This past week on the local food scene we said goodbye to Local Mission Eatery (tomorrow's its last night), and hello to the upcoming Mister Jiu's in Chinatown, due early next year. And, yesterday, we brought you SFist's list of the best new restaurants of the year, many of which you may want to check out when the city empties out for the holidays, since they're normally pretty packed. But here's what else you might have missed.
Tablehopper got a first look at the food that will be on offer at Volta, the European/Scandinavian brasserie on its way to a January opening in the former 'wichcraft space on the Mission end of Bloomingdale's. While you'll find some bistro/brasserie classics like boeuf bourguignon and a pot-au-feu terrine, chef-owner Staffan Terje (Perbacco) will be weaving in plenty of influence from his native Sweden too, with herring, gravlax, and a shrimp dish called skagen all making appearances.
Did you hear that that "bean to bar" artisanal chocolate, Mast Brothers, that they sell at Bi-Rite, is kind of bullshit? Yeah.
In Hayes Valley, the new healthy, allergy-sensitive, "fine casual" takeout and dine-in spot Little Gem, from two former Thomas Keller Group guys (former Ad Hoc chef Dave Cruz and former COO Eric Lilavois), has just opened in the base of a new building at 400 Grove. Lilavois was inspired to create the concept by his own food allergies, and the entire menu is gluten-, dairy- and refined sugar-free, at Eater reports. See the soup, salad, and wrap menu here. Limited opening hours are 5 to 9 p.m.
And the Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chao that we heard was coming to the former Chevy's space on Third is opening next week, right before Christmas, on December 23. As Inside Scoop notes, they already have a location at San Jose's Santana Row, and as at SF's other churrascaria, Espetus, meat will be cut off skewers tableside, with "an all-you-can-eat buffet of salads and sides." Dinners will be in the $30 to $70 range (big range!).
The Gipsy Darling (3347 Fillmore Street) is headed to the Yuzu space in the Marina next month, as Tablehopper reports. It's a casual New American restaurant from the mother-and-son team of James and Margot Bourque, with executive chef Kevin Fietek, and it may only have a short lifespan as they only have an 18-month lease. But it sounds potentially interesting, with a juniper- and dill-brined chicken with mustard cream, and a a dish of bacon-wrapped shrimp with Gruyere grits.
In Union Square, the new replacement dance club for Vessel has opened its doors, and it's called Love + Propaganda (85 Campton Place). As Vice's dance news site Thump reports, it's the project of the designers of Audio on 11th Street, and features a new, state-of-the-art Funktion-One sound system. And, of course, they're open for New Year's Eve, and tickets start at $35.
Over the Castro, the neighborhood just got what it absolutely didn't need: another coffeeshop. No offense to Artis, which has perfectly cool other locations in Hayes Valley and Berkeley, but the Castro hit peak coffee a while ago. Couldn't someone have opened a doughnut shop?
Singapore-based vegan burger chain VeganBurg just opened its first US location in the Upper Haight, in the former All You Knead pizza spot at 1466 Haight. As Eater tells us, it doesn't come that cheap though vegans are flocking there, but watch out for the $7 coconut water!
Good news for bacon fans who are also baseball fans: Bacon Bacon is opening their second brick-and-mortar spot at 737 Third Street, in what was SBC Pizza, over near AT&T Park. As Inside Scoop tells us, they plan to be open for daytime service by late January, with dinner coming in time for baseball season.
And temporarily sad news for wings fans: The Richmond's popular Hot Sauce and Panko is closing because its building is getting demolished on Clement Street. They will, however, be relocating soon to an undisclosed space at Hyde and Jackson, possibly the old U-Lee, as Richmond Blog surmises.
The Myriad, the long-awaited market hall project in the base of 2175 Market (at 15th), is finally slated for an actual opening in the new year, according to Hoodline. As previously reported, it will have a butcher and and a cocktail bar, as well as some other retail (Dashwood Puppy Pâté, anyone?), and there's a promise of a raw juice bar, a chocolate vendor, cell phone repair, and... wait for it... barbecue. The timeline on the opening of all 13 stalls is still unclear.
And, debuting last night along with Alamo Drafthouse New Mission and Star Wars was the cool in-house bar, manned by former Alembic and Tosca guy Isaac Shumway, called Bear Versus Bull. SF Weekly and Eater have some details about the cocktail menu, which includes a rum-and-pisco mule called a Shanghai Bastard.
Mission bar Amnesia just reopened under new ownership after a two-and-a-half-week closure and remodel, and as Capp Street Crap reports, it's looking a lot "bigger," "sleeker," and "sparser" in there.
And over in North Beach, longtime chef-owner of Da Flora, Flora Gaspar, has opened an Italian specialty market called Rialto Mercato, a few doors down from the restaurant at 705 Columbus. As Hoodline shows us, it's a spot to grab olive oil, wine, spirits, candles, books, and pantry goods, all hand selected by Gaspar and partner Mary Beth Marks.
This Week In Reviews
Anna Roth is really keeping it real in her search for unsung cheap eats around the Bay for the Chron, and this week she takes on a humble little 24-hour diner inside a casino in Colma, called Café Colma. It's a card club in a graveyard, and yet Roth finds, "a warm center of the world, saturated in holiday cheer and bursting with life all the more poignant for the silent rows of headstones surrounding it." It serves a mostly Asian crowd, and at 2 a.m. one morning Roth discovers the drunk-food wonder of the Filipino silog plate, which is basically a plate of greasy sausages and meat with garlic rice and an egg.
Pete Kane at the Weekly takes us to Dat Spot, the new rotisserie chicken joint with the terrible name in the former Chez Maman on Potrero Hill. He says it's "basically everything you could want in a cozy neighborhood restaurant," and the rotisserie chicken is "flawless." Also great: the fried chicken.
Michael Bauer, meanwhile, took the occasion of the elevation of chef de cuisine Michaela Rahorst at Frances to check the place out again, saying it's always been one of his favorites but he had some concerns knowing that executive chef Melissa Perello has had her hands full opening Octavia. But he had little to fear. He says that still, "The restaurant seamlessly balances today’s love of casualness, but goes above and beyond the expected in both service and the sophistication found in the menu," even though a few dishes needed final "flourishes," to elevate them. In the end: three stars.
And for his Sunday review, Mr. Bauer is in love with Ninebark, which he says was great from the beginning to the end of his meals, and "is destined to become a Napa Valley star." He loves chef Matthew Lightner's deft touch with vegetables, whether pickled, cooked, or fresh. And while he's not in love with the chicken and shrimp dumplings or the pork neck entree, he says, "even when something misses at Ninebark, it’s an admirable attempt." All told: three big stars.