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News for Restaurants in San Francisco
July 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 new economy's continued shift from formal to more casual, intimate dining is creating all kinds of conceptual change, as with the recently opened Saison in the Mission District. Featuring 50 seats cozily housed in a former stable---now a combined art gallery and patio space---the restaurant is only open one night a week (for now). Chef Josh Skenes (Chez TJ, Dana Point's Stonehill Tavern, Carte 415) and young sommelier Mark Bright (Michael Mina, Local Kitchen) aim to offer exemplary seasonal New American dining in the rustic spot that also features a communal table and rooftop restaurant garden. Weekly prix-fixe menus ($60) and Bright's wine pairings (additional $30) are featured on the restaurant's Facebook page, and might include items such as heirloom melons with Bellwether ricotta and wild herbs, local halibut with shellfish bouillon, and suckling goat with cracked hominy and arugula salad with honey and lemon. Seating on Sunday nights begins at 5:30 p.m. and the last seating is at 8 p.m. Dinner Sun. Saison, 2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110, 415-828-7990.
Metro Kathmandu inside the modest Metro Hotel on Divisadero has closed and quickly morphed under the same management into Metro Café, a small neighborhood restaurant serving "California comfort cuisine." Hamburgers, roast chicken, roasted fish and inventive appetizers such as black cod croquettes and buffalo pot stickers will be on the new dinner menu. Dinner nightly. Metro CafĂ©, 311 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94117, 415-552-0903.
Chef Charlie Kleinman (Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge, Fish & Farm) has opened Wexler's, an intimate, upscale barbecue restaurant in the Financial District. Designed by Aidlin Darling Design (responsible for pretty Mission District locale Bar Bambino), the vintage Sacramento Street firehouse space that once housed Zare and Les Amis has been brightened with chic art details and light oak surfaces, and overhung by a undulating wood canopy crafted to resemble smoke. The New American menu features seasonal Southern-style comfort cuisine with local, farm-to-table ingredients; far from a down-home joint, Wexler's is meant for a sophisticated after-work crowd looking for artisanal cocktails and good wines with their pulled lamb sandwiches, or Texas chili topped with pickled shallots and crème fraîche. Look for the Humphry Slocombe root beer ice cream float. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner Tues.-Sat. Wexler's, 568 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-983-0102.

News Bytes

Hot Ticket in Sonoma
Wine country visitors can benefit from a collaboration among 152 vintners and 50 lodgings in Sonoma County, together known as the Wine Road. For $25 for a day's exploration, or $50 for three days in the area, Sonoma travelers can obtain the new Ticket to the Wine Road, allowing for discounts, complimentary tastings, private tours, and other amenities at all participating locales. Benefits vary. For a list of wineries and lodging, or to purchase tickets, visit
A Rise in the Markets
Big news for Farmers Market lovers: The Ferry Building, home of the famous Tuesday and Saturday Ferry Plaza markets, now hosts a third market each week. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Thursday, the iconic Embarcadero spot near the Financial District will feature a selection of produce from area farms and, most notably, a wide array of artisanally prepared foods from local restaurants and street vendors---just in time for lunch. Included on the roster: Ryan Farr's smoked meats and chicharrones, Laïola restaurant's Tacolicious tacos and agua frescas, and Namu's Korean barbecue tacos. Farms include Dirty Girl Produce, Tory Farms and Swanton Berry Farm.
Food Scrap Police
San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom has spearheaded the nation's first mandatory composting law, legally requiring the proper disposal of biodegradables (as well as recyclables) under penalty. Though many residents and businesses, including restaurants, have voluntarily participated for years in city composting programs, shirkers will now face fines from $100 to $500. The measure is part of a citywide goal to achieve zero waste by 2020 and will be implemented this fall.

Chef Shuffle

Only three weeks after announcing his departure from Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge in the Hotel Palomar, executive chef Laurent Manrique has now tendered his resignation from Aqua restaurant and its parent company, the Aqua Development Corporation. The sophisticated, destination seafood property opened by Charles Condy in 1991 has been fraught with legal disputes, kitchen shakeups and a decline in sales since Condy's death in 2006. Manrique's resignation was effected at the close of business on July 23. He will continue to focus on nearby casual French restaurant Café de la Presse, and is investigating potential wine bar/restaurant options under a partnership with sommelier Emmanuel Kemiji (The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco). Aqua remains open under the direction of executive chef Jason Pringle, hired earlier in the summer. Aqua, 252 California St., San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-956-9662.
In a sudden and surprising move, chef Nate Appleman has left restaurants A16 and SPQR. Appleman has as yet unnamed plans, though there is local speculation he might take his talents to New York. Stay tuned.
Home restaurant on Market Street, an upscale comfort food favorite for items such as pot roast and Niman Ranch meatloaf, has hired Jim Wimborough as its new executive chef. The 33-year-old Bay Area native has cooked at some of the city's most popular spots---Kokkari, Boulevard and the former Rubicon among them---and most recently served as executive chef of Palo Alto's Evvia Estiatorio. Additions to the menu range from light---roasted asparagus with prosciutto and a poached egg, wild arugula with grilled peaches---to richly satisfying such as the cornflake fried chicken and spiced lamb riblets. Home, 2100 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94114, 415-503-0333.
Chef and culinary director Laurent Manrique is leaving Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge, ostensibly to focus on Aqua, where that kitchen's shakeup has settled with the rehire of Jason Pringle as executive chef. Pringle was at Aqua for six years beginning under Michael Mina and then Manrique, and most recently served as executive sous at EPIC Roasthouse. As for Fifth Floor, executive chef Jennie Lorenzo will remain to steer the menu---currently based on Manrique's native Gascony---into New American territory starting later this summer. Look for a shift in prices as well. Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge, Hotel Palomar, 12 Fourth St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-348-1555.


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