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News for Restaurants in San Francisco
May 2008 Archive

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RESTAURANT NEWS

Openings

The Outer Richmond is where you'll find the second and brand-new location of Hard Knox Café, the popular and affordable soul food joint that has its first location in the Dogpatch. The menu will mostly be the same, with a few potential additions since the space will be twice as large as the current location, about 85 seats. There is a mezzanine, and the rustic roadhouse look will be continued here as well. Hours are Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Hard Knox CafĂ©, 2448 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94121, 415-752-3770.
 
The Mint Plaza area continues to develop: the latest project will be a gastro-steakhouse from Peter Greerty, most recently the general manager of Bong Su. It will be situated just to the left of the newly open Chez Papa Resto. There will be 120 seats total, with 30-40 outside, and 90 inside (including seats at the bar). The name, and chef, are currently undecided, but look for more details in the coming months since the project is slated to open in late November or early December. It will be open daily for lunch and dinner, serving a late afternoon menu during the in-between times. The hours are also planned to run late, until midnight or even 12:30 a.m. on the weekends. The space is rather industrial, so expect a hip, modern design. Name unavailable, 418 Jessie St., San Francisco, CA 94103, no phone available yet.
 
The biggest restaurant to open in San Francisco will be in the summer of 2009, when New York's Tavern on the Green opens on the top floor of the Metreon. Tavern on the Green is the second-highest grossing independent restaurant in the U.S., and when it opens in San Francisco, it will be 40,000 square feet, with much of the space allocated for private dining and functions. There will also be an outdoor terrace overlooking Yerba Buena Park. The executive chef will be Brian Young, formerly of New York's Le Bernardin and Citarella the Restaurant. Tavern on the Green, Metreon, 101 Fourth St., San Francisco, CA 94103, no phone available yet.
 
Le Garage has opened in Sausalito in the former Waterfront Café space---it's a casual and tiny French bistro from Olivier Souvestre, the former Chez Papa chef. Folks are loving breakfast and lunch on the scenic outdoor patio that overlooks the Schoonmaker Point Marina. Coffee service begins at 7:30 a.m., and lunch is served Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., with coffee extending until 4 p.m. or so. Dinner is served Tues.-Sat. Le Garage, 85 Liberty Ship Wy. Ste. 109, Sausalito, CA 94965, 415-332-5625.
 
The Public in SoMa has closed, and moving into the historic building will be Basil Canteen, an offshoot of the nearby Basil Thai Restaurant & Bar. Owner Todd Sirimongkolvit also owns Soi Four in Berkeley. Basil Canteen will be like a casual Thai izakaya of sorts, serving a fun style of food called gap klaem, which are dishes designed to pair with drinking (there's a full bar). There will be about ten small plates/bar snacks and a variety of noodles (four-five sautéed noodle dishes, and five-six soup noodle dishes). Basil Canteen should be open in July (after the renovation is complete) for lunch and dinner nightly, and will be serving late, until midnight or so, on Friday and Saturday nights. Basil Canteen, 1489 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94103, no phone available yet.
 
Acclaimed Cyrus chef Douglas Keane and maître d' Nick Peyton have reinvented the Healdsburg Bar & Grill. The casual Sonoma County spot now features a menu of pizzas, sandwiches and build-your-own burgers, as well as re-interpreted classics such as macaroni and cheese made with Fiscalini Cheddar, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and Hobb's bacon. Healdsburg Bar & Grill also offers local beers and a wine list made up of mostly Sonoma County offerings. Open for lunch and dinner Wed.-Thurs. and Sunday from 11:30a.m.-11 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. until 1 a.m. Healdsburg Bar & Grill, 245 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, CA 95448, 707-433-3333.
 
Michael Mina Michael Mina will open his first bar concept, Clock Bar, this summer in the lobby of The Westin St. Francis hotel. The featured star of Clock Bar will be "consistently creative, fresh, handcrafted cocktails presented in an easy, approachable way." The menu will offer modern twists on finger food and traditional lounge favorites. Food and drink pairings will be designed by the chef on a regular basis, highlighting seasonal ingredients and trends, as well as featured cocktails and spirits. Clock Bar, The Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94102, no phone available yet.
 

