As always, a lot happened this week in San Francisco's food scene: Blue Bottle made moves to take over the Bean There space in the Lower Haight, we tried a full meal at the new SFMOMA Restaurant In Situ, and someone tried to make watermelon-feta guacamole a thing. A lot else went down, of course.
Some accolades just hit the Bay Area, with Inside Scoop reporting that Lord Stanley, The Perennial, and Cala all just made Bon Appetit’s list of 50 Best New Restaurants. Congrats!
On the flip side, Richie Nakano (of Hapa Ramen fame) isn't so stoked about what San Francisco currently has to offer chefs and would-be restaurant owners. As he told Hoodline, "there's too many restaurants, too much money gets dropped into them, rents are really high and labor is really hard to find." He plans to do a new pop-up series sometime in the next several months, and he hints that he may open another ramen spot at some point, but in the Outer Sunset.
In beer news, A new brewery just opened up in the Mission on 14th Street. Hoodline reports that Standard Deviant Brewing starting pouring beers for the public this past weekend, and that owners plan on remaining softly opened before an official September opening date.
Meanwhile, one of the guys behind Mission favorite Beretta has something new in the works. Hoodline tells us that Adriano Paganini's new project has a working name of "The Bird" and is located at Montgomery & Mission Streets. Little else is known about the concept at this point, but this would bring Paganini's restaurant count to 21, including the recently announced takeover of the former Betelnut space.
San Francisco International Airport will welcome some tasty treats with the news that Daniel Patterson is the new executive chef at American Express’s Centurion Lounge. Inside Scoop reports that the menu will be more comfort food than fine dining, but that's pretty much all we know of the menu at this point.
In other chef news, Lazy Bear just got a new pastry chef. Eater tells us that chef Edward Martinez will replace Maya Erickson, whose last night was Saturday.
And while Lazy Bear is welcoming someone new, Old Bus Tavern is saying goodbye to one of their staff. Inside Scoop reports that opening chef Max Snyder is no longer with the restaurant and is in the process of moving to Austin to open his own restaurant there.
A combination restaurant and coworking space just opened in Mid-Market/SoMa, Eater reports, with some help from AQ owner Matt Semmelhack. Covo (981 Mission), as it is called, offers food all day long in addition to space for people to plop down and work. And, with 13 taps, worker bee customers won't have to go far to get their happy hour drink on.
In other Mid-Market news, the San Francisco Business Times suggests that new fast casual spots are seeing success where fine dinning restaurants like Cadence and Oro did not. The idea apparently is to cater to the workers in that section of the city, who, like most people, have limited time to eat lunch.
Berkeley just lost a cafe, with Eater reporting that Flour & Co. was forced to close after being open for less than a year. According to owner Emily Day, it just wasn't getting enough business.
Inside Scoop lets us know that Buffalo Theory, which we heard about in the spring, soft-opened this week on Polk Street, and that consulting chef Tim Luym intends to work Filipino flavors into the meat-focused menu. The official opening is this Monday.
This Week In Reviews
For his Sunday review, the Chronicle's Michael Bauer made his way to Mediterranean spot Tawla (the Weekly's Peter Lawrence Kane reviewed it mid-July). The Valencia Street restaurant was opened by former Google engineer Azhar Hashem, and the kitchen is helmed by Joseph Magidow (previously of Delfina). The design of the restaurant, complex flavors, and enthusiasm of the staff all turn Mr. Bauer into "a major supporter." He is particularly stoked on the $140 leg of lamb (meant to be shared), which not only hit all the right notes for him but allowed for a few days' worth of leftover sandwiches (when you're paying that much, substantial leftovers might ease the pain?). Passing on "mainstream dishes like hummus and falafel," Hashem instead focuses on food that is personal to her: rockfish, cauliflower, and bread topped with walnuts. This wins over Bauer, who gives the restaurant two and a half stars.
The Weekly's Peter Lawrence Kane, meanwhile, headed to Bernal heights to chow down at El Buen Comer — a Mexican restaurant that the Chronicle's Anna Roth reviewed last month. Much like Roth, Kane finds a lot to recommend. Isabel Caudillo is the brains behind the operation, and her focus on Mexico City cuisine — specifically stews — wins Kane over (although he also piles the love on for the homemade tortillas). He really likes the chicken tinga sopes and the citrusy jicama appetizer. Interestingly, he seconds Roth's concern with the service — the restaurant is staffed by Caudillo's adult children — which suggests El Buen Comer still has a few things to figure out. Even with that ding, Kane still loves it, and from his review it's clear that he thinks you will as well.