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News for Restaurants in San Francisco
February 2009 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.



The historic North Beach burger joint on Columbus formerly called Clown Alley has reopened as Pickles. The once casual, Pepto-pink space now features an upscale color palette and refined booths and tables thanks to new owner Tom Duffy and popular local restaurant designer Michael Brennan. Though it's still a burger joint, the venue has taken on a new sophistication in cuisine as well---all meats are from Prather Ranch Meat Company, and the menu features ahi and veggie burgers, hand-cut french fries, beer-battered Vidalia onion rings, grilled salmon and tuna salads, and chicken sandwiches. House pickled vegetables are a new specialty, as well as East Coast-style soft-serve frozen custard with mix-ins. The updated design also boasts an open kitchen, large screen TV, heated patio and fireplace. Pickles will serve lunch only Mon.-Fri. until further notice; once the dinner menu is in place the restaurant will remain open until 3 a.m. (big news for SF locals and North Beach revelers). Pickles, 42 Columbus Ave., San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-421-2540.

News Bytes

Putting the Cork in Corkage
Palo Alto's Quattro Restaurant & Bar in the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto is waiving corkage fees every Friday (except holiday weekends), allowing diners to enjoy their own wines with dinner free of charge. The restaurant boasts several other recession-era deals as well: a new, kid-friendly Sunday supper of Italian favorites is served family-style for $25 per adult; kids under 18 cost the price of their age. A five-course prix-fixe menu is now also available for $55 with $28 wine pairings. Call for reservations or more information. Quattro Restaurant & Bar, Four Seasons Hotel, 2050 University Ave., East Palo Alto, CA 94303, 650-470-2889.
Walk in the Park
MacArthur Park in Palo Alto may win the award for most attractive recession-era happy hour, featuring a sizeable menu of bar bites for no more than $5. Options include trios of sliders---Angus beef, chicken, pulled pork, or even vegetarian sandwiches---for $3.95, fried calamari for $4.95, and further choices from quesadillas to baby-back ribs. The restaurant's happy hour runs nightly from 4 p.m.-7 p.m., with live music most nights. MacArthur Park, 27 University Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301, 650-321-9990.
Waterbar Waterbar Bar Menu
Big ticket destination Waterbar has announced a new bar menu of small bites at approachable price points, available daily from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. The list of upscale seafood tidbits includes fish kebobs with butter lettuce and dipping sauces, fried fish sandwiches with celery root rémoulade, fish tacos, and land-lover options such as beef sliders and pizza. Expect prices to average around $10 per plate, and cocktail costs to remain in step with the restaurant's wow-worthy service and surroundings. (However, a weekday happy hour from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. features $1 oysters and a specialty cocktail, the "Spa in Cabo," for only $5.). Waterbar, 399 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105, 415-284-9922.
The Show...for a Steal
Mission District winner Foreign Cinema, known for its sophisticated Cal-Med menu and modern, cinema-themed setting, will celebrate its ten year anniversary throughout 2009 with a nightly prix-fixe tasting menu option. Seasonal dishes on the special three-course menu will change daily, and prices are $36 per person or $55 with wine pairings, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Couples, especially, are encouraged to secure reservations, as this upscale date-night spot is tough to beat. Foreign Cinema, 2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110, 415-648-7600.
A Moveable Feast
Top Bay Area chefs and local farmers will host six seasonal, monthly dinners to benefit CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, managers of the Ferry Building's famous Ferry Plaza Farmers Market). Dubbed "A Moveable Feast," each dinner in the series will highlight one local farm or ranch with a menu crafted by two favorite local chefs. Example duos include Mark Sullivan (Spruce) and Loretta Keller (Coco500, The Moss Room) at Spruce on June 2; and Mourad Lahlou (Aziza) and James Syhabout (Manresa, Commis) at Aziza on July 7. Tickets for each of the dinners are $80 per person, $100 per person with wines, excluding tax and gratuity. Visit for tickets.
No Jacket Required
The luxurious Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco has unveiled an approachable new way to experience the restaurant's wines and chef Ron Siegel's cuisine: the clubby bar area now hosts Small Bottles/Small Bites, featuring more than 100 half bottles off sommelier Stephane Lacroix's international list, paired with a special menu of dishes. Affordable tastes include lobster risotto, seared foie gras and chilled oysters, as well as more playful items such as crispy chicken wings. Desserts and cheeses are also on the new menu---creating, together with a half bottle of something tasty, an indulgent yet affordable way to crown a San Francisco evening. Also now available in the bar is The Dining Room's full à la carte menu, offering those pressed for time a faster, less formal way to an exceptional meal. The Dining Room, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, 600 Stockton St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-773-6168.
Celebrate Black History Month
Soulful restaurant and lounge 1300 on Fillmore will honor Black History Month throughout February with a special $65 prix-fixe menu of African-American-influenced cuisine, served with wines from African-American-owned wineries. Community events, book signings and guest speakers will also be featured at the restaurant throughout the month, along with the venue's usual live jazz, blues and gospel. 1300 on Fillmore, Fillmore Heritage Center, 1300 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA 94115, 415-771-7100.
Buzz-worthy Deals
Charming newcomer Zaré at Fly Trap is promoting a bevy of specials in light of the ailing economy, including lunch, dinner, happy hour and---rare for San Francisco---late-night deals. Power or culture lunchers can opt for a two-course meal for $21 (choices are pulled from a special, shortened menu), or add dessert for only $4. An economical bar menu features upscale tidbits, including chef Hoss Zaré's now-famous meatballs, as well as arancini and smoked salmon over cucumber, complemented by $3 beers and cocktails and $5 house wines during happy hour from Mon.-Fri., 2 p.m.-6 p.m. After 10 p.m., groups of ten or more who mention a special occasion when making reservations receive 50 percent off their food tab. Too bad they don't also serve breakfast. Zaré at Fly Trap, 606 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94017, 415-243-0580.

Chef Shuffle

After three years of crafting buttery crab grits and fried chicken at The Front Porch, opening chef Sarah Kirnon has amicably left the restaurant to pursue other opportunities. She is replaced by New Orleans veteran Michael Law, who moved west after Hurricane Katrina, and has worked in Bay Area kitchens such as Lark Creek Inn and EPIC Roasthouse. Along with his N'Awlins training, Law's new Front Porch menu will reflect his Southern roots and Caribbean ethnicity---the chef was raised in North Carolina and his mother is from the Dominican Republic. Expect the quirky restaurant's famed bold flavors and down-home comforts to continue. The Front Porch, 65A 29th St., San Francisco, CA 94110, 415-695-7800.


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