wine all month, and daily specials with the “retro-ish” price of $6.95. Dishes will include classics like London broil and quiche Lorraine. Don’t miss it! 1944 Union St. at Laguna, 415-922-9022.


The new Corso. Photo by Harry Yuan.


The darling Montclair Bistro. Photo from Facebook.

Berkeley’s ~CORSO~ has made some changes, including signing on a new chef. Scott Eastman is now at the helm in the kitchen—he’s been there since they opened six years ago. They’ve replaced the kitchen’s large pizza oven with a special charcuterie cooler and a pasta cooker. The menu’s focus has shifted toward housemade pasta, whole animal butchery, and Bay Area style and products. Think Italian technique and inspiration, but with a California sense of adventure and maybe not so many rules—take a look at the new menu here. In addition to some new menu items, like a nightly butcher’s special cut of meat, yogurt-marinated rabbit, and extensive charcuterie choices, they’ve also acquired a full liquor license. The new cocktail list takes its inspiration from vintage cocktails, with Italian influence; take a look here. Hours are Sun-Mon 5pm-9pm, Tue-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm. 1788 Shattuck Ave. at Delaware, Berkeley, 510-704-8004.

This Wednesday August 13th, catch a special Italian regional dinner at ~BOOT AND SHOE SERVICE~ from 5:30pm-10pm. Every month, a different region of Italy is highlighted, and this month it’s all about Campania. Their pizzas will still be available as usual, along with some regional appetizers, pasta, and main dishes. If you can’t make it this time around, next month’s dinner will be on Wednesday September 10th, featuring the flavors of Sicily. 3308 Grand Ave. at Elwood, 510-763-2668.

Oakland’s ~MONTCLAIR BISTRO~ is changing hands at the end of this month, according to a press release we received. After 10 years, chef and owner Henry Vortriede decided to sell the restaurant to Joe Schnell and Tracey Belock, who will be opening it as ~CHOWHAUS~. Montclair Bistro’s last day of service will be on Monday August 25th, followed by a brief closure for remodeling. 6118 Medau Place at Moraga, Oakland, 510-482-8282.

As noted in the Scoop, the Future Bars crew have opened another location of Cask (their spirits and barware store), ~CASK ON COLLEGE~, in the East Bay (near Rockridge). Cask on College also carries wine and beer, and look for tastings too. 3185 College Ave. at Alcatraz, Berkeley,

August 5, 2014

Pink Zebra powah. Photo via Pink Zebra’s Instagram.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend pointed me to an upcoming pop-up by Jesse Koide (of Mission Chinese Food SF) in Copenhagen called ~PINK ZEBRA SF~ (the name is taken from the ever-present pink zebra headband that he wears). But a recent press release points to a much bigger story: while he’ll be doing the (now sold-out) pop-up at Bento Izakaya in Copenhagen in conjunction with Mikkeller Beer and Chinorocks X Joachim7inch from August 18th-23rd, it’s actually a trial run for his own new concept here in SF, which will open in October. Scoop adds Koide will be opening in Tao Yin, and taking a page from the MCF-Lung Shan playbook, it will be a shared restaurant and kitchen space.

Before cooking for MCF, Koide has also worked at Bar Tartine, Slow Club, Farina, and The Alembic; he will be working with Rio Sakai at Pink Zebra. The Japanese-Mediterranean menu will reportedly be available five nights a week, with an omakase menu served at a sushi counter too. 3515 20th St. at San Carlos.

Over at MCF, Chris Kiyuna of Mission Bowling Club will be taking over, working with Danny Bowien on the menu.


The namesake agnolotti al plin…with chicken skin! Photo: ©


A tasting plate of the grilled Spanish octopus. Photo: ©

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a preview dinner of the newly opened ~PLIN~, with editorial assistant extraordinaire Dana Eastland in tow. She covered quite a few details about the space in the last tablehopper issue, but I’d like to add that the space now feels much more comfortable and stylish than it has ever been. It has a soothing palette and a clean and contemporary look, courtesy of Alexander’s mother, Joanne Alioto. The addition of the booths creates a nice break in the space, and the tyranny of the conduit is gone. Also, all the flatware, dishes, and stemware were well chosen and chic.

