The Bay Area's food scene began this week with a bang, when a truck packed with cheese had a freeway melt-down. Then there was Zeitgeist's plan to expand, Young Fava's success-based (temporary) closure, Il Casaro's Castro move, and Farina's further descent into nothingness.In pivot news, Dear Mom will become Darger Bar, and Haven will become yet another Alta. Now I'm off to 7-11 to stock up on Soylent, but first...
Let's begin with openings, because that stuff's the most fun. After a lengthy remodel, Sightglass Coffee is set to open a new location at the corner of Page and Divisadero Streets. Hoodline reports that they hope to open by month's end, and will also have a walk-up window on Divis designed to get people coffee as swiftly as possible.
Mini-chain Asian Box has opened its first free-standing SF location, their third Bay Area spot. Inside Scoop writes that owners want to open even more,and have been aggressively pursuing investors toward that goal. Eater says the pan-Asian fast casual place, located at 2031 Chestnut Street, is already serving food, and cocktails are available as of Saturday.
Saint Frank Coffee, which already has a shop at 2340 Polk Street, has just quietly opened a new SoMa location at 1081 Mission between 6th and 7th formerly De La Paz Roasters. Hoodline has that news, and says they're doing a grand opening on Monday.
If you like Mission Cheese you'll probably like Maker's Common, which Eater describes as their "big sister." A restaurant and market located at 1954 University Avenue in Berkeley, it's "much larger than its San Francisco sibling" which means a way bigger menu that you can see here.
While we're on Berkeley, the opening of the West Coast's first Ippudo Ramen is very near. As previously noted, they're also planning a Yerba Buena space, but if you absolutely cannot wait for the chain's (160 locations worldwide and counting) tonkotsu-style style ramen, their spot at 2011 Shattuck Avenue will open on July 28.
This Week in Reviews
SF Weekly's Jeffrey Edalatpour mulled Downtown Oakland's newly reopened Mockingbird, which he says "is a lot like Chow in its heyday." I guess that's intended as praise, but he's pretty down on their offerings, including desserts that are "cold intellectual exercises disguised as the real thing."
Meanwhile, his colleague Peter Lawrence Kane was at the Alta location in the Dogpatch, in a piece that clearly went to press before chef Daniel Patterson announced what's basically a reorg of his restaurant groups. Business aside, Kane's not nuts about the place, saying "it’s a little bit sterile, the same industrial aesthetic you see all over." Only their aged beef strip loin was without fault, Kane says, writing hopefully that "with time, it’ll almost certainly find the necessary room to breathe."
For his mid-week update review, the SF Chronicle's Michael Bauer visited North Beach standby L’Osteria del Forno. Sold in 2014 by the women who opened it 26 years ago, Bauer says the restaurant has been kept pretty much the same, but is now missing "that indefinable element the original owners had, which often comes with starting a business fueled by passion." The house-made focaccia still gets raves, but most other offerings (pasta, pizza, salads) get damned by faint praise. Two stars.
I'm super psyched to see that Bauer's Sunday review is A Mano, because I actually saw the reviewer and his influential partner Michael Murphy waiting on Hayes Street to speak with the restaurant's harried and none-too-organized host less than two weeks ago. So when he writes "On a Sunday night while many places were nearly empty, A Mano had a half-hour wait," I can confirm this, as I was told the same thing, at the host stand Bauer describes as "always seems to be understaffed and in crisis mode" (also confirmed). As I was not seeking a seat for work, I bailed — but Bauer persisted, and now I wish I had too as he says his pasta was "better than Flour + Water and other places that charge practically twice as much," and the pizza and salads also get high praise. All that adds up to the fairly rare three stars.