This week was full of food development, from the upcoming opening of Dat Spot on Potrero Hill, the rebranding of SliderBar as Ovok, and news about the new pastry chef at cruffin-famous Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Also, it's a weekend of food festivals, with a big one over in Oakland, Eat Real, and a little one up in Pac Heights. But here's the rest of what went down these last seven days.
First up, The Alembic (1725 Haight) has finally finished its long-in-process expansion into the next-door space that was formerly the lobby of the Red Vic movie theater. Eater has a couple photos, and what this means is a pretty new bar that larger than before, and more seating in the dining room. The menu is also expanding with at least two new larger format dishes each night to accommodate larger parties, from newly promoted exec chef Dave Faro.
And there were a few notable chef announcements this week. Robin Song announced he's leaving the kitchen at Hog & Rocks in order to focus on opening his own restaurant, called Junju. It's going to have a contemporary Korean focus, and as Inside Scoop reports, Song has been testing out dishes at late-night pop-ups at Hog & Rocks. He's currently seeking investors, and has not yet announced a location, but he's hoping to open by early 2016.
Also, barely a month old, The Keystone (the replacement for Anabelle's on 4th) has already lost its opening chef Zack Freitas. As he told Eater, it sounds like he was a little scammed, signing on for what he thought was a long-term gig, but all he did was create the menu and then he got laid off. Not nice! The place is now being run by a kitchen manager.
And fans of Frances have already seen chef Michaela Rahorst running the show there for about a year now. But now executive chef and owner Melissa Perello has made it official via Inside Scoop and announced that Rahorst is officially chef de cuisine. Don't expect the menu to shift too much, but one can imagine Rahorst may want to put some of her own spins on dishes going forward.
Over at The Dorian, which is set to open in the former Circa space on September 22, as Inside Scoop tells us, there was also a chef departure. Eater reports that exec chef Jason Saunders is stepping into another role, and Chris Ricketts, the exec chef at sister restaurant Palm House, will be taking over.
As Eater reports, one of Slanted Door's former homes at 100 Brannan is becoming a pizza and pasta spot from the people behind Boca Tavern and Boca Pizzeria in Marin, and it will be called Caputo. It's aiming for an early October opening.
The space that housed Korean restaurant Young's BBQ, which closed a couple months ago next door to El Toro on 17th, is being taken over by the people behind nearby Garcon, as Mr. Eric Sir figures out. No word yet on what that will be.
The long vacant space that was formerly home to Chris Daly's Buck Tavern (1655 Market) is becoming a casual sushi spot called Shido, according to Eater.
And in Tenderloin dive bar news, The Castle Club (823 Geary) as closed, as Hoodline reports.
The Week In Reviews
Pete Kane visited Petit Crenn ahead of Mr. Bauer, and he sounds mostly satisfied, with some caveats. The whole fish course, which is meant to be the star of the show at the restaurant, came unnecessarily dressed in foam. And he's put off by several up-sells on the menu, including a $5 surcharge for sea urchin espuma added to the a la carte omelette. Overall though he sounds most impressed, and tells Chef Crenn as much when she appeared at his table at the end of the meal tailed by a camera crew.
Michael Bauer heads to a longtime North Beach mainstay for his update review this week, Ideale. It's still holding onto its 90s vibe, tiramisu and all, but Bauer notes that the simple Margherita pizza remains the star of the show, but he also likes the seafood salad and the whole roasted branzino, and says of the place "going back was like meeting an old high school friend." All told: two stars.
And for his Sunday review, Bauer highlights Old Bus Tavern in the Mission, and he's more than impressed. He loves the halibut entree, which has a presentation not unlike you might see at the one of the training grounds of chef Max Snyder, New York's Eleven Madison Park. "when you see Max Snyder’s pickled quail eggs ($8)," he writes, "petite translucent orbs nesting on fried onion straws red from paprika, it becomes obvious something different is going on [here]." He's also impressed with some onion spaetzle and writes, "I’ve judged a few chili cook offs in my time, but few recipes are better than what Snyder makes here." The verdict: two and a half stars.