This week the SFist food bureau was abuzz with plenty of news. There was word of the highly anticipated Cala's soft opening, Betelnut's closing, LA fast-casual chain Lemonade flirting with at least one former La Boulange site, Bar Tartine's re-branding as Crescent, and the Marlowe/Park Tavern team's plotting of an oyster bar in the former Wexler's space. Also, although we reported Dat Spot would open last week for comfort food and rotisserie meats, due to "last-minute issues with City paperwork" the Potrero Hill venture in the former Chez Maman space will be opening on the 28th. Sorry for the confusion! Onward to the food blogosphere:
San Franciscan lovers of the 24th Street sandwich shop Pal’s Takeaway will hate this, but they're heading to Oakland's Hive. There, owner Jeff Mason tells Inside Scoop that he'll be collaborating with Firebrand Artisan Breads‘ Matt Kreutz and Colleen Orlando on their bakery in the same space.
Los Shucos Latin Hotdogs, which was just one of the businesses affected by the massive blaze at 22nd and Mission Streets in January, is for sale. But, the proprietors tell Capp Street Crap, “If we don’t sell the place or find a better spot we will probably open up again in the same location.”
Oliver Dameron, Sarah Dvorak, and Eric Miller of Mission Cheese have plans for a spinoff, the Business Times tells us, but as yet no location — or funding. "A business like us that’s not planning to scale in a crazy way doesn't have a way to get venture capital,” Dameron says. So yes, they're crowdfunding what they hope will be a full restaurant and a retail market with goods to go. The idea is something they're calling Maker's Common.
Hoodline has it that the East African restaurant Massawa, which was in the Upper Haight until they closed in 2010, has reappeared in North Beach. It's now open in the former HRD Smokin' Grill Space.
Local brewers Speakeasy are in expansion mode, the Business Times reports, with a new 60-barrel brewhouse that will take them from 14,500 to around 90,000 barrels a year.
In the Marina, The Dorian quietly opened in the former Circa space. But the folks at Eater could hear a pin drop in the food world, so they had word on the Victorian-inspired restaurant. The Dorian, they write, is serving up "meaty American classics with a raw bar, steak tartare and a house burger." What's more, "brunch, which used to be a favorite at Circa, is soon to follow."
Marin County issued a cease and desist order against Tomales Bay Oyster Co. for code violations: The Marin Independent Journal has it that the Tomales Bay oyster shuckers "must remove picnic and barbecue facilities and limit operations to weekends."
There's more word from Inside Scoop on Corridor, a café/restaurant tag-team planned for 100 Van Ness in the ground floor retail space of a new high rise residential building there.
Eater has more news on Perbacco's French spinoff Volta, moving into the former ‘Wichcraft space in Westfield Centre. They're hoping to be open the week after Thanksgiving.
Socketsite reports that Blue Bottle will be moving into the former Tully’s location on Fillmore. Apparently Blue Bottle is capable of paying the massive rent — an increase drove Tully's out last year.
Hoodline reports that the PlumpJack Group's latest, a nightclub called Verso, is open for business tonight. That's in the former Sloane spot.
RN74 has a new executive chef in Michael Lee Rafidi, which Tablehopper confirmed. And, according to Eater, his dishes include "burgundy escargot croissants, caviar doughnuts with smoked fromage blanc and uni and roasted crown of duck with foie gras dirty rice, smoked beets and kumquat marmalade."
SF’s boozy Taco Bell is now open for you to make all kinds of different mistakes in SoMa, as the Business Times reports. For its part, Inside Scoop sees right through the obvious pandering to "millennials."
Inside Scoop also had word on the AQ people are planning to open a cafe inside Mid-Market co-working space Covo. Matt Semmelhack of Mercer Restaurant Group, most recently behind Bon Marché, is making that happen.
The MINA Test Kitchen is following up their smash hit Middle'terranea with a thing called Little Italy, courtesy of chef Adam Sobel and his grandmother's cooking." It's like a time warp back to the good ol' days in New York when that first generation of Italian-Americans forged their own way and created a new style of cuisine," Sobel told Eater.
Charles Woodson is an Oakland Raider. Charles Woodson is a vintner. That's correct. And now he's opened a Napa tasting room, as the Business Times reports. "The wine business is intense," Woodson said. "It's not just bottle it and sell it. It's really a process."
Finally, a fond farewell to the last Foster's Freeze on the Peninsula. The Chronicle reports you'll have to go farther afield to find Foster's in the future.
This Week In Reviews
The Chronicle's Michael Bauer had an update for us on Absinthe. Seventeen years in, service goes "off without a hitch," really, and chef Adam Keough has technique that's "hard to quibble with." His talent "shines on the generous mound of clams and mussels in a charred tomato broth with loads of basil," which you should with the "always excellent" fries. "Given its prime location near the performing arts venues," writes Bauer, "dining at Absinthe is much better than it has to be. That’s the reason the restaurant not only survives, but thrives." Two-and-a-half stars.
Later, Bauer trekked to Oakland to review Starline Social Club. In a "cavernous space" — 1883-built Odd Fellows Hall — it's neither quite bar nor quite restaurant, which Bauer slightly faults it for. "While it may look like a dive, the bar offerings have a hipster quality" and food feels not quite as sure, but a standout was the rack of lamb "where the manicured bones interlocked and the medium-rare chops fanned over a hillock of whole grain mustard spätzle, corn, kale and turnips plucked whole from the ground in their infancy." According to Bauer, "It’s a dish that you know immediately is from Northern California because of the vibrancy of the produce." Two stars.
Peter Kane of the Weekly popped in to Bon Marché which he seems to have quite enjoyed. As far as advice, the place in the Twitter building has "a big selection of little bites, and it would be hard not to order at least one or two per person." It's open throughout the day for a variety of indulgences, but with a bold open kitchen concept, Kane's pleasures were easy to choose. "I'd be lying if I said the sexy kitchen staff wasn't a bonus, but the biggest pleasure in life is dining in the house of people who harbor contempt for the idea of caring about cholesterol." Don't get the lamb, he adds. That's overcooked.
Also for the Chronicle, Anna Roth checked out a little known cuisine, at least in San Francisco, at a pop-up at Chug Pub on Lincoln Way at 20th Avenue. That would be Uyghur Taamliri which serves "the cuisine of the Muslims of northwest China" who are "[c]ulturally and ethnically... closer to Kazakhs, Uzbeks and other Central Asian people than the rest of the Chinese, and that’s reflected in their food." Though the menu is mostly not in "almost entirely Uighur" she loved the "excellently chewy" hand-pulled noodle's from the father-and-son team.