This week in the food scene we learned that Fenix is closed in SoMa, the Range space on Valencia is becoming a 60s-themed cocktail lounge called The Beehive from the same chef-owner as Range, and we heard about a new $400/head restaurant on the Peninsula for the tech wealthy. Also, SFist brought you our list of the 15 best Chinese restaurants in town. Now here's what else has been happening.
This biggest news this week may be the closing of Locol's original Bay Area location in Oakland's Uptown (a.k.a. the former Plum space). The healthy fast food chain started last year by chefs Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi made plenty of headlines earlier this year following a dustup with New York Times critic Pete Wells, and now as Inside Scoop reports, the Uptown shop is technically just relocating to the West Oakland space that the chain opened as Locol Bakery in March. This keeps Locol's Bay Area locations at two, with a third still planned in SF's Tenderloin, and perhaps refocuses on the "food deserts" the chefs initially intended to focus on.
Petit Marlowe, the wine bar and oysterette from the Big Night crew (Marlowe, Park Tavern, Cavalier, Leo's Oyster Bar) is ready to debut this Friday (June 23) in the space formerly home to Les Clos at 234 Townsend Street. It's aiming to be an all-day spot for Champagne-heavy lunches, dinners, and snacks, and the menu from chef Jennifer Puccio focuses on raw bar items, cured fish, charctuerie, beef tartare, sandwiches (including foie gras and jam!), cheese, and salads. Eater has an opening menu here, and the place will start taking reservations late next week.
The space at 2301 Fillmore Street that was occupied until recently by Mehfil Indian Cuisine and Bar is becoming a cocktail bar/restaurant called The Snug. As Inside Scoop explains, the project comes from "a handful of industry folks" including chef Brian Shin, who's done some high-end kitchen stints at places like Benu and Alinea in Chicago. They're promising 20 beers on tap, craft cocktails and "creative but approachable" bar food. They're aiming for a fall opening.
Saucy Asian, the Korean-inspired street food spot at 17th and Sanchez is now open. We first heard about it back in January, and first-time restaurateur Andrew Shinn is aiming for fast and fun lunch and dinner options that come in bowl, burrito, or taco forms with a couple of poké options too, because of course. Check out the menu and complete hours via Eater.
Replacing former chef-partner Telmo Faria at the Tacolicious empire is newly hired culinary director Quinten Frye. Eater reports that he arrives at the mini-chain following stints in Honolulu and DC, and he's a native of Austin. He's expected to be putting his own spin on the restaurants' menu starting in July.
Over in the Inner Sunset, the SoCal-based Lemonade chain has opened their biggest SF location to date in the huge former La Boulange location at 1266 9th Avenue, near Irving. They were giving out free lunches to new customers earlier this week, as Hoodline reported, and the healthy buffet concept is sure to be a hit with those en route to the museums in Golden Gate Park.
Barge-based tourist trap Forbes Island has once again closed for the third time in about as many years under semi-mysterious circumstances involving "maintenance." As Eater explains, details are slim, per usual, but when you're operating a restaurant on what's essentially a boat parked next to Pier 39, you're bound to have a few issues.
Over in Oakland we have the news of a late June opening for a 100-seat izakaya and ramen joint called Shinmai, at 1825 San Pablo Avenue. Eater reports that the owner is from Kakui in Montclair, and the chef, Jerry Doss (Chez TJ, Aziza) is promising "the first restaurant in the area to the incorporate authentically made ramen into an izakaya-style dining experience."
In Berkeley, the space that was briefly home to Comal offshoot The Advocate is becoming a new Italian spot from the owners of Oakland's DESCO, as Eater reports.
And Comal is expanding a bit into the next-door space occupied by Phil's Sliders on Shattuck Avenue. As Inside Scoop notes, though, Comal itself isn't expanding per se the restaurant needs more kitchen and walk-in space, and they may do a fast-casual operation in the front of the Phil's space at some point.
This Week In Reviews
Michael Bauer revisited the iconic Greens at Fort Mason, noting the pioneering vegetarian restaurant founded by Deborah Madison and run for the last three decades by Annie Somerville still "doesn't feel dated" in terms of its food. He notes that every dish seemed more on point than on his disappointing visit last year, but this time the service was lacking. All told: two and a half stars.
And for his Sunday review, Bauer files his thoughts on Uma Casa, the new-ish Portuguese restaurant from former Tacolicious guy Telmo Faria that took over the former Incanto space in Noe Valley. He notes first that on his initial visit in March, he encountered some "unevenly browned and gooey" shrimp turnovers and otherwise "generic" food. But since then it's improved and he says there's "lots to recommend" including the caldo verde soup, the salt cod fritters, and a "boldly flavored" grilled chicken. The verdict: another two and a half stars.
Pete Kane says you should "Add Glena’s to the list of reasons to get on the T [train]," in his review of the new tacos and margaritas spot in Dogpatch from former Kin Khao/Central Kitchen chef Michael Gaines. He raves about the fried chicken torta as the "best sandwich in San Francisco right now" (and I can concur), and gives equal raves to the tacos too, especially the al pastor and carne asada though the tofu one deserves special props too.