Stylish Mission District favorite Loló, formerly on 22nd Street, has packed up and moved into more prominent digs on Valencia Street. The larger space (the dining room seats 65, main bar seats 14 and a dedicated agave bar has nine seats) means expanded artwork from co-owner and artist Lorena Zertuche, whose vivid, sharply whimsical décor of found objects and art in vibrant colors defines the restaurant's aesthetic. Co-owner and executive chef Jorge Martinez's menu of Jaliscan-inspired small plates offers many new dishes, including oyster and pork chin confit sopes, black mussels and calamari escabeche, and panko encrusted avocado tacos. Also featured in this incarnation are a new cocktail program with a focus on mezcal and seasonal ingredients, and an agave bar highlighting specialty mezcal and tequila tastings, including monthly flights. Look for lunch and brunch to follow shortly. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Loló, 974 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110, 415-643-5656.
Los Angeles food truck Lobsta Truck has rolled north into San Francisco, bringing New England-style lobster and crab rolls to the Bay. Twenty-nine-year-old founder and owner Justin Mi is a UC Berkeley grad, but also has family ties in New England, hence the East Coast bent in cuisine. The truck has debuted a new fish ‘n’ chips plate exclusive to San Francisco, alongside clam chowder, lobster bisque, whoopie pies and the lobster and crab sandwiches on split-top rolls with either hot drawn butter or seasoned mayo. Look for them at Off The Grid food truck events. Lobsta Truck, Locations vary, San Francisco, CA 94109, no phone.
Sachin Chopra, chef of Peninsula favorite All Spice, will bring his cuisine to San Francisco with Game in the former Masa's space inside the Executive Hotel Vintage Court. On board as executive chef is Zack Freitas, current chef de cuisine at All Spice, and Chopra's wife and business partner Shoshana Wolff is co-owner and wine curator. Chopra is known for his California-Indian cooking but this first San Francisco venture will feature food dubbed "new American exotic" --- namely game animals such as bison, Guinea hen, pheasant and venison alongside more conventional cuts of grass-fed beef and wild fish, blended with innovative ingredients and spices. Look for an opening in the coming months. Game, 650 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-392-4666, 888-388-3932.
The space that housed North Beach classic Washington Square Bar & Grill on and off under various owners from 1973-2010 will see some new life starting spring 2014. Chef-owners Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara (Sons & Daughters, Sweet Woodruff) will open The Square restaurant and bar in the historic building off Washington Square Park, and plan to offer straightforward, approachable American cuisine and cocktails made with high-quality ingredients. Look for a March debut. The Square, 1707 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94133, no phone.
Shotaro Kamio, former executive chef of Yoshi's in San Francisco and Oakland, has opened his first solo venture outside of Japan on Fourth Street in Berkeley. The restaurant is called Iyasare, and offers a seasonal, rustic, Japanese menu of roasted and charcoal grilled meats and cooked seafood dishes, as well as the sushi, sashimi and the modern omakase experience for which Kamio is known. Ingredients are sourced from small, local, organic farms, high quality local fish purveyors and Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. Sakés, artisanal Japanese and local craft beers, wines on tap and saké cocktails round out the beverage program. The sophisticated 35-seat dining room (with an additional 12 bar seats, and a 25-seat, heated outdoor patio) formerly housed O Chame. The name "iyasare" means "to be healed," and is a personal reference to the 2011 tsunami in Japan that struck near Kamio's family home. Dinner Wed.-Mon. Iyasare, 1830 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA 94710, 510-845-8100.
Bigger Digs at La Mar
La Mar Cebicheria Peruana has unveiled a newly remodeled lounge with banquette seating and expanded patio to their waterfront venue, increasing the heated outdoor seating capacity to 130 guests. A lively, upscale choice for Embarcadero dining since its debut in 2008, the modern Peruvian restaurant features Gaston Acurio's cuisine and Peruvian-inspired cocktails with terrific views of the Bay. La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, Pier 1 1/2, The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-397-8880.
