The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
May 24, 2016

Sneak peek at Bellota’s booths. Photo via Facebook.


A preview look at the wraparound bar, complete with sherry barrels and lamps by Wastberg Designer Lamps. Photo via Facebook.


One of the four paellas. Photo via Facebook.

The latest (and sixth) project from The Absinthe Group has been a long time coming, but ~BELLOTA~ is finally opening its doors this Wednesday May 25th. The Spanish-themed SoMa restaurant is opening in 888 Brannan (aka the Airbnb building), and here’s a little factoid for you: it’s the first public restaurant in a building on the National Register of Historic Places. And it’s a spacious one, currently clocking in at 170 seats, with capacity for 210.

Chef Ryan McIlwraith was previously chef de cuisine at Coqueta, and he has put together a menu of imported charcuterie and cheeses from Spain. There’s also a fun spin on a seafood tower, which comes with some land-based bites, like grass-fed beef with oyster escabeche, harissa, and benne. Tapas get a creative upgrade, like a creamy clam and sea urchin fritter with pickled ramp and seaweed powder, or a raw sugar snap pea and tendril dish, with queso fresco dressing and cashew dukkah. There are four paellas, and there’s a wood-fired plancha, grill, and oven, too, with dishes like slow-roasted, Moorish-spiced lamb, flatbread, ember-roasted eggplant, hearth-baked bean, and cherry vinagreta. Take a look at the opening menu. Desserts are from Stephanie Kimura.

Of course, with Jonny Raglin—the director of bars for The Absinthe Group and co­-creator of Comstock Saloon—at the helm, you know the cocktails are going to rock. Bar manager Collin Nicholas is overseeing the team and cocktails; expect plenty of sherries, dry cider, sangria, and Spanish ­style “gintonic.” Absinthe Group’s wine director, Ian Becker, has assembled an exclusively Spanish wine list (200 selections!), from small producers to classics.

Sagan Piechota Architecture (Boxing Room) is behind the design, working with design and furnishing adviser Kendall Wilkinson Design. The 5,300-foot-space includes Costa Brava blue leather chairs and booths, California bay laurel tabletops and counters, a jaw-dropping jamón display (want. all. the. hams.), Moorish light pendants and brass table ­lamps, and seating around the open kitchen. There’s a private dining room with space for 40 as well. Diners will enjoy the custom tableware, which comes from Jered’s Pottery and Mary Mar Keenan Tableware.

Some unexpected entertainment includes live lounge performances, and there’s even a baby grand piano! The restaurant is also tricked out with a Constellation sound system from Berkeley­-based Meyer Sound.

The restauranat is open for dinner Mon-Sat to start; lunch is coming later. 888 Brannan St. at 8th St., 415-430­-6580.


A pic from the team’s crawfish boil pop-up in the former Hapa Ramen space. Photo via Facebook.

There’s news about a taker of the former Hapa Ramen space in the Mission, and it’s the Causwells and Popsons team of Alvin Garcia and Adam Rosenblum. Eater reports they plan to open a Cajun restaurant in the space this fall (you may remember the Cajun pop-ups they held in the space last year). It ends up Rosenblum was a sous chef under New Orleans’ chef Donald Link (Herbsaint, Cochon); he will be offering dishes from shrimp and grits to housemade andouille sausage and dirty rice. With this restaurant clocking in as their fourth, Rosenblum is also now culinary director; he will be overseeing the chefs at all of the locations.

There’s a full bar, so Sazeracs will be in effect, and a frozen drink machine too. Late-night dining, brunch, lunch, springtime/summertime crawfish boils, and bar bites are also being discussed. Arcsine is in charge of the new look. Stand by for more in coming months. 2293 Mission St. at 19th St.


Stir-fried teo chew rice noodles at Tēo. Yelp photo by Kirk E.


A look at one of Horest’s pop-up meals. Photo via Instagram.

According to a new listing on Yelp, there’s a Chiu Chow-/teo chew-style Chinese restaurant in SoMa called ~TĒO RESTAURANT & BAR~. Take a look at the menu here, which denotes many dishes from China’s Guangdong province, like fried shrimp balls, corn pancake, goose, and two kinds of soup using Hungmao chicken. The restaurant is currently having its soft opening; a limited menu and special pricing will be offered for the remainder of May. Cocktails will be available too. Soft opening hours: Mon-Sun 5pm-9:30pm. 1111 Mission St at 7th St., 415-626-8366.

If you’re interested in trying a Northern Persian dinner this Saturday May 28th, check out this pop-up called ~HOREST~, founded by Ghazal Tabrizi. The meal will be prepared by Elham Rostamy, from Gilan province, who will be highlighting traditional techniques.

StarChefs just announced their 2016 San Francisco Rising Stars Awards and will be hosting the StarChefs Rising Stars Gala on Tuesday June 21st at The Julia Morgan Ballroom. The night will begin with an awards ceremony at 6:30pm, followed by a tasting gala from 7:15pm to 9:30pm. Twenty-two restaurants will be in the house, with beverage pairings and cocktails by the winning sommeliers and bartenders. Tickets are $100; VIP $175. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to La Cocina.

Matt Straus of ~HEIRLOOM CAFÉ~ just launched a quarterly magazine, Kitchen Work, “about what and how we eat and drink.” They are hoping to have the first issue in the mail by the end of the summer.  


The exterior of Sous Beurre Kitchen. Photo via SBK.


A kamayan feast at Pampalasa. Photo via Pampalasa.

Thos of you who follow @tablehopper on Twitter already caught word of ~SOUS BEURRE KITCHEN~ closing after a year of business in the Mission. Chef-owner Michael Mauschbaugh closed the restaurant after service on Saturday May 14th. 2704 24th St. at Potrero.

Fans of ~AZIZA~ in the Outer Richmond should know chef-owner Mourad Lahlou has closed the restaurant for a design refresh, which should take a couple of months. Stand by.

Have you had a chance to check out Jennifer Villamin’s kamayan dinners (or Sunday brunch) at her SoMa restaurant, ~ PAMPALASA~? Well, you better hop to it, because Scoop reports she is going to close the restaurant at the end of the summer. It sounds like her rent is too much, so she’s looking for another location. Here’s hoping. 1261 Folsom St. at 8th St., 415-590-3251.


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


Sababa’s falafel sandwich will be back! Photo: Cameron Neilson.

It’s time to start planning your lineup of artists and eats at Outside Lands, coming up August 5th-7th in Golden Gate Park! Let’s talk about what’s new this year, starting with Outside Clams. Just when you thought Outside Lambs was the punniest, but no. Woodhouse Fish Co. will be shucking raw oysters, and there will be barbecued oysters, lobster rolls, and clam chowder too. Pick up a refreshing wine at neighbor Wine Lands and you’ll be set.

Newcomers to the restaurant lineup include fast burgers and grass-fed hot dogs from Belcampo, Trestle, Neapolitan pizzas from Mozzeria, the awesome momos from Bini’s Kitchen, crab rolls from Fine & Rare, spicy tater tots from The Japanese Pantry, and a taste of gyoza and ramen from the newly opened Itani Ramen from Oakland. You’ll also be able to get cold brew from Four Barrel Coffee, and drip coffee and regular and vanilla cold brews from Artis. Check out the full lineup of all 79 vendors (!) here.

You’ll also get to taste brews from Harmonic Brewing in Beer Lands, thanks to curator Dave McLean, and the lineup in Wine Lands includes 12 new winemakers, such as Alysian Wines, Ca’ Momi, and Fount. Choco Lands, Cheese Lands, and Gastro Magic will all be in effect as well, and this year’s farmer’s market will be led by The Farmer’s Wife, which will offer fresh produce and apple and wildflower honey melts. Yup, Ranger Dave is ready to rock!

May 17, 2016

From our first event: Banh Xeo (Pork Belly and King Crab Crêpe). Photo: Erin Conger.


We’re here to make sure you have a great time! Chef Rob Lam, the tablehopper, and Eugenio Jardim! Photo: Erin Conger.