News Bytes

Star Chefs Shine at Benefit
The Star Chefs & Vintners Gala on May 18, 2008 did indeed reach for the stars. The auction fundraiser raised $1.1 million dollars for Meals on Wheels, which helps seniors stay independent and connected by bringing them nutritious meals and personal attention, twice daily. Guests at the black tie gala were treated to a walk-about of exquisite hors d'oevres from nearly 40 Bay Area tables and 30 wineries (our favorite nibble: asparagus flan with black trumpet mushrooms and smoked bacon foam from chef Zavier Salomon at The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay's Navio restaurant). Dinner turned even more extravagant: eight separate three-course savory menus spotlighted master chefs from two dozen "best of" restaurants, working as harmonious trios. Among them, Douglas Keane of Cyrus, Michael Mina, Marinus' Cal Staminov, Manresa's David Kinch, Traci Des Jardins, Richard Reddington of Redd, Daniel Patterson of Coi and Nancy Oakes from Boulevard. Spectacular wine pairings and ooh la la desserts provided appropriately luxe accompaniment.
 
Family BBQ Nights at Hotel Healdsburg
Hotel Healdsburg's Dry Creek Kitchen chef de cuisine Michael Ellis has created Family BBQ Night, a relaxed family-style meal served alfresco around the grill in Hotel Healdsburg's courtyard and screened porch. The barbecues will take place every Wednesday night from May through September with a weekly changing menu featuring three courses created from fresh, local ingredients, each complete with a dessert made with farmers' market fruits. The three-course family-style meal is $32 per person. Hotel Healdsburg, 25 Matheson St., Healdsburg, CA 95448, 707-431-2800, 800-889-7188.
 
Redux Rewind
Due to some financial challenges, the collaboration between the Sprezzatura Restaurant Group (Andrew McCormack and Joe Hargrave) and Sean O'Brien (formerly of Myth) that was slated to occur for the now-closed Frisson space will not be happening. The Frisson space is now on the market, and O'Brien's next move is TBD.
 
May Lunch No More
For those heading to wine country in the month of May, it's worth noting that Ubuntu restaurant will not be offering weekday lunch service as it is completing renovations needed to serve the high number of guests visiting the restaurant on a daily basis. Ubuntu, 1140 Main St., Napa, CA 94559, 707-251-5656.
 
Fresh Air at Go Fish
Go Fish in St. Helena has announced new additions to the restaurant's outdoor dining area and bar, which now features seating for 100 and one of Napa Valley's largest outdoor restaurant bars. There will be acoustic contemporary and blues music every Thursday night, a flat-panel TV set for the bar and a misting system to keep patrons cool. For the Fourth of July holiday, Go Fish will fire up the grill on the pet-friendly patio with an all-inclusive menu and blowout celebration for what promises to be an annual event in St. Helena. Go Fish, 641 Main St., St. Helena, CA 94574, 707-963-0700.
 
Local Finalists in Cocktail Competition
After hours of reviewing and deliberating top Averna cocktails over a three-week period, judges named mixologists Jeffrey Hollinger of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar and Thomas R. Waugh of The Alembic as finalists in the contest for the 'HAVE Averna Cocktail Competition.' A total of five finalists were selected from three regional competitions and will travel to Sicily to compete in the finals at the Averna distillery this fall.
 
A New Place to "Park" It
Beach Chalet and Park Chalet have a new executive chef, Gregory Hutchinson, formerly of Brix in Yountville. So far the Monday night Prime Rib menu is a hit, and there is a new Park Chalet "Recovery" Brunch Buffet on Sundays, complete with do-it-yourself Bloody Mary Bar. Beach Chalet and Park Chalet, 1000 Great Hwy., San Francisco, CA 94121, 415-386-8439.
 

Chef Shuffle

Chef de cuisine Jennifer Biesty of Coco500, and a contestant featured on the current season of "Top Chef," has left Loretta Keller's Coco500 in SoMa. After taking some time off, she will be busy consulting until she decides her next move. Taking her place as chef de cuisine is Michael Morrison, who was most recently at Fish & Farm before departing in its beginning months. Morrison actually worked at Bizou a while ago (back when it was the former incarnation of Coco500). Coco500, 500 Brannan St., San Francisco, CA 94107, 415-543-2222.
 

Closings

After barely a year in service, Nua in North Beach has closed. An Italian restaurant is rumored to be moving into the space at 550 Green St. at Jasper.
 

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