Bread on the Rise
Burgers, fire cooking, pickles --- Bay Area restaurant trends are fun (and tasty) to follow, but one of local chefs' more recent priorities really gets back to basics. Fresh, house-made bread is appearing in baskets, alongside cheeses and around sandwiches in San Francisco and in the Bay --- a product many restaurants used to leave to local companies such as Acme Bread. Now, Quince and Cotogna, led by pastry chef Alen Ramos, have taken over their own baking in twice-daily batches using Cotogna's wood-fired oven, organic flours and heirloom grains. Chefs Matt McNamara and Teague Moriarty will hopefully carry over the house-made breads they serve at Sons & Daughters to their new spot The Square opening in March. Outerlands, Rich Table and of course Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine, whose famous breads are growing increasingly innovative from baker Chad Robertson, remain wonderful sources of fresh bread products.
Judy Rodgers, Chef of Zuni Cafe, Dies
Award-winning Zuni Cafe chef Judy Rodgers passed away on December 2, 2013, at the age of 57, from a rare form of appendix cancer. Rodgers had been chef and co-owner of Zuni since 1987, and in that time helped raise the bar for female chefs, California cuisine and, ultimately, simple, social American dining drawing from French and Italian rusticity. Born in St. Louis, her influences included a chance placement in France with the Troisgros family when she was a high school foreign exchange student, and a meal at Chez Panisse in the late '70s as a Stanford University student that led to a cooking apprenticeship there. Under her leadership, Zuni won the James Beard Outstanding Restaurant award in 2003 and Rodgers was awarded the James Beard Outstanding Chef in America title. Her cookbook, The Zuni Cafe Cookbook (W.W. Norton & Co., 2002) became an instant industry classic. Zuni Cafe, 1658 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-552-2522.
David Kinch's Manresa Cookbook
Manresa chef-proprietor David Kinch has released his first cookbook, Manresa: An Edible Reflection. Readers will find recipes for Kinch's farm-to-table dishes, such as courgettes with cultured cream, nasturtium vinaigrette and pistachio crumb. Manresa, 320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030, 408-354-4330.
W San Francisco and TRACE restaurant have a new executive chef in Jason Rea, who took the reins in early October. Rea's résumé includes stints at Water Grill and Ciudad in Los Angeles, Bluehour in Portland and Town in New York City. Locally, he was sous chef at Michael Mina and, most recently, executive sous at RN74. He will oversee all menus and culinary operations for the 404-room hotel, including banquets, two bar and lounges and the concept restaurant. Meanwhile, former executive chef Paul Piscopo has a new position as executive chef of The St. Regis San Francisco and its restaurant, Vitrine. TRACE, W San Francisco, 181 3rd St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-817-7836.
San Francisco's 12-year-old standout restaurant Incanto shuttered after dinner service on March 24, 2014, to make way for a more casual concept from chef-owner Chris Cosentino, owner Mark Pastore and their team. The new restaurant, called Porcellino, will focus on salumi and other approachable Italian bites, and will feature a strong Italian wine list. Cosentino made Incanto famous due in part to a strong menu of offal, and with his work at the restaurant helped spearhead the whole-animal cooking movement in San Francisco and across the country. Look for Porcellino's opening in late spring 2014. Incanto, 1550 Church St., San Francisco, CA 94131, no phone.
The Tavern at Lark Creek suffered a kitchen fire on March 15, 2014. No one was hurt but the restaurant will be closed indefinitely for repairs. The Tavern at Lark Creek, 234 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur, CA 94939, 415-924-7766.
After nearly eight years, sushi standout Sebo has closed. According to a tweet, the inability for chef-owner Michael Black to negotiate an agreeable lease for his Hayes Valley restaurant offered him, "a great opportunity to spend time with my family and newborn son as well as work on a few projects for the future." The restaurant was a haven for lovers of omakase with pristine fish, and commanded a cult following from its inception (then with co-owner and chef Danny Dunham) for its seasonality and sustainability. Its last night of service was October 26. We look forward to future projects from Black and his team. Sebo, 517 Hayes St., San Francisco, CA 94102, no phone.
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