The biggest news this week is arguably the long-awaited opening of Chinatown food and retail megaplex China Live, right? Also opening was Old Kan & Beer Co and, next week, a Grocery Outlet in the long vacant former Cala at 24th and Shotwell. We also got wind this week of Ardiana, a Noe Valley restaurant from the folks that brought us Gialina, as well as a rooftop bar planned for the peak of SoMa's Virgin Hotel. In more worrisome news, someone shot out the windows at two restaurants on Geary, and the owners of the newish SF outlet of Babu Ji faced multiple accusations of wage theft. But that's not all...
This week will see/saw the openings of a couple places: Rocko's Tacos, inside the former Discolandia space (also formerly Pig & Pie) at 2964 24th Street, opens Saturday, per Mission Mission. Not to be confused with Rocko's Ice Cream Tacos, this is reportedly a venture of Rocky Yazzie, whose fry bread you've likely spied at El Rio.
Drip Line is freshly open at 1940 Union Street in West Oakland, serving small batch coffee and food "with roots in both Singapore and Northern California," Inside Scoop reports. The owners are architects, not food folks, so it'll be interesting to see how all that works out.
Also new and now is Marufuku Ramen, which has been serving Hakata-style ramen at 1581 Webster Street in Japantown since mid-February, Hoodline reports. Despite its recent opening, it's already garnered a slew of Yelp reviews, because if there's one thing ramen lovers love more than eating ramen, it's writing seemingly-endless Yelp entries on the subject.
Next week, Missionites can check out Media Noche, which has been in the works since last fall at 3465 19th Street. Expected to open next Thursday, owners Madelyn Markoe and Jessie Barker will be serving Cubanos, ice cream pops, and all sorts of homages to Cuban food you can read about in the menu Eater SF has here.
A bit further out, Korean fried chicken fans will have one more reason to stay in town, as New York-based Bonchon will be opening their fourth Bay Area location at 2050 Berkeley Way in, you guessed it, Berkeley. Eater SF rhapsodizes over the chain's wings, but isn't sure when this new location will join the franchise's 212 other locations, including already-open ones in Daly City, San Mateo and San Leandro.
Continuing our future trip, if you're interested enough in food to be reading this column, you likely read the abundant coverage of perennial pop-up Rice Paper Scissors' brick and mortar plans at 2598 Folsom Street. They're now seeking $35K via Kickstarter to outfit the space, with a planned opening sometime this fall.
Via press release, The Registry brings word of a new deli in Waterfront Plaza (which is on 1700 Montgomery Street, if, like me, you'd never heard of that place before now) from Parlor 1255's Kaitlynn Bauman. Called Norcina, it'll be an Italian-influenced breakfast and lunch place catering to the workday crowd, and will open in May.
Finally, as you can't eat out all the time, Hoodline has confirmation that, as rumored since 2015, Portland's New Seasons Market will be opening a full-service grocery store in the large vacant space at the street level of the residential development at 555 Fulton Street. They sell "both organic and conventional options to shoppers. Sustainable produce, meats and seafood will share the shelves with traditional fare like Cheerios and Triscuits." So, basically, like the late Andronico's, I guess? Here's hoping they fare better when they open in, they reportedly hope, May.
Now for the In Memoriam: Wildcraft Espresso Bar, which was in that sort of awkward structure at 2299 Market (at Noe and 16th), abruptly shuttered last weekend, Hoodline reports. Open since the end of 2015, a sign on the door reads that "Our artistic lives are taking off" but "We'll be back soon!" I'm not taking that bet.
Loló Cevicheria, the 3230 22nd Street sister restaurant to Valencia Street's Loló, and Loló's original location, is closing Saturday due to "failed negotiations with the landlord," Inside Scoop reports. The owners say they're looking for another spot for the Cevicheria, and that the OG Loló will continue business as usual.
Also a closing, of sorts: As of March 6, James Beard-honored La Taqueria will be closing... on Mondays, the Chron reports. Ha ha sorry, did I stop your burrito bracket loving heart for a second? Their new operating hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
So that our employees can get a much needed break, effective march 6th, 2017 La Taqueria will be closing on Monday's. pic.twitter.com/cLzO4YPc1L— La Taqueria (@lataqueriasf) February 23, 2017
This Week In Reviews
And then there are the reviews! Over at SF Weekly, Peter Lawrence Kane, who is now the paper's new editor-in-chief (congrats, Pete!), checks out the Mission's Our Poke Place. Kane seems pretty over the whole poke thing, but applauds OPP's use of wackier ingredients like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. This week, he also goes to Jack In The Box and joins his colleagues at Taco Bell. Buddy, please don't kill yourself on fast food before you start your rad new gig!
While Kane was wiping the grease from his chin, A. K. Carroll took at look at Calavera under new chef Gustavo Romero. The Oakland joint lacked the spiciness Carroll was seeking, however, as she writes that "I was disappointed that not one of the dishes I tasted sent me reaching for my water or asking for another margarita," perhaps because "Chef Romero’s cooking has been tempered by the soft palates of Minnesotans." Double burn!
There are staffing changes at the Chron, too: While Michael Bauer remains at the head of the reviewers' table (more from him in a sec), Lucky Peach magazine co-founder Chris Ying hops aboard to pen "All Consuming," "a new kind of Chronicle restaurant review column." Ying, who has done time in some of SF's most storied kitchens, quite sensibly lists all his relationships in his maiden voyage "to avoid anyone complaining later that I lied about my objectivity or my professional entanglements." It'll be interesting to see how he navigates writing about an industry in which he's so entrenched — not that Bauer isn't, of course, but I suspect it's even harder to lob public criticism at a venue when you've served next to its owner or staff on the line than with whatever tangled relationship Bauer has to some local places.
And speaking of MB, this week he is over the moon with longtime Top 100 listee Zarzuela, whose tapas "has never failed to impress" him. On his umpteenth annual visit since the place opened in 1994 (is this his way of acknowledging that they likely know who he is when he comes in?) Bauer says that their Paella a la Valenciana and Castilian-style oxtail stew are as good as ever, and that the place is "comfortable" and "satisfying." They get three of his very biggest stars.
For his Sunday review, he visited the revived Restaurant at CIA Copia in downtown Napa, where he's impressed with some of the simply prepared items one can order off the menu, like a whole roasted trout, and an $85 Angus steak. He's less enthusiastic about the variety of dishes that get wheeled around the room dim-sum-style, which he says don't always arrive at the correct temperature, with the exception of a "steaming" wild mushroom risotto. On the plus side, there is a cute cheese cart shaped like a cow. On the minus side, service is iffy. All told: two and a half stars.