The formerly Michelin-starred Lord Stanley on upper Polk Street will be reborn this fall with a new chef in the kitchen, and a slightly different concept from the one it had before shuttering during the pandemic two years ago.
A chef who's been in the kitchen since Lord Stanley's beginnings in 2015, Nathan Matkowsky, is coming on as chef de cuisine, and will be taking full control of the restaurant's menu starting October 5. As the Chronicle was first to report, Matkowsky will be continuing the French bistro concept at the restaurant (the owners call it "Californian Bistro de Luxe"), but adding Korean influence. Matkowsky was born in South Korea but grew up in New Hampshire, and he previously did a pop-up stint at the restaurant this past May, serving things like grilled beef ssam, and a Korean fried chicken sandwich with cucumber kimchi.
While Lord Stanley stayed open doing takeout and meal kits in the early pandemic and reopened under its old form in 2021, owners and co-chefs Rupert and Carrie Blease decided in August 2021 that things needed to change. They pivoted to turn the restaurant into Turntable at Lord Stanley, becoming a home to rotating pop-ups by well-known chefs looking to travel to SF and do brief stints here.
The restaurant's staff remained the same, with the kitchen staff getting to work with a new chef every six weeks.
Currently, Los Angeles chef Ki Kim of modern Korean restaurant Kinn is doing both a la carte dishes and a tasting menu through September 2; and on September 6, acclaimed former Bar Tartine chef Nick Balla will step in to take the final spin at Turntable at Lord Stanley — his planned menus will be going up here soon.
The Bleases tell the Chronicle that once Lord Stanley relaunches, they plan to be involved at the restaurant "on a daily basis." But, curiously, they're also taking the rotating pop-up concept on the road and seeking to espand it — and Turntable at Lord Stanley is currently also Tuk Tuk x Turntable, at Tuk Tuk Thai in Los Angeles, hosting pop-ups there like the current one, Brooklyn's Pecking House.
In the Instagram video below introducing his May pop-up at Turntable, Matkowsky explains his background — adopted by a French-Canadian mother and Polish father, he grew up in Nashua, New Hampshire, and he says his parents always took him to Korean Culture Days, which were organized for adopted Koreans like him to learn about their heritage and culture.
Lord Stanley opened in 2015 to near-immediate acclaim, landing on Bon Appetit's Best New Restaurants list the following year and earning a Michelin star as well. The Bleases were especially praised for their treatment of vegetables, with critic Andrew Knowlton writing, "Only after that first night at Lord Stanley did I believe that food this beautiful could taste this good."
The Bleases say in a statement that Matkowsky has been the "backbone of Lord Stanley since its inception." Matkowsky's culinary background also includes stints at the now closed Coi and Central Kitchen.
Dishes being teased include duck rillette with curried stone fruit; and grilled sea bass and escargot on house-made brioche toast. Hopefully Matkowsky will bring back his deep-fried, bone-in pork chop with Japanese curry sauce. They're also promising fairly reasonable prices for this day and age — $10-$15 for starters and around $22 for entrees, with a tasting menu priced around $140.
Dessert with French flair will be handled by pastry chef Harper Zapf.
In addition to serving dinner, the Lord Stanley takeout window will be open all day, from noon to 9 p.m., serving more casual fare like Matkowsky's Korean fried chicken.
Lord Stanley - 2065 Polk Street - Reopening October 5