The hotly anticipated new Mission restaurant from the team behind Liholiho Yacht Club and Nopa, called Dear Inga, is now open in the former Farina space on 18th Street between Guerrero and Valencia.
We first learned of the project in March, with some more details arriving in June, and the restaurant is the baby of chef David Golovin, who's previously worked at Nopa, Spruce, and La Folie. The partners behind it are chef Ravi Kapur of Liholiho, and Jeff Hanak, the managing partner of Nopa who helped open Liholiho four years ago. And the menu's focus is on Eastern Europe and Georgia — with the restaurant name coming from Golovin's Eastern European grandmother.
The official public opening of the restaurant came on Saturday, and Eater has a bunch of pretty photos of the food. The menu, with a focus on grilled meats and fermentation, is reminiscent in a few aspects of the best things from Bar Tartine (R.I.P.) under the leadership of Nick Balla and Courtney Burns, though with more meat dishes on offer. Some familiar things to Bar Tartine fans include the fried potato bread called langos, blood sausage, and a liptauer cheese dip.
Other dishes include pork- and beef-stuffed cabbage served with fermented peppers and cultured cream; a grilled whole rock cod with sorrel sauce; a grilled coulotte steak with green garlic kefir yogurt sauce; a pork shank and clam stew; an appetizer platter of smoked sturgeon, pickled mussels, cured salmon, and German potato salad; and kasha and potato dumplings served with a paprika, tomato, and kefir cream sauce.
The very of-the-moment-trendy Georgian wines are a central feature of the wine list, and there's a full bar and cocktail program as well (see menu below).
As the Chronicle reported, in a pre-opening speech to staff, Golovin said, "This is a dream for me. I don’t think this will be the kind of place where someone could come in and say they’ve had something similar in San Francisco."
Onetime Food & Wine Best New Chef Ravi Kapur acknowledges that he and Hanak could have thrown their weight behind a number of projects, but this one was special. "We literally could get on the phone and open a million restaurants, but that’s not why we do this or what we want to do," Kapur tells the Chronicle. "We did this because restaurants are like the last bastion of humanity — you come in, you order food, you eat and drink and people take care of you. It all begins with that experience of just good hospitality."
See the dinner and beverage menus below. And you can make reservations via Resy.