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News for Restaurants in San Francisco
August 2010 Archive

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Want to know who's doing what in your city? Gayot has the restaurant news you want to read on openings, closings, special events, and more. Learn everything you need to know about the restaurants in San Francisco here.

RESTAURANT NEWS

Openings

The Velvet Room has opened in the Clift hotel, adjacent to the swank Redwood Room bar and lounge, known for attracting a hip, moneyed crowd of celebs and other VIPs. Formerly Asia de Cuba, the restaurant has maintained its plush, dramatic décor of velvet curtains, leather banquettes, Murano glass lamps and a centerpiece etched-mirror communal table shaped like a cross. The California cuisine under chef Ewart Wardhaugh (Wynn Las Vegas, Olives, Todd English's bluezoo) is seasonal and driven predominantly by local ingredients in dishes such as Marin Farms beef tenderloin with cauliflower purée, broccolini and fingerling potatoes, and line caught halibut with sunchokes, sea beans and verjus. The space is also used for private events and entertainment, and features live music with dinner every Monday evening from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. The Velvet Room, Clift, 495 Geary St., San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-775-4700.
 
Slow has opened in Berkeley, offering California cuisine with counter service at value prices. The name refers to the eatery's philosophy---chef-owner Kyle Anderson has cooked under Daniel Boulud and Charlie Trotter, and his preparations include fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Average prices are $6 for high quality lunchtime sandwiches, and $12 for dinner entrées such as free-range chicken confit with flageolet beans, roasted beets and haricots verts. All items are house-made, including beverages such as peach lemonade and seasonal desserts. Slow has inventive vegetarian options, affordable small plates, and room for 30 inside at reclaimed wood tables and 30 on an outdoor patio. Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Sat. Slow, 1966 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704, 510-647-3663.
 
Bruce Hill (Bix, Picco, Pizzeria Picco) has opened Zero Zero in the former Azie space, an artisanal pizza venue named for the super-fine "00" flour used for Neapolitan crusts. Also serving pasta, antipasti, crudo and bruschette, as well as organic, soft-serve ice cream, the industrial, two-floor space designed by Michael Brennan features a centerpoint wood-burning oven, cozy booths and two full bars. Thin-crust pizzas feature house-made mozzarella, sous vide sausage and seasonal produce from local purveyors. Dinner Tues.-Sun. Zero Zero, 826 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94107, 415-348-8800.
 
The interior of Benu in San Francisco August 10 marked the opening of Benu, the long awaited debut from chef Corey Lee, former chef de cuisine of The French Laundry and opening sous chef at Per Se. Lee's first solo venture is a soft, contemporary space with minimalist décor at 22 Hawthorne Street (formerly TWO restaurant) with room for 48 guests; a landscaped inner courtyard provides a serene entryway into the space. Cuisine is progressive American, with inspired combinations such as rigatoni with braised sea cucumber, oxtail, star anise, red wine and butter, and lobster with chrysanthemum, tofu and beech mushrooms. À la carte options include appetizers, pasta and rice, fish and shellfish, meat and poultry, and cheese and dessert. An eight-12 course tasting menu is also available and changes according to the season and Lee's creativity. A private dining room seats 18. Dinner Tues.-Sat. Benu, 22 Hawthorne St., San Francisco, CA 94105, 415-685-4860.
 

News Bytes

Mina Shuffle
Michael Mina's plans for both of his San Francisco properties have been revealed, shifting the city's destination dining landscape. To start, Mina's eponymous restaurant within The Westin St. Francis hotel has closed, to be replaced in early October with his fifth Bourbon Steak enterprise (other locations include Miami, Scottsdale and Washington, D.C.). As at other locations, the steakhouse will focus on local purveyors, in this case serving California Brandt Farms beef, slow poached in butter and herbs and then roasted. Rajat Parr will helm the wine list, emphasizing Burgundy, Rhone and California varietals. The restaurant will seat 102, with room for 42 in the bar and lounge, and serve dinner nightly. Meanwhile, the chef will move a more casual version of restaurant Michael Mina to the former Aqua space at 252 California St., set to open mid October. For reservations at Bourbon Steak, call 415-397-3003 starting September 22, 2010. Michael Mina, The Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-397-9222.
 

Chef Shuffle

Pastry chef Maggie Leung has joined the team under chef Gregory Short at Masa's. The Hong Kong-born, San Francisco-raised chef's career spans many local kitchens, including Hawthorne Lane, Americano and the former Lark Creek Inn. Her seasonal dessert menu includes intricate combinations such as an apricot-almond Pavlova with apricot-muscat soup and crème chantilly, and strawberry pain perdu featuring pink peppercorn meringues, Tahitian vanilla-infused strawberries, and rose-geranium crème anglaise. Masa's, Executive Hotel Vintage Court, 648 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-989-7154.
 
Cantinetta Piero in Yountville has a new sommelier. Paul Robinson joins the restaurant from Trio Bistro and 3 Creek Ranch, both in Jackson, Wyoming. Along with helming the wine list and refreshing the cocktail menu, Robinson looks to implement a new microbrewing program. Cantinetta Piero, Hotel Luca, 6774 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599, 707-299-5015.
 
With Jamie Lauren's departure for Los Angeles comes new blood in Absinthe Brasserie & Bar's kitchen---Adam Keough will take over the stoves as executive chef in late August. The Boston native has cooked at Boston's Ambrosia on Huntington and in California at Chez TJ, Michael Mina's Arcadia, and he opened Stonehill Tavern for Mina at The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in 2006. He looks forward to crafting a brasserie menu based on creative simplicity for the notable Hayes Valley restaurant. Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, 398 Hayes St., San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-551-1590.
 

Closings

RNM Restaurant in the lower Haight has closed. The restaurant, owned by chef Justine Miner, was a neighborhood standout from its inception in 2002. Miner will take time out to travel; no word yet on a future replacement for the space at Haight and Steiner.
 

CULINARY EVENTS
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learn to cook? Try new dishes? Meet a foodie friend for fun? Check out our compilation of culinary events in your area.

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