Following the BIG NEWS about the return of foie gras this week, it's been a somewhat quiet week in the local food world. We know that Luna Park is staying put for now, and, down the street, Abbot's Cellar is calling it quits after two years. And here's what else we know...
We first heard about Charin back in July, when self-taught chef Charles-C Onyeama was doing a monthly pop-up in Bernal. Now it looks like he's growing the business, and he's headquartering himself in the beloved (though flood-prone) former Saison space on Folsom and 17th. As Inside Scoop tells us, Onyeama is calling it "a concept restaurant," along the lines of a concept car, with a high pricetag to boot. Kind of like Lazy Bear (and Saison), he'll be serving a prix fixe of nine courses for $115 to $135 per person, with pairings an additional $70 to $90. At the moment this is being dubbed as an experiment over three to four consecutive weekends starting January 25-26. Get reservations here.
Also in the Mission, chef Rachel Sillcocks has left the kitchen at Range after two and a half years, and original chef and owner Phil West will be returning for the interim, until they can hire someone new. The Scoop reports that Sillcocks has her own project in the works.
Another notable chef shuffle greets the new year, and that's acclaimed chef Sean Baker departing Verbena and Berkeley's Gather, which he put on the map in a big way five years ago, getting named Esquire's chef of the year in 2010. As Eater notes, Baker may have plans to do something new.
The other big news this week is that The Market on Market is opening sooner than (at least I) anticipated, debuting in the base of the Twitter building on January 19. As Eater reports, the big "NorCal Eataly" will be a combination grocery store, sushi bar, taco bar, oyster bar, sandwich shop, tapas bar, cafe, bakery, fish market, cheese shop, and produce market. And they'll also provide a new brick-and-mortar home for mobile operation Azalina's Malaysian. Here's a map, because you might need it.
And Inside Scoop reports that well worn, well loved, historic Kingfish Pub in Oakland is getting picked up and moved 35 yards down the street to make way for a coming condo development. That's some dive bar commitment, folks.
The Week In Reviews
Mr. Bauer has returned for a repeat visit to four-year-old Zero Zero, complimenting the work of recently promoted chef Joyce Conway, especially several of her salads, and the rigatoni with confit duck and bacon. He gives them two and a half stars, saying he'd be happy going back.
And though his Sunday reviews are often time-stamped online as published on Fridays, I'll be damned if I can find it online right now, so I'll add it as an update like I did last week.
Update: The Sunday review is devoted to Oso, the new ultra-modern spot in downtown Sonoma from David Bush, a former executive chef at St. Francis Winery. Bauer is most impressed, saying, "Most restaurants in this bucolic town are a few years behind the trends, but Oso is an in-the-face reinvention," and says the casual, ever-changing menu is "the perfect antidote to a day of wine tasting." The verdict: Three stars!
Meanwhile at the Weekly, Anna Roth finds herself pretty pleased with Izakaya Rintaro, in sharp contrast to Michael Bauer's review of last week. She loves the robata fare, saying "The chefs at Rintaro understand chicken and serve up some of the best skewers in the city," and adds, "save room for the whole fried petrale sole, which is as beautiful as it is delicious."