You can look at chef-owner Alexander Alioto’s menu here (although they are playing the House of Prime Rib game and not listing prices on their website). In addition to his well-known raviolo uovo are the namesake agnolotti al plin, with an earthy chicken filling and rich demi-glace, among other housemade pastas. Some lighter dishes include black bass carpaccio, while heartier dishes include well-prepared grilled Spanish octopus, and baby Manila clams and white shrimp over polenta. Some vegetables include roasted beets with ricotta cheese and an enjoyably lighter version (read: not loaded with breading) of eggplant Parmesan. All the dishes will be served as small plates (the ones pictured here were tasting plates for the preview dinner.)

As we mentioned before, there’s a full bar, with some Italian-influenced cocktails (you can check out the list here), and look for a well-selected wine list (with very food-friendly by-the-glass selections) from Master Sommeliers Nunzio Alioto Jr. (Alexander’s father) and Chuck Furuya. The night of the test dinner, we also got a preview of their special reserve list: they were pouring from a Methuselah of 1979 BV George de Latour Private Reserve Napa Valley cabernet, in honor of Alex’s birth year (a very gracious offering to guests that evening).

Once again, hours are Tue-Sun 5pm-11pm. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-655-9510.


The interior at Urchin. Photo from Twitter.


Sweet polenta with blueberries at Talbot Café. Photo from Facebook.

After a car smashed into their storefront earlier this year, it looks like Mission Italian bakery ~JOEY AND PAT’S~ has reopened! Congratulations to everyone; let’s eat some Italian cookies and celebrate. 2499 Folsom St. at 21st St., 415-655-3918.

Eater reports that ~URCHIN BISTROT~ from the Ame and Terra team is now open in the former Wo Hing General Store space in the Mission. The menu by chef Michael Morrison is all about updated French bistro classics, and the cocktail list from Rafael Jimenez Rivera also takes inspiration from France. Hours are Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10:30pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm, with possible plans for brunch and lunch coming soon. 584 Valencia St. at Valencia, 415-861-1844.

After our repeated calls and emails went unreturned, it looks like Uptown Almanac got confirmation that the team behind the Royal Cuckoo is opening a store on 19th Street in the Mission called ~ROYAL CUCKOO MARKET~. It will offer liquor choices, as well as some eclectic grocery items, including breakfast goods, ice cream, and other “random items,” according to co-owner Paul Miller. Eventually, they want to offer sandwiches and espresso too. They hope to open next week. 3368 19th St. at Mission, 415-550-6903.

Hoodline reports that ~TALBOT CAFÉ~ in Hayes Valley has reopened after closing for a face-lift. In addition to some new paint and cosmetic upgrades, they are also now serving Sightglass coffee and some new menu items. They’ve even got a Saturday brunch, with savory polenta and waffles. Hours are Mon-Fri 6:30am-6pm and Sat 8am-3:30pm. 244 Gough St. at Hickory, 415-553-4595.


The exterior of Minako’s current Mission Street location. Yelp photo by Jaydee B.

A tipster wrote in to let us know that ~MINAKO ORGANIC JAPANESE CUISINE~ is moving this fall. Their lease is up this year, and it appears they won’t be able to stay in the current location. But there’s a silver lining! They are already looking at a location at South Van Ness and 14th Street and will likely be moving sometime before November 1st. We’ll update when we have more information. 2154 Mission St. at Sycamore, 415-864-1888.

After about a year doing the lunchtime service at La Movida, sandwich spot ~PAL’S TAKEAWAY~ is returning to its original home in Tony’s Market, Scoop reports. The market’s proximity to San Francisco General Hospital makes it a better location for the takeout operation, and upgrades have been made at Tony’s to keep it legal with the Health Department. They’ll be back at Tony’s as of Monday August 11th. 2751 24th St. at Hampshire, 415-203-4911.

