The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
July 12, 2016

Photo courtesy of Nomica.


Photo courtesy of Nomica.

Due to open in August is ~NOMICA~, the restaurant we mentioned was coming to the former Pesce in the Castro from the Sushi Ran team. A few more details have emerged, starting with who the chef is: Hiroo Nagahara, a Tokyo native who has lived in the U.S. He worked for Charlie Trotter and was also the culinary talent behind The Chairman food truck concept. During the past year, he has been traveling and working in Japan at Kagurazaka Ishikawa (three months) and Narisawa (two months)—he wanted to get back to his roots and go deeper into his heritage by cooking in Japan. He will be working with the Sushi Ran team: Yoshi Tome, Paul Quinn, and Mynor Morales.

The concept is different from Sushi Ran—Nomica will be a modern Japanese restaurant featuring a fresh take on Japanese cuisine and ingredients (don’t expect sushi here). While the food will be technique-driven, it will still be comfortable—rustic but focused. Some dishes will be inspired by chef Hiroo’s memories of his youth in Japan and dishes prepared by his mother.

A few sample dishes include a sashimi salad that will have five kinds of fish in it (which will change daily), with the fish dressed in different ways, from salts to oils, and seasonal vegetables playing a part as well, like romano beans and marinated radishes. Chef Hiroo also mentions a kara age cube, a spin on a dish he remembers having as a young boy, but served with accompaniments like shiso, a glaze, and relish. There will also be gyoza farce-stuffed chicken wings—that are brined in koji—and the gyoza filling is his mother’s recipe, and a Hitachino beer and Parmesan waffle will come with matcha butter and truffle maple syrup. Nope, no shortage of creativity here. While talking to Hiroo, you learn so many intricacies to these dishes. There will be a lot more than meets the eye, but the taste is what matters most to him.

There will be small plates, both hot and cold and designed to share, and larger plates will be available as half portions, like crispy sea bass (loup de mer) with raw big-fin squid, and a ragout of red quinoa and black togarashi. Donabe rice will be served tableside—an homage to his time at Kagurazaka Ishikawa—and served with Dungeness crab, marinated salmon roe, crab roe, and mitsuba.

Look for many housemade items, such as Hokkaido koji, umeboshi iwashi “anchovy,” and organic matcha butter, and there will also be bread made in-house (just wait for his pastry chef Adam Cruz’s 27-layer laminated brioche).

There will be a full bar specializing in awamori, a spirit from Yoshi’s native Okinawa, and a bar menu, plus lots of sakes and wines. The team is highly focused on offering finely tuned service, even though the atmosphere will be casual. There will be room for 80 in the dining room, with some communal seating and 20 at the bar, and a private dining room is available for 8-12 as well. CSS Architecture/Cass Calder Smith is behind the design. There is a lot of on-site carpentry, utilizing black walnut, with 30-foot cypress beams and cedar.

As for the name, it has a double meaning: it represents the crossroads where it’s located—Noe Valley (no), the Mission (mi), and the Castro (ca)—but it also means “drinking house” in Japanese. It will be open for dinner nightly 5pm-11pm. We’ll keep you posted on more details as the opening gets closer. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-655-3280.


The front bar area. Photo: Nick Vasilopoulos.


The dining room. Photo: Nick Vasilopoulos.

One of San Francisco’s more charming restaurants is reopening this Thursday July 14th. ~MASON PACIFIC~ had a kitchen fire in March and is now back on the scene. Another new fixture in the kitchen is chef Max Mackinnon, who is launching a brand-new menu. The Cali native was previously the chef-owner of Pistou in Burlington, Vermont, and has cooked at Restaurant Relae in Copenhagen, Fish & Game in Hudson, New York, and most recently Rose’s Luxury in Washington, D.C. He was also a commis in the 2011 Bocuse d’Or competition, so you know this guy has his sauces down.

Take a look at his new menu, which includes dishes like braised lamb with flowering broccoli and citrus broth. There’s also a bar menu since this is such a great place to swing by for a glass of wine (or two) and a few small plates. Master Sommelier Dustin Wilson (maybe you saw him in Somm and Uncorked?) and managing partner Eric Railsback (who is also a partner in Lieu Dit winery) will continue to run the rocking wine program.


Dabba bowl with mango lassi. Photo courtesy of Dabba.


Trio of tacos. Photo courtesy of Dabba.

SoMa workers and residents will be fired up with this new lunchtime option: ~DABBA~ has opened their first brick-and-mortar location (you may know it from its existence as a food truck with the elephant on a surfboard). It’s “fine casual,” with a California take on international street food, one that’s healthy and sustainable, with flavors from India, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The concept is inspired by Ashok Kumar’s Indian-Mexican restaurant Avatar’s in Marin County, home of the Punjabi burrito! Chef Walter Abrams (previously Spruce and French Laundry) is working with social tech entrepreneur Andy Mercy on this interesting project.