Some of the Vinho Verde wines we poured at our first event. Photo: Erin Conger.


Dessert course from our first event: Lychee Shaved Ice, Almond Tofu, Kumquat, and Brandied Cherry. Photo: Erin Conger.


Remember that amazing Vietnamese and Vinho Verde dinner I hosted in SF a month ago with Feastly that sold out in less than 24 hours? Well, if you missed out, here’s your chance to attend, because we’re doing it again!

I am so thrilled to be hosting this event again—and I will be flying from New York back to SF for it! On Saturday June 11th, this will be the third and final event in a series I am hosting that will feature Asian chefs cooking their favorite dishes and authentic home cooking, paired with the versatile Portuguese wines of Vinho Verde. And since we’re partnering with Feastly, we’re going to be dining in a cool and unique location in the Mission too!

This event, a Vietnamese feast, is with chef Rob Lam of Butterfly, who is also a dear friend and one of my very favorite people to dine out with (his palate is amazing). I have been lucky to enjoy some of his home cooking and dishes you won’t find on the menu at Butterfly, so now it’s your chance to try his seriously delicious Vietnamese cuisine.

Rob was born in Vietnam, and when his family moved to Southern California after the fall of Saigon, his mother opened a restaurant called Vien Dong, just outside of Los Angeles, so restaurants are in his blood. And since Rob cares deeply about using quality ingredients, expect some soigné touches, like king crab and pork belly in your banh xeo crêpe (!).

We also have a very special guest this evening: sommelier and wine educator Eugenio Jardim, winner of Sunset Magazine’s 2010 Sommelier of the Year Award! Eugenio is known for his warm and charming ways (and fabulous Brazilian accent) and deep knowledge of wine, especially Portuguese wine. He’ll be teaching us all about the wines of Vinho Verde throughout the evening.

Vinho Verde wines are like no other in the world. Located in the northwestern part of Portugal, the lush green landscape lends itself to the production of young, refreshing wines that are extremely versatile partners for all kinds of food, which is why we wanted to show you how well they will pair with a multitude of Vietnamese dishes. Best known for white wines, Vinho Verde also produces reds, rosés, and sparklers—all of which offer one of the best wine values on the market. Get ready to discover something new!

The event will begin at 6:30pm for passed appetizers (like oc rieu/periwinkle shots with nuoc cham foam and Vietnamese cilantro) and wines from Vinho Verde. You can view the menu here—we’ll be posting the wine pairings soon.

The sit-down dinner begins around 7:15pm, and I hope you arrived hungry, because it’s going to be a feast (take a look at the menu here). There will be three courses of authentic and flavorful dishes—including the famed Cha Ca Thang Long (turmeric grilled catfish with rice noodles and herb salad) and Bun Rieu (Dungeness crab, egg, and tomato noodle soup with fried tofu and shrimp cake)—with some served family style. With each course, you’ll get to enjoy two wines from Vinho Verde; there will also be a dessert course. We’re planning to wrap up around 9:30pm, but you can expect to linger a bit longer.

Tickets are available on Feastly for just $75, all-inclusive. Yes, this is a steal, so don’t delay on getting your seat! (And first-time Feastly diners, you can use my code for $10 off!) I can’t wait to see you, especially around a table covered with delicious food prepared by one of my favorite chefs! See you!


Look for the red building and you will find Le Chat Rouge. Photo courtesy of David Carbonell.


A selection of viennoiserie you’ll find at Le Chat Rouge. Photo courtesy of David Carbonell.

Good things can take time, but man, David Carbonell has been waiting to open his North Beach bakery for more than a year, weaving his way through a quagmire of city permits and more. And now he’s about to open. Exhallllinnnnnggggggg. When we first reported on the project, it had a different name, and fortunately he decided to go with something a bit easier to remember: ~LE CHAT ROUGE~.

The name is inspired by le pain du chat rouge, meaning “the bread of the red cat,” from a recipe that is more than 300 years old, which will be on offer. There will be an array of viennoiserie, including a frangipane almond croissant, chocolate twist, hazelnut roulé, and breads, including baguettes and pain pochon sarrasin (buckwheat bread). There will be madeleines made with baratte butter from Normandy, and macarons too. He is very committed to it being a very French bakery, with almost all of the ingredients imported from France.

The space has a rustic look, full of woods and vintage touches, including old bikes and more. The grand opening is scheduled for this Saturday May 21st. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7pm. 1314 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.


Chef Tim Luym. Photo via CAAMFest’s Facebook page.

A quick update for you on a couple of projects opening later this summer. First up, chef Tim Luym (Poleng Lounge, Attic) is partnering with Ted Kim (Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in Mountain View) to open ~BUFFALO THEORY~ on Polk Street in early summer. The neighborhood restaurant will focus on quality craft beers (30 on tap), and Luym will be creating a menu of bar bites that take inspiration from “drinking food” from around the world, like Filipino pulutan (bar bites), Spanish tapas, and izakaya-inspired dishes from Japan. The staff will be highly trained on the beers. The 116-seat restaurant will have a concrete-top bar, private room, and communal tables. Hours will be Sun-Wed 4pm-11pm and Thu-Sat 4pm-12am. 1735 Polk St. at Washington.

Fans of ~MATEO’S TAQUERIA~ in the Mission will have a new and second location to score owner Matt Ishak’s tacos and burritos when he opens a Mid-Market location this summer. Hoodline reports he’ll be opening in one of the four new spaces at 1455 Market Street, the building that houses Uber and Square. 1455 Market St. at 11th St.


A look at the new Sightglass café counter at SFMOMA. Photo courtesy of Sightglass.


The St. Clare line from Saint Frank. Photo via Instagram.

Along with the very exciting opening of SFMOMA is the new ~SIGHTGLASS COFFEE~ café at the museum, their third location. You’ll find the coffee bar on the third floor in the new Photography Interpretive Gallery, near the grand atrium and John and Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography. Sightglass developed a special blend just for SFMOMA, available as espresso or drip. You will be able to watch your coffee be prepared for you at the drip bar (or your espresso pulled), and the menu features special single-origin releases, nitro and vanilla cold brew on tap, loose-leaf teas, and sweet and savory treats. Open Mon-Wed and Fri-Sun 10am-4:30pm, Thu 10am-8:30pm. 151 3rd St. at Howard.

Also in SoMa, ~BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE~ has applied to open a café on the ground floor in the former Jeremy’s space in South Park. Hoodline reports they hope to open in the fall (right around the time that ghastly construction should all be finished) and would only serve coffee, not food. 2 South Park at 2nd St.

~SAINT FRANK~ is popping up in the FiDi in a space inside the SPUR building. Founder Kevin Bohlin is calling the socially minded project St. Clare and is partnering with Not for Sale, which fights human trafficking and slavery. St. Clare is working with Not for Sale’s Reinvent program and training young women to be baristas at the café. For this sister brand, they are also “working in places like Thailand to source coffee, with the goal of driving an economic alternative to slavery for families in extremely difficult situations” (you can read more here). As for the coffee, it’s roasted a bit darker, and a portion of sales is going to SPUR. Could this project be any cooler? Open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm. 654 Mission St. at New Montgomery.

The Richmond blog reported ~BLUE DANUBE~ is back open after closing due to renovations and water damage a year ago. Open daily 7am-10pm. 306 Clement St. at 4th Ave.


The fried chicken plate at farmerbrown. Photo via Facebook.

Happy birthday to ~FARMERBROWN~, which just turned 10 (and therefore shares the same awesome anniversary this year with tablehopper and Nopa). In honor of hitting the big 10, to celebrate, they are rolling back the price of their fried chicken entrée to $14.95 for the month of May. It’s normally $22, and it includes white and dark meat, ham hock collard greens, and shells and cheese. Mmmmmm. Happy Birthday, farmerbrown! Keep on keeping it real.

