This week we took a first look at Fiorella, the new Italian/pizza spot in the Richmond, and we heard the news that the Lexington Club is becoming, predictably enough, a high-end cocktail bar called Wildhawk. Also, the Don Pisto's/Chubby Noodle guy is bringing a new tequila bar/taco spot to the Marina. But with the constant drum of the approaching Super Bowl making you wonder if you should just go ahead and skip town, and once you've hit up all the best beer bars in SF and Oakland, you may want to take a moment and revel in some of the other food happenings around the city.
If you're in the mood to slurp, Leo’s Oyster Bar (568 Sacramento Street), from the people behind Marlowe and Park Tavern, opened last night in the former Wexler’s space. Hoodline informs us that the FiDi restaurant will encourage day drinking, and, as the name suggests, focus on seafood.
Another spot to open this week was Starboard (2919 16th Street), a hofbrau-style connected to the bar Slate which saw its first night open to the public last night. As Ms. Tablehopper notes, the restaurant bucks the weird San Francisco restaurant trend of closing early and both has a late-night menu and stays open until 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, serving stuff like scallion hushpuppies, pho, and open-faced turkey sandwiches.
Meanwhile, big changes are afoot at the Twitter building's Market on Market, which is set to transition away from its partial grocery-store vibe and become more of a "Ferry Building-style food hall," the Chronicle tells us. This means more typical grocery fare will be ditched in favor of a sushi spot, a doughnut maker, a pizzeria, and so on.
Burger pop-up Popsons, which we mentioned last week, has opened a semi-permanent spot in the former Marlowe Burger on Townsend, reports Eater. Chef Adam Rosenblum will hold that spot down until a planned truly permanent location opens on mid-Market in March.
The Tenderloin is about to get a new Burmese restaurant, as chef and owner William Lue plans to open an offshoot of his popular Oakland Grocery Cafe. Eater hips us to the possible mid-February opening.
Following in the footsteps of Joe's Crab Shack, Atelier Crenn has made the move to eliminate tips and simply increase prices. Owner and chef Dominique Crenn told Inside Scoop that the change will go into effect February 1.
In closing news, Belcampo Meat Company's spot in the Mission shut down on Wednesday. Belcampo CEO Anya Fernald told the Scoop that they weren't able to sell the volume of meat they needed to in order to make the space work financially.
But go ahead and drown those meat-sorrows out with some ice cream, as Smitten Ice Cream will shortly be opening up a new location in the Marina. So reports Eater, which informs us that the chain's seventh location will begin scooping this summer.
The Mina Test Kitchen (2120 Greenwich Street) will have a new resident starting March 1, Eater tells us, with Indian-focused The Company from chef Vikrant Bhasin set to take over the space. The final night for Little Italy, the current resident, is February 14.
The Inner Richmond just got a little hipper with the soft-opening of High Treason. The restaurant and wine bar, formerly known as Pivot, has sommeliers Michael Ireland and John Vuong at the helm, Eater reports. Food offerings, which are forthcoming, will be taken care of by chef Daniel Brooks. Stay tuned for details on when the kitchen will be up and running.
InsideScoop brings us news that Marzano will live again. The Italian eatery closed in 2014, but has found a new home in Oakland. The restaurant's former general manager, Manna Tekie, and its inaugural chef, Rob Holt, will be in charge. Expect pizzas and pan roasted octopus.
American Grilled Cheese Kitchen will open its third location this Monday. The opening of the new shop, located on Broadway and Battery, comes just ahead of the launch of co-founder Heidi Gibson's cook book, notes Hoodline.
Bite Me Sandwiches opened their second location this week. The sandwich shop, Hoodline tells us, will likely soon have an upstairs wine bar to go along with the food. The new Castro location complements their existing spot on 16th Street at Mission Street.
And finally, if you must go to Super Bowl City, you can expect to find some food and drinks for sale inside (it might be dicey trying to bring your own in). The fine folks over at KRON 4 inform us that eats from Woodhouse Fish Company, Graze, Bourbon and Steak, Southern Comfort Kitchen, and El Pipila will all be available for purchase.
This Week In Reviews
The Weekly's Peter Lawrence Kane makes us all a little jealous this week, as he tries out the Chinese New Year menu at Hakkasan. Chef Ho Chee Boon's special $138.88 menu offers dim sum, preceded by a ginseng and chicken soup. Kane notes that the star of the show is the "buttery-light" Chilean sea bass topped with Chinese honey. The special lasts for four more weeks, and Kane hints that it would be inauspicious to miss it — if you can afford it, that is.
Michael Bauer's mid-week update came with a visit to Berkeley's Gather, which opened in 2009 but got Tu David Phu as a new chef last year. Bauer repeatedly compliments the restaurant for being extremely vegetarian friendly without sacrificing anything, but in the end can't help but gush over the baked oysters — calling the truffle béarnaise they were served floating in "a masterful blend." The vegan pizza was the star of the show, surprising even Bauer. In the end, he notes that the shift toward a more "mainstream" experience over the past seven years has actually been good for the place, and he gives it two stars.
His Sunday review of Berkeley's La Marcha quickly moves away from any vegan flirtations, as Bauer declares the paella — which takes 30 minutes to prepare and serves two to four people — the must-have item on the menu. His favorite of the paellas offered is the Arroz Negro, and he notes the bottom layer of crusted rice adds complexity. Bauer details the selection of tapas, but seems fixated on the fact that his menus had food stuck to them when presented. In the end, however, Bauer thinks the food — for which owners Sergio Emilio Monleon and Emily Sarlatte are responsible — makes up for the slightly uneven service. He gives it two and a half stars.