In the meantime, we had a chance to catch up with Michael Meadows, the owner of ~LA MOVIDA~. He says that with Pal’s moving back down the street, they’ll try out other guest chefs and do more lunch pop-ups. They are also planning to offer their own lunch menu, with dinner menu items reworked for the lunch crowd, along with items like sandwiches, salads, and soup, available for dine-in or takeout. He plans to relaunch lunch the week of August 18th. 3066 24th St. at Folsom, 415-282-3066.

According to Castro Biscuit, the ~PICA PICA MAIZE KITCHEN~ location in the Castro is officially closed. A sign went up a few months ago that said the space was closed for repairs, but it now appears that the newest location has closed and is up for lease. Fortunately, you can still get their tasty arepas at the Valencia and 15th Street location. 3970 17th St. at Market.


An Australian black truffle. Photo by The Truffle & Wine Co. via SPQR.

It might not be truffle season here in the Northern Hemisphere, but in Australia, where it is currently winter, the delicious morsels are in full force. ~SPQR~ is offering a five-course Australian black truffle tasting menu every Tuesday through Friday night, until the end of August. Look for a truffle-stuffed game hen, with chanterelle, savoy cabbage, and puffed rice, and for dessert there’s a torta di zucchini with nectarine, vanilla mascarpone, and truffle gelato. Yes, truffle gelato. Here’s the whole menu. The dinner is $108 per person, with wine pairings available for an additional $62, not including tax and tip. Reservations required.

Every Sunday, ~COTOGNA~ hosts a Sunday Supper, with a prix-fixe menu for $55 and wine pairings for $35. You can check out the upcoming summery lineup here, and while they all look tempting, the one I’d definitely be making a reservation for is on Sunday August 24th, with corn chowder, smoked ham cappelletti, and fried chicken, waffles, and ribs, plus Neapolitan ice cream for dessert! Supper is served from 5pm-9:30pm.


The scene at last year’s 20th Street Block Party. Photo from website gallery.

Outside Lands is coming up on August 8th-10th, and in addition to lots of musical acts, the opportunities to stuff your face just keep coming. In addition to all the choices we mentioned in June, you can also now check out GastroMagic (you have to use a special voice when you say it), a special stage with demonstrations, performances, and events with chefs (both local and far-flung) from Chefs Feed. My favorite? The Beignets & Bounce Brunch with Big Freedia and Brenda’s French Soul Food (twerking audience members will be awarded with beignets, holla!).

Here’s the lineup, and be sure to note there’s BaconLand within the GastroMagic area, where you can sample bacon from purveyors like Fatted Calf and Tennessee’s Benton’s Bacon. And of course drinks will be available, including choices from Local Edition, Hotsy Totsy, and Alembic. Cheers!

Noise Pop and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group are taking over 20th Street in the Mission on Saturday August 23rd for their annual 20th Street Block Party. From 12pm-6pm, the free festival will stretch from Bryant to Harrison, with food, music, and drinks. You can check out the lineup of musicians here, and plot some of the tasty things you want to eat and drink at participating neighborhood spots like Flour + Water, The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, and Trick Dog—here’s the full list. The festival is free to attend, with food and drink available for purchase. This year, there are also VIP tickets available for $95 per person, which includes access to a special lounge above, bites from Salumeria, beer, wine, a T-shirt, and more. Oh, and don’t forget the after-party at Public Works.


Oysters on the half shell at Oyster Bash 2013. Photo from Facebook.