The menu includes some riffs and updates on Avatar’s combos (chicken and pumpkin, lamb and eggplant, or pork and mustard greens) and recipes, which you can get in a paratha burrito, taco, or bowl, plus a main course salad and sides. There’s also a happy hour from 4pm-6pm Monday through Friday, with specials like a spiced hummus platter and more.

High-quality ingredients, many sourced from local farmers and artisans, will be featured prominently, like produce from SMIP Ranch and Mariquita Farm as well as antibiotic-free meats. Vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free diners will find plenty of options. Yogurt lassis, kombucha on tap, agua frescas, and beer and wine are also offered.

The 2,000-square-foot interior, by Zero Ten Design with interior designer Laura Martin Bovard, has 30 seats inside and 50 outside in an interior courtyard with a fountain. And it’s a socially responsible business, working with Summer Search, an organization that gives disadvantaged students mentorship, college guidance, and more. Open Mon-Fri 10:30am-6pm, breakfast coming soon. 71 Stevenson St. at , 415-236-3984.


The new Mr. Holmes stand at Workshop Cafe. Yelp photo by Sandy B.


The newly open Foodhall. Instagram photo by @lifes.rad.


Chicken lunch special at Deccan Spice. Yelp photo by Asma K.

Fans of the baked goods from ~MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE~ should know there’s a stand just outside Workshop Cafe in the FiDi. Before you get too excited for cruffins, there aren’t any, you still need to hit up the original TenderNob location and stand in line for those. But you can score their croissants, doughnuts, kouign amann, bostock, Danishes, and any other sick baked goods. Open Mon-Fri 7am-1pm, or until they sell out. 180 Montgomery St. at Bush.

So the ultimate bougie/artisan shop that people are going to love to hate on but will probably/eventually/secretly love is softly open, ~FOODHALL~. As we previously mentioned, the 2,500-square-foot indoor market is from two food-loving ex-investment bankers from London, Bilal Mannaa and Yasmin Murtadha. The location is the previous Val 16 Latino market that was on the corner of 16th Street and Valencia, and the space has been carefully restored. It now has an airy and chic look, with artisan bread instead of corn tortillas on the custom-made shelves, plus prepared foods, charcuterie and cheese counters, choice wines selected by Master Sommelier Eric Entrikin, spirits, pantry goods, and organic produce, dairy, eggs, and more. There is coffee service from Counter Culture and frozen yogurt too. Bonus points: unsold food is donated at the end of the day. 3100 16th St. at Valencia.

There’s a new South Indian place in the Mission, ~DECCAN SPICE~, which is supposedly rocking some very authentic Hyderabadi dishes, with high marks for their dum biryani, idlis, vadas, dosas, and more. And faloodas! Can’t wait to check this one out when I get back to SF. Open Mon-Thu 11am-3pm and 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sun 11am-5pm (lunch) and 5pm-12am (dinner). 1142 Valencia St. at 22nd St., 415-915-2222.

A tablehopper reader tipped me off to the opening of ~LAKSA~ in the Mission. On the menu: Vietnamese pho, noodle dishes, and more. 1005 Guerrero St. at 22nd St., 415-913-7396.

After 10 years in Cow Hollow, Eater reports ~UMAMI~ has closed. Based on the melancholic note posted on their website, it seems the closure wasn’t what the partners had in mind. (“Call us another casualty of a changing San Francisco.”) 2909 Webster St. at Union.

A tablehopper reader let me know another sushi place has closed: the sustainably minded ~TATAKI SOUTH~ in Noe Valley. Their Glen Canyon and Lower Pacific Heights locations remain open. 1740 Church St. at Day.


The courtyard at Central Kitchen is a pretty sweet spot for brunch. Photo by Aubrie Pick.

There are some changes happening at ~CENTRAL KITCHEN~, which has closed its doors for a reboot and will reopen on Thursday July 21st. As chef-partner Thomas McNaughton shares, the plan is to be more of a neighborhood restaurant. Sections on the menu will reflect “our love for all things raw, cured, fermented, and smoked coming from our shared larder and Salumeria’s cure box,” plus vegetables, crudos, an expanded pasta and bread selection, and meats and fish prepared in their new wood-burning hearth. Dishes will be shareable and communal and will range in size from smaller plates to large-format dishes.

There is a taker for the former Betelnut space, and it’s Adriano Paganini’s restaurant group (Belga, Beretta, Delarosa, El Techo, Lolinda, Starbelly, Super Duper, and whew, Uno Dos Tacos). They will be unveiling the new casual dining concept this October; it will be open for lunch and dinner, and the front patio will be designed to be a lively space. 2030 Union St. at Buchanan.

Another project coming to Union Street will be ~NAPLES ON UNION~, a new 100-seat upscale Italian restaurant, “artisanal pizzeria,” and wine bar, opening late summer in the former La Cucina. Details are sparse at the moment, but we’ll keep you updated. 2136 Union St. at Webster.


A Leaven Bagel sandwich creation. Photo via Facebook.


The cafe at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch. Now just insert bluegrass and raclette. Photo courtesy of Outside Lands.

