Last week was pretty quiet, all told, as everyone got into the New Year's Eve spirit, and this week brought news of the opening of Black Bark BBQ, coming next week in the Fillmore, and the nearby Wise Sons Bagel delayed yet again.
Also this first full week of the new year brings with it news of both big starts and big ends, most notably the closure of Lark Street Steak in San Francisco's Westfield Centre, which had its final day of service this past Monday. This is kind of surprising given the high-profile steakhouse's opening a decade ago, but all restaurants have a lifespan and the Lark Creek Group said it was "prudent to close" the place at this time, probably due to slumping sales. It remains to be seen what else might claim the swank space.
On the brighter side, we get news via SF Weekly of the soft opening of the sure-to-be swank Cadence from one of Maven's owners Jay Bordeleau, and former Chez TJ chef Joey Elenterio. It's located at 1446 Market Street, right near Alta CA, and it's attached to the already open bar, Mr. Tipple's Recording Studio. It's a sit-down restaurant, though, with its own cocktail menu and food, ranging from a high-end prix-fixe to cocktail snacks.
Fiddler's Green, the North Beach pub that shuttered this past October, will reopen. However, as Insidescoop notes, the ownership has changed. The owner of the building, Alex Kam Ho Lau, will now run the business with a targeted opening of around St. Patrick's Day.
In the spirit of new beginnings, the pie bakers behind Butter Love Bakeshop finally have a shop to call their own. Insidescoop explains that after five years of doing the pop-up thing, Esa Yonn-Brown and husband Josh Perez will open a cafe sometime in January in the outer Richmond.
If you're not into that whole "hand crafted with love" thing the folks over at Butter Love Bakeshop are offering, you may be inclined to try the robot-powered burger spot potentially heading to SoMa. Momentum Machines, which Hoodline helpfully notes is a technology company made up of "foodies and engineers with decades of robotics experience," looks to be trying to open a restaurant where robots cook burgers. The company's end goal regarding restaurant employees is "to completely obviate them," we're helpfully informed. No word yet on a potential opening date.
If all that robot talk has you down, stroll over to the soon-to-open Sababa, which Eater helpfully informs us will be a fast casual Mediterranean place from the people behind Bon Marché and AQ. A mid-spring opening is being targeted for the Financial District location, and the menu will be designed by chef and partner Guy Eshel.
The Mission got a new crepe option with the opening late last year of Delicioso Creperie, a Latin crepe spot with chef Gabriela Guerrero at the helm. Inside Scoop reports that the cafe is located in the Hamm's building.
Meanwhile, Berkeley is about to get a ramen spot from the people behind the much loved New York Ippudo. Eater informs us that the Tokyo-inspired ramen inspires long lines, and that this is part of an expansion for the brand after it partnered with Panda Express.
Back on this side of the Bay, following hints about this back in December, Hoodline reports that Mister Jiu's is "so close" to ready for its Chinatown opening. Chef Brandon Jew's long-awaited and personal project will focus on traditional Chinese recipes paired with a Californian focus on the local and sustainable. There's still no opening date, though.
Chefs Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi today announced more details regarding their upcoming collaboration — a fast-casual spot called LocoL (originally called Loco'l). Eater notes that the two are set to open the first location of the new restaurant in the Uptown neighborhood of Oakland, prior to planned openings in the Tenderloin and East Oakland as well. The location: the original Plum, turned into an expanded part of Plum Bar, which is already part of the Patterson empire and therefore not subject to any construction or lease delays.
And in a bit of good news for sushi lovers, Hoodline informs us that Ginza is now open in the Haight. The spot has both a lunch and dinner menu, and a happy hour.
On a bit of an odd note, San Francisco now has a "fashion showroom that's food instead of clothing items," Thoughts Style Cuisine Showroom owner tells Eater. Apparently, chef and owner Mu Chanma has come up with a "brunch and shades" sunglasses line (we're not sure what that means), and serves a mixture of Thai and Italian in the SoMa restaurant.
