Prime Rib Eye with Wafu Dressing at Roka Akor
Yuzu Miso Marinated Black Cod at Roka Akor
Pisto’s Tacos opened in North Beach on May 2, and now it is closed. The owner, Pete Mrabe, who also runs nearby Don Pisto’s, decided it wasn’t working. There were flow issues with the counter service, and he didn’t feel he could deliver the right quality at the volume needed. So—as many smart restaurateurs do in the early going—he is re-tooling everything. The door at 1310 Grant Avenue will swing open again this Thursday, but it will be as a new restaurant idea: Pisto’s. Here, Mrabe will do a complete 180. He’ll offer table service, a full raw bar, ceviche, and some “high-end” entrees like barbacoa with garbanzo beans and masa, and an aged ribeye with Mexican cream corn. That said, the décor won’t change, as it’s already well suited to the new plan.
In step with the more upscale turn at Pisto’s, reservations will be available through an unlisted phone number that Mrabe will give out personally. They’ll also accept walk-ins, and—burger fans, this is for you—there will be one holdover from the short-lived Pisto’s Tacos menu: The $6 hamburgeusa will live on, and will be the only item available to-go. Meanwhile, the menu at big brother restaurant, Don Pisto’s will return to its original form—meaning tacos are back.
Chef Manny Torres Giminez has been cooking some very affordable and delightful-sounding tasting menus out of Roxy’s Café for the past few months, but his latest news is the takeover of Palace Family Steakhouse in the Mission. Earlier this month, Inside Scoop brought news that Giminez will open a new whole animal steakhouse there, called simply, The Palace (3047 Mission Street). Giminez recently told me a lot more about the menu, which will fall in step with the “fine dining for hardworking people” ethos that guides his menus at Roxy’s.
Giminez walked me through the first five-course menu he’s planning. (Most of the dishes involve preparing a protein three ways): 1) “Local pearls,” oysters. 2) “Frutas del mar,” lobster or fresh fish, served as soup, cevice and grilled. 3) “What was first,” confit, and breast of quail, squab, or duck served with a breaded and fried slow-poached egg. 4) “Chiccharon,” slices of porchetta (a whole pig tenderloin wrapped in belly), served with housemade chorizo, and a French loin or chop. 5) “Happy Cali Cow,” grilled ribeye or NY steak served with house-made beef sausage. Sides such as yucca fries and salad ($5), and desserts such as house-made tropical sorbet and sweet white corn cheese arepas, will be sold separately. Not too shabby for just $50.
When The Palace opens on June 1 there will be just eight tables for reservations, and a new counter, over-looking the kitchen, for walk-ins. Now, for the second new-fangled reservation system of the day: The Palace will be saving tables through texts, but to a public number: 415-666-5218.
Yesterday we mentioned that El Techo de Lolinda (2518 Mission Street) has unleashed its rooftop upon the Mission masses, and now we’ve got our hands on the menu. There are empanadas, panuchos, and lots of sandwiches (“sanguches”) and skewers (“chuzos”). See it all here. Not included is the cocktail list, which is decidedly tequila-, white rum- and pisco-heavy. There’s an “improved” Cuba Libre with Mexican coke, specialty drinks like Daisy de Santiago (rum, lime, yellow chartreuse, soda), and pina coladas available by the pitcher.
Other Events and News Bites
1) This Famished piece, “Respect the Beast,” by San Francisco magazine’s very own Sara Deseran has inspired this upcoming panel at The Commonwealth Club. It’s all about the Whole Animal Movement. Meat poster child Chris Cosentino of Incanto, Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, John Fink of The Whole Beast, Tia Harrison of Avedano’s, and Marissa Guggiana of The Butcher’s Guild will discuss the nose-to-tail trend, and then the whole panel will move to the Ferry Building for a demo and tasting. Tickets here.
2) Skill Exchange has announced its next series of workshops at Makeshift Society (235 Gough St.) in Hayes Valley. This Friday, there’s a cocktail party featuring five different 10-minute workshops—things like a how-to on juicing and nutrition. Then, over the coming weeks, workshops will guide you through cheese 101, cocktail-making, and DIY upholstery. Check them all out and buy tickets here.
3) Ok, Wine Country lovers: There’s an upcoming Sunday Supper on June 9 at Ram’s Gate Vineyard that is open to the public. This is a one time only opportunity. The evening begins at 4 p.m. with a cocktail hour for you to drink bubbly and meet the grape growers; then it’s straight into a four-course dinner paired with local wines. Some teaser courses are a chilled sweet corn soup with fresh Dungeness crab paired with Hyde Chardonnay, and lamb loin with plum, English pea and mint paired with Roberts Road Pinot Noir. After that, these Sunday affairs will continue, but they’re open to members only. Ram’s Gate is really driving home the fact that this is the closest vineyard to the city: Just 35 minutes in the car and you’re on a patio amidst the rolling vines. Exhale. (Reserve for the June 9 dinner by calling 707-721-8700)