Bagel fans, the folks behind ~LEAVEN BAGEL~ will be popping up on Saturday July 16th for a lunch event at Second Act Marketplace. Check out the menu here—there will be bagel sandwiches, and bagels and spreads too (you can get it to go and enjoy a bagel picnic in the park). 10am-2pm. 1727 Haight St. at Shrader.

Outside Lands is hosting their sixth annual Summer Pairings Series, with five food, drink, and music events for the month of July in San Francisco, St. Helena, and Oakland, as warm-ups to the main event. There is a pizza, pinot, and funk party at Bluxome Street Winery with Mozzeria; a Bluegrass, BBQ, and Brews bash with Southpaw BBQ and Anchor Brewing; a smoke-out (heh heh) with 4505 Burgers & BBQ and Harmonic Brewing; a ramen party with Itani Ramen and Fort Point Beer Co.; and a preview of Cheese Lands at Long Meadow Ranch for the entire month of July. Tickets to each event are sold individually; no Outside Lands ticket is necessary for purchase.


The Stag’s Lunchette interior. Photo by Lincoln Smith.

Sad news, sandwich lovers. We just heard the unfortunate news that ~STAG’S LUNCHETTE~ is closing August 1st. Owner Alexeis Filipello opened the business four years ago and sadly says her “organic sustainable biz is unsustainable financially; I can’t sacrifice quality or raise prices anymore.” She will be changing the concept, however—think box lunches and company lunches. We’ll keep you posted on what’s next, so go get that gorgeous pastrami while you can.

Fans of ~GRAND LAKE KITCHEN~ should know the restaurant’s expansion is up and running, with double the seating and a renovated patio and full bar, plus updated menus. Closed Tuesdays. (Via Nosh.) 576 Grand Ave. at MacArthur, Oakland.

East Bay Express caught an Instagram post from Roy Choi, and it looks like the Loco’l team is opening a coffee shop in West Oakland, possibly the old Tomm’s Bar-B-Q at the corner of Market and 35th streets.

June 28, 2016

Don Pisto’s Tequila Bar is opening soon. Photo courtesy of Don Pisto’s.


A preview of Don Pisto’s Tequila Bar (the walls will be decorated/the space is in progress). Photo courtesy of Don Pisto’s.

A while back, we told you Pete Mrabe was going to be opening ~DON PISTO’S TEQUILA BAR~ in the former Mas Sake space, and it looks like the grand opening will be next week (after the Fourth of July).

The menu will have smaller portions of Pisto’s classics, and everything will be less than $15 (except specials). There will be Pisto’s enchiladas, their amazing tortilla soup, and machaca beef and egg. The menu will have a street food section, with items available by the piece for $3-$7, like a fish taco, carnitas taco, braised beef tamale, street stand burger, and ceviche tostada. You can look at a preview menu here. There’s a full bar—Duggan McDonnell consulted on the list, which he also did for Pete’s (the former Amante).

There’s room for 90 people, with spacious and groovy seats with round backs and bases, some classic Mexican cinder block details, and wood tables. Hours will be 5pm-12am, and later on the weekends. 2030 Lombard St. at Webster.

A few other updates: at ~PETE’S~ in North Beach, there’s a new menu for dinner on non-game days, and brunch is starting in a couple of weeks (preview of what’s to come here). 570 Green St. at Columbus.

If you swing by ~CENTRAL STATION DELI~, you’ll note the offerings there have ramped up significantly. Daniel Sudar, who makes dessert for Pete’s, is making pastries, croissants, apple pie, and cheesecake (evidence here). You can also pick up their hefty deli sandwiches, including a New York-style pastrami, plus breakfast sandwiches, lunch salads, lasagna, and other items to take home for dinner. Open 8am-5pm daily. 728 Vallejo St. at Stockton.

Mrabe decided to pass on the ~POSOLE~ project in the Mission, so that won’t be opening after all.


Pappardelle at Tratto. Photo: Patrick Chin.


The counter and dining area at Corridor. Photo courtesy of J. Wade Public Relations.

The short-lived BDK has been rebranded and reopened by the Puccini Group as ~TRATTO~ in the Theater District, next to The Marker Hotel. Chef Kevin Scott, previously of The Big 4, is serving rustic Italian dishes, with housemade pasta, sausages, and pizza. The full bar also has a focus on Italian-inspired cocktails. 501 Geary St. at Taylor St.

Opening today (Tuesday June 28th) is ~CORRIDOR~, the sister restaurant to Corridor Café from the Hi Neighbor Restaurant Group (Trestle, Stones Throw, Fat Angel). This Mid-Market restaurant features counter service and elevated comfort cuisine by executive chef and partner Jason Halverson, including the squid ink conchiglie from Stones Throw, and soup, salad, pasta, entrees, sides, and sweets (check out the menu here). Happy hour runs 3pm-6pm daily, when it’s $5 for every beverage on the menu, including wines by the glass, draft beer, and craft cocktails. Open for lunch and dinner midweek and dinner only on the weekends. 100 Van Ness Ave. at Fell, 415-834-5684.

