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News for Restaurants in San Francisco
June 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.



Oakland's restaurant culture continues to thrive, with new projects in the works from local standouts such as Coi's Daniel Patterson---his co-venture, Bracina, with Lauren Kiino (Delfina) is being developed in Jack London Square---and James Syhabout (Manresa), whose first solo restaurant Commis has opened at 3859 Piedmont Avenue. Homier ventures include an August opening for the Lake Chalet, a seafood bar and grill on Lake Merritt from the owners of San Francisco's Beach Chalet and Park Chalet. The 100-year-old Lake Merritt Boat House is being converted to house the restaurant by CCS Architects, also responsible for restaurants such as Perbacco and La Mar Cebicheria. The chef will be Jarad Gallagher, most recently on the team at One Market.
Indian restaurant Sakoon (meaning "peace") has opened in Mountain View. The soothing, upscale dining room features cuisine from all over India with contemporary California execution from notable executive chef Sachin Chopra, most recently of Mantra Restaurant & Lounge in Palo Alto. Lunch Mon.-Sat., Dinner nightly, Brunch Sun. Sakoon, 357 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041, 650-965-2000.
Contemporary art museum SFMOMA now has a spacious rooftop sculpture garden and coffee bar. The 14,400-foot space offers an array of seating and a menu of Blue Bottle Coffee drinks and light snacks. The stark yet soothing area stretches through a wide hallway enclosed in glass and anchored by the coffee bar, flanked by two outdoor courtyards, the larger one punctuated with works by Kiki Smith, Ellsworth Kelly, Barnett Newman, Alexander Calder and others. The view is mainly of sky, adding to the removed feel of the space that is accessible with museum admission. Cakes and cookies feature clever aesthetics---colorful, Mondrian-esque slabs, and dessert displays arranged to look like Thiebaud's famous still-lifes. Open Thurs.-Tues. SFMOMA Rooftop Garden & Coffee Bar, SFMOMA, 151 Third St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-243-0455.
Look for the opening of executive chef Scott Howard's latest venture FIVE, located in Berkeley's newly renovated, 100-year-old Hotel Shattuck Plaza---now a full-service, eco-friendly boutique hotel under BPR Properties. FIVE's design will feature elegant, vintage elements---high ceilings, white columns, a molded ceiling and dramatic chandelier---melded into a modern, urbane ambience comprising both a modern American bistro and cocktail lounge. Howard's menu will meet Berkeley-local expectations---ingredients will be locally-sourced, organic, sustainable, farm-to-table---with a list of 100 California and Pacific Northwestern wines, many of them from sustainable and biodynamic-focused wineries. Guests of the Hotel Shattuck Plaza can enjoy the menu via room service, and Howard has created a separate menu for the bar. Visit for more details and special room rates to celebrate the property's launch. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. FIVE, Hotel Shattuck Plaza, 2086 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704, 510-845-7300.
The Tavern at Lark Creek opened on June 4 in Larkspur, replacing longtime formal favorite Lark Creek Inn (though ownership remains the same). The restaurant's transformation brought with it new chef Randy Lewis (Indigo and La Provence in New Orleans, Mecca in San Francisco), whose creative, casual, farm-to-table American menu includes no dish that costs more than $15. The refreshed space, housed in a charming 1888 Victorian house, is casual and inviting, with warm, wooden tabletops and floors, high-backed cherry wood chairs, skylights, a garden, a wood-burning oven and full bar. Affordable artisanal cocktails and wines are new highlights. The Tavern at Lark Creek, 234 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur, CA 94939, 415-924-7766.
New Redwood City enclave Donato Enoteca has opened. Created by Italian-born executive chef Donato Scotti (La Strada in Palo Alto), the warm, modern eatery focuses on using imported artisanal products from Italy---burrata, grappa, olive oil---in concert with the freshest local and seasonal produce. House-made items such as pastas, salciccie and prosciutto color the reasonably priced menu; wines include small-batch, boutique producers mainly from Italy, but select local and French bottles also make appearances. The welcoming, contemporary space with rustic accents features a wood-beamed ceiling, wood-burning oven and exhibition kitchen, wrap-around outdoor patio, marble-topped bar and floor-to-ceiling wooden wine cases. Multiple rooms offer diners varying levels of dining, from casual to more formal and intimate, including a private wine cellar room. Lunch & Dinner daily. Donato Enoteca, 1041 Middlefield Rd., Redwood City, CA 94063, 650-701-1000.

