It's SF Beer Week, as you know, but there's more to life than hops. For example, there's Iza Ramen, scheduled to open today; Verve Coffee, plotted for the Castro next week; and for you eat-at-home types, the Fourth and Market Trader Joe's is set to hit the scene Thursday. Here's what else is going on:
Even people without access to calendars can tell that (the typically slow month of) January is over by the number of openings announced this week. There's Fermentation Lab, which sounds distressingly clinical but is actually a Mid-Market venue for California-made beers and pickled foods, Hoodline reports. May its gut health persevere where so many others' have failed!
Speaking of guts, Wise Sons Bagel has the guts to expand outside San Francisco, with a new location in Larkspur’s Marin Country Market set to open by Passover. Inside Scoop has the tale, in which co-owner Evan Bloom is quoted as saying that “The real focus is going to be on the bagel sandwiches,” and it will be similar to the Fillmore Street location, with counter service.
Later this month, you'll be able to enjoy "street-eats" at Mestiza Taqueria, opening in the space SoMa denizens might recall as the former home of Chavo's at 595 Bryant (at Fourth). Owner Deanna Sison Foster, who you might know from her work at Farmerbrown and Little Skillet, tells Inside Scoop that the food "will be rooted in the street-friendly Mexican tradition of a taqueria, with the flavor profiles of the Philippines and other vibrant street-food cultures.”
Rooh, which we've been looking forward to since last year, opened this week at 333 Brannan in SoMa with an $80 seven-course tasting menu featuring "progressive versions of Indian dishes using Northern California ingredients and modern techniques.," Eater SF reports. There's a la carte too, Inside Scoop has the menu for you to peruse.
Are people running out of names for things? First we have Fermentation Lab, now there's G Spot — seriously — a tap room that just opened across Moscone Center. The owners have two other joints in the area: Garaje and Garajito, so they tell Hoodline that the new place's name is to "keep it in the 'G family.'" Sure, guys, it's clearly motivated by alliteration, not juvenile vulgarity, at all.
And in more beer news, Hitachino Beer & Wagyu, which was actually expected to open last summer, now hopes to open during Beer Week, according to Eater SF. This makes sense since even beer haters still love that cute little owl on the Hitachino bottle. Their spot at Post and Jones will be the company's first US outpost and SF's first kappo-style venue, in which one will enjoy "a progressive, interactive meal."
It's a nice sign that we have far more openings than closures to tally this week, but there are some. Most notable, perhaps, is that after 20 years in business, Rose Pistola quietly closed last weekend. "Due to rising costs it is no longer feasible to continue to operate," Tablehopper reports their closing note as saying. Among other notable moments, the Italian restaurant won the James Beard Award for the nation’s Best New Restaurant in 1997. “It’s getting harder, especially for the older places,” owner Laurie Thomas tells Inside Scoop. “But now was the right time for us.”
Looking forward to March, The Sequoia, a "super-exclusive" bar on the top floor of Wayfare Tavern, is expected to open next month. Eater SF has photos of the Ken Fulk-designed space and says that "reservations will be available through a ticketing system," so expect it to appear on SFist's "Best Dive Bars" list any day now.
In grocery shopping news, we've got some movement at The Market, that fancy-pants food retailer/food court in Mid-Market. Their newest take-out offering is Manila Bowl, a Filipino rice bowl purveyor. Eater SF has their menu, just in time for their expected opening this coming Monday. Grocery shoppers should also note that the Inner Sunset's Andronico's, which announced their sale to Safeway last November, as reopened as a "Safeway Community Market." Hoodline's first look at the rebirth is pretty positive in tone, the reactions on the local Nextdoor thread on the topic are far less so.
And finally, while Bill Duffy, the owner of The Old Ship Saloon (which is maybe San Francisco's oldest bar?), is hanging up his apron, he tells Inside Scoop that the new owners — who thus far are anonymous — are "a group of people that want to save San Francisco landmarks and don’t want to see what’s happening to Lefty O'Doul's, the Gold Spike and all those places turning into clothing spots." Mindful of the Great Grubstake Snow Job of 2016, I'm anxious...but Duffy still owns the building, so I suspect that anyone who tries to Mr. Bing's the place will face no small amount of his wrath.
Of course, people still write about dining establishments even when they aren't opening or closing — for example, Jack London Square's beloved Scott’s Seafood Restaurant has been hit with $841,000 in fines, the SF Business Times reports, "for allegedly restricting access to the shoreline and holding more events in a public space than they were permitted to."
Expect small but subtle changes at Michelin-starred Sons & Daughters in the near future, as co-owner Matt McNamara is leaving the project in a split Inside Scoop characterizes as "amicable." McNamara will be focusing on North Beach restaurant The Square, while Teague Moriarty will remain in the kitchen at Sons & Daughters to "focus more on my own personal vision for the menu and my own individual taste."
Have you ever considered the concept of the "personality-driven wine list" at a restaurant? The Chron mulls the phenomenon, saying it's "a reflection of an individual’s history, idiosyncrasies and passions, not bound by traditional wine-list benchmarks."
Fans of local meats are likely familiar with Marin Sun Farms and Mindful Meats, companies that merged last month following the marriage (to each other) of their respective founders last summer. The Chron has a cute picture of the happy couple in their shared home surrounded by umpteen dogs, because some animals are more equal than others.
And if you're headed to Atelier Crenn after April 17, no need to bring your wallet. Not because it's suddenly free, ahahaha! The price of dinner, currently $315 per person, will rise to $325, but you won't be fumbling for benjamins when it's time to pay the bill, as diners after that date will be booking online using a platform that requires payment at the time of the reservation. Eater SF reports that wine "pairings will remain at $175 for the standard option, or $295 for the reserve, but Crenn will now also offer $475 'rare cellar' pairing as well." Or you can buy a pretty nice laptop, whichever.
This Week in Reviews
Moving from news to reviews, SF Weekly's Peter Lawrence Kane visited Dogpatch's venerable Serpentine, which changed hands last year. He has high praise for their cocktails and pork chop, moderate applause for several other items, and harsh criticism for their brassicas Caesar and Brussels sprouts. He doesn't say it explicitly in the review, but I could see a lot of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ "it's fine" between the lines.
In, perhaps, an effort to convince us that he can still dine anonymously, Michael Bauer dings Oakland's Penrose for "lax service" (in the headline, no less!). Forced to use the same plate for multiple items, Bauer complained that their rock cod brandade fritters' "delicate seasoning became muddled when mixed with remnants of the other two dishes." Things improved slightly with a requested clean plate and their boudin blanc, which he terms "one of the best examples of the sausage I’ve found." But that wasn't enough to distract from the "languid service," the "the dead or dying plants above the entrance" and the "flimsy mismatched flatware." Two stars.
He had a better time at August 1 Five, where "every dish is logically and creatively imagined." Owner Hetal Shah, "who was in advertising technology at Google, is almost doing a public service to the culinary world by bringing unabashedly complex, well-balanced and modern Indian food to our city," Bauer raves. He loves everything about this place, from the decor through every item he sampled, and he gives it the big 3.5 stars.