Nearby, there’s a new and affordable spot that took over the former Jasmin’s Cafe, ~TACOREA~. Hoodline reports they want to make killer tacos, burritos, and spicy Korean bowls too. Hours are Mon-Thu 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-12am. 809 Bush St. at Mason.

The folks behind the SoMa StrEat Food Park have opened a second location in Mission Bay: ~SPARK~. You’ll find a range of food trucks (check out the schedule here), a beer and sangria garden, fire pits, TVs, a family-friendly game corner, and a double-decker bus. 601 Mission Bay Blvd. at 4th St.

Nearby in SoMa is ~GOLDEN BURMA~ from the former Lil Burma food truck folks. The next time you’re stuck going to the Hall of Justice for jury duty, you can enjoy tea leaf salad, tofu noodle salad, or moh hinga (catfish noodle soup). Open Mon-Fri 11am-9pm. 15 Boardman St. at Bryant, 415-735-8282.

There’s a new Sichuan noodle place that opened just next door to Nan King, ~CHONG QING XIAO MIAN~, and Gary Soup reports it’s from those beloved purveyors of spice, some ex-workers from the Z&Y team. Sounds like portions are pretty large as well, and there are some side dishes you can get as well. Menu pic here. Open Mon-Sat 11am-9pm. 915 Kearny St. at Jackson, 415-983-0888.

Fans of ~BATTER BAKERY~’s cookies should know they have opened a retail shop at One Market Plaza. Open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, with a cookie happy hour daily at 3pm-4pm (2 cookies for $5). One Market Plaza, 415-770-4852.


A sneak peek of the Humphry Slocombe ice cream truck, Betty, currently getting wrapped in LA. Photo courtesy of Sean Vahey.

Hide your kids, because the ~HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~ ice cream truck will soon be prowling the streets of SF, and probably playing some punk rock over the loudspeaker (what, you thought it would be playing nice ice cream truck jingles and melodies?). Jake Godby and Sean Vahey are flying down to LA to pick up their black and blue beast, Betty (Mrs. Slocombe’s first name on the TV series was Betty) on July 6th. They will be debuting their Snapchat (@humphryslocombe) and tweeting on the drive back up I-5 as they make secret stops and hand out swag. Yeah, for once, there will be something tasty on the I-5.

The truck will debut at Outside Lands, serving four to six flavors, bourbon Coke floats, and stand by for a special HS novelty as well. (Will it be a missile pop with Jesus Juice?)

The truck will start hitting SF streets at the end of July, and follow their Instagram for upcoming news about a contest they’ll be launching: all you need to do is snap a pic of the truck and post with some sassy hashtag they will surely come up with, and you can win a pint, presto! #lickthat


The fantastic vintage bar at No. 9 Fishermen’s Grotto. Photo: Mathew Sumner.

Nine months after giving it a go on Mint Plaza, ~ORO~ has closed. The restaurant was a collaboration between Tim Felkner (Vigilante Hospitality) and chef-partner Jason Fox (Commonwealth). [Via Scoop.] 8 Mint Plaza at 5th St.

After owning ~THE FLY TRAP~ since 1988, Hoss Zaré is selling the 118-year-old business to bar manager and business partner, the awesome Valen West. Stand by for news on what the new concept will be. Meanwhile, Hoss is going to focus on cooking more of his beloved Iranian food and exploring his heritage (and recipes!) while traveling in Iran. Sounds like he’ll be doing some pop-ups and more. Best wishes, Hoss! [Via Chronicle.]

Over on the Wharf, Hoodline followed up on some ABC license activity, which showed Chris Henry of Tommy’s Joynt on Van Ness Avenue is buying ~NO. 9 FISHERMEN’S GROTTO~. The owners, the Geraldis, want to retire, but fortunately the same staff will be kept on. It sounds like Henry will be updating the menu this fall to feature sustainable and local ingredients, and here’s a nice slow clap that they aren’t going to touch that vintage front bar, the most fantastic time capsule. 2847 Taylor St. at the Embarcadero, 415-673-7025.


Chef Alexandra Raij of Txikito. Photo: © Penny De Los Santos Photography.


Here are a variety of interesting dinners happening around town, click through for more info if something catches your eye.

On Friday July 8th, the next Farm To Fork SF dinner at ~THE VILLAGE~ will be with chef Caesare Assad, cooking with Potawatomi chef and TV personality, Loretta Barrett Oden (she opened one of the first restaurants to showcase Native American cuisine). The six-course menu will feature her own takes on chef Oden’s traditional Native American recipes. A portion of all proceeds from this event will be donated to the Oakland-based nonprofit organization, Mandela Marketplace. 7pm. Tickets are $120, with wine pairing. 969 Market St. at Mason.

Check out this unique Feastly lunch on Saturday July 9th: Peru Amazon Jungle Feast: Juanes from Sophie and Leo. Catch their upcoming Peruvian dinners here. $55. 12:30pm-2:30pm.

