The business of food has been heating up, so to speak, as the unofficial/official start to summer arrives on Memorial Day. This week we learned of Ritual Coffee opening in the Castro, Chez Panisse losing longtime chef Cal Peternell (in July), and Slanted Door expanding to Las Vegas. We also just got word, in the delivery app realm, that Sprig is no more. But here's everything else that's been going on.
RT Rotisserie, as foretold last week, will be making its grand entrance on the Hayes Valley/Civic Center scene on Monday, Memorial Day. The fast-casual, rotisserie spinoff of the acclaimed and popular Rich Table will feature sandwiches, salads, and rotisserie meal deals focusing on chicken, porchetta, and a vegetarian roasted cauliflower. Eater has the menu here, and Inside Scoop got some photos of the place.
Gott's Roadside, the burger stand formerly known as Taylor's Refresher, is going strong and now has plans to open three new Bay Area locations this fall in Walnut Creek, Greenbrae, and at SFO. As Inside Scoop reports, they also have their eyes on LA down the line.
Hoodline also reports on the relocation of Indian Palace from Lower Pac Heights to the Mission, 2154 Mission Street, to be exact, between 17th and 18th. It's the former Minako Sushi location that more recently was briefly home to Naan 'n' Curry.
Eater got a look inside, and a look at the final menu, at Le Marais in the Castro (498 Sanchez Street at 18th), which is going to sport a full-service, all-day menu with rotisserie meats, as well as fine baked goods and Viennoiserie that fans have been enjoying at the bakery-cafe's other locations. They'll also be serving Sightglass Coffee, Fort Point beer, and Planet wine, and will initially be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The exact opening date is unclear (and could be this weekend), but look for it perhaps to debut on Tuesday.
Also in the Castro, the real estate agent who's listed the building where the Sausage Factory lives a listing that indicated the ground floor space would be "delivered vacant" to any buyer disputes last week's story of the beloved red-sauce Italian spot's imminent demise. He tells Inside Scoop that the nearly 50-year-old restaurant is staying open "indefinitely," for now, and he also disputes the fact that the Azzolino family, who may still own the restaurant but do not operate it day to day anymore, does not in fact own the building. It does sound as though the restaurant itself could be on the market, though. Stay tuned, as this seems highly uncertain.
Bay Area Peet's Coffee shops are testing something new: chicken sausage and waffle sandwiches. The spin on chicken and waffles is available only locally on a trial basis through August 31, as SFGate tells us.
Michelin-starred Aster, in the Mission, will be switching things up a bit starting next week, doing away with the a la carte option that's been available for a couple of years. Now diners will only have the option of the four-course prix fixe for $75, with choices for each course, as Inside Scoop reports.
Laurel Heights has a new Thai spot called Derm, which just opened in the former La Belle restaurant space at 3226 Geary Blvd. Hoodline reports that the menu features "noodle and curry standbys, plus a plethora of more unique dishes such as pan-fried mussels, [and] ribeye steak with tamarind sauce."
In the New York Times this week, local chef Mourad Lahlou shared his recipe for the egg dish known as shakshuka, the Moroccan version, anyway.
San Francisco is about to get a new taste of deco sushi, also known as kazari maki, at SoMa lunch spot Sue's Kitchen. As Hoodline tells us, it's opening at 303 2nd Street this summer, offering up $11.75 lunch combos that include a salad and either four, six, or eight pieces of deco sushi which is typically colorful and bite-sized, and often features decorative and figurative flourishes, like maki roll slices that look panda heads.
And over in Oakland, gluten-free fried chicken and baked goods spot Grease Box is making the move this summer from it's isolated location in North Oakland to downtown, to 378 17th Street, hoping for better foot traffic, as Eater reports.
This Week In Reviews
Michael Bauer dropped in to update his thoughts on Sons & Daughters, giving the six-year-old Nob Hill spot a three-and-a-half-star rave, praising the work of chef Teague Moriarty who is now operating without the help of former chef-partner Matt McNamara. He loves everything from the very first amuse, calling out the thoughtful wine pairings by new wine director Amy Currens, and saying, "The meal was carefully crafted, like a great play, with each course getting bolder." His only criticism comes at the end when he writes, "While the menu doesn’t showcase as many unusual ingredients and combinations as when the two [chefs] were together, it shows consistency and a solid orchestration that makes Sons & Daughters a must-visit destination."
And Bauer had a good week, it seems, because he offers an all-out rave as well for Royal Feast, a seemingly generic Sichuan restaurant in Millbrae that he insists is anything but. It gets the stamp of approval from Bay Area Chinese food doyenne Cecilia Chiang herself, who hosted a feast there for friends recently, and Bauer notes that chef Zongyi Liu once worked at the famous Beijing Hotel, headed up China's winning team at the Bocuse d'Or culinary competition in 1999, formerly worked at the acclaimed China Village in Albany, and is "one of the last people with firsthand knowledge of Chinese grand cuisine before the Communist revolution." Chiang especially approves of the braised abalone with four treasures, and the caramelized fried banana dessert which she used to serve at The Mandarin. And Bauer says that Liu's exacting technique shows through in even the simplest dishes. His verdict: three big stars, with three and a half for the food.
The Weekly's Pete Kane went down to check out Dad's Luncheonette, the new mostly outdoor spot based in a railroad car by the side of Highway 1 in Half Moon Bay. He says the burger is "very good" but that the sauteed oyster sandwich was even better, even though both were very messy and wishes there were mustard for the burger. He also enjoys the herb salad, the humble mac-and-cheese with crumbled potato chips on top, and the carrot soup with homemade ricotta which he calls the "stealth winner."
Writing for KQED, Trevor Felch took an early look at the newly open Dumpling Time in SoMa, the dumpling spinoff from the Omakase/Okane team. He notes that "There aren’t a lot of dumplings at Dumpling Time," but there are "a good range" of them, even if they are not "life-changing." Also, he says, "Service is good-hearted but obviously overwhelmed with the opening need to turn tables."
And finally, SF Mag's Josh Sens gives his take on China Live, writing that it's "a rollicking crash course" in Chinese cuisine "that’s by turns delightful and disorienting in the expanse of the terrain it covers." And, "Like the best surveys, it leaps back and forth between the familiar and the surprising, and holds your interest by reminding you how much there is to know." He does note that "the sheer eclecticism of the menu makes it hard to pick out a coherent meal," but says that isn't much of a problem, and gives the place three stars.