Whatcha doing on Friday May 20th? ~PLATE~ in the Marina is going to be giving away one free Fit Plate per person (a $14 value), which includes a choice of one entrée and two side dishes. The healthy takeout eatery is celebrating their first anniversary, which includes 30,000 plates served. Come to the Plate store, sign up for a free Plate Rewards account, place your order, and voilà. You can then take your Plate home, warm it up, and dinner is served! It’s worth noting there are other Plate locations (they also deliver citywide), but for the promotion, you have to come to the Marina location in person. From 2pm until all the Plates are gone. 3251 Pierce St. at Chestnut.

May 10, 2016

The sushi counter at Sushi Hashiri. Photo via


The dining room at Sushi Hashiri, showing the seasonal projections on the canopy above. Photo via

Opening this Friday May 13th in the former Chez Papa Resto in Mint Plaza is ~SUSHI HASHIRI~, a high-end kaiseki and sushi restaurant. The owners—Kaoru Hayashi, Ryuichi Terayama, and Yasuyuki Rokuyata—have the original Hashiri in Daikanyama, Tokyo, and for SF, they’ve brought on executive chef Takashi Saito, the opening chef at Izakaya Yuzuki, who is fantastic. Working with him is sushi chef Tokunori Mekaru (from Hashiri Tokyo) and kaiseki chef Shinichi Aoki (he was executive chef at Menlo Park’s former Kaygetsu).

The seasonally driven kaiseki menu is $250 per person for the dining room and $300 at the sushi counter. (Have we hit peak omakase pricing in this town yet?) For those who want to really be splashy, there is a $500 chef’s table menu that requires two weeks’ notice. Well then.

There is a selection of high-grade sake and they carry the entire selection from Dassai Sake, plus wines and vintage Japanese whisky. There are also some special teas on offer.

The pottery and porcelain is from Kyoto, and the chic room features a canopy that will bring the theme of seasons to life via 16 projectors in the restaurant (by Hiroyuki Nakano) since hashiri means the beginning stage of the season of an ingredient. (Oh, the Japanese, so wonderful.) In case you are wondering: shun is the peak of the season, and nagori is the end of the season.

Scoop shares this: the room was deisgned by New York’s Yutaka Takiura and has 42 seats (there are 10 at the sushi counter).

There are two seatings each night, Tue-Sat, by reservation only: 5-5:30pm and 8pm. Opening Friday May 13th. 4 Mint Plaza, off 5th St., 415-908-1919.


The welcoming and colorful entrance at Fénix. Photo via Fénix’s website.


A look at some of the side dishes. Photo via Fénix’s website.

Like a phoenix rising from TBD’s kitchen fire, ~FÉNIX~ has opened in its place from the Mercer Restaurant Group (AQ). The new concept is a sit-down Mexican-inspired restaurant (read: not a taqueria) from chef Mark Liberman and owner Matt Semmelhack.

Like we mentioned before, diners will choose some large plates to share (chicken tinga, carne asada, pescado del dia), and a bunch of smaller dishes (inspired by Korean banchan) will come out, like salsas, sikil pak pumpkin seed hummus, plates of warm and housemade tortillas, beans, rice, etc.

There are also smaller dishes to nosh on (oxtail sopes, bigeye tuna coctel), perfect over a glass of sangria or cerveza at the bar—especially during happy hour (4:30pm-6pm), with $5 chicken wings, peel-and-eat shrimp, and queso fundido. Note that the restaurant is trying a 18 percent service charge model, which is added to each bill (so no need to add gratuity—unless you want to offer more, of course).

The space got a fun refresh, with turquoise chairs, lotería wallpaper, and lots of plants—it looks airy and cheerful. Open Tue-Sat 5:30pm-10pm. 1077 Mission St. at 7th St., 415-431-1826.


The Popsons cheeseburger. Photo: Michael David Rose Photography.


Exterior of Popsons. Photo: Tory Putnam.

There are many, many fans of the insanely good cheeseburger at ~CAUSWELLS~, which led to owner Alvin Garcia and chef-partner Adam Rosenblum’s pop-up, Burger SF, at Cease & Desist in the Mission, and currently in the original Marlowe location. And now their permanent brick-and-mortar location and burger concept is officially open on Monday May 16th in Mid-Market: ~POPSONS~, which we told you about. It’s in the Warfield Theatre building.

The menu includes their trademark cheeseburger; a chili cheeseburger; a savory burger with mushrooms, truffle cheese, caramelized onion, lettuce, and aioli; their Mission Dog (quarter-pound all-beef dog, bacon, grilled onions, jalapeños, mayo); fries (naked, seasoned, chili cheese); and shakes (vanilla, chocolate, seasonal fruit). They also have a new Popsons beet and quinoa burger with truffle cheese, aioli, pickles, onion, and sprouts.

The burgers are made with Five Dot Ranch (beef is ground fresh daily), and they also work with Schwarz Sausages (dogs), Petit Pains (their custom buns), and local creamery Double Rainbow Ice Cream.

The light and airy 1,300-square-foot space (designed by Arcsine, in partnership with UpCycle Builders) has room for 87 diners. There’s an open kitchen, exposed concrete walls, high ceilings, and a hand-painted mural by local artist Ian Johnson. There’s also an outdoor patio.

Soft opening hours are tomorrow (Wed the 10th), starting at 12pm with 100 classic burgers and fries until sold out, and the same thing on Thu and Fri. They’ll be closed over the weekend and open officially Monday.

Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-8pm to start, and weekends soon. 998 Market St. at Taylor, 415-658-7554.


The cheerful interior of Orson’s Belly. Photo courtesy of Cem Salur.


Another look at Orson’s Belly. Photo courtesy of Cem Salur.


Welcome to Orson’s Belly! Photo courtesy of Cem Salur.

Almost exactly a year ago, we mentioned a new café that would open in the Outer Richmond called ~ORSON’S BELLY~. Cinephile Cem Salur hoped to open last year in time for Outside Lands, and thanks to the insane levels of bureaucracy one has to navigate to open a business in San Francisco, he’ll be open in time for this year’s Outside Lands instead. In fact, he’ll be open on Monday May 23rd.

To recap, the 50-seat café will be open in the morning at 8am for breakfast and coffee service from De La Paz. The menu has some appetizing picks, from Turkish breakfast (the owner is Turkish) to a superfood waffle with honey peanut butter, strawberry, almonds, and chia seeds.

Lunchtime brings bagel sandwiches to some awesome salads (the menu is mostly vegetarian, and very fresh), like a veggie Cobb with romaine, avocado, hard-boiled eggs, feta, roasted chickpeas, and Worcestershire dressing.

Starting at 4pm, there will be a meze platter, tacos, and bar bites to go with the beers and wines, many from California. Coffee drinks will range from espresso to pour-over to Turkish coffee.

There will be themed nights including poetry, programmed cinema (programmed by Salur), lectures on writing and cinema, children’s happy hour, and much more. The room looks great, with original film posters and lots of wood, and brightly colored Tolix chairs and groovy light fixtures. Hours will be Mon-Thu 8am-8pm, Fri-Sat 8am-10am, and Sun 11am-6pm. Follow along on Facebook for updates. 1737 Balboa St. at 19th Ave.


The interior at Red Dog. Photo via Facebook.


Custom floral wallpaper at Leo’s. Photo via Leo’s Instagram.

And…it’s back. Woof! Lauren Kiino of SoMa’s ~RED DOG~ has reopened the restaurant after a temporary closure. The ownership team is now partnering with the group behind Oola and Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant—things will remain the same at Red Dog, though now they’ll have more sales and marketing support. And the city’s best egg salad sandwich is back in our lives, praise the lard. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm, Sun 10am-3pm. 303 2nd St. at Folsom, 415-692-0211.

~LEO’S OYSTER BAR~ just launched lunch service Mon-Fri, offering selections from the raw bar, seafood, small plates, soups and salads (bring on the Louie!), sandwiches, large plates, and Champagne and cocktails if you feel like having that kind of lunch. Mon-Fri 11am-2:30pm. 568 Sacramento St. at Montgomery, 415-872-9982.