Sean and Renee Baker (previously Verbena) are doing a dinner Saturday July 9th at ~HIGH TREASON~ in the private dining room, serving 8 to 10 courses for $95, with an additional wine pairing for $95. Tickets here. 443 Clement St at 6th Ave.

On Tuesday July 12th, Melissa Perello will be preparing a four-course prix-fixe menu at ~OCTAVIA~, inspired by chef Alexandra Raij of Txikito in New York and her new cookbook, The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito. Dinner includes a copy of the book, which you can get signed by the adored New York chefs (Alex Raij and Eder Montero). $150 per person (additional supplement for wine) and reservations (email here) are limited.

Another exciting cookbook-inspired dinner is on Friday July 22nd, when Fabrizia Lanza (of Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School) will be at ~PIZZAIOLO~ for a special Sicilian menu inspired by her book, Coming Home to Sicily. Lanza will be signing copies of her book and saying ciao throughout the evening. Reservations are available 5:30pm-10:30pm. They will also be showing Lanza’s short film, Amuri: The Sacred Flavors of Sicily, on the patio at sundown. 5008 Telegraph Ave. at 51st St., Oakland, 510-652-4888.


A celebration of Oaxacan culture at Agave Uptown. Photo via Facebook.

Here are some quick news tidbits for you, with links will tell you more!

Opening this Wednesday in Uptown Oakland at the Kapor Center for Social Impact is ~AGAVE UPTOWN~, from Oaxacan chef Octavio Diaz (he is also behind Agave Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar in Healdsburg). Look for authentic and handmade Oaxacan dishes—of course there is a mole on the menu, which his mother helps make in the kitchen every day. There are also botanas like molotes, masa pastries filled with chorizo, potato, and cabbage topped with queso fresco, and rotisserie chicken. Many dishes feature ingredients sourced from Mexico, which Diaz brings back a few times a year, like spices and chiles. Arcsine designed the space, which includes a full bar serving craft cocktails. There are many handmade touches in the pottery and more. Open Sun-Wed 11am-9pm, Thu-Sat 11am-10pm. Brunch is coming soon. 2135 Franklin St. at 22nd St., Oakland, 510-288-3668.

Over at ~FIREBRAND ARTISAN BREADS~ in Uptown Oakland, Pal’s Takeaway has discontinued their sandwich service. Firebrand has a new chef, Tommy Schnell, most recently chef de cuisine at Coi. Look for an expanded menu of sandwiches (like lobster rolls and “Mid-Century Chicken Salad” with fried chicken skin—follow on Insta for more teases), salads, breakfast badassery, weekend brunch, beer and wine, and expanded coffee service. [Via Eater.] Open 7am-7pm. 2343 Broadway at 23rd St., Oakland, 510-594-9213.

~RED BAY COFFEE~ has opened a café in a shipping container in Oakland’s Hive complex. [Via Berkeleyside.] 2327 Broadway at 23rd St., Oakland.

~FORAGE KITCHEN~ is taking applications for members who will get to use their brand-new equipment for their food business, and it’s due to open in August! There will also be office space, mailboxes, and a café with a bar and outdoor seating (open to the public). 478 25th St. at Telegraph, Oakland.

A Sicilian restaurant will be opening in the former Café Gratitude in the Gourmet Ghetto: ~AGRODOLCE~. The owners behind Elmwood’s Trattoria La Siciliana are behind the project. Opening late August or September. [Via Berkeleyside.] 1730 Shattuck Ave. at Francisco, Berkeley.

There’s a new Xi’an spot near Berkeley campus, ~FAMOUS BAO~, serving Chinese burgers, noodles, baos, and more. [Via Chowhound.] 2431-A Durant Ave. at Telegraph, Berkeley.

The ~WOODS BEER CO.~ is opening the Woods Island Club on Treasure Island on July 9th, complete with a tasting room, barrel aging facility, and an outdoor “beer beach” with sand, palm trees, and beach chairs for enjoying the views of the bay. You’ll be able to make this a fun destination once the new bike path from Oakland to Treasure Island is ready in the fall, with a cold MateVeza IPA ready for you at the end of your ride.

June 21, 2016

Communal table at the new Dum in the Mission. Yelp photo by Albertino M.


Enjoy a scoop at the new Little Giant location in SF Yelp photo by C.H.

Some openings around town for you, starting with the opening of ~DUM~ in the former Local Mission Eatery. Owner Rupam Bhagat is behind the popular Indian food truck, Dum, and you’ll find some of its menu repeated on the restaurant menu, with dum chicken or lamb biryani, plus kati rolls and dahi puri, and daily specials, one meat and one vegetarian. Hours are Tue-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-9pm. 3111 24th St. at Folsom, 415-874-9045.

Newly open in the Financial District is the SF location of ~LITTLE GIANT ICE CREAM~, an import from Oakland. They are known for their unusual flavors (asparagus or Mexican rocky road, anyone?) and robots! They are flanking Claude Lane, and you can perch on colorful stools in the alley. Since their Oakland factory HQ has an in-house, state-certified milk plant, they can make their own flavors with limited-production vat pasteurization equipment. Everything is made from scratch, including their awesome waffle cones! Hours are 12-9pm daily. 214 Sutter St. at Claude Lane.

