This week we saw the debut of Rambler in the Hotel Zeppelin, the shuttering of iconic 48-year-old former gay spot The Lion Pub, and the death of longtime North Beach bar owner Richard "Specs" Simmons. We also heard a bit more about the impending opening of the Bar Tartine spinoff, Motze. Here's what else has been going on in the food scene.
Over at Michael Mina's Test Kitchen, the barbecue collaboration with Ayesha Curry, International Smoke, will have its sunset on November 4, and that will then make way for the next temporary concept in the space opening November 12: Postcards From La Coastiera. Chef Adam Sobel, as Eater reports, will be creating a menu focused on the Italian coastal regions of Lazio, Campania, Sicilia, and Puglia, among others, with emphasis on crudos, roasted seafood and meats, handmade pasta, and caviars paired with mozzarella or burrata, which will be a weekly featured special. Check out the full menu here, and they're taking ticketed reservations now.
Yet another omakase-style sushi spot is opening later this month, this one on Van Ness, and it's called Hinata. Eater brings word that the chefs are "Gavin Leung and Weida Chen, who bring experience from Zushi Puzzle and Sushi Ran, respectively," and Leung has also worked with famed Tokyo sushi chef Jiro Lin at the Saison sushi pop-up last year. The space, the former Mazza Luna at Van Ness and Eddy, is small, with just sixteen table seats where an a la carte menu will be available and 12 counter seats with omakase only. That will be $78 with a sashimi course, 12 piece of sushi, a soup course, salad, and dessert.
Preeti Mistry, the Top Chef alum who runs popular Oakland Indian-fusion spot Juhu Beach Club, is now opening a new Emeryville restaurant called Navi Kitchen. As Inside Scoop reports, it will be an all-day spot with counter service, and a menu featuring seasonal curries, Indian Neapolitan-style pizzas, and burnt masala-brined rotisserie chicken with tikka masala mac and cheese (!). Look for that to debut next spring.
As promised, healthy lunch option Sweetgreen just debuted their first SF location, at 171 Second Street, and the opening was greeted with massive lines as Inside Scoop reports. You can check out the full warm bowl and salad menu here, and order ahead on their app if you want avoid a line. And as Eater notes, yes, SoMa now has a Tender Greens, a Mixt Greens, and Sweetgreen, so don't complain about not being able to find a custom tossed salad.
NoPa's Bread & Butter Café (Hayes and Ashbury) has closed due to an apparent rent hike, and as Hoodline shows us, the neighbors who loved it are losing their minds and posting angry notes all over the front door, calling the landlord "slumlord Joe" and a "greedy" co**sucker.
Also closed is Rye Project (180 7th Street), the Jewish deli spinoff of Deli Board, and owner Adam Mesnick tells Eater it was due to challenges with the tiny space “a tremendous amount of mishigas [Yiddish for ‘craziness’] from the neighborhood.” Some of that mishigas he's referring to has been well documented on Deli Board's Twitter, if you're curious.
Rum & Sugar, a new rum-focused bar, is headed for the former Castle Club space in the Tenderloin (823 Geary Street), as Hoodline reports. It's the project of two first-time bar owners, Russian expats Olga Zhuravskaya and Natasha Avtonomova, and they're aiming for a November opening.
Dogpatch brunch spot ‘Aina, the Hawaiian eatery that opened six months ago, is expanding with dinner service starting next week, on October 18. Chef Jordan Keao and new chef de cuisine Chris Yang will be debuting a menu with a few pupus, five starters, and four mains, and not everything his Hawaiian per se e.g. there's Portuguese butter bean cassoulet, and a pork chop with carrot-top pistou and ginger-citrus chimichurri. Inside Scoop has the deets here.
And beloved upper Fillmore New Orleans spot Elite Café has reopened after shuttering in March and changing hands, as Tablehopper reports, with a spiffy remodeled interior, and a new menu from chef Chris Borges. As Inside Scoop explains, new owners Andy Chun and Jan Wiginton (Schroeder’s, Pacific Cocktail Haven) have brought in bar star Kevin Diedrich to take care of the NoLa-inspired drink menu, which includes a frozen hurricane and a frozen Irish coffee.
This Week In Reviews
Pete Kane this week gets a first crack at newly open Nomica in the Castro, the "sushi-less Franco-Japanese restaurant" from the team behind Sushi Ran in Sausalito. He says "this restaurant deserves credit for its willingness to take risks," and he loves a seaweed salad with pine nut butter, radishes, and crispy buckwheat; the "laminated brioche" with mushrooms and whipped egg yolk inside; and an "extraordinary" grilled fish dish with vegetable ash, trumpet mushrooms, and savoy cabbage.
And despite my skepticism about the nightly line outside, Anna Roth declares that Mensho Tokyo in the Tenderloin is "a new gold standard for San Francisco," and "You should absolutely wait in the line and eat this ramen." Also, she says that Mensho is "a good place to be a student" of ramen, learning about "various broth styles, noodles, toppings and regional variations," and she's in love with popular, chicken-bone-based broth, the signature tori paitan, which she says is "beautiful" and "has all the richness of tonkotsu without that feeling that you’ve just consumed a day’s worth of calories in a few slurps." She's less in love with the lighter broth options, but she recommends the aburasoba, which are sauced noodles, no broth, and she says the new spicy miso lamb ramen is "probably a must for lamb fans."
Michael Bauer swung back around to check out Seven Hills in Russian Hill for his update review this week, and he has some high praise for what chef Anthony Florian has been doing in the kitchen since he took it over in 2013. Bauer in fact now groups the place with Frances, Rich Table, Range, and Petit Crenn as being among SF's top-notch neighborhood spots that in any other city would be considered first-tier restaurants, and he totally loves the pastas, including a kale tagliatelle served with "a beef, duck and pork Bolognese smoothed with cream" that he said was better than any he had on a recent tour of Italy. The verdict: three stars.
And for his Sunday review, Mr. Bauer seems to enjoy Barzotto, the new fast-casual pasta bar in the old St. Vincent space on Valencia. Unlike Pete Kane before him, Bauer doesn't seem to bothered by the inefficiency of the counter service, though he does say it takes some time and the staff seems "disorganized." And while he seems only mildly pleased on the pasta front, he says chef Michelle Minori shines moreso in her three main course offerings, including a half roast chicken and a porchetta slice, each served on cutting boards with vegetables and sauces and using an overused Bauer phrase, he finds the porchetta "one of the best I’ve seen." All told: two and a half stars.