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News for Restaurants in San Francisco
March 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

Predominantly a bar focused on brown spirits, Charles Phan's new Hard Water on the Embarcadero in San Francisco is drawing large after-work crowds. The boxy, industrial-chic room with a long ovate bar and large, overhanging oval chandelier is well-lit and fronted by wide windows, allowing passersby a glance at the revelry within. Look for mostly standing-room-only accommodations with a food menu of rich, New Orleans-inspired bites: pork belly crackling, cornmeal-encrusted alligator. A backlit wall of liquor, mostly bourbons and whiskeys, invites high-end sampling, and cocktails are a big focus. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Hard Water, Pier 3, Ste. 3-102, San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-392-3021.
 
Twenty-two-year-old Financial District white tablecloth enclave Palio d'Asti will launch a separate cash-only takeout service called Palio Pronto in early April, located behind the restaurant with an entrance on Commercial Street. The Sicilian-pizza counter, inspired by single-dish-focused food trucks, will feature slices from a rotating selection of three daily pizzas and a choice of seasonal salads and cannoli for dessert. A few outdoor tables will be available, along with beer, wine and sangría. Follow twitter for upcoming daily offerings at @paliodasti. Lunch Mon.-Fri. Palio Pronto, 640 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-395-9800.
 
Trattoria Da Vittorio will open in May 2013 in the old Cafe for all Seasons dining room in West Portal. The restaurant is from 15-year front-of-house vet and first-time restaurateur Vittorio D'Urzo. D'Urzo, a native of Italy's Calabria, came to the area initially to work at his uncle's Piazza D'Angelo in Mill Valley, then moved around to spots such as Ecco, Sapore Italiano, and was opening manager for Locanda Positano and Limone. He has Italian sommelier certification and plans to serve southern Italian specialties based on his native cuisine (and mother's cooking): veal scaloppine, eggplant Parmigiana, house-made pastas and potato gnocchi and other classic fare. Neapolitan pizza will also be available, with approachable prices throughout the menu. Chefs will be Filippo Cannone (AcquaPazza) and pizzaiolo Antonio Luongo. Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sat.-Sun. Trattoria Da Vittorio, 150 W. Portal Ave., San Francisco, CA 94127, 650-504-7976.
 
Umami Burger has opened in Palo Alto. This is the second Bay Area location for the Los Angeles-based eatery, joining Umami Burger in San Francisco. On the menu: house-ground beef served medium rare and met with house-crafted condiments and rich toppings such as slow-roasted tomatoes, lardons, and truffled cheese. The signature burger here is the "All Nighter" with maple-glazed slab bacon and cheesy tot hash brown, smothered with a savory red-eye gravy. Lunch & Dinner daily. Umami Burger, 452 University Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301, 650-321-862.
 
Puerto 27 Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar is slated to open sometime in April just off Highway One in Pacifica, with a 140-seat, two-level dining room with outdoor patio, featuring ocean views. Jose Calvo-Perez of San Francisco's Pasion and the popular Fresca properties is owner and executive chef. A full service ceviche bar will be a highlight, along with Peruvian cuisine meant to be served family style. Enrique Sanchez (La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, Limon) will head up the pisco-focused bar. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily. Puerto 27 Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar, 525 Crespi Dr., Pacifica, CA 94044, 650-733-7343.
 

News Bytes

Checking In On Charles Phan's Many Properties
Slanted Door chef Charles Phan has had his hands full lately. Phan's Wo Hing General Store will shutter at the end of March. Heaven's Dog remains closed for renovations after an October 2012 flood, and his once popular branch of Out the Door in the Westfield San Francisco Centre, also flooded last year, has closed to make way for an Asian art retail space. Out the Door on Bush Street and Out the Door at the Ferry Building remain open. Meanwhile, Phan's pending Pier 3 property, a New Orleans-inspired restaurant called Hard Water, formerly set to open in December 2012, opened in March 2013. His all-day café and bar inside the new SFJAZZ performance center --- also inspired by New Orleans flavors, and featuring bar bites and cocktails --- opened March 5, 2013, at 201 Franklin Street at Fell Street, San Francisco. Heaven's Dog, SoMa Grand, 1148 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-863-6008.
 
Changes for Navio at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Navio restaurant inside The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, is undergoing renovations and will reopen in early April with a new look and focus on seafood. Panoramic views from the luxury property's coastal setting have always provided a striking dining backdrop, but now the updated interior will be more reflective of the sea, with subtle, nautical details and low-rise architecture, soft fabrics in oceanic hues, and modern orb chandeliers that together give the room a "comfortable beach estate" feel. Chef Sean Eastwood will focus on fish and seafood harvested from Pacific waters to create approachable, high-craft entrées with Mediterranean inflections: think wood-fired baby octopus and fish, bouillabaisse, fresh shellfish, diver scallops and jumbo prawns paired with fresh, local ingredients. Eastwood will offer several savory meat preparations as well, such as grilled rib-eye, slow-roasted Jidori chicken and 48-hour-braised short ribs. Navio will serve dinner nightly, breakfast Mon.-Sat., a Saturday lunch and will retain its famous weekly Sunday brunch, a special occasion favorite. Navio, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, One Miramontes Pt. Rd., Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, 650-712-7040.
 