According to ABC license transfer activiity, the folks behind Andalé (you know, the place you get a breakfast burrito before hopping on a plane at SFO) look like they are taking over the former Reverb/Verbena space on Polk. We’ll let you know when we hear back with info about their plans. 2323 Polk St. at Green.

A friend let us know that things were kaput with ~KIT FOX~ at The Hall, and Deborah Blum’s upcoming mega ~CITIZEN FOX~ project that was coming to Mission Street. So, no beer and brewpub from Rich Higgins, no vegan menu, no bar, no coffee, and no vegan Frozen Kuhsterd either. Reasons? We reported that chef Kevin Schuder had departed, and Eater reports construction has been a bear. (No news there.) 2205 Mission St. at 18th St.


The patio at Starbelly. Courtesy of Starbelly.

There has been word of a project brewing in the Castro called ~FINN TOWN~, and now it has been revealed the project is from Ryan Scott and business partner Rick Hamer, who will be opening the “tavern with a twist” in early fall. There will be two full bars with two cocktail lists (from Fifty Fifty Cocktail Co.), dinner served late (all entrées will be $25 and under), and brunch. Sample dishes include Gruyère popovers, crab tater tots, and sweet tea-brined fried chicken. Jim Maxwell of Architects II is designing the space, which was previously the rotating door of Barracuda Sushi, Mandu Noodle House, and Jänchi Korean Gastropub. 2251 Market St. at Sanchez.

Weekday brunch, it’s a good thing, and ~STARBELLY~ will now be serving it Mon-Fri 11:30am-4pm. French toast, fried chicken, market scramble, pizza, Pimm’s Cups, and free WiFi. 3583 16th St. at Market, 415-252-7500.


Twiglight at the Presidio. Photo from Facebook.

Consider this a quick-fire round of cool events and happenings. If something catches your eye, be sure to click through for more details.

Tonight (May 10th) at 5pm PST, La Cocina’s amazing auction is ending. You won’t believe the dinners and experiences you can bid on, like Melissa Perello cooking dinner at your house, dinner at the Tartine Manufactory, and an all-expenses-paid trip to New Orleans, with dinner at Shaya. Check it all out!

Pasta lovers, ~FLOUR + WATER~ is turning seven, and they’re running a pasta tasting menu to celebrate from now through May 14th (seven courses, $70). Plus a special off-the-menu late-night dish will be available every night starting at 9:30pm; check their Instagram each day to see what it is.

Fellow fans of chef Sean Baker’s (formerly Verbena) food who miss his cooking should jump on a special Feastly dinner he’s hosting with his wife, Renee Baker, on Saturday May 21st. It’s called An Evening at Békǝr and is $135. The menu looks incredible, don’t miss it.

Presidio Twilight returns on Thursday May 12th, from Off the Grid and the Presidio Trust. In its fourth year, you can enjoy street food, cabanas, fire pits, live music, and cocktails. Bonus: Lyft will take 20 percent off rides to and from the Presidio when using Off the Grid’s designated ride-share zone. Every Thursday through October 6th, 5pm-9pm.

Also on Thursday May 12th is the annual fundraising event, Taste of Potrero, in support of Daniel Webster Elementary School in Potrero Hill. The list of participating restaurants is pretty rad, check it out. 7pm-11pm, general admission ($125); VIP admission ($225) has a 6pm entrance. Pier 70.

Do the math: Eric Ripert plus his new book (32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Kitchen to Working the Line) at ~BAR AGRICOLE~ on Monday May 23rd from 7pm-9pm. Snacks, drinks, done! Tickets: $75 (does not include a copy of the book).


The future entrance to Pacific Standard. Rendering courtesy of Half Moon Bay Brewing Company.


Scott Brennan of The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie is opening his own shop. Photo courtesy of Scott Brennan.

Good news for cheese fanatics (i.e. most of us): SF’s Mission Cheese was originally going to be opening a second project ~MAKER’S COMMON~ in SF, but now it’s going to be on University in Berkeley. It’s going to be a larger project, with a sit-down restaurant and retail market. Nosh reports founders Sarah Dvorak, Oliver Dameron, and Eric Miller are still raising money for the project in case you want to get involved. 1958 University Ave. at Bonita, Berkeley.

This summer, craft brewer Half Moon Bay Brewing Company will be opening ~PACIFIC STANDARD~ in downtown Berkeley, a taproom and bottle shop. There will be 15 to 20 local and regional beers on tap, with up to 50 percent of the beer sourced from the on-site brewery at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. 2055 Center St. at Shattuck, Berkeley.

Olive oil lovers know ~THE PASTA SHOP~ is one of the best places to buy and learn about olive oil, and on Saturday May 14th is their Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Festival 2016 at the Berkeley store. Taste EVOOs from California, Italy, and Spain and talk with the experts while enjoying the ice cream and olive oil sundae bar. Ten percent off all bottles of olive oil, score. 1pm-3pm. 1786 4th St. at Delaware, Berkeley, 510-250-6004.

Great news: Scott Brennan, formerly from Cafe Rouge—who has been making charcuterie on his own for the past five years and selling at farmers’ markets in Berkeley on the weekends—will be opening a retail storefront of his business, ~THE FIFTH QUARTER CHARCUTERIE~, in Montclair Village in Oakland. He is gunning to open sometime in July in the former Amba Falafel space. Besides having a meat counter for his wide selection of sausages, pâtés, cuts of meat, and prepared foods, he will also be offering sandwiches and expanding into dry-cured meats. Bring on the boudin blanc, duck rillettes, and stuffed quail. 6464 Moraga Ave. at La Salle, Oakland.

We read on Chowhound that ~PHILOMENA PIZZA~ has opened in East Oakland from the owners of Portal, serving thin-crust pizza and microbrews. Open Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, Sat-Sun brunch 10a-3pm and dinner 3:30pm-10pm. 1801 14th Ave. at E. 18th St., Oakland, 510-532-2399.

And a quick update on the former Bay Wolf location: Scoop reports Rich Wood (Wood Tavern, Southie) will be calling it ~THE WOLF~. There will be a bar, the kitchen is expanding (and will have a 12-seat dining counter), and the patio will remain! Look for a possible opening in November. 3853 Piedmont Ave., Oakland.

Opening on Sunday May 15th will be the CUESA-operated farmers’ market at the Jack London Square Farmers Market—they are taking over for Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, which has run the market since 1989 (many of the same vendors will still be there). You can read more in this FAQ, but the hours are Sundays 9am-2pm, year-round, rain or shine. Jack London Square, 387 Water St., Oakland.

May 3, 2016

The rustic-industrial décor of Homage. Yelp photo by Meredith B.


The Kiawe wood-smoked salmon at ‘Aina. Photo via Facebook.


Loco moco at the new ‘Aina in Dogpatch. Yelp photo by Simon F.

Here are some new spots for you to check out, starting with ~HOMAGE~ from David Kurtz (Maven). We broke the news about the project back in November, mentioning the daytime spot was moving in the former Galette 88 space in the FiDi. Well, it’s now open, and you can check out the opening menu here.

To recap, the menu will pay homage to local farmers by featuring a different farmer every two weeks. Guests will learn about the farmer’s backstory, products, location, and more, while seeing their products highlighted throughout the menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches, using housemade bread Homage is naturally fermenting for three days and baking in-house, using house-ground wheat. (Hello, Cubano, and eight-layer lasagna, and duck congee. And avocado toast, of course.) Breakfast, coffee (from a variety of roasters), tea, juices, pastries, hand pies, robust WiFi, and beer and wine round out the offerings.

The 49-seat rustic-industrial space was designed by Gi Paoletti, with reclaimed wood floors, smaller tables, high-top communal tables, a kitchen counter, and outdoor seats. Hours for now are Mon-Fri 8am-4pm; look for expanded hours soon. 88 Hardie Pl. at Kearny, 415-800-8741.