News Bytes

Dining A La Cart
Nowhere is the current national infatuation with street food more manic than in San Francisco, where carts, trucks and bicycles can suddenly be seen hauling everything from curry to crème brûlée. Via Twitter, blogs and websites, chefs and vendors name the date, time, and street corner and fans line up, cash in hand, for unlikely snacks (asparagus soup? halibut cheeks?). Some of our favorites include chef Chris Cosentino's Boccalone bike flush with fresh prosciutto panini from the Ferry Building, and Sam's ChowderMobile from Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay (follow them on Twitter at @boccalone and @chowdermobile). Our vote for bravest is Chez Spencer's Laurent Katgely, who offers specialties such as grilled sweetbreads and boeuf bourguignon off his converted taco truck (@chezspencergo). Eat your heart out, tacos and hot dogs.
Local Classic, Refreshed
Zuni Café regulars got a bit nervous recently when paper went up over the café's windows, but a quick, temporary closure only led to a much-needed facelift. The well-loved space now features a spruced-up parquet floor, handsome new staircase in variegated, terra-cotta-stained concrete, new seating in deep maroon, and lots of tweaks and improvements to the fixtures, furnishings, artwork and overall dining areas. Most notably, the wood-fired brick oven's interior was razed and rebuilt---readying it for years' more pizza, roast squab and chicken for two. Zuni CafĂ©, 1658 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102, 415-552-2522.
Late-Night Delight
Chef Roland Passot's three Left Bank brasseries around the Bay Area are offering late-night, two-course Parisian-style dinners for $21 after 9 p.m. (called "$21/21h"), with dishes such as fondue, moules and frites, croques monsieur and coq au vin. Additionally, Passot's new regular menus include fresh offerings such as tartes flambées, pâtés, and multi-course, express lunches featuring seasonal French soups and salads. Visit for locations and details.
Brunch Off, Weekend Lunch Service On at The Dining Room
More changes in dining services at The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco: Weekly brunch is no longer offered in The Dining Room. Guests can instead opt for breakfast Saturday or Sunday in the hotel's Lobby Lounge until 11 a.m., or weekend lunch in The Dining Room until 2:30 p.m. However, the lovely The Terrace will continue to offer the hotel's signature holiday brunch on special occasions. The Dining Room will be closed for its annual summer refresh from June 28-July 13, 2009. The Dining Room, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, 600 Stockton St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-773-6168.

Chef Shuffle

Chef Richard Corbo has left Ducca restaurant at The Westin San Francisco Market Street. Replacing him is Erica Holland-Toll, former executive chef at the Lark Creek Inn (now The Tavern at Lark Creek). After research at La Quercia salumi makers in Iowa and Italy, Corbo will return to the Bay Area to develop new project Pizzeria Zanna Bianca in Oakland’s Jack London Square. The wood-fired-oven pizzeria will also feature housemade pastas, salumi and breads, and nothing on the menu will cost more than $20. Corbo aims for an early 2010 opening. Ducca, The Westin San Francisco Market Street, 50 Third St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-977-0271.
Quince In notable somm-shuffle news, David Lynch has relocated from New York City's The John Dory to join Quince in San Francisco. Lynch was general manager and wine director of The John Dory and previously held the same titles at Babbo. Lynch joins the Quince team as director of wine and beverage as the Pacific Heights restaurant prepares to transition into a larger Jackson Square space at 470 Pacific Ave. Co-owners Lindsay and Michael Tusk also intend to open an adjacent, casual spot, called Cotogna, later this fall. Quince, 1701 Octavia St., San Francisco, CA 94109, 415-775-8500.
Notable chefs orphaned by recent restaurant closures are relocating to kitchens all over the bay. Chad Newton (Redd, Postrio, and most recently of Baraka) and Louis Maldonado (Cortez, and the just-closed Café Majestic) have found spots at Fish & Farm and Aziza, respectively. Maldonado will assist chef Mourad Lahlou. Newton will take over the kitchen at Fish & Farm and hopefully help bring the food of that intimate, promising eatery into focus. After a brief closure in June, Fish & Farm will reopen with a new concept of all-inclusive pricing: all tax and gratuity will be rolled into the restaurant's reasonable food prices.


Sadly, Roland Passot's Left Bank properties in Pleasant Hill and San Mateo have closed. Fans should note that Left Bank in Menlo Park remains open, and the flagship location in Larkspur continues to thrive after 15 years. To mark that anniversary, Passot will feature the original 1994 menu---and prices---from July 3-12 (examples: canard deux facons for $15.25, and moules Florentine for only $7.75).

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