The big news for the local food scene this week has to be the release of the new Top 100 from the Chronicle, which is notably a bit more diverse, both in terms of food and price point, than in recent years (but where's Mister Jiu's?!). We also learned of the passing of Henry's Hunan founder Henry Chung, learned of Ron Siegel's plan to open Madcap in San Anselmo, and saw the opening of Preeti Mistry's new Emeryville spot, Navi Kitchen. Here's what else you may have missed.
Closing this weekend on Potrero Hill is Aperto, the 24-year-old restaurant run by Chris Shepard, who started there as a cook in 1996 and who also owns Bellanico in Oakland (which coincidentally also got a review this week from Bauer, see below). Shepard tells Inside Scoop a dispute with the landlord is to blame, because they refused to sign a new long-term lease, and he hopes to open a new incarnation of Aperto in the East Bay at a later date.
Taking over the former Cadence space on mid-Market is Hazel Southern Bar & Kitchen, which Tablehopper tells us was due to open by today. As she puts it, "Gone are the elephant tusks, and it’s more like a rec room with cookin’ from your friend’s awesome mom," and it's the project of owner Jamie Boatner and executive chef Casey Hatwig, utilizing recipe's from Boatner's actual mom. Expect po'boys, 16 TVs, a huge whiskey selection, and tater tot nachos with pimento cheese sauce.
Eight-year-old Queen's Louisiana Po'boy Cafe, in Portola, is expanding with a second location on the Embarcadero thanks to a deal with the Port. Inside Scoop reports that they'll be moving into Pier 33 1/2, across from Bay Street, come summer.
The former Eureka! space in the Castro has transformed into Castro Ice Cream, as Hoodline reports, serving Mitchell's ice cream, Turkish coffee and Turkish desserts flown in from Turkey a couple times a week. The owner, who owns the building and had previously talked about letting Slider's Diner (next door) expand into the space, says that this is an "experiment" that may just be open until September.
Another Castro coffeeshop has closed, this time Bernie's, the third outpost of the coffee seller which moved into the former Philz kiosk on 18th Street. The owner, Bernadette Melvin, tells Hoodline it's largely due to the uptick in homeless kids in the neighborhood and decreased foot traffic otherwise.
Atelier Crenn just underwent its first remodel, as Eater shows us, since its opening six years ago in Cow Hollow. Dominique Crenn says she wanted to create a more intimate environment in the dining room, and the walls now feature artwork by her late father after whom she named the restaurant, because he kept an art studio that the family called Atelier Papa Crenn.
Beloved tiny Tenderloin bar Big closed in 2013 after making a bit of a splash, and launched the careers of the guys who went on to open Benjamin Cooper. Now Big's original owners, the team behind Jones, Myriad, and Oddjob, have revived the concept as Biig, located in the former 21 Club at the corner of Turk and Taylor. But as Inside Scoop notes, the place has not been consistently open, and hours are currently Wednesday to Saturday from (approximately) 7 p.m. on.
There's a new chef de cuisine taking the reins at Melissa Perello's Pac Heights restaurant Octavia, and that is Sara Hauman. You may recognize Hauman's name from her stint as opening chef at Huxley in the Tenderloin, and then as sous chef at Mister Jiu's, and now Perello is entrusting her to take the lead at Octavia and implement some of her own dishes into the menu.
Starting with just a couple of fishermen who are now selling fresh-caught fish directly from their boats, the Chronicle explains how the olden-days ways of Fisherman's Wharf, when this exact thing used to happen, may be coming back.
And over in Oakland's Longfellow neighborhood, Camino spinoff The Kebabery has just opened at 4201 Market Street, per Inside Scoop. It's a fast-casual operation with chicken, lamb, and vegetables all being slung on skewers. It just opened Thursday night, and starting hours are 5 to 9 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday.
This Week In Reviews
Pete Kane at the Weekly has gone to check out the latest iteration of Old Bus Tavern, which has seen a few chef changes since its opening two years ago and has considerably simplified things to make them more beer-friendly. "Gone are the quail eggs, to say nothing of the torchon au foie gras and Perigord truffle supplements that graced the New Year’s Eve menu," Kane writes. "But the Frito Pie is still there, and so is the burger, so none of the changes were soul-altering." He's a huge fan of the fish tacos that are now on the menu, but the Hotsy sandwich, made with chili and an egg, is just "meh," he says.
Bauer's big project of the year, his albatross, is the Top 100, which is now online and will be published as some kind of special insert in Sunday's paper.
For his update this week, Michael Bauer headed to Oakland to Bellanico, the sister restaurant to Aperto in Potrero, which is closing this weekend. He says the menu is "familiar, but never boring," and while he enjoys the dishes he had from the nightly prix fixe, he "found the a la carte options more interesting," especially an "exceptional pasta made of cocoa casarecce" served with milk-braised pork shoulder. All told: two and a half stars.
And Chris Ying expounds upon the virtues of Yuzuki Japanese Eatery at that once cursed corner of 18th and Guerrero. It opened a full six years ago under the ownership of Yuko Hayashi with the name Izakaya Yuzuki, and Ying says it's still going strong, offering some excellent examples of dishes like squid yakitori, and the donabe bowl with koshihikari rice, salmon and salmon roe. He also recommends the homemade tofu, and the braised beef tendon.