This week we chose our favorite wine bars in the city, followed the case of some toxic Chinatown tea, and were relieved to see that the end of Pauline's Pizza is not yet nigh. We also mulled food delivery robots and the ethics of reservation making (and breaking), learned of a lawsuit on behalf of blind people against Eatsa, bid a fond farewell to 3 a.m. Safeway trips andthe now-shuttered Marina fave Mamacita, and caught wind of the Residence bar's coming closure — it's being sold to the Horsefeather team. But that's not all that happened in the business of putting food into ovens then onto containers from which you will eat! Here's the deal:
Mamacita isn't the only loss the Marina's suffering: Mezes Greek Kitchen and Wine Bar, which has been serving Greek food on Chestnut for the last 17 years, will close its doors on April 30, according to Inside Scoop. Get chef and owner Nikos Maheras' gyros while you can!
Moving on to openings, Richmond District denizens are super-psyched about the advent of Little Taqueria at 200 Sixth Avenue. As the Richmond District Blog reports, co-owners including Emrah Kilicoglu of Kitchen Istanbul softly opened the Yucatan-themed place last week. Saturday's their official grand opening party, with free chips and guoc all day.
Speaking of Latin food, Glena's, the new casual tacos-and-margs place from Plow's Stephanie Gaines and Kin Khao opening chef Michael Gaines, opened a few weeks ago at 632 20th Street sans margs (and only for lunch) following liquor license delays. While they're still apparently boozeless, at least for the next couple weeks, Inside Scoop reports that they're now serving dinner until 10 p.m. on weeknights, 11 on Friday and Saturday.
In other Dogpatch news, the team behind Piccino (Margherita Stewart Sagan, Sher Rogat, and Kerry Glancy) have snapped up a 1,100-square-foot space at 690 Indiana Street, near Esprit Park and the Dogpatch Arts Plaza. It's going to be Noon All Day, Tablehopper reports, a fast-casualish joint with a "small and focused menu." They're shooting for an opening in June or July, so stay tuned.
Hitachino Beer & Wagyu, which I'll note was expected to open during the long-past Beer Week, is now in soft open mode. The bar is fully open, writes Inside Scoop, and Eater has nerded out big time over the beers served by the company's first US location, at 639 Post Street.
Since we're talking about Japanese food, how about sushi? Kuma Sushi and Sake, slated to open in May at 1040 Polk Street, comes from Pink Zebra chef Ryo Sakai and Cory Jackson, Tablehopper reports. Expect "a neighborhood sushi restaurant that can work for all kinds of budgets," and I guess you can do more that "expect," as they're currently offering preview dinners and menu testing via Feastly. Those events might be the closest thing you'll get to earmarking Sakai and Jackson's creations, as they say "We're a small, neighborhood restaurant and won’t be able to accept reservations."
Clement Street Bar & Grill (708 Clement Street) has been on the market for a long-ass time, while Harold Baum weighed offers for his nearly 34-year-old baby. He apparently deemed Spago vet Cameron Lewark and partner Caroline McLaughlin worthy, as they'll be opening a place called Heritage in the spot, per Hoodline. Baum says he expects the new kids to “rebrand the place” but run the “same style restaurant — Californian American.” Just keep the booths, you guys. The booths are the bomb.
Eater has word that SF restaurant magnate Dennis Leary (who is not the comic actor, I only figured out about 10 years ago) is increasing his hold on the city with yet another bar, this one located at 86 Second Street at Dada Bar's old digs. To be named Tequila Mockingbird (groan), it "will be a straight-up bar, with no food and plenty of strong drinks." It's expected to open on Thursday, March 30.
No need to wait until next month for ice cream, though, as Smitten Ice Cream opened its 904 Valencia outpost this week, with "four new flavor collaborations from Mission favorites Samovar Tea lounge, Mission Cheese, and Dandelion Chocolate," SF Weekly reports. Mission Local reminds us that Smitten actually got its start in the Mission, when founder Robyn Sue Fisher started selling ice cream "out of a Radio Flyer."
