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News for Restaurants in San Francisco
October 2010 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.



Union Street has a sophisticated and lively new restaurant and bar from Bacchus Management Group, the team behind Spruce and The Village Pub. Built to evoke a Parisian brasserie, Café Des Amis features rustic, savory French cuisine and primarily French wines, mostly from Burgundy. The stylish space is decked out in marble-topped bistro tables, red leather banquettes and laquered, black wood, as well as a solid nickel bar with room for nearly 50 guests. The dining room seats 100 and outdoor bistro tables can accommodate an additional 30, with late-night dining offered Thursday-Saturday until 1 a.m. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sat.-Sun. CafĂ© Des Amis, 2000 Union St., San Francisco, CA 94123, 415-563-7700.
Newcomer Bar Agricole in SOMA has created quite a stir among industry types and foodies, especially lovers of San Francisco's cocktail culture as it teams notable bartender Thad Vogler (Slanted Door, Jardinière, Beretta) and wine director Mark Ellenbogen (Slanted Door, Aziza) with chef Brandon Jew (Zuni Café, Quince, Camino, Adesso). Ellenbogen also oversees the contemporary tavern's ingredient sourcing from local, mostly biodynamic farms, as well as the tavern's own garden. Food is seasonal and whole animal, and cocktail ingredients have farmhouse lineage from ground to still. The design of the former warehouse space features reclaimed barrel staves over the walls and furnishings built from wine-saturated white oak. There are two bars and patio seating in the garden. Dinner nightly. Bar Agricole, 355 11th St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-355-9400.
Right on schedule, Michael Mina's two new San Francisco properties opened for business this October. On October 7, the chef's fifth Bourbon Steak opened in the space in The Westin St. Francis that formerly housed his luxe, eponymous restaurant. The more casual steakhouse still impresses with a strong wine list by Rajat Parr, focusing on Burgundy, Rhone and California, and a rich menu of butter-poached steaks, seafood and shellfish. Executive chef Omri Aflalo's American entrées also include cioppino and Mina's classic lobster potpie. Further into the Financial District in the old Aqua space on California Street, Mina's second incarnation of restaurant Michael Mina opened October 19. The revamped dining room, bar and lounge maintains Aqua's layout and large mirrors, but adds new art, ceramics and dark walnut tables sans tablecloths. Mina has reverted from the "trio" tasting menu of the former restaurant Michael Mina to à la carte fine dining---modern American with emphases on Japanese ingredients and French technique. A chef's tasting menu is available, and there is a chef's table. Most notably the restaurant serves appealing small-plate tasting menus for lunch and dinner at the bar, as well as à la carte lunch options such as Mina's signature tuna tartare at the bar only.
A Grape in the Fog Pacifica has a new wine bar---its first---called A Grape in the Fog, located near Rockaway Beach. The comfortable, elegant space with room for 70 standing has a seaside-lodge-like feel with lots of reclaimed wood and country river rock, and an outdoor patio holds 20. Craft beers and artisan nibbles are served along with the mix of roughly 30 local and international wines by the glass. Look for the Rockaway Beach exit off Highway One. Open Wed.-Sun. A Grape in the Fog, 400 Old Country Rd., Pacifica, CA 94044, 650-735-5854.
The long dormant PlumpJack Café space in Cow Hollow has a new tenant. Dominique Crenn, the consulting chef at Luce and most recently seen on the Food Network's Iron Chef America, has opened Atelier Crenn. The atelier (meaning "workshop" or "studio") showcases the chef's seasonal, modern French cuisine. Menus are prix-fixe, including a three-course option for $55, a five-course for $75, and a Chef's Tasting event for $95. Wines are limited production, organic and biodynamic, and the entire restaurant focuses on sustainability and social responsibility from the design to ingredients. Dinner Tues.-Sat. Atelier Crenn, 3127 Fillmore St., San Francisco, CA 94123, 415-440-0460.
Lark Creek Restaurant Group has opened their first Napa restaurant, Fish Story, in the burgeoning Riverfront complex, featuring sustainable seafood and seasonal cuisine under chef Stephen Barber (Mecca, BarBersQ). The roughly 4,000-square-foot space features an elegant entry courtyard and lounge, glamorous bar with microbrewing facility, and dramatic, welcoming dining room featuring tanks of live Dungeness crab and Maine lobster and whimsical "fish story wall" replete with framed photos and fishermen's tales from local contest winners. Focal points within the dining room include a glass-enclosed wine cellar displaying 2,000 bottles, a glass-enclosed exhibition kitchen, 12-foot raw bar and window views of the Napa River. An outdoor patio seats 60 along the promenade. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner nightly, Brunch Sat.-Sun. Fish Story, 790 Main St., Napa, CA 94559, 707-251-5600.