Just a heads-up that ~TACOLICIOUS~ Marina is having its last service on Sunday June 26th, and will be closing in order for the team to do-si-do over to their new place just down Chestnut Street, which is due to open on Thursday June 30th. We’ll share some pics and details next week.

In the meantime, Tacolicious is launching its 7th Annual Summer Guest Chef Series benefiting CUESA. Come by the Tacolicious stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Thursdays for lunch from 10am-2pm, June 23rd-August 11th. Proceeds from the chefs’ tacos go directly to CUESA (they have raised $20,000 so far!). Any guest who purchases one of their guest chef tacos four times or more over the course of the series is eligible to enter to win a grand prize, so get a card stamped!

Here is the lineup:

6/23 Sarah and Evan Rich (Rich Table)
6/30 Jason Fox (Commonwealth, Oro)
7/7 Ryan Farr (4505 Meats)
7/14 Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions, Progress)
7/21 Michael Tusk (Quince, Cotogna)
7/28 Telmo Faria (Uma Casa)
8/4 Special guest chef Donnie Masterton who’s flying up from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!
8/11 Adam Rosenblum (Popsons)


Jane’s egg white sandwich with spinach, avocado, Sriracha, and provolone on house-baked bread. Photo via Facebook by Crystal Millan.

This is definitely something in the “I didn’t see that coming” camp: adored and stylish local baker and café ~JANE~ will be opening a third location in the previous Taco Bell/KFC combo space smack-dab in the middle of the Fillmore. Hoodline reports it will be used for bakery production, in addition to being a café space for the public (coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, and more). Owner Amanda Michael likes the strip mall location, one of the last in SF, and there’s that convenient parking lot! Look for a September opening. 1881 Geary Blvd at Steiner.

There are some rumors percolating on Chowhound that ~YANK SING~ is looking to take over the huge, 16,000-square-foot Crystal Jade location, and a post insinuates Yank Sing’s lease at Rincon Center is up soon. We reached out to Yank Sing, but they can’t comment at this time, so let’s just keep an eye on things.

In the meantime, if you swing by Crystal Jade this month (June), they are offering their xiao long bao soup dumplings for 25 cents apiece from 5pm-7pm. Orders are served in Crystal Jade’s bar area and on the outdoor patio, and the deal is limited to 2 orders (total of 8 pieces) per table. Regular price: $9 per order. Four Embarcadero Center, Drumm St. at Sacramento, 415-399-1200.


Booth seating at Cadence. Photo by Tory Putnam.


The classic late-night burger at Sam’s. Photo: ©

After six months of business, ~CADENCE~ in Mid-Market is closing. Eater reports the last night of service will be Saturday July 2nd. (FYI, they are trying to clear their wine cellar and are selling bottles at 50 percent off.) You can read more in this note from owner Jay Bordeleau, who will continue to operate the adjoining jazz club and bar, Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio (and Maven in the Lower Haight). No word on where chef Joey Elenterio is off to next. 1446 Market St. at Polk, 415-851-8561.

Was sorry to read Mike Shawa, the mustachioed owner of North Beach late-night burger church, ~SAM’S~, has passed away at the age of 70. Hoodline reports Shawa’s uncle Sam opened the burger joint in 1966. He will be missed by his many patrons, who he treated as kindly as family—because his customers were family! Condolences to his family and many friends.

Fans of the pupusas at the 18th Street location of ~BALOMPIÉ~ in the Mission should know the place is temporarily closed for a minimum of six months (possibly a year) for a retrofit. Look for a reopening in 2017—owner Amadeo Gonzalez has run Balompié for 28 years. The other Balompié at 3801 Mission Street remains open.


Brunch is now served at Volta. Photo via Facebook.

The next time you’d like to do some brunch followed by downtown shopping, take note that ~VOLTA~ is now serving brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30am-2:30pm. There are poached eggs with smoked salmon, sautéed spinach, pain de mie, and dill hollandaise, or a tartine with toasted levain, wild mushroom ragout, jambon de Paris, egg yolk, and red wine reduction, plus items that lean more to the lunchy side. The full brunch menu can be viewed here. (There’s also a new happy hour and bar snacks menu, Mon-Fri 3pm-6pm.)

If you’re looking for a substantial lunch in the Mission, ~MYRIAD GASTROPUB~ is celebrating turning one by offering lunch service. The menu has dishes like BLT soup, a roasted chicken salad, and roasted lamb sandwich with Moroccan tomato jam, feta, cilantro aioli, and arugula salad. Lunch is Mon-Fri 11am-3pm. There’s also a late day/happy hour menu every day from 3pm-5pm. 2491 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-525-4335.

June 14, 2016

Umami soup by Hisato Nakahigashi of Miyamasou. Photo via @insitu_sfmoma.


Wood sorrel and sheep milk’s yogurt by René Redzepi of Noma. Photo via @insitu_sfmoma.

