Prime Rib Eye with Wafu Dressing at Roka Akor
Yuzu Miso Marinated Black Cod at Roka Akor
As you peruse all the local love in the list of James Beard Awards semifinalists (the nominees were just announced), here's your weekly helping of food news.
Expansions: The Jewish deli trailblazers behind Wise Sons Deli (3150 24th Street), Leo Beckerman and Evan Bloom, are looking to scale up with booze, more baked goods, and dinner service in the coming year. The application for beer and wine was just posted in the window days ago, meaning alcohol could be flowing by the summer. Meanwhile, the kitchen is expanding. A week ago, they hired another chef, Matt Shapiro, who opened Schmidt’s and proceeded to run its kitchen for years. Shapiro will fortify operations, as will the deli boys' recent takeover of La Grotta inside the Mission Market (2590 Mission Street). The plan is to use this space as a production bakery for the existing restaurant as well as a separate storefront for baked goods sales. There’s talk of rye bread, challah, bialys, more flavors of rugelah, cinnamon babka, and one of San Francisco’s only black and white cookies. The hope is that the new bakery will be up and running in tandem with the beginning of dinner service by the end of summer.
Switcheroos: As Franck LeClerc works on the build-out at Gaspar Brasserie, there’s a concept change underway at Claudine. Starting on Monday, the casual bistro will morph into Claudine French Eatery and Wine Bar (8 Claude Lane), with a larger wine list created by Sarah Knoefler. The menu will switch to an all-day format, including small plates like salt cod brandade, a much larger selection of sandwiches ($12-14 for items like warm fried chicken with slaw and steak with horseradish and emmenthal), and a new “menu complet” option, allowing diners to scarf a hearty soup, salad, cookies and a drink for $22 in under 30 minutes. There’s also a new happy hour (4 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday) when wines are $1 an ounce. Check out Claudine’s Facebook page to see all the menu changes, and do note that the beloved meatball fregola soup and gnocchi Parisienne are both still on there.
Growing Out: Brett Cooper says Outerlands's takeover and expansion into the former Chinese restaurant space next door is still aiming to be complete by the summer. The expansion will allow Outerlands to double in size, grow its menu, and carve out more space for a bar. Plus, there’s a parklet under construction outside. A round of applause is also in order for the restaurant’s soon-to-launch revamped mobile website. This is something new for the restaurant industry: As TechCrunch reminds us, many restaurants still have Flash intros that are very unfriendly to mobile devices and only one out of every twenty restaurants has a mobile site.
1) The Mission’s Little India: Akash Kapoor announced his Curry Up Now will open this Wednesday at 659 Valencia Street. According to the press release, it has an “industrial chic” interior, just oozing with “reclaimed wood,” which should fit in quite well amidst the other “sustainable” restaurant designs on Valencia Street. The widely adored Tikki Masala burrito will, of course, be on the menu along with some items that you may not want to google, like “naughty naan” and “sexy fries.” There will be a weekend brunch menu too, including dosa, chana bhatura, pau bhaji, omelets, and no sexy puns. Everything is available for takeout. The beer and wine license and delivery service are both in the works. Curry Up Now joins several other Indian restaurants in the Mission: Udupi Palace, Amber Dara, Dosa Valencia, Aslam’s Rasoi, and Gajalee.
2) Another Bakery!: Following in the footsteps of recent opened pastry cases B. Patisserie, Craftsman and Wolves, and Sweet Bar Bakery, Heartbaker will debut next month in the one-time Chapeau space at 1408 Clement next month. Check out the menu section of their website here for a look at all the bombolini, bread pudding, brownies, cakes, cookies, and crème brulee, and more in store.
3) Divisadero on the Rise: Haighteration has in in-depth look at the second San Francisco edition of Bi-Rite Creamery, which should be opening on Divisadero Street in “less than a month.” This Bi-Rite is larger than the Mission original and the Bi-Rite Creamery scoop shop will actually be attached to it, under the same roof.
Pop-Up Patrol: Azalina’s Malaysian is definitely worth checking out during its limited stint serving Sunday night dinners at Wise Sons. I went in for the last pop-up and ordered the whole menu. The first highlight was the grilled purple sticky rice doused in coconut cream ($5), which was rich in sweet-and-smoky flavor. There was a wonderfully, spicy winter vegetable soup made with sinus-clearing tamarind and topped with a poached egg and chile paste. Our last savory order: an unreal cluster of boneless chicken thighs that were marinated in lemongrass and nutmeg before they hit the deep-fryer. No one else is doing food like this in San Francisco right now; you’ve got three more chances to try it before Azalina takes a break and goes back to her hometown of Penang for three months.
1) The Mill (736 Divisadero St.) has finally blessed Divisadero Street with the presence of its Four Barrel coffee beans and freshly made toast a la Josey Baker. The early toast menu is pretty simple: dark mountain rye with cream cheese ($3.50), whole wheat with butter and almond butter ($3.75), and country bread with butter, maple syrup and powdered sugar ($3.75). There are also cookies, brownies, and loaves of bread available for purchase.
2) Sake San (626 Clement Street) is a new place for all you karaoke people at 8th and Clement. Unlike some spots in the Tenderloin and Japantown that are bedecked in Japanese boy band paraphernalia, this puppy is downright sleek, with glass-encased karaoke rooms and tatami-style seats. They’ve also got a menu of rather dangerous sounding sushi rolls (garlic cream, anyone?), and a 25-foot-long bar.
3) Garaje (475 Thrid Street) has opened up in SoMa, serving everything from Chinatown ribs to bocadillos to “drive-in cheeseburgers” and eight beers on tap out of a red-painted façade near HRD Coffee Shop.
Over the next two weeks there are a slew of goodbye events for Marlena’s (488 Hayes Street). The decades-old, iconic Hayes Valley gay bar will put on its last drag shows on March 1, 2 and 3 at 10:30 p.m. Hayeswire has more on other events and the bar’s future.
Presidio Social Club (563 Ruger Street) is starting a new family-style brunch service this Saturday. Larger portions of their dishes like challah French toast, Mission-style chilaquiles, and brioche beignets are served to the table. Over in Oakland, Grand Lake Kitchen (576 Grand Ave.) has started serving dinner and so has Miss Ollie’s (901 Washington Street). Check out Josh Sens's review of Sarah Kirnon’s new restaurant for a read on what to order. Here’s a hint: There will be hot sauce.
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