In our last issue, we mentioned Hawaiian brunch pop-up ~‘AINA~ was close to opening their brick-and-mortar spot in Dogpatch, and they are now open. The project is from Hawaii-born-and-raised chef Jordan Keao (who also worked at La Folie here in SF) and his wife Cheryl Lieu. In case you are wondering, ‘āina is a Hawaiian word meaning “that which feeds us.”

The modern Hawaiian menu includes malasadas (a filled Portuguese doughnut), loco moco made with braised short rib, Portuguese sausage hash, and their Spam musubi is served ssam style with housemade spam wrapped in a lettuce leaf with kimchi and egg yolk furikake. There’s also a smoked honshimeji and king oyster mushroom dish with slow-poached eggs. Look for many local ingredients, mixed with imports from Hawaii, like fresh hearts of palm from Puna Gardens and Kiawe wood for all of the smoked items on the menu.

Inventive low-ABV cocktails (from Jason Alonzo) featuring housemade syrups and shrubs, larger-format punches, and wine, beer, and sake will be available. ‘Aina will open with brunch service five days a week, Wed-Fri 10am-3pm and Sat-Sun 9am-3pm. 900 22nd St. at Minnesota, 415-814-3815.

When the craving for mac and cheese strikes, restaurateur Jocelyn Bulow (Chez Maman) has opened ~MAC DADDY~ in the former Chez Maman on Potrero Hill. Chef Brandon Peacock’s menu include 12 mac and cheese combos, from pesto mac to smokin mac and of course truffled mac, $12-$15. All items can be made gluten-free. Add-in options, plus soup, salads, vegetable sides, and a small number of entrées such as cassoulet, fried chicken, and fish and chips are available too. Open daily 11:30am-10pm. 1453 18th St. at Connecticut, 415-872-6670.

Fans of the pizza from Tony Gemignani’s slice shop, ~TONY’S SLICE HOUSE~, will find a location now at ~THE MARKET~ in the Twitter building, serving five to eight selections a day. Open 11am-9pm daily. (Via Scoop.) 1355 Market St. at 10th St.

And sports fans will want to note that John Caine of Hi Dive has opened ~ATWATER TAVERN~ today (May 3rd) in the former Jelly’s at Pier 50 near AT&T Park. There are two stories, great views, outdoor seating, and lots of shellfish and classic SF seafood dishes on the menu. [Via Scoop.] Open Mon-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, Sun 4:30pm-10pm; bar from 4am until 12am and later on game days. 295 Terry A Francois Blvd. at Pier 50, 415-512-7153.

We don’t cover chains in tablehopper, but since ~LEMONADE~, the fast-casual, made-in-California, vegetable-centric restaurant from SoCal is coming to a lot of former La Boulange locations, we thought we’d quickly mention the first location is opening at The Metreon on Thursday May 5th. Open daily 10am-9:05pm (and not a minute more!). 781 Mission St. at 4th St., 415-522-0191.


The interior of Aster. Photo by Michael David Rose, courtesy UrbanDaddy.


The Hot Wes. Photo: Wes Rowe Photography.

Well this seems like the perfect place for brunch: ~ASTER~ in the Mission just turned one, and has decided to launch weekend brunch (the first day was this past Sunday). Chef-owner Brett Cooper’s delicious-sounding menu can be viewed here, and low-ABV cocktails will be available too. Hours are Sat-Sun 10:30am-2pm. If you procrastinated on Mother’s Day brunch reservations, here’s one idea… 1001 Guerrero St at 22nd St., 415-875-9810.

And then there’s lunch! ~WESBURGER N’ MORE~ has launched lunch, running daily 11:30am-3pm. You can get his badass burgers, sandwiches, fried chicken, and salads (the turkey club salad sounds righteous), but here’s the bonus round: free tots! Yup, the man loves his tots, so they will be free for all guests with each order during lunch service. 2240 Mission St. at 18th St.

Many of us remember late nights at ~SAM WO~, and that will be happening once again in their new location. Hours have expanded to Wed-Sat 11am-4pm and 6pm-12am, Sun until 5pm, Mon until 4pm, and Tue closed. Starting May 20th, the real late nights will begin, with hours until 3am Fri-Sat. Also: look for their restored neon sign to be lit up—they got permission to transfer it from the original location. [Via Hoodline.] 713 Clay St. at Kearny, 415-989-8898.


The bar area at Caputo. Photo courtesy of Caputo.


Seating and the smaller bar in the Viking Room.

A few programming notes for you: fans of the Neapolitan pizzas at ~CAPUTO~ will need to find another spot in the neighborhood. Scoop reports the restaurant from Marin’s Boca Pizzeria and Boca Tavern team has closed after six months in biz. And so, the bad juju of that space continues. 100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero.

Looks like there are some changes at ~CAFE DU NORD~: the Ne Timeas and Bon Vivants teams have decided to close the Viking Room, which operated like a 30-seat supper club in the space. They are going to use it for private events and other programming instead—stand by for announcements about future music and other public events. You can still order food elsewhere in Cafe du Nord. (Via Eater.)

Just in case you swing by ~COWGIRL CREAMERY~ in the Ferry Building Marketplace and see the cheese shop is closed, they are doing a renovation! The new design will have the cheesemongers in a central island stacked with whole wheels of cut-to-order artisan and farmstead cheeses. Yay, cheese island! The perimeter will be outfitted with ready-to-go cuts, small-format cheeses, and accompaniments. The shop is slated to reopen in June. During the closure, you’ll find a pop-up store in front of their current space with a select lineup of their favorite cheeses.

Sidekick Café & Milk Bar is also having a little refresh and will reopen on Friday May 6th.


Shoyu ramen with Jidori egg at the new Itani Ramen. Photo: Jessica Warner.


A pic from the new Delage. Yelp photo by Jenn B.

Well, East Bay, I have some good news and I have some bad news. Let’s start with the good stuff: opening today in Uptown Oakland is ~ITANI RAMEN~ from Kyle Itani of Hopscotch, working with executive chef Brian Ikenoyama. And how handy, it’s right by the Fox Theater.

To recap, the seasonal menu will highlight ramen from different regions (prefectures) of Japan while showcasing seasonal Bay Area ingredients and housemade noodles. Some menu items include shoyu (soy) spring ramen with ground chicken, yu choy, bamboo shoots, and green onion ($12); and nanban zuke ramen (cold) with pickled sardines, jicama, peppers, and green onion ($12). Starters like pork gyoza ($7 for 5) and mini rice bowls with uni, ikura, and jidori chicken egg ($15) will be on offer, plus an in-restaurant vending machine offers desserts like Kracie Soy Ice, Pocky, It’s-It Ice Cream, Baumkuchen roll cakes, and other Japanese treats. Local and Japanese beers, sake, shochu, and beer-and-a-shot combos, plus cold-brew coffee on tap, cans of green tea, Ramune soda, and Calpico yogurt drink will be available too. Open daily for dinner 6pm-12am. 1736 Telegraph Ave. at 18th St., Oakland, 510-788-7489.

The East Bay Express mentions that Chikara Ono of the popular AS B-Dama at Swan’s Market has soft-opened his next project, ~DELAGE~, also in Swan’s, in a former bubble tea shop adjacent to the food court area. This is a sushi-based project (AS B-Dama is more of an izakaya), and the sushi chef is Masa Sasaki, previously at Maruya in SF’s Mission. There will also be some modern appetizers from Keisuke Akabori, previously at Spago in Beverly Hills. It sounds like it will be omakase to start (an affordably priced one, this isn’t about crazy SF omakase pricing), and dishes will be added in time. There are 10 seats at the bar and 12 seats at four-tops. Hours sound a bit TBD as well, starting Wed-Fri 5:30pm-9pm. 536 9th St. at Clay, Oakland, 510-823-2050.

More good news: fans of Mica Talmor’s delicious Israeli and Mediterranean dishes at ~BA-BITE~ will be happy to have a new weekend brunch to hit. Shakshuka in the house! Open Sat-Sun 10am-3pm. [Via EBX.] 3905 Piedmont Ave. at Montell, Oakland, 510-250-9526.

