It's been a year and a half since we first heard that the talents of chef Kim Alter would finally be getting a solo stage from which to cook here in San Francisco, in the former Stelline space in Hayes Valley. Now, after plans have been kept under wraps for many months, we get word via Eater that Nightbird (330 Gough Street), and its attached tiny cocktail bar The Linden Room, will be opening Thursday, August 18.
[Update: Alter tells SFist that it's been a chaotic week of last-minute construction issues, and they are now aiming to open by next week, date TBA. Anyone who had reservations for tonight or this weekend should reschedule.]
Alter previously has said that she was most inspired by a small restaurant in Paris, Septime, which has a nightly changing prix fixe. Similarly, at the 38-seat Nightbird, Alter will be cooking her seasonal best with a nightly changing $125 tasting menu of an indeterminate amount of courses. On OpenTable the restaurant's being described as "an elegant boutique restaurant in the heart of San Francisco which embraces community, diversity, and delivers a hospitable and whimsical experience."
The name, Nightbird, comes from Alter's childhood love of owls, and indeed as you can see in the image above, she's been collecting owl trivets which will be part of service.
SFist has reached out to Alter for further details on the menu, but understandably she's not gotten back to us as of this post, but I will update this if she does.
Alter cut her teeth in a bunch of high-profile kitchens, and she's one of a group of talented Bay Area chefs who trained with David Kinch, at the Michelin three-starred Manresa in Los Gatos a group which also includes Commis/Hawker Fare chef James Syhabout, and Central Kitchen and Kin Khao's opening chef Michael Gaines. Taking time out of California, since she grew up here, she did several internships early in her career in Chicago, at Blackbird, Charlie Trotter's, and Alinea. Alter also spent time at Ubuntu, La Folie, Coi, Gary Danko, and Acquerello she considers chef Suzette Gresham her best mentor and was the opening chef at the Daniel Patterson-owned Haven in Oakland. She later began flexing her muscles with prix fixe menus at the now defunct Plum, earning raves from the East Bay Express and Food & Wine.
Reservations are available now and already appear to be going fast for prime time spots the opening week.
Nightbird - 330 Gough Street at Linden - 415-829-7565 - Opening August 18