As if the reopening of SFMOMA wasn’t exciting enough, and now chef Corey Lee’s (Benu, Monsieur Benjamin) ambitious concept ~IN SITU~ is opening today. To recap, each dish on the menu is from a different chef, painstakingly re-created (as much as ingredients allow) by Lee and his team. The menu is like a gallery of chef artwork from around the world.

You can see the list of participating chefs here, a staggering and impressive lineup of global legends that includes Martin Picard (Au Pied de Cochon), Juan Mari and Elena Arzak (Arzak), René Redzepi (Noma), Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana), Anita Lo (Annisa), and locals like Alice Waters, David Kinch, and even Alex Hozven and Kevin Farley of The Cultured Pickle Shop!

Take a look at the menu here to see the first round of dishes and chefs—note that there is a lounge menu (for walk-ins) and a dining room menu. Lounge dishes include a lettuce sandwich ($12) with fermented romaine, goat cheese, and olive oil from Christian Puglisi of Relæ (Copenhagen, Denmark), while the dining room menu includes brown oyster stew ($28) with benne and Charleston ice cream from Sean Brock of Husk (Charleston, South Carolina); guinea fowl larp Chiang Mai ($24) from David Thompson of Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand); and Umami Soup ($38) with miso-marinated wagyu, asparagus, Inaniwa udon from Hisato Nakahigashi of Miyamasou (Kyoto, Japan). And, of course, there’s an homage to Cecilia Chiang of The Mandarin with guotie ($12), pork, shrimp, and cabbage potstickers. Take a look at In Situ’s Instagram for more images.

The restaurant is currently serving from 11am-4pm and will be extending to 9pm in the coming weeks. Reservations here. 151 3rd St. at Howard, 415-941-6050.


Some of the many dishes at Tawla. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti.


Vegetable terrine and za’atar pita at Tawla. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti.


Bring on the juicy potatoes (at Souvla)! Photo: ©


Guisados and more from El Buen Comer. Photo courtesy of El Buen Comer.

Another exciting addition to our Mediterranean scene in SF is ~TAWLA~, newly open in the Mission from first-time restaurateur Azhar Hashem, working closely with chef Joseph Magidow (formerly of Delfina). Hashem is Jordanian, and the menu meshes Eastern Med dishes (think Greece, Turkey, Iran, and the Levant—Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan) with some seasonal and Northern Californian influences.

The duo has purposefully left kebabs, falafel, hummus, and tabbouleh off the menu, however; they are focusing on dishes that are more like upscale home cooking. Take a look at the menu here. There are also made-to-order breads, and they even collaborated with Belfiore Cheese Company on a Lebanese-style cheese. Quality wines and beers were assembled by sommelier Garret Nakamura (previously Jean-Georges and Saison), and low-ABV cocktails are from the Bon Vivants.

As for the restaurant’s name, it’s Arabic for backgammon; you can play outside on the back patio while waiting for a table (there are 66 seats total) and enjoying a cocktail. Open 5:30pm-10pm daily. 206 Valencia St. at Duboce, 415-814-2704.

Fans of the Greek pita wraps and salads with rotisserie roasted meats at ~SOUVLA~ will be happy to know they have opened their second location on Divis in the former Herbivore, “bringing the opa to Nopa!” All of your favorites on the menu are there, plus the all-Greek wine and beer list, and there’s some alfresco atmosphere with a back patio! Same hours too: daily 11am-10pm. 531 Divisadero St. at Fell.

Huge congrats to Isabel Caudillo, a La Cocina entrepreneur, who just opened her first brick-and-mortar location, in Bernal Heights, of her ~EL BUEN COMER~. The menu is all about her soulful Mexican home cooking (she is a native of Mexico City), with antojitos like mini huaraches, gorditas, and fish tacos, with heartier guisados (stewed dishes) available in three sizes, like her puerco en mole verde, beef albondigas, and chiles rellenos. She is serving lunch (comidas corridas) for now, and July will bring expanded dinner hours (we’ll send you a reminder!). Hours for now are Tue-Fri 11am-3pm and brunch Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 3435 Mission St. at Livingston, 415-817-1542.

And really quick, for the next time you’re picking up your bulk spices at Rainbow Grocery: ~CHICKS AND LOVE PIZZA~ is now open on the patio. Hoodline reports hours are 9am-3pm weekdays (serving breakfast and lunch).


One of the many awesome charcuterie boards at Union Larder. Photo: ©


One of the special ramen bowls at Ippudo New York. Photo: ©

A few months ago, Union Larder owner Jay Esopenko tipped me off that he had a new project coming down the pike, and now that the ABC paperwork has hit the wires, I can tell you more. Esopenko and his wife Melissa Gugni’s first project, Little Vine in North Beach, is about to have a neighbor: ~THE SALZBURG~, which is moving into the former Cinecittà space.