We knew this was coming, but it doesn’t diminish the sadness: after 90 years (yes, 90) in business, ~GENOVA DELICATESSEN~ has closed. The DeVincenzi family is looking for another location where they won’t have to raise prices, and reportedly the landlord is looking for another local deli to take over the space. BIG, LONG, SLOW SIGH. [Via Mercury News.] 5095 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland.

Over the weekend, North Oakland’s ~SALSIPUEDES~ closed. Owner Jay Porter, who is also behind The Half Orange restaurant in Fruitvale, has not decided on the future of the space yet, so it’s currently available for one-off events and pop-ups. 4201 Market St. at 42nd St., North Oakland.

April 19, 2016

The eggs Benedict that makes everyone line up on the weekend at Mission Beach Cafe. Yelp photo by Hasaney S.

We have been waiting to hear from Bill Clarke of ~MISSION BEACH CAFE~ about his plans for the former Luna Park space, and a tablehopper reader just forwarded a letter sent to people in the neighborhood. It’s going to be called ~MISSION BEACH VALENCIA~, and they plan to offer a similar style of food to MBC, but with different menus.

One fun option: they will be serving brunch until very late at night, like 1am. So yes, it sounds like you’ll be able to get Mission Beach Cafe’s famed eggs Benedict on a housemade English muffin (with crab or bay shrimp or mushrooms) until laaaaate. There will also be a full bar, so expect some cocktails too—which will help drive the need for that late-night brunch. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more. 694 Valencia St. at 17th St.


The new Barbary Coast Gastropub. Photo via Facebook.


Loco moco at the new ‘Aina in Dogpatch. Yelp photo by Simon F.

It looks like ~BARBARY COAST GASTROPUB~ has finally opened in the former Bocce Cafe in North Beach, just in time for everyone to enjoy that big outdoor patio. It’s from the owners of the Grant & Green Saloon.

The dinner menu from chef James Liles includes a variety of wings (buffalo, Korean, and more), pizzas, a few salads like a kale Caesar, and sandwiches, from fried chicken to duck confit banh mi, and a grain bowl for you healthy types. They also just launched brunch, which is not your typical lineup. It includes Moroccan baked eggs, an egg hopper made with crêpe batter, horchata pain perdu, and biscuits with chorizo gravy. There’s a full bar, happy hour runs 5pm-7pm (draft beers from $4, house wines from $5, and craft cocktails from $8), and again, that patio! Also, for those who remember, this was the historic location of the Old Spaghetti Factory back in the day. Hours: Mon, Wed-Thu, Sun 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm; brunch Fri-Sun 10am-2:30pm; closed Tue. 478 Green St. at Grant, 415-788-0115.

It looks like ~AINA~ is holding some soft opening meals in their new location in Dogpatch. Over the weekend, their modern Hawaiian brunch included dishes like kalua pork belly with kimchi, poached eggs, arugula purée, and asparagus; taro French toast; kalbi loco moco with fried eggs and a mushroom sauce; smoked king salmon with tea egg and quinoa; Spam musubi; chicken katsu; and Saint Frank coffee. We’ll update you with details and grand opening info soon. 900 22nd St. at Minnesota, 415-814-3815.

We mentioned ~MORTY’S DELICATESSEN~ was getting new owners, and it’s now open. Sounds like they updated the dining room, but the favorites on the menu remain. Hours are Mon-Fri 10am-4pm. Check out the menu and more here.


The iconic exterior of Grubstake. Yelp photo by トモ T.


The many slices you can get at The Pizza Shop, and now for lunch too! Photo via Facebook.

I received a press release stating the new owners of the beloved old-school ~GRUBSTAKE~ diner, Nick Pigott and Jimmy Consos, have revised their redevelopment proposal, and it sounds like the Grubstake may survive in some form after all. The proposed 15-unit building will have its entrance on Austin Alley, instead of Pine Street.

It also sounds like they will be operating the diner as is until groundbreaking (looking like late spring or early summer of 2017) and are looking into a pop-up or temporary location for the diner during construction. They will be upgrading the restaurant to “2016 standards for seismic integrity, accessibility, and water and electrical infrastructure.” But then this is where it sounds like things will be changed: “The reimagined restaurant mirrors Grubstake’s classic railcar theme, maintains the menu and vibe, and ensures Grubstake remains a neighborhood institution.”
We’ll have to find out what reimagined really means. In the meantime, get your caldo verde in the original funky interior while you can. 1525 Pine St. at Polk.

Fellow fans of the New York-style slices at ~THE PIZZA SHOP~ in the Mission can now come by during the day for a slice or two. Thanks to a tablehopper tip, we learned they are now offering lunch, and open daily 11am-10pm. You’re welcome. 3104 24th St. at Folsom, 415-824-1840.


A look inside the upcoming Foodhall. Photo via Instagram.


A look inside the spacious Duc Loi’s Pantry location (from a few months ago). Photo via Facebook.

A couple of new projects for your consideration. First, opening mid-May at the prime corner of Valencia and 16th Street will be ~FOODHALL~, a 2,500-square-foot indoor market founded by two “passionate foodies” and ex-investment bankers from London, Bilal Mannaa and Yasmin Murtadha.

Scoop’s piece mentions they are taking their inspiration from “the great food halls of Europe” and will stock charcuterie, cheese (selected by British cheese expert Julie Harbutt), coffee, pastries, pantry staples, craft beers, wines selected by Master Sommelier Eric Entrikin, and spirits. Products from local food purveyors will be available, and there will also be prepared foods, recipes, and ingredients to cook at home, classes, and more. So, yeah, it’s going to be a far cry from the Val 16 Latino market that held down that corner for years and was forced out a couple of years ago—I miss seeing the piñatas and overflowing fruit stands on that corner. But one good thing: Eater’s piece mentions, “Any prepared food not sold each day will be donated.” 3100 16th St. at Valencia.

Meanwhile, I’m really happy to hear Bayview is going to be getting a market to replace the Fresh & Easy that closed on Third Street. And not just any market, but SF’s very own ~DUC LOI MARKET~ (family-owned since 1987!). ~DUC LOI’S PANTRY~ will open in May, and will be a full-service (and affordable) grocery store, with meat, fish, produce, and more, plus household items, beer, wine, and spirits, and a deli serving their banh mi sandwiches. Read Hoodline’s piece about founder Howard Ngo, a refugee who left Vietnam in 1979, for maximum inspiration. Hours will be 8am-8pm. 5900 3rd St. at Carroll Ave.


A few items for the food lover’s calendar (that would be yours):

Katie Parla is in town from Rome on Thursday April 28th to talk about and sign her beautiful new book, Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors & Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City, at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ at 6:30pm.

Local writer Sarah Henry has a new book, Farmsteads of the California Coast. The book features a behind-the-scenes look at a dozen of our favorite Golden State farms that hug the coast (Hog Island, Pie Ranch, Swanton, and more), with recipes too. There will be an Edible Excursions-sponsored book signing and family-style dinner on Wednesday May 11th from 6:30-9:30pm at the Cook and Her Farmer, prepared by chef Romney Steele. 6:30pm-9pm. $115 all-inclusive: dinner, drinks, tip, and tax, and a copy of Farmsteads. Swan’s Marketplace, 510 9th St., Oakland.

JCCSF Arts & Ideas and the San Francisco Film Society are co-presenting a cool program called Food on Film, featuring notable chefs and a film matched to the theme of each event. The May 4th Chef’s Table event with Dominique Crenn is sold out, but don’t miss tickets for The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover with Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski on Wednesday June 1st at the JCCSF. Tickets: $27, Premium: $37, and JCCSF and SFFS members get 10 percent off.


Smoky time at Hina Yakitori. Photo via Facebook.


Bowls at Sweetgreen. Photo courtesy of Sweetgreen.