Oakland's Rumbo al Sur has closed after four years in business, reports Insidescoop. It had been run by Jack Knowles, who also owns San Francisco's The Chapel. Knowles didn't comment specifically as to why the place closed, other than to tell the paper that "[creating] and running a great restaurant takes a lot out of you."
The Mission's Coco Frio has closed after only four months in business, notes Eater, with owners Manny de Torres Gimenez and Katerina de Torres deciding to sell the business. It seems that after a fire at their other business, The Palace, and a death in the family, the two owners (they're married) decided to travel the world. When they return in a year, they both hope to reopen The Palace.
A lot of chefs seem to be on the move, with Louis Maldonado set to leave Spoonbar in order to be the culinary director of Mugnaini Imports in Healdsburg. Insidescoop has the story, noting that there was no beef, but rather Maldonado wanted to spend more time with his son.
Meanwhile, the Tenderloin's Huxley is losing founding chef Sara Hauman. Eater hips up to the fact that the departure is on good terms, and that Hauman is leaving to work at the aforementioned Mister Jiu's.
The new year will also bring with it a new guest chef series at Stones Throw, reports Eater. The chefs, which will cook one night each in the Russian Hill spot to raise money for charity, include Suzette Gresham of Acquerello, Val Cantu of Californios, and Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn.
This Week In Reviews
The Weekly's Peter Lawrence Kane took some time to visit Chubby Noodle's new location on Grant Avenue north of Columbus. Kane points out that the menu is less than 50 percent noodle related, and takes a moment to tell us about the loud music blasting at a "deafening" volume. After informing us that the unagi roll is "a lot of buck for the bang," Kane hips us to the real reason for his visit: the fried chicken. He loves it, saying that "it’s the kind you can eat every day," but be warned as you chomp down that spicy chicken: the tall boys of beer apparently have a "300 percent markup."
Kane also made his way to the Marina's two-month old Spaghetti Bros on behalf of the Weekly, and found the restaurant aiming for an "upscale but not stuffy" vibe. When it comes to the spaghetti, though, Kane seems on the fence. He mentions that there's almost nothing for vegetarians (although Kane doesn't hold it against the restaurant), and says the pasta noodles didn't seem fresh even though they're made in house. However, as a whole, he found a majority of the dishes "truly excellent" and recommends the spot — especially if you are itching for that old-school pasta joint vibe.
Meanwhile, the Chronicle's Anna Roth visits the finally opened Bini’s Kitchen kiosk near the Montgomery BART stop. Roth notes that the cook behind the kiosk, Binita Pradhan, grew her business out of La Cocina and focuses on traditional Nepalese food (where Pradhan is from). The go-to menu items are apparently the momos — "juicy little packets of meat and vegetables" (for all you veggies out there Pradhan makes a tofu version as well). At $6 for eight momos, Roth concludes that it's a great deal, and is clearly a fan herself.
Micheal Bauer took a moment out of his week to visit Chow on Church, and as he writes in the Chronicle, he leaves "ultimately disappointed" and throws some serious shade in the process. Bauer tells us that the spaghetti and meatballs "would be considered bland in a nursing home," and that the kitchen "team seems to be executing the menu by rote." In the end, he finds the only value to be ginger cake accompanied by pumpkin ice cream. Despite all of this, he gives the food two stars.
And for his Sunday review, Bauer drops by Nostra Spaghetteria, the retooled, more casual Mission pasta spot previously known as Plin, and still under the helm of chef-owner Alexander Alioto. He acknowledges that Alioto has talent and it's a challenging location, and he loves the seafood soup appetizer and still like Alioto's signature raviolo al uovo, but overall he finds the menu confusing it's split between a create-your-own pasta dish option and a more chef-driven pasta section, along with some more preciously plated entrées. He calls the bizarre, raviolo-topped burger a "discombulated" mess of "gratuitous excess," and the service, he says, needs work. All told: two stars.