This week's SF food news gave and took away: On the plus column, Anthony Strong opened a delivery-only restaurant, Outside Lands announced their food lineup, RT Rotisserie's opening approached. and Motze's transition to Duna was announced. In the negative (depending on how you see it), Blue Bottle lost its Lower Haight bid, a rat-featuring pop-up cafe costs 50 bucks, The Sausage Factory appears doomed, and nacho cheese from a gas station allegedly gave five people botulism. Let's seem what else happened?
There was a bounty of openings, both in SF and across the Bay. In Oakland's Fruitvale district, Reem's California opened its brick-and-mortar location to cheers from SF Weekly, Eater, Inside Scoop, and Hoodline. All praised founder Reem Assil's flatbread pizza-type things known as man’oushe. The 3301 East 12th Street location is open for breakfast and lunch.
Also back east, beloved Burmese restaurant Grocery Cafe will open in Jack London Square on May 29, the East Bay Times reports. They closed their previous location in December "for health violations related to its aging building," Eater reports, which won't be an issue in its new venue in the sparkling waterfront development.
Opening today is Dumpling Time, with "all the dumplings, all the time" promised at their 11 Division Street location as of 11 a.m. today. Tablehopper predicts huge crowds for the place, which Eater reminds us will feature "soup dumplings, gyoza, and colorful dessert buns."
Also opening soon is Casey's Pizza, which is slated to launch in "late June or July," Tablehopper reports. "A hip pizzeria, with a casual California style" from chef-owner Casey Crynes, craft beer is also on tap. Crynes, who started slinging pizza at Proxy in 2009 and launched the city's first pizza truck in 2012, says that the truck will remain in business even after the 1170 4th Street location opens, serving weekday lunch in the FiDi and weekend pizza in Hayes Valley.
Water damage closed Sociale (3665 Sacramento Street) in February, but next week they're expected to reopen, Tablehopper reports. Expect tweaks to their menu when they throw the doors open Tuesday.
Some former bartenders and patrons from my beloved, departed Dave's have opened an Inner Richmond bar called Scarlet Lounge, Hoodline reports. Located at 408 Clement Street, the place shoots to be a local's bar, with a snack menu driven by patron requests.
Chef Daniel Patterson has been busy! Not only is second installment of his popular Alta CA opening at Dogpatch's Minnesota Street Project, but according to a press release sent yesterday, a third Alta CA will open just a few blocks at 1095 Market on the ground floor of the Yotel hotel, which is so tempting to call "Yokel hotel." The opening date on that one's unknown, but the Dogpatch one will open Tuesday. Here's the menu, per Eater.
And in a story made for my desire to transition from openings to closings, Montella Pizzeria will shut its Mission District doors in July, but they'll soon reopen as Chef Brandon Kirksey's Foxsister. The Montella folks had only been in business at the 3161 24th Street space for about a year and a half, but Mission Local reports that they "decided to exit the restaurant business to pursue other endeavors." Foxsister, which Eater says will focus on "anju: Salty, spicy Korean food meant to be eaten while drinking," will open this fall with "a large and sometimes obscure [drinks] list — from pitchers and local craft beers to a slew of esoteric Asian beers."
Also turning over is the Financial District's Rouge Et Blanc, which shuttered its 334 Grant Avenue location last month. Hoodline has it that the same owners will instead open Harlan Place, which will serve "healthy, flavorful, authentic food" and "herb + spice infused cocktails." An opening date is as yet unknown.
Changing hands is Cease & Desist, with big changes reportedly on the horizon. Past owners The Tonic Nightlife Group "sold the bar to focus on their families, as well as their other businesses," Hoodline reports. The new owners of the 2331 Mission Street spot are "a group led by San Francisco native David Zimmerman (co-owner of Cabin and Blackthorn Tavern)," Inside Scoop says. While Mission Local and Hoodline both say changes will be minimal, Scoop says "the new ownership group has grander plans for Cease & Desist, which are being kept under wraps."
In other acquisition news, Curry Up Now just bought Tava Kitchen, a move announced just as three of the latter's local locations shuttered. Tava's Alameda branch is expected to rebrand as a Curry Up "innovation lab," Eater reports. But don't expect Curry Up's growth to stop there, as speaking to Inside Scoop co-founder Akash Kapoor says "There's these mini, micro Indian chains that are like one or two-location mom-and-pop shops. They're struggling. We show them our model and buy them out."
This Week in Reviews
Pete Kane has been putting it away this week! At the SF Examiner, he mulls Commonwealth, the tasting menu of which he describes as "admirable, external artistry holding hands with internal harmony." They're dinged for some lamb shoulder and pork belly issues, as well as for "stiff, serious team service," but Kane says his meal was still good and "generous in spirit."
Writing for SF Weekly, Kane takes on a second tasting menu at Khai. It's an evening endeavor from chef Khai Duong (in the days, the space is home to Bonjour Patisserie), which means "it’s not the most fitting environs" for a nine-course Vietnamese feast. Kane says the meal was "nine for nine" and even got him to enjoy durian for the first time
The Chron's Michael Bauer headed out to Comstock Saloon, which Bauer says has improved since the last time he reviewed the place. Their cocktails remain some of the best in the city, he says, and now the food is top-flight too. Comstock's fries, burger, and roast chicken get raves from Bauer, who lauds them with his ubiquitous 2.5 stars.
Bauer's Sunday review is Contrada which though it only opened in January reminded Bauer of many restaurant offerings from 8-9 years ago. That seems kind of like a diss but Bauer claims it isn't, saying "Chef Jason Turley gives a personal twist to many dishes." He's got gripes with the pizza and the pasta pricing, and damns the meatballs with faint praise. The decor, he says "toys with early-2000s interior cliche," which is definitely shade. Despite all this, they manage to score two stars.