OK, one last ice cream thing: Hoodline reports that SoMa's Steep Coffee and Tea is spinning off a dessert offering called Steep Creamery and Tea at 270 Brannan Street. Specialties are the near-ubiquitious boba tea and Thai-style rolled ice cream, which looks like this:
In the future, will all restaurants be Boba Guys? (See, I told you it was ubiquitous!) I ask because they're opening yet another location in SF, this one at 1002 16th Street, Hoodline reports. They've got four others in SF, plus they're trying to open at 838 Divisadero, so this one in the Potrero 1010 apartment complex could potentially give them six spots. No timeline yet on an opening, and life is full of surprises, so we'll see.
But if they do get that Divis spot open, it doesn't look like they'll have La Urbana as a neighbor. You might recall that they suddenly shuttered last November "for small renovations." We noted then that their phone number no longer worked, and apparently, neither did their rent-writing hand, as Hoodline reports a "pay rent or quit" notice has been posted on the still-shuttered space to the painful tune of $75,086. So far, co-owners Alessandra Bonisoli, Eduardo Rallo and Juan Garduño have not emerged to tell their side of the story, but we're listening!
A spot that's in no visible danger of closing is Yountville's The French Laundry, which just showed its fancy remodel to the Associated Press and this week moved to a prepaid ticket system that Inside Scoop believes is "good news for anyone who has tried (and failed) to snag one of the 4-star restaurant's elusive reservations."
Change is also in the works for Scala's Bistro, where new chef Justin Deering (Darwin Cafe, Doc Ricketts, 15 Romolo, Conduit) promises "a pretty significant revamp" for the Sir Francis Drake Hotel restaurant. Renovations begin in April, expect the new menu in May, Inside Scoop reports.
As noted last week, the fake-meat-that-bleeds Impossible Burger is launching an Oakland production facility, opening the door to more restaurants that want to serve the treat. Locally, that means Oakland's KronnerBurger, the Public House and Vina Enoteca in Palo Alto will start serving it this Thursday.
Or, screw it, you can just go to National Corndog Day at the SoMa StrEat Food Park Saturday. Billed as "the world's biggest" celebration of the event, the first 200 who arrive having RSVPed on Facebook get in free, the rest of the gang will have to pony up $5 for the privilege of purchasing variations on the theme of hot dog, stick, and breading.
This Week In Reviews
The Chronicle's Justin Phillips had a nice profile on Oakland spot Big Momma’s Kitchen, Esther Mobley wrote up Half Moon Bay’s Miramar Beach Restaurant, and Carl Nolte waved at the food section from across the paper with this nice piece on longstanding Mission dive bar Elixir. Oh, and new kid Chris Ying went to Fremont in search of kabobs, and frustratingly appears to have his beat meal in a private home.
SF Weekly's review machine Peter Lawrence Kane doesn't let us down this week, though. First, he visits new Hayes Valley bar Anina, where he was a fan of their big, strong $12 cocktails and marveled at their $46 punch bowls.
Then, he sat down at The Gastropig in Oakland for porcine "highbrow vulgarity." He seemed pleasantly diverted by their breakfast offerings, calls their lunchtime sloppy joe "the Platonic ideal of that school-cafeteria staple" and loved Ode to Genova, their "perfectly proportioned Italian sub."
But the big review of the week, coming in Sunday's paper, is Michael Bauer's four-star rave for Healdsburg newcomer SingleThread. He notes that not even the French Laundry earned four stars from him out of the gate, and others that hold four stars from the Chronicle like Saison, Quince, Benu, and Manresa all "evolved until each perfected a unique vision" and did not get their fourth star right away. SingleThread is different, though, perhaps because "I’ve never seen a husband-and-wife team [Kyle and Katina Connaughton] with such a focused and well-formed idea of what they wanted and how to get there." From the opening course of bites to a dish of black cod and chanterelles in a donabe contained "with shaved radishes, carrots, lacy greens, miners lettuce and flower petals that replicated an early spring hillside in bloom," Bauer is consistently blown away, and he says, "By the third dinner I realized I had only glimpsed what the Connaughtons and their crew can do. I can’t wait to see what inspires them in spring, summer and fall." He also comments on the bespoke steak knives that SF Mag's Josh Sens previously joked about, but Bauer writes only, "It was an impressive flourish, but the knives really weren’t needed for the perfectly round slice of leg and loin of lamb." The under-three-hour experience he says "feels relaxed and restorative," and it's "a flawless four-star experience."