There is a new izakaya in Oakland that pays homage to grilled chicken (yakitori) called ~HINA YAKITORI~. Owner Jonathan Moon has brought on Tommy Clearly, previously at Tori + Salon in Tokyo, and Ippuku and B-Dama in the 510. There is a limited number of whole chickens they break down each night and cook over binchotan. You can look at an early sample menu here. The soft opening is still under way, so when they run out, they run out. Open Wed-Sat 5:45pm-9:30pm (for now). Via Scoop. 4828 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-593-2004.  

Opening today (April 19th) in the former Oscar’s in Berkeley is ~SWEETGREEN~, a fast-casual place focused on serving seasonal, fresh, and healthy food. They strive to take an active part in contributing to and investing in the communities they serve. In Berkeley, they aim to revitalize school gardens in the neighborhood and have an ongoing partnership with Edible Schoolyard. Sample dishes include their vegan umami grain bowl with portobello mushrooms and roasted organic sesame tofu from Hodo Soy, a falafel and feta dish using local feta, a salad with roasted chicken from Mary’s, and more—and everything is reasonably priced. Open daily 10:30am-10pm. 1890 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.

April 12, 2016

The modern lines of Mister Jiu’s dining room. All photos: Kassie Borreson.


Chef and owner Brandon Jew.


A look at the art installation.


The custom teak tables with built-in lazy Susans.


Sizzling rice soup with chicken consommé, water chestnuts, spring veggies, rock shrimp, and schmaltz.


Tea-smoked Liberty Farm duck with pancake.

Ladies and gents, it makes me happy to report that ~MISTER JIU’S~ is now open in Chinatown. I’d like to give a slow clap to Brandon Jew and his entire team for getting this beast of a project open—it was a huge undertaking and will continue to be so as the project ramps up, but you gotta start somewhere. And when you’re opening in a historic space in the city’s most densely textured neighborhood, the scale of the project would make most well-seasoned restaurateurs question their sanity.

Jew says it has been an amazing experience to get this project up and running—it’s an enormous team, from the landlord (Betty Louie of China Bazaar) to his architect to kitchen team to construction to graphic designers to the Chinese community. He has reached out to many people along the way, and his family has been an immeasurable help.

Brandon Jew is a San Francisco-born Chinese American (his family’s last name was originally Jiu, but of course immigration messed up the spelling). He remembers shopping in Chinatown with his grandmother, an all-day project, as they would go from place to place, only buying the best on her very specific grocery list. She taught him a lot about how to cook and source, something that has stayed with him on his culinary journey (which includes a year cooking in Shanghai, plus learning about Italian cuisine at Quince and California cuisine and whole animal butchery as he cooked in places like Zuni Cafe and Bar Agricole).

Jew’s cuisine at Mister Jiu’s will reflect his multifaceted culinary journey and experience—this is not about creating a facsimile of a Chinese restaurant, it’s not how he was trained. He will be integrating his Cantonese family roots, Chinese American experience, and California training. We’ll be tasting his interpretation and memories of many classic Cantonese dishes, plus dishes from other regions, too, but with his own perspective and ingredient sourcing.

For example, his XO sauce is made with La Quercia prosciutto, and Oregon bay shrimp and Mexican bay scallops they dehydrated. Jew has learned the importance of knowing where your ingredients come from and isn’t inspired to buy dried scallops from a jar in a shop where he doesn’t know a thing about them or even how long they have been sitting around. It’s about the integrity of everything used in the kitchen, so the kitchen’s four dehydrators have been running full time.

Like the Lee brothers with Namu Gaji, Pim of Kin Khao, and Charles Phan of Slanted Door, these chefs have created a new style of their native and beloved cuisines that is told through the lens of San Francisco ingredients. And then there’s Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese, with his completely own freestyle take and expression of dishes, from Chinese American classics to Shanghaiese.

Of course Jew is going to be under a lot of scrutiny from the Chinese American community: it’s a big deal for him to be opening a new restaurant on such a big scale in the historic Four Seas location. It’s a legacy building, one that is so important to the community—so many families and friends would dine there, making a night out of it with dinner and entertainment. As Jew says, “This place deserves people in it and celebrating again.”

The menu is a choose-your-own banquet menu that starts at $69 for five courses. You can select dishes like crispy daikon cake with oil-cured black olives and shiitake mushrooms; hot and sour soup with fish cake, nasturtium, lily buds, and green tomato; cheong fun (rice noodle roll) with Mendocino sea urchin and sprouts (can’t wait to try it); Four Seas fried chicken with sorrel, hot mustard, and red chile; plus supplemental dishes like Heart Arrow Ranch barbecue pork (char siu pork belly, black garlic spareribs, mantou buns, cucumber and daikon pickles) and tea-smoked Liberty Farm duck (pancakes, peanut hoisin, chopped liver, 12-day aged duck breast, confit legs, and gizzards).

As you can see, it’s not about being “Chinese-Chinese, but Chinese for San Francisco,” as Jew puts it. He didn’t want a Chinese experience you could have anywhere; he wanted it to be specific to San Francisco, using quality and local ingredients in a Chinese format. He also wants to keep things simple enough so that the ingredients can really shine.

They are making so many things in-house, including all the noodles, buns, pancakes, and sauces, and are building the pantry as they go along, which will include making their own lap cheong sausage (they are butchering whole pigs). He is also going to be working with farmers to grow vegetables for the restaurant and plans to grow plants on the roof.

He has quite the team with him, including sous chef Sara Hauman (previously Huxley; she worked with Jew at Bar Agricole) and desserts by pastry chef Melissa Chou (formerly of Mourad and Aziza). In the ultimate plug-and-play move, the beverage director and bar manager is Danny Louie, previously at Chino, who also has some great SF/Chinese-American roots—his father was a bartender at Cecilia Chiang’s The Mandarin. The two of them will be working closely on creating culinary ingredients for the bar to use (check out the cocktail menu here).

Congrats to John Herbstritt, who has made the move from the wine aisle at Bi-Rite Market to the role of wine director at the restaurant (scroll down here to see the wine and beer list). (Although I will miss his smiling face and great recos at Bi-Rite.) And ultimate opener Liz Subauste (previously Al’s Place) is the GM.

The 10,000-square-foot space space was redesigned by Boor Bridges Architecture (Lord Stanley, Trou Normand, Sightglass Coffee) and has a clean, midcentury look, a reference to the period when Chinatown was in its heyday. You can only imagine the work it took to restore the multilevel space, which was previously Hang Far Low and dates back to the late 1800s.

For now, there are 85 seats, with 15 at the bar (although the seats aren’t coming for a couple of weeks, so it’s a standing bar at the moment)—a bar menu will also be coming soon. There are three custom­-made teak tables (by Brandon’s uncle) with built­-in lazy Susans, and you can’t miss the massive brass chandeliers, which are from the original space and were refurbished locally. There’s also a 20-foot-long black-and-white piece by artist Afton Love that runs along an entire wall. Also: the original entrance on Grant has been moved to the alley side, on Waverly Place.

As for future plans, the upper floor will possibly be converted into a bar and lounge and private event space during the week, with dim sum on the weekends—plus Jew scored the bar and lounge furnishings from the Empress of China, amazing. And there’s talk of having a window on Waverly, where you can get late-night sweet and sour pork and other drink-friendly food to eat upstairs or to go.

Hours for now: Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10:30pm, bar opens at 5pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm, bar opens at 5pm. Closed Sun-Mon. A portion of the dining room and the entire bar are reserved for walk-­ins every night.

Note that the entrance is at 28 Waverly Place (not 731 Grant as indicated for the moment on Google), between Stockton and Grant, Clay and Sacramento.


Bar San Pancho’s pierna enchilada torta. Photo courtesy of Bar San Pancho.


A look at the new graphic mural at Bar San Pancho. Photo courtesy of BSP.


Buffalo mac and cheese at the new Lodge on Haight. Photo via Facebook.

I broke the news about a month ago that the former ~CHINO~ was transforming into ~BAR SAN PANCHO~, and the Cal-Mex cantina is now open.

