This week we told you where to find the best non-dairy frozen desserts, hipped you to Smokestack's new menu, and talked about restaurant owners getting down with Pokemon Go. But of course a lot else happened as well, and here's the long and the short of it:
Don Pisto's, which already has a location in North Beach, will open a second Mexican restaurant in the Marina. Eater tells us that Don Pisto's Tequila Bar (2030 Lombard Street) will be smaller than its flagship location, but will provide many of the same core menu items. It is set to open July 26.
The first African American-owned bar in San Francisco, Sam Jordan's Bar & Grill, is set to appear on the reality TV show Bar Rescue. Hoodline informs us that the television show did a remodel of the Bayview bar within the last few weeks.
Ike's Place ran afoul of the Planning Department when it tried to expand/relocate into bakery Sweet Inspiration in the Castro, as Hoodline reports. As Ike's is a chain with now 31 locations, it triggers formula retail restrictions. As a result, Ike's has removed signage from the bakery and has made a show of pulling out of the arrangement. And this could mean the imminent end of Ike's in the Castro the sandwich spot's lease on its 16th Street space is up at the end of the month, and the entire neighborhood has the same formula retail ban. Update: A sign on Ike's window says it will only remain at 16th Street until August 31.
Mason Pacific, which temporarily closed four months ago following a kitchen fire, has reopened. Eater tells us that the opening was yesterday, and it served as the debut for new chef Max Mackinnon and his new menu.
Polk Street is getting a new fast-casual place with the forthcoming opening of Split Bread, reports Eater. When it opens in a former La Boulange at Polk and Green it will be the third location of the micro-chain.
Sixth Street is about to get two new cafés, Hoodline tells us. Both Pentacle Coffee and Argentum Project are shooting for October openings, with the latter planning on offering takeout sandwiches and Italian coffee.
Eater tells us that the beloved indoor-outdoor Cafe Flore in the Catro is for sale, but it will likely be bought by another operator and remain a restaurant — no condos to see here (at least not yet).
In other news, Oakland's Stag’s Lunchette will soon close. It's owner Lexi Filipello said that increasing costs of operation forced the decision. According to Inside Scoop, the sandwich shop had been around for four years.
Beer bar Trappist Provisions over in Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood is being rebranded as Mikkeller Tasting Room and Bottle Shop, reports The East Bay Express. There will be no closure to make the change over, rather the bar will slowly morph. As you may know, Trappist co-owner Chuck Stilphen partnered with renowned Danish brewmaster Mikkel Borg Bjergsø to open Mikkeller Bar in San Francisco three years ago, and the duo also opened a location in downtown LA last year as well. Both are supplied by Mikkeller's US brewing operation, which is based in San Diego.
Seven Stills Distillery is set to open a new brewery, distillery, and tasting room. The three-year-old SF distillery makes whiskeys from its own beers, and The Registry tells us that the new location will be in the Bayview.
Lastly, the Chronicle takes a big-picture look at why Mid-Market restaurants appear to be facing difficulties these days. Using the closures of Cadence and Oro as jumping off points, the paper asks if "the neighborhood’s culinary boom will turn to bust." As these things tend to go, the answer is complicated.
This Week In Reviews
For his midweek checkup, the Chronicle's Michael Bauer went back to Tosca Cafe and found that even though James Beard Award-winning chef April Bloomfield is no longer at the daily helm, there is still a lot to like. Tosca, which reopened in 2014 after extensive renovation work and a rebirth as an Italian restaurant, hit a lot of the right notes for Bauer on his first visit and manages to do so again — he calls the food "familiar but [with] a modern sensibility so that it appears fresh." As chef, New Yorker Josh Even appears to have adapted to Bay Area sensibilities — a fact which the critic thinks shows in Even's take on halibut and Tokyo turnips. The staff at the 46-seat restaurant also gets high marks, leading Bauer to call Tosca one of the best bar/restaurants in San Francisco. He gives it the big three stars.
For his Sunday review, Bauer does something a little different and takes a look at just how expensive dining out has become in San Francisco. Focusing on two spots, Mosu and Hashiri, he tells the story of new restaurants charging too much too soon — before they've built up a solid reputation and loyal following. (Hashiri, Bauer notes, is popular in Japan but doesn't have name recognition here). At Hashiri, eating at the sushi counter could set you back $500 per person; at Mosu, a dinner for two might be $600. Bauer says he decided against a "formal review" for either location, as that would require three visits to each. In the end, he thinks charging a lot is fine, but notes high prices "have to be earned."
Peter Lawrence Kane of the Weekly visits the newly opened Tawla on Valencia Street, and finds it to be "a strong neighborhood restaurant with a well-executed conceit." The restaurant announces its intention to "[imagine] California as an island in the east of the Mediterranean" on its website, and Kane runs with the idea. He clearly enjoys the numerous mezze offerings, paying special attention to "the whispers of lightly pickled onion and the dark, luscious yolk of the two quarters of a Jidori-style egg" he finds in the $12 Ful Medames. Despite thinking the layout of the place is slightly off, Kane clearly believes Tawla is a welcomed divergence from the recent Valencia Street restaurants of late. And, if it offered a full cocktail menu, we could even see him making it a personal go-to.
Anna Roth, meanwhile, heads to El Buen Comer and finds a lot to like in the family run restaurant focusing on guisados — a dish local to chef Isabel Caudillo's native Mexico City. Taking a moment to call out the delicious chilaquiles, Roth then goes into detail on the rotating list of stews offered. She notes that the price for dinner is a bargain, and, while finding the service a bit lacking, that doesn't stop her from heaping praise on the new restaurant. Get a bottle of wine and a few orders of chilaquiles, and you'll be more than content.
Remember Wildhawk? Sure you do — it's the new-ish bar that opened up inside of what was once The Lexington Club. Esther Mobley of the Chronicle checks the spot out and finds the inside beautiful and the drinks risky. Just how risky? One of the cocktails reportedly has Cocoa Puffs in it, and is topped with orange peels cut into cutesy shapes. Mobley forgives the $25 martini, but wonders what it means when a queer institution like the Lex gets replaced by something like Wildhawk. Confusingly, she references the playlist of The Beatles and Tears for Fears as proof that the watering hole is still a Mission bar at heart — perhaps proving that the term "Mission" no longer has any meaning.