A lot of big news hit this week in the Bay Area food scene. Perhaps most notably, we learned that Bar Tartine will essentially close at the end of the year. We also chowed down on the Impossible Burger, found out who was (and was not) awarded Michelin stars, sampled some goodies at Tartine's Cookies and Cream, and learned of the shuttering of Pinkie's Bakery. Oh, and we told you where to find the best burgers. Here's what else went down.
Both Quince and Cotogna are to get a new high-profile sommelier, with Inside Scoop reporting that Jeff Kellogg has been poached from New York's Maialino. Kellogg told the publication that he thinks Quince can have "the best wine program in the country."
In other news, a new food vendor has popped up in FiDi, but instead of selling sandwiches or hotdogs The Grubbies, as it is called, offers $200 sea urchin available at a takeout window. Hoodline reports that workers in the area are excited about the offerings.
Meanwhile in the Outer Sunset, the House of Coffee was just awarded Legacy Business status. Hoodline tells us that the roaster has been around since 1983, and that this is the first official Legacy Business in the Outer Sunset.
The wine bar Swirl on Castro was just sold, we learn via Hoodline, but fans of theirs shouldn't get too worried. Swirl employees bought the location and intend to keep it much the same. "We are honored that [previous co-owner Jerry Cooper] has decided to entrust us with this community gem," one of the new owners, Sabeen Minns, told the publication.
In a bit of sad news for Cow Hollow, Hoodline informs us that neighborhood grocery spot Real Food Co just closed. They'd been in business close to 20 years, and the CEO explains that the closure was forced by the building owner's decision to sell the property. "While the parcel is still zoned for a grocery store, there is no guarantee that we will be able to continue to operate as tenants," said CEO Stephanie Hong. Real Food Co's Polk Street location will remain open.
Napa will welcome a new tenant to the downtown Copia building as the Culinary Institute of America intends to open up shop inside. Specifically, Eater reports, neighbors can expect wine and cooking lessons along with a restaurant to be named The Restaurant at CIA Copia. A mid-November opening date is being targeted.
The Tendernob is also getting an infusion of life in the form of The Saratoga — a classy supper club in the basement and a more casual neighborhood spot upstairs. Owner Tim Stannard tells Hoodline that he's aiming for a new-American restaurant with a focus on classic booze. November 9 is the opening day.
Tartine Manufactory is launching a ticketed dinner service, Eater reports, that will serve up prix fixe meals at $50 a pop. At present, it's a limited-time offer with the first dinner on November 2 and the last on the 6th. However, nightly service is expected to begin some time in December.
Motze, a restaurant operating out of the old Herbivore on Valencia, opened this week. Mission Local tells us that the space has an 18-month shelf-life as that's when the lease expires, and its owners plan to do things a bit differently. Namely, chefs will serve the Japanese-inspired food directly to diners, and there will be no tipping.
Tosca Cafe will host a champagne dinner this coming Tuesday, and will provide guests an opportunity to mingle and chat with champagne expert David White as they sip selections from Ruinart, Dom Perignon, and Krug. It's definitely a ticketed event, so buy now if you want in.
The Mission's Harrison Street is about to get a new destination sushi restaurant in the form of Sasaki — a $200 per person prix fixe restaurant helmed by Michelin starred chef Masa Sasaki. Eater tells us that Sasaki is taking over the old American Grilled Cheese Kitchen location, and is aiming for a November 11 opening.
Mediterranean grill Hayes & Kebab has found a new location in Mission Bay, and will most likely abandon plans to return to Hayes Valley. Hoodline reports that the eatery had been displaced by construction in 2014, and although owner Bawar Tekin said he hoped to find another location in the neighborhood, he appears to have given up on that goal after finding a new location in Mission Bay.
Americana Grill just underwent a renovation and is now Eat Americana, Hoodline informs us. Chef James Moisey, of Rickybobby and Broken Record fame, is now on board and tells the publication that the revamp is part of a process to "keep things fresh and dynamic." In addition to the name change diners will see changes to the menu.
This Week in Reviews
Josh Sens, in a review of Nightbird for San Francisco Magazine, opens up with a soliloquy on the state of prix fixe dining in San Francisco. After getting some well-worn gripes out of the way, he permits himself to expound happily on what chef Kim Alter whips up in the kitchen. The Hayes Valley restaurant is relatively new, and its $125 five-course tasting menu is what really grabs Sens's attention. Noting that the atmosphere, like the food, is "smart and restrained," Sens writes highly of the slow-cooked quail egg atop fried leeks ("it called to mind the world’s most refined onion dip"), but finds the lobster a let down. That being the case, Sens still believes the restaurant — and specifically the dark chocolate sorbet — to be "worth cheering" for.
For his midweek checkup, the Chronicle's Michael Bauer returns to The Fly Trap. Bauer takes readers along on a journey as he recounts the bar's 100-plus-year history before arriving at present day and the work of chef Jose Hernandez. While he opens by complimenting the pistachio meatballs, the critic quickly notes that many of the dishes taste too similar and that mains (pan-roasted halibut, roast chicken breast, and braised short rib) almost all disappoint in some way or another. However, the vibe of the place and the simple staples like the hamburger saved the day for Bauer, who noted that it's the kind of place you want to go after a long day of work. He gives it two and a half stars.
In the world of beer, Carl Nolte of the Chronicle pays a visit to the Hayes Valley Biergarten. He finds a lot to like about the five-year-old drinking establishment, noting that it represents some of the best of San Francisco (the deviled eggs and pretzels likely helped in that estimation). Nolte appreciates the three German beers on tap, and notes approvingly that the fourth is the locally brewed Fort Point. And while patrons of Zeitgeist might take issue with Biergarten co-owner Aaron Hulme's claim that his place represents the first beer garden in San Francisco, they, much like Nolte, will still happily sip beers on Biergarten benches in the late fall sun.
The Weekly's Peter Lawrence Kane made his way over to Prosper, a restaurant that shares a space with a gym. Not shying away from that fact, the pan-Pacific menu from Chef Bronson Macomber is self-styled “elevated gym food.” However Kane, who lets us know that he's not much of a gym-goer, manages to find some stand outs. Specifically, the "pillowy-soft and quite good" fried-chicken bao, and the "seasonal and hearty" grilled albacore catch his eye. The causal atmosphere and the view provided by the fourth floor location are also big pluses for Kane, and he notes that the restaurant is worth a repeat visit.
This space will be updated with Michael Bauer's Sunday review after it is published.