Fire Damages Chez Panisse
A fire in the early morning hours of Friday, March 8, 2013, caused damage to Alice Waters' iconic Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse, and its upstairs sibling Chez Panisse Cafe. A front portion of the main restaurant's dining area was burned, though thanks to the sprinkler system most of the worst harm occurred to the building's exterior. Employees had gone home nearly two hours earlier, so no one was hurt, and the fire did not spread to surrounding businesses. The fire reportedly began around 3 a.m. in a sub-floor area and is under investigation. Chez Panisse and Chez Panisse Cafe will both be closed for repair until further notice, with June as an estimated reopening target. Check http://www.chezpanisse.com/reservations/restaurant/ for ongoing updates. Chez Panisse, 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709, 510-548-5525.
 

Chef Shuffle

The French Laundry - credit Deborah Jones Thomas Keller's The French Laundry will have a new chef de cuisine in David Breeden, formerly executive sous chef of Keller's Per Se in New York City. The French Laundry's current chef de cuisine Timothy Hollingsworth is working alongside Breeden through March 2013 to ensure a smooth transition, and will pursue his own projects in Los Angeles after departure. Hollingsworth has been with the restaurant since 2001, and has been chef de cuisine since 2009. Breeden first started with Keller at The French Laundry as a chef de partie in 2005, before moving to Per Se in 2007, where he rose to sous chef after two years. Before 2005, Breeden, a native of Tennessee, worked at Charleston Grill, the Woodlands Resort & Inn and McCrady's. The French Laundry, 6640 Washington St., Yountville, CA 94599, 707-944-2380.
 
Dio Deka's Marty Cattaneo has moved on, and former chef de cuisine Jeff Fitzgerald has been promoted to executive chef. Fitzgerald, a San Jose native, started in pastry at Dio Deka while studying at the California Culinary Academy, and after graduation moved up through the kitchen ranks. He became chef de cuisine in 2009. Dio Deka, Hotel Los Gatos & Spa, 210 E. Main St., Los Gatos, CA 95030, 408-354-7700.
 
Parallel 37 in The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, has a new chef de cuisine. Michael Rotondo comes to the Bay Area from Chicago, where he was executive chef at Charlie Trotter's. There he spent eight years climbing the kitchen ranks, and received the United States Bocuse d'Or award for most promising chef in 2008. Before Charlie Trotter's, Rotondo cooked at the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach in Florida, and staged in Europe for two years. Rotondo's approachable new menu is organized by primary ingredient from lighter to heavier items, or guests may opt for an eight-course tasting menu for $135 per person, with wine and beverage pairings for an additional $75. Parallel 37, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, 600 Stockton St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-296-7465.
 

Closings

One of San Francisco's most opulent dining rooms will close at the end of March. Tommy Toy's Cuisine Chinoise, a luxe enclave filled with antiques and designed to look like "the sitting room of a Chinese empress," was a celebrity and VIP destination in its heyday, and had a great run --- 27 years. Original owner, iconic character and consummate host Tommy Toy, who began his restaurant career at the Imperial Palace and opened Toy's in 1985, passed away in 2008 at age 72. The restaurant was then run by co-owner and Toy's partner of 40 years, Alon Yu. Tommy Toy's last night of service will be March 31. Tommy Toy's Cuisine Chinoise, 655 Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-397-4888.
 
San Francisco fine dining destination Masas closed in February Opened in 1983 by Auberge du Soleil's chef Masataka ("Masa") Kobayashi, Masa's reputation persevered for three decades as among the most formidable in San Francisco, with a lifetime roster of chefs that includes Richard Reddington, Ron Siegel and Julian Serrano. Its final stage under chef Gregory Short beginning in 2004 saw continued prestige, even as other fine dining standouts succumbed to the changing economy. Though still among the top, the restaurant closed in February to make way for a more casual enclave, and sources say Short will shift from restaurant to corporate chefhood. We will miss the handsome dining room, expert service and consistent excellence. Masa's, Executive Hotel Vintage Court, 648 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108, no phone.
 
Fog City Diner closed in early March. The chrome-heavy eatery opened to much success in 1985 with Cindy Pawlcyn at the helm, and always looked camera ready, thanks to its vintage diner design and pretty Embarcadero location near the Filbert Steps (and in fact was featured in several movies and commercials). Once a California cuisine destination, chef changes over the years had turned the spot inconsistent and mainly tourist heavy. Fog City Diner's owners have announced plans to renovate over six to nine months, and eventually reopen as simply "Fog City." Fog City Diner, 1300 Battery St., San Francisco, CA 94111, 415-982-2000.
 
Union Street standout Betelnut closed at the beginning of March after nearly 20 years, and the same owners and chef have already opened a new concept in the space. Called Hutong, the restaurant is named for small alleys in Beijing, often concealing tiny, unmarked eateries with savory, traditional food. Chef Alexander Ong's refreshed menu features an upscale, modern focus on such food, as well as small plates of updated street food from across Southeast Asia, including his native Malaysia. The cocktail menu has also been re-envisioned, omitting many of Betelnut's tiki-themed creations in favor of clean, contemporary flavors. Betelnut, 2030 Union St., San Francisco, CA 94123, no phone.
 

CULINARY EVENTS
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