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Four Hot New Restaurants to Try Right Now (exist) - 1

Josh Sens and Rebecca Flint Marx | November 3, 2014 | Story Restaurants

The Cook and Her Farmer
Old Oakland
The cook is Romney Steele, whose family owns Nepenthe in Big Sur. Her farmer is Steven Day, a former Oakland schoolteacher who spent a year harvesting oysters in Tomales Bay. And their project, in Swan’s Market, is an all-day counter-service operation that shifts from morning scones to midday and evening comforts such as po’ boys and beer-steamed mussels. There are few surprises, only simple satisfactions, in a lively urban setting emblematic of the city’s resurgent downtown. J.S. 709 Washington St. (at 9th St.), Oakland, 510-285-6140

The Half Orange
Fruitvale
A big name in his native San Diego, restaurateur Jay Porter has started small in Oakland with this endearing nook near the Fruitvale BART, a burger shack with a Baja bent. Aside from ground beef on a bun, the menu makes room for beer-battered shrimp, spiked with hot sauce and wrapped in corn tortillas, and Ensenada-style beef tongue, roasted but served chilled with almond salsa and guajillo chili jam. Craft beers on tap provide the lubrication—along with yet another reason to rely on public transport to get there and back. J.S. 3340 E.12th St., Ste.11 (at 3rd Ave.), Oakland, 510-500-3338

Ferry Plaza Seafood
North Beach
Ferry Plaza Seafood may have lost its Embarcadero home, but it hasn’t lost its way. Its new North Beach digs are clean and elegant, and its menu skillfully mingles old-timers like crab Louie and clam chowder with more modern conceits. Chubby tubes of grilled Monterey Bay squid are dressed scantily (and effectively) in green olive tapenade and a bit of lemon, while local king salmon, perched serenely on a raft of grilled tomato and kale, is a silky dream. Rebecca Flint Marx 653 Union St. (near Columbus Ave.), 415-274-2561

Urchin Bistrot
Mission
The French bistro new wave has washed ashore on Valencia Street, where Lissa Doumani and Hiro Sone (Ame) are serving casual but refined spins on old-school Gallic staples. Their cassoulet is a satisfying orgy of meat and Rancho Gordo beans, while ocean trout fumé has the sheen of silk stockings and a texture to match. The chefs aren’t taking too many chances here, but as their darkly decadent chocolate Bête Noire demonstrates, they know how to hit their marks. R.F.M. 584 Valencia St. (near 17th St.), 415-861-1844


Originally published in the November issue of San Francisco

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