Don’t miss unlimited oysters on Saturday August 23rd at ~B RESTAURANT & BAR~. From 1pm-4pm, you can enjoy oysters galore (we’re talking 12,000 oysters!) raw on the half shell, grilled, steamed, and fried into po’boy sliders. At 2:30pm, there’s even an oyster shucking contest, and the winner gets unlimited oysters at B Restaurant & Bar for a year (contest open to the first 20 people to register on-site). Tickets are $45 in advance or $65 at the door and include oysters only. Beverages will be available for purchase. 720 Howard St. at 4th St., 415-495-9800.


A jerk chicken plate from Auntie April’s. Photo from Facebook.

The wonderful Bayview Underground Food Scene Pop-Up Community Market is not only a great place to shop, but you can also get dinner while you’re there. Comfort Foods National, CDXX, and Auntie April’s will all be in attendance (plus breads from Earl’s Bread and Fox & Lion), serving delicious food along with live music, wine, beer, and even mead made right here in San Francisco. The market is every first and third Thursday of the month, from 5:30pm-8pm at Pier 70. Don’t miss it! Pier 70, 20th St. at Illinois.


The meat plate from Perdition Smokehouse. Photo: ©

An announcement on Facebook and a story in the East Bay Express share the very good news that ~DOUGHNUT DOLLY~ is opening their second location on Wednesday August 6th. The new Berkeley outpost will be similar the one in Temescal Alley, with four filling flavors for the fresh doughnuts, coffee, and (this is new) espresso. There are also some new food items in the works. 1313 9th St. at Gilman, Berkeley.

According to an announcement on Facebook, ~PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE~ is now open at 12pm on Saturday and Sunday, giving you some extra time to enjoy their very fantastic back patio and beer garden. Hours are Mon-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12pm-12am. 2050 University Ave. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-900-5858.

Observant Chowhounders caught the news that pizza from Oakland’s ~BOOT AND SHOE SERVICE~ is now available at ~ORDINAIRE~. From 5:30pm-10pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can enjoy a pizza with a glass of wine from their lovely collection, just down the street from where it comes out of the oven. 3354 Grand Ave. at Elwood, 510-629-3944.

SF Weekly reports that Japanese curry shop ~MURACCI’S~ is opening their third location in Berkeley, near the UC campus. They aren’t disclosing the exact location at the moment, but they are going to have more space and will add a few more menu items. They hope to open in mid-August.

Just around the block (but very very different) from the new Doughnut Dolly, ~SANCTUARY BISTRO~ opened in Berkeley last Friday, according to Eater. It’s a vegan and gluten-free café, with lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Menu choices include gluten-free waffles, mushroom- and walnut-stuffed poblano peppers with rice, slaw, and mole, and mix-and-match soups and salads at lunch. Take a look at the menus here. 1019 Camelia St. at 10th St., Berkeley, 510-558-3381


You like booths? Fattoria e Mare has booths for you. Photo via Facebook.

A couple of quick updates that crossed our desk for you 650 dwellers: now open in the former Kuleto’s Trattoria in Burlingame is ~FATTORIA E MARE~, offering Venetian cuisine with California influences. The chef-owner is Pablo Estrada, most recently at Rose Pistola (since 1998!), so expect lots of seafood (fritto misto, seafood stew, grilled local salmon), plus housemade charcuterie and salumi, pasta, and pizza from the wood-burning oven. Cocktails are available, plus many wines by the glass, and there’s a happy hour from 4pm-6:30pm. Live jazz performances are Wed-Sat 7pm-10pm. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm; dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm; brunch Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm. 1095 Rollins Rd. at Cadillac Way, Burlingame, 650-342-4923.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a spot to party, ~VINYL ROOM~ has undergone a serious transformation courtesy of Craige Walters from C. Walters Design. Expect a retro look, with vintage barstools, new booths in the lounge, and an art wall with 50 panels of imprinted artwork of iconic album covers. Sound, lighting, flooring, mirrors, paint, and artwork all got updated as well. In August, Vinyl Room will open daily from 5pm-2am. 221 Park Rd. at Howard, Burlingame, 650-347-7656.

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, 415-956-6969.

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.