Esopenko says it’s going to be an Austrian wine tavern (heuriger) featuring food, wine, and beer influenced by Germany, Austria, and Northern Italy. Here’s more: “The drink focus will be on the wine regions surrounding the Alps and their American counterparts like Tatomer, Massican, Matthiasson, Forlorn Hope, and Teutonic. Our house wine is being made by Sandlands and we’ll also have an stellar beer selection with over 10 on tap.”

As for executive chef Ramon Siewert’s menu, look for housemade sausages and salumi, and since this location has a grill and fryer, there will be schnitzel, a burger, and other dishes, too, many inspired by Alpine wine regions. Union Larder’s cheese director Kristi Bachman will be in charge of the Alpine-focused cheese program.

The same firm (8inc) that helped design Union Larder will be the architects for this project. They will be doing a complete demolition of the interior and facade (the front windows will open completely), and they will be adding a 500-square-foot heated patio with a fireplace out back. There will also be a small dining area downstairs available for private events (with room for up to 20 guests). I’ll keep you posted on this as things take shape. 663 Union St. at Columbus.

Back in January, the SF Bay Area was getting excited about the prospect of New York’s wildly popular ramen shop, ~IPPUDO~, coming to downtown Berkeley, and now according to ABC license activity, SF is getting a location too! Eater heard back from an Ippudo rep, who confirmed it will be opening a location in the former Lark Creek Steak in the Westfield San Francisco Centre in March 2017. The location will be a big one, featuring “70 seats in the main dining room, 36 in the private dining room, 10 at the chef’s counter, and 20 in the bar.”


Tai Chi Jianbing! Photo via @taichijiangbing.


The iconic Roosevelt Tamale Parlor sign; Yelp photo by Marina N.

Here are some cool events and more for your consideration. First, the zany Gelinaz crew is back with another version of their chef shell game. On Monday July 11th is Walk with Us San Francisco, with 16 top chefs (including local chefs Gabriela Cámara, Joshua Skenes, and Dominique Crenn, as well as visiting chefs such as Sean Brock and Blaine Wetzel) creating a 16-course tasting menu. The event will be held at Corey Lee’s restaurants, Benu and In Situ (as if he isn’t busy enough right now). Tickets are $600, so there’s that.

Have you always wanted to try jianbing, the tender-but-crispy Chinese crêpe from Shandong that comes stuffed with an egg, scallions, cilantro, and add-ons like steak or ham? Here’s where you can: Tai Chi Jianbing is popping up inside Osaka Imai in the Outer Sunset. Tai Chi Jianbing’s Cheng Hu is using quality and organic ingredients that are definitely a step up and can cost up to $15 depending on what you get yours filled with (like chicken, beef, or ham). Open daily 10am-2pm except Tuesdays through July 2nd—and according to their Instagram feed, come early and prepare for long lines! There’s also talk of a food truck later on. (Via Hoodline.) 2445 Noriega St. at 32nd Ave.

There’s a new pop-up in the (sadly closed) Roosevelt Tamale Parlor from some of the folks opening Che Fico later this year on Divisadero (chef David Nayfeld and pastry chef Angela Pinkerton). The pop-up is called Mission D&A (as in David and Angela), and they are launching with a Russian menu called Mama Galina’s—Nayfield’s background is Russian, and the menu is in honor of his mother Galina’s cooking. Eater mentions it will start with aperitifs, then move to a five-course family-style dinner with pairings; $75, tickets and more here. It all starts on Tuesday June 21st, look for more concepts in the future.


The interior at El Capitan. Photo by Jon Whitehead.

I have some closures and other changes around town to report on. First, it looks like Outer Sunset’s ~TERRA COTTA WARRIOR~, one of the city’s few places offering Shaanxi cuisine, has new management and is closed until August 1st. Ugh. That place was perfect for our foggy weather and always easy on the wallet. Here’s hoping the new owners keep things intact. (Via Eater.) 2555 Judah St. at 30th Ave., 415-681-3288.

A tablehopper reader let us know that the wine bar ~CARAFE~ on Folsom was closed, and now Hoodline confirms both Carafe and ~EL CAPITAN~ (the former Radius, and Julie’s Supper Club for you fellow old-timers) have also closed. They are open for a couple of NBA and NHL games; details on their Facebook page. 1123 Folsom St. at 7th St.

Another old-timer has closed: the Noe Valley ~HAHN’S HIBACHI~ has shuttered after being in business since 1978! Noe Valley blog posts their farewell note, which says, “You have made this a great business, but, the rising cost of everything, in the city, has made a great business, obsolete. You all have been wonderful customers. See you, enjoy our food, over the years, has given us so much happiness. Again, we say, Thank You for your patronage. We will miss you greatly.” It sounds like Bistro SF Grill, the burger place in Lower Pacific Heights, will be moving in since they lost their lease. The Hahn’s locations on Irving and Polk streets remain open, so you can still get your bibimbap fix. 1305 Castro St. at 24th St.

And in chef news, chef David Bazirgan of ~DIRTY HABIT~ is moving back to his hometown of Boston after 13 years in SF. We will miss your wings, Baz! His last day is June 24th. (Via Scoop.)