To recap, the Tacolicious team is offering a booze-friendly menu that includes tortas, the totally irresistible-sounding quesoburguesa (a chile con queso-stuffed burger, with ancho fries), jalapeño popper tacos (yassss), MF hot wings (and MF hotter wings!), chopped salad, clam chowder Mexi-style, Frito pie, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, and more. Take a look here.

The bar will have simple but well-crafted cocktails designed by beverage director Jeremy Harris, plus a few micheladas, 12 beers on tap, and the option to have a build-your-own cocktail using spirits (mezcal, tequila, or rum) that gets mixed with housemade seasonal syrups of your choice (strawberry-rhubarb with black pepper, Meyer lemon-basil, or blood orange-ginger). You may recognize Manny Ramirez as the bar manager, who came over from Tacolicious.

It’s a sports bar, but without all that cliché sports bar atmosphere. There will be TVs with the game on, but kids are also welcome too (there’s a kid’s menu). The space has a new mural by Nigel Sussman, plus a new bar and tables. Upstairs on the mezzanine, foosball tables are coming, and don’t forget the bar up there too—which is great for private events.

Hours for this first week are 4pm to midnight, and starting Saturday April 16th they will be open until 12pm to 2am (unless otherwise noted due to game days). 3198 16th St. at Guererro.

Newly open in the Lower Haight is ~THE LODGE ON HAIGHT~, in the former Rickybobby. As we mentioned earlier, this casual American eatery is from former Greenburger’s chef-owner Matthew Nudelman and Timothy Felkner (Oro). The menu includes approachable dishes like a triple-decker club, Szechuan lamb burger, vegan sloppy joe, and of course a burger, which comes with bacon and cheddar cheese for $12, plus there’s a housemade veggie burger too. A fun item is the all-day breakfast fix: two eggs, house-cured Canadian bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato, served on an English muffin. Oh, and buffalo mac and cheese, with a spicy blue cheese béchamel sauce.

After 5pm, you can get fish and chips, fried chicken (the most expensive item, at $17), and baked stuffed shells. There’s also beer and wine. Open Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am, closed Mon. Brunch is served Sun 11:30-3pm. 400 Haight St. at Webster, 415-872-9502.


Wake up and smell the caffè at Fiorella. Photo courtesy of Fiorella.


Let’s talk about the brunch toast situation at Fiorella. Photo courtesy of Fiorella.

The folks at ~FIORELLA~ have been happily cooking up pizzas and more for the Richmond, and now it’s time to fry up some eggs! Starting Saturday April 16th, Fiorella will be offering brunch Sat-Sun 10am-2pm. The menu includes Italian-inspired eggs (like with polenta), pizza, pasta, specialty cocktails (like a white peach Bellini), and you can also get Ritual coffee, to stay and to go. Check out the full sample menu here. 2339 Clement St. at 25th Ave., 415-340-3049.

~MARLA BAKERY~ is bringing back dinner service, starting Friday April 15th. Dinner will run Wednesday through Saturday, and the monthly Sunday Supper Series will continue as well. Wednesday and Thursday nights will be casual, while Friday and Saturday will feature a slightly more sophisticated menu, 5:30pm-9pm. 

There are also a few changes and additions: extended weekday breakfast hours now run Tue-Fri 8:30am-2:30pm, and lighter fare is available in the afternoons (2:30pm-5pm), with bagel chips and dip, soup, a baker’s board, salads, and more.

It’s ball game season, which also means ~MERIGAN SUB SHOP~ is running longer hours. You can come by for breakfast in the mornings and more, Mon-Fri 8:30am-7pm and Sat 10am-4pm. They are also open limited hours on Sundays for home Giants games only. I am already pining for my Terrina sandwich, which I plan on getting before the day game I’m attending next week, whooooo!


The new outdoor tables at Al’s Place. Photo via Facebook.

Good news for folks trying to get a coveted seat at Aaron London’s delicious ~AL’S PLACE~ in the Mission. Starting Wednesday April 13th, they are opening an outdoor dining area on the sidewalk. What this means is that when dinner service starts at 5:30pm, there will now be 24 seats available for walk-ins (when you include the chef’s counter inside). And gas heaters. Yay. Plus palm trees, raised planters and succulent beds, and string lights. The full menu and beverages are available outside. (Via Scoop.) 1499 Valencia St. at 26th St., 415-416-6136. 

According to ABC license transfer activity, it looks like there’s a taker for the former ~LOCAL MISSION EATERY~ space: Rupam Bhagat, who is behind the popular Indian food truck, Dum, known for its dum chicken biryani, plus kati rolls, dahi puri, and ragda patties. Scoop confirmed the news, and Bhagat plans to open a brick-and-mortar location in the space in mid-May, offering an expanded menu of the truck’s offerings. Hours will be Tue-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11am-9pm. 3111 24th St. at Folsom.


Put a knife in it: the chicken amaranth waffle at Reverb. Photo by Carmen Troesser.

Over the weekend, the Gather team’s comfort food replacement for ~VERBENA~, ~REVERB KITCHEN & BAR~, closed. 2323 Polk St. at Green.

Meanwhile, the SF location of Sachin Chopra and Shoshana Wolff’s ~ALL SPICE~, which replaced their restaurant Game in the former Masa’s space, has closed. 648 Bush St. at Stockton.

Good news: it ends up Chinatown’s no-frills dim sum spot ~DOL HO~ has reopened after being closed by the Health Department after all—and got a new awning in the process—according to Chowhound. 808 Pacific Ave. at Stockton, 415-392-2828.


Photo courtesy of A16.

Here’s a quick roundup of all kinds of fun food events and tastings around the bay—click the links for more info if something catches your eye.

City College of San Francisco’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies Department is hosting their annual Wok on the Wild Side fundraiser on Sunday April 17th. Past alums, including Rocky Maselli and Hannah Bouye of A16, Sarah Lau and Mike Zopf of Nopa, and others will be serving bites with current students, along with wine and a silent auction in the mix (there are some great lots, including SF Giants tickets, a two-night stay at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, magnums and cases of wine from Kistler and Vieux Télégraphe, and more). Proceeds benefit scholarships and student programs. 4pm-7pm. Tickets: $75. City College of San Francisco-Statler Wing, Ocean Campus, 50 Phelan Ave.

On Monday April 18th, Lucky Peach is hosting a fun book launch party at ~ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE~ in honor of The Wurst of Lucky Peach: A Treasury of Encased Meats. Guests will enjoy a screening of “Best in Show,” with dressed-up hot dogs by Anthony Myint (The Perennial, Mission Chinese Food) and Tiger beer. Tickets include admission to the movie, food, drinks, a copy of The Wurst of Lucky Peach, and a one-year subscription to Lucky Peach. $45. 6pm-9pm.

~A16~ and ~A16 ROCKRIDGE~ are hosting Artichoke Week from April 18th-24th. There will not only be a slew of beautiful dishes like shaved raw artichoke salad, fritto misto, artichoke pizza, and stuffed artichokes, but there will also be Cynar-spiked drinks and a tiramisu with Cynar as the base and in the mascarpone, whut?

Fans of Devil’s Gulch Ranch won’t want to miss this dinner on Monday April 18th at ~JARDINIÈRE~, who are featuring Northern California farms as part of their Monday Night Supper Club series. Three courses (porchetta di testa with fava beans, roasted capicola, and clafoutis) with wine pairings, just $55. Star Route Farms is next week.

Curious about the upcoming ~HITACHINO BEER & WAGYU~? (You can read about this project on tablehopper here.) The restaurant will be opening soon, but in the meantime, chef Noriyuki Sugie is hosting a pop-up sneak peek at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, with bites and flights of Hitachino. Thursday April 21st, 4:30pm-7:30pm.

For a taste of New York in SF, Feastly is going to be hosting 22-year-old Theo Friedman of Theory Kitchen for a pop-up April 23rd and 24th, offering a 10-course menu at two seatings each night (6pm and 9pm). Theory Kitchen has been noted for hosting a range of events, each event different, from the location to the menu, with a varying crew of artists, creators, cooks, and guests. More here. Tickets are almost gone!