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News for Restaurants in San Francisco
December 2013 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

Verbena is now open in Russian Hill The team behind Gather in Berkeley are trying their hand at San Francisco with the opening of Verbena on Polk Street. The restaurant occupies the former Rex Cafe space (most recently, and briefly, Marbella) and features a 62-seat dining room with high ceilings, an illuminated wall of pickled ingredients and a prominent full bar helmed by Michael Ireland (Quince, The Restaurant at Meadowood, The French Laundry); upstairs, a mezzanine seats 12 and there are 16 possible sidewalk table seats for sunny Russian Hill days. Chef Sean Baker has created a menu of seasonal, shareable California plates --- think duck meatballs, trotter terrine, swordfish with cioppino verde and chicories with pumpkin seed milk. Note: The restaurant is a stone's throw from Gioia Pizzeria, another Berkeley expat. Look for brunch, a mainstay in this neighborhood, to begin in the spring. Dinner nightly. Verbena, 2323 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109, 415-441-2323.
 
The Barrel Room restaurant and wine bar has opened on College Avenue in Oakland, joining the flood of new establishments in the Rockridge neighborhood. Owner-sommeliers Sarah Trubnick and Carolyn Johnson debuted the first Barrel Room on Post and Taylor in San Francisco in 2011, and with this new location are continuing to specialize in small production international wines (usually with a changing monthly focus on varying regions) in an intimate, approachable atmosphere, with the addition of French-inspired, wine-friendly cuisine from chef Sam Paulding (Oliveto). The room is small and rustic with about 30 seats, as well as ten seats at outdoor bistro tables. Look for wine tastings, seminars and happy hour specials in the coming months. The Barrel Room, 5330 College Ave., Oakland, CA 94618, 510-655-1700.
 
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.
 

News Bytes

Holiday Celebrations at Top of the Mark
The Intercontinental Mark Hopkins hotel has just announced a series of lavish holiday celebrations at its world-famous rooftop restaurant and bar, Top of the Mark. Read more on GAYOT's blog. Top of the Mark, InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, 1 Nob Hill, San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-616-6916.
 
Big 4 Restaurant Saved by Puccini Group
Nob Hill's Huntington Hotel was bought by Singapore-based group Grace International, putting the future of its Big 4 Restaurant in doubt. The iconic restaurant, established in 1976, is a luxe, old-timey, masculine haven --- it's named for four nineteenth century railroad tycoons who together helped shape modern San Francisco, and has been the scene of many a power lunch and clandestine martini over the years. On December 5, the Puccini Group, headquartered in San Francisco, announced a partnership with Grace to take over the restaurant. Most of the restaurant's most beloved features --- the celebration of early grandeur, the live piano --- will remain, but look for a closure and refresh beginning January 1, 2014, and reopening in spring 2014. Big 4 Restaurant, The Huntington Hotel, 1075 California St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-771-1140.
 
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.
 

Chef Shuffle

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Closings

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

View our calendar of Wine Dinners & Tastings in San Francisco

Discover the top restaurants in the San Francisco/Bay Area for various cuisines and categories like sushi, steakhouses, happy hours, romantic dining and even gourmet food trucks. Find the best restaurants in SF here!

Discover the best restaurants in San Francisco for sushi, steak, a romantic night out and more

 

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