This week in the food scene brought a glowing, but sexist, profile of Dominique Crenn in the New York Times, and then just a day later a fire at her Hayes Valley restaurant Petit Crenn. We also got the "long list" of James Beard Award semi-finalists, not to be confused with the short list of finalists, and we saw the opening of Dad's Luncheonette in a roadside train caboose in Half Moon Bay. Here's what else has been going on.
A new "soft steampunk"-style cocktail bar with cool light fixtures and bare brick walls has just debuted at 1217 Sutter Street (between Polk and Van Ness), and it's called Rusted Mule. As Hoodline tells us, it shares an owner with Dirty Water, Kristian Cosentino (no relation to Chef Chris), and it's a big space with a mezzanine and a capacity for 140. Also, there's a pretty amber onyx bar, and "LED lighting abounds," and there's a metal sculpture of a mule upstairs. Also keeping with that theme, as Tablehopper reports, there are multiple mules on tap (i.e. cocktails made with ginger beer and lime and spirits like vodka or whiskey).
Nearby in the Tenderloin at 807 Ellis (at Polk), the Asian fusion pop-up known as The Pork Exchange is getting a brick-and-mortar location later this year according to Hoodline. It's the former Thai 4 You location, and fans of The Pork Exchange can expect updates and opening timeframe via Facebook.
Former Kin Khao and Manresa chef Michael Gaines opened his much anticipated solo project in the Dogpatch, Glena’s Tacos and Margaritas, which started serving lunch only on Wednesday. It's next door to Third Rail at 632 20th Street, and as Eater reports, the lunch preview is because the liquor license transfer hasn't completed, so no margaritas for now. And the simple opening menu includes four taco options (al pastor, carne asada, grilled fish, and tofu), as well as some other items like a fried chicken torta. Expect expanded hours soon.
Fans of Japanese hot dogs should be psyched about Takuya, which has just made its debut on Irving Street in the Inner Sunset. Hoodline reports that they offer all kinds of crazy topping combos, like a "hot dog garnished with crabmeat, spicy mayo, furikake and cherry tomato."
Adding to the city's NoLa/Cajun/Creole offerings, Bayou Creole Kitchen and Rotisserie has just opened in the space formerly home to Young's BBQ space on 17th Street in the Mission. We first heard about the project last summer, and it's the work of Garcon’s Jerome Rivoire and chef Arthur Wall, who's a New Orleans native. As Tablehopper tells us, the menu is designed for affordability, and for takeout, and includes gumbo as well as things like sole (or flounder) meunière, and crawfish étouffée. The opening menu is here. Bayou joins the recently opened Alba Ray's, also doing NoLa-style food, nearby in the Mission.
Over in North Beach, Barbary Coast Gastropub, which opened less than a year ago in the former Bocce Cafe space on Green Street, has already called it quits. As Hoodline has it via a Facebook post, the owners cited a lack of local patronage.
Inside Scoop reports on the abrupt closure of Haven, Daniel Patterson's Jack London Square spot that's gone through several chefs since its opening six years ago. It's closing next week, January 26, for an unspecified period of "construction," but the details seem slim, and chef Matt Brimer is being reassigned to Patterson's second Alta CA outpost in the Dogpatch.
This Week In Reviews
Michael Bauer files his thoughts on Flores, the new upscale Mexican concept from the Adriano Paganini empire that moved into the former Betelnut digs on Union Street in December. He's impressed with small details like the wheel-shaped snack chips served at the start of the meal instead of tortilla chips, and he's a big fan of the tacos de pescado, in which he finds some perfectly fried fish. He writes, "Most of the 20-plus dishes are good, and a few are memorable," calling out the chile Colorado as well. He's disappointed with "dry chicken enchiladas and a dull shrimp cocktail," so the place ends up scoring two and a half stars instead of the three that he's bestowed regularly on nearby Mamacita.
Pete Kane is doing double duty this week, filing a formal review of Michael Mina for The Examiner. He writes that Mina "Overall... successfully navigates a tricky path: staying current without sacrificing dignity to any goofy trends," with the help of executive chef Raj Dixit. He marvels at some ricotta gnudi and "a heavenly piece of squab with foie gras" and says of the tasting menu experience "If there was a theme to the evening, it would be a clash of the titans between fungus and seafood."
And for the Weekly, Kane reviews Phlox Commons, the new restaurant inside the Hotel Carlton on Sutter Street. It sounds like a pretty garden variety hotel restaurant now and Kane suggests, at breakfast, "You should order like you were in a diner," because "The coffee is good, and so are the gooey apple fritters." Not so much the trout Benedict, "which came with the saltiest, most leathery piece of fish I ever tasted." Things are a bit better at dinner, and he loves a cauliflower gratin and says the burger is passable and "as free of gimmicks as it was of grease."