News Bytes

Prix-fixe Business Lunch at Campton Place Restaurant
Campton Place Restaurant now offers a $28 prix-fixe business lunch from executive chef Sri Gopinathan. Seasonal menu items may include appetizers such as heirloom tomatoes with burrata, or duck leg confit with white corn velouté; mains like seared king salmon with savory clams, pea shoots and mint or roast chicken with chanterelles; and desserts such as chocolate cake with berries. The restaurant's refined interior, proximity to the Financial District and Union Square and pacing considerations for a business lunch timeframe add to the appeal. The prix-fixe business lunch is available Mon.-Fri. Campton Place Restaurant, Campton Place Hotel, 340 Stockton St., San Francisco, CA 94108, 415-955-5555.
Pizza The Action
The Bay Area was once a foodie mecca for everything...but pizza. But now that infamous chink in its armor has been good and patched up. Pie fever has hit the Bay Area the last few months, with each new pizzeria seemingly outdoing the last. In San Francisco, openings include Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza & Slice House from Tony Gemignani (Tony's Pizza Napoletana, next door), featuring the first coal-fired pizza oven in Northern California; Ragazza on Divisadero, sister restaurant to Glen Park's cozy pizza hotspot Gialina; Una Pizza Napoletana from famed New York master pizzaiolo Anthony Mangieri; and Zero Zero from Bix restaurant's Bruce Hill. In the East Bay, newbies include Addie's Pizza Pie and PIQ in downtown Berkeley, and a new Little Star Pizza outpost on Solano Avenue in Albany, providing competition for stalwarts such as Zachary's Chicago Pizza, Cheese Board Pizza and the younger Pizzaiolo.

Chef Shuffle

David Bazirgan has left Chez Papa Resto and will join Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge as executive chef in mid November. Steven Rojas (Saddle Peak Lodge, El Bizcocho) has stepped in at Chez Papa Resto, and will maintain the restaurant's Provencal bistro cuisine. At Fifth Floor, Bazirgan will refine the French cuisine he won notice for at Chez Papa and Baraka earlier in the decade. New menu and other details to follow. Fifth Floor Restaurant & Lounge, Hotel Palomar, 12 Fourth St., San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-348-1555.
Along with the relocation of her notable restaurant Citizen Cake (now open at 2125 Fillmore Street), Elizabeth Falkner (Citizen Cake, Orson) has joined chef Jan Birnbaum and the team at EPIC Roasthouse as consulting pastry chef, developing nine new desserts for the big ticket steakhouse. Rich is the operative word for her desserts already featured on the menu, including a four-layer devil's food cake with toffee sauce and toasted pecans served with a bourbon vanilla milkshake. EPIC Roasthouse, 369 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105, 415-369-9955.
Pastry chef Belinda Leong (Gary Danko, Pierre Hermé, Restaurante Martín Berasategui) has joined David Kinch's team at Manresa. The San Francisco native began her career under Michael Mina at Aqua, was pastry chef at Gary Danko for nine years, and has worked extensively throughout Europe. Manresa, 320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030, 408-354-4330.


After nearly a decade of acclaim, St. Helena restaurant Martini House has been sold and shuttered after service on October 30. Helmed by chef Todd Humphries, restaurateur Pat Kuleto and co-owner Richard Miyashiro, the nine-year Napa Valley mainstay featured adventurous tasting menus and a notable wine cellar. The property was sold to restaurateurs Paul Fleming (P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar) and Brian Bennett (co-owner, with Fleming, of Paul Martin's American Bistro). A new concept for the restaurant has yet to be announced. Martini House, 1245 Spring St., St. Helena, CA 94574, no phone.
Once a major player for both wine and food in San Francisco, CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen has closed its doors as a nightly bar and restaurant and is open for private events and retail by request only. CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen, 1666 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102, no phone.

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