This week we've seen the notable dustup over the fate of salty Union Square mainstay Lefty O'Doul's, which appears to be a tug-of-war between the landlord and the longtime manager, we learned that Bristol Farms is dunzo in the Westfield food court, marked the opening of new Tenderloin cocktail spot Rum & Sugar, and learned that The Halal Guys are finally opening their brick-and-mortar location near Union Square. We also got Trick Dog's new public-art-themed cocktail menu, and learned that Daniel Patterson's new venture at Dogpatch art space The Minnesota Project will be an offshoot of Alta CA. Here's all the other stuff that's been going down.
Noted Hayes Valley champagne bar The Riddler (528 Laguna Street), thwarted in its attempt to get open for New Year's Eve, will in fact be finally open this weekend, on Sunday, January 15. Eater has some photos of the freshly polished space, which was formerly the home of Momi Toby's Revolution Cafe and Art Bar, which shuttered last summer.
Alba Ray's Cajun, which is the name for the New Orleans-Cajun spot in the Mission we first heard about last March from the team behind Causwells and Popsons, is nearing its opening in the former Hapa Ramen/Citizen Fox space at 2293 Mission Street. Preview events are scheduled for next week, and SFist confirms that the public opening is scheduled for Monday, January 23. The menu is from chef/partner Adam Rosenblum, who with Alvin Garcia opened Causwells in the Marina in 2014. Rosenblum previously worked in New Orleans under James Beard Award-winning chef Donald Link of Herbsaint and Cochon fame.
Oubound, the newest brewpub from Woods Beer Co. in the Outer Sunset, is set to open in time for Beer Week, early next month, as owner Jim Woods tells Hoodline. The location, a former dry cleaners at 4045 Judah Street, was spray-painted with 'Die Yuppie Scum' last summer after news broke of Woods moving in, but he now says most people in the neighborhood have been really supportive and the graffiti "seemed a little misguided and I’m not really sure what it was all about." Outbound will be Woods Beer Co.'s fifth outpost in the Bay Area, with their flagship on Telegraph in Oakland, their wee Ceveceria at 18th and Church, the newer Polk Street location, and last year's addition, their Beach Club on Treasure Island.
In the Inner Sunset, Irving Cafe (716 Irving Street) has shuttered, according to a Hoodline tipster, and in its place will soon be a Japanese-style hot dog shop called Takuya, with a location in San Mateo and a soon-to-be location in Japantown.
Ichi Sushi, which we learned last month was giving up its newer digs in Bernal Heights out of financial necessity to return to its original location down the street, has completed the move, and Inside Scoop reported that they reopened for walk-ins last weekend.
As SFist reported New Year's Day, SoMa's AQ is calling it quits after five fairly successful years, and owner Matt Semmelhack tells Inside Scoop that the restaurant's final service will be tomorrow, Saturday, January 14. He says there's been an outpouring of support and "some really nice notes" from loyal customers, and, he assures, his other restaurant Fenix, two doors down, will remain open.
We learned from Tablehopper this week that The Mill has added a new thing to the menu, which is weekly changing vegetarian sandwiches, which is the next step after the semiweekly pizza nights that baker Josey Baker has been hosting for the last couple of years, which as of recently now include beer and wine and those are on Monday and Wednesday evenings only. As we heard last fall, though, nightly dinner is likely on the way too.
Illy Caffé is adding two new downtown coffee shops, as Hoodline tells us, at 220 Montgomery Street and 90 New Montgomery Street, both in the next week or so. That brings Illy's SF locations to seven.
The Outer Richmond is getting a spot for the Brazilian cheese puffs known as pão de queijo, because obviously that is something this city has been missing. It's called Saltroot Bakery, it's coming to 2960 Clement Street (at 31st Avenue), and as Hoodline tells us, it's aiming to be open by Sunday, January 15. Added bonus: These puffs are gluten free.
And sandwich fiends better take note that Seattle's Homegrown Sustainable Sandwiches, well loved up north for their organic, farm-to-table ethos as well as their salads, soups, and grain bowls, is set to open on Tuesday at 222 Battery, per Eater.
This Week In Reviews
"Many restaurants that try to evoke a Parisian feel come across as authentic as the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas," writes Michael Bauer in his update review of 28-year-old Cafe Claude. "This restaurant, located on the alley-like Claude Lane that runs between Sutter and Post streets near Kearny, comes by its pedigree naturally." He goes on to rave about the improvement in the kitchen under chef Justin Minnich, including his coq au vin and the "beautifully realized salade maison." His trout amandine was a tad overcooked, but the steak frites was perfect, and the service he says, is "warm, informed and casual." All told: two and a half stars.
Mr. Bauer's big Sunday review dropped today as well, and it's of Tartine Manufactory, which he describes as an "open and airy" space that's too frequently crowded during the daytime hours, but he says that once dinner service arrived in November it was "a godsend for those of us who refuse to stand in line." He adores the chicken and pork bone broth as much as the Tartine bread that comes with it, and he generally raves about the work of chef Sam Goinsalvos and his "style of peasant cooking," which he also loved at the chef's previous post, New York's Il Buco Alimentari. He loves the salt-baked, whole petrale sole, the roasted carrot salad with Castelventrano olive and herb salsa, and a special prime rib that he says, and this is big, "rivals what you’ll get at House of Prime Rib." The verdict: three stars.
Meanwhile, the Weekly's Pete Kane offers us a review of Babu Ji, the new "near-fatally-hip" Indian transplant from New York's East Village, which Kane says succeeds, for the most part. He adds caveats like "I would have preferred the sauces and chutneys to be toned down here and there," and he says "the vibe is so hip, so aggressively East Village, that it risks turning people off." But he recommends the chef's tasting menu ($62), and totally loves the "Colonel Tso's" cauliflower, which he calls "the most original cruciferous vegetable preparation I’ve had in ages."