Prime Rib Eye with Wafu Dressing at Roka Akor
Yuzu Miso Marinated Black Cod at Roka Akor
The team behind fine dining warhorse Acquerello (Giancarlo and Gianpaolo Paterlini and Suzette Gresham) is almost ready to open its first casual restaurant, 1760. The new California-style Italian spot is named for its address at 1760 Polk Street (otherwise known as the former Parilla). Here’s the latest on the project: Menu prices will fall from $9 to $25, with plates organized from smaller to larger instead of the usual sections. The chef, Adam Tortosa, was last seen at Michael Voltaggio’s Ink in Los Angeles. He recently revealed a few dish descriptions and images to San Francisco. There will be grilled avocado with shrimp lime and cilantro; charcoal raviolo with smoked yolk and Thai basil butter; smoke-scented Aji with charred green garlic and kumquat; and carrot cake ice cream with crumble, cream cheese, and marshmallow. As you can see at right, the dishes sport architectural plating, and modest portions. Details on the new design are sparse right now, but we know that local designer John Wheatman—who also revamped Acquerello in 2010—is in charge. They’re completely gutting the Parilla space to create a dining room outfitted in earth tones, a communal table, bar seating, and a seat count of 60. As of now, the opening has been pushed to late May.
The Polk Street updates continue with two other restaurants coming to the corridor. The first, Bitters Bock & Rye, is a Texas barbecue joint entering the old Maharani. The owners are the same folks who run nearby Blur, and they’re planning to brew their own beer in the space as well. Expect eight to twelve beers on tap and a full bar when it opens, possibly as soon as mid-October.
I also caught up with Jen Hall of The Beer Hall, which has just started construction in the ground floor of The Argenta luxury apartment building (1 Polk Street). The project, a craft beer and wine bar with a retail component, is a first-time foray into the beer world for Hall and her husband Andrew. Hall says the major focus will be on beers both on tap and in the bottle. You can expect to see many local brands like Armstrong, Devil’s Canyon, Magnolia, and MateVeza. They are still ironing out the details of a small bites menu and Gi Paoletti is helping them create a “comfortable, chic space for the local mid-Market/Civic Center community.” The Halls are hoping to open in late May or early June. Here’s the brand new Facebook page, where you can keep an eye out for updates.
Inside Scoop has the latest on Albert and Klaus Rainer’s takeover of the Long Bar space on Fillmore Street. First off, the joint will be called Palmer’s Tavern, after a family friend. The Rainers also own Leopold’s on Polk Street, but they’ll be working a slightly different tactic here: craft cocktails, lots of local beers, affordable wines, and “unfussy,” “honest” tavern fare. It should open in the next month—as soon as they’re done hiring and nabbing all the necessary permits.
Following his last day at Bar Agricole, chef Brandon Jew just returned from his trip to Paris and New York with Danny Bowien. Jew tells me he’s going to take the next three months to test and iron out the details of his forthcoming Chinese restaurant, and possibly do a few pop-ups before pursuing the full time hunt for a restaurant space. He may even take some time for a trip to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taiwan, so stay tuned.
Local café chain The Grove will be closing its original location (est. 1995) on Chestnut Street at some point between June 16 and 23. Owners Ken and Anna Zankel have been expanding over the last several years, opening a Hayes Valley location in January of 2011 and one in SoMa about a year before that. The Marina location will close because the lease is up and the landlord is raising the annual rent to $250,000 per year—and that’s for a 1500-square-foot space! The Zankels are shopping for a new Grove location in a different neighborhood, and they are now teasing a “multi-sensory” to-go concept with “elements never before seen in San Francisco.” Cross your fingers for scratch-and-sniff computer screens.
The San Francisco Entertainment Commission closed SoMa club 330 Ritch after a shooting at the end of March. According to ABC, they’ll remain closed for good, and Mayor Ed Lee has said this will effect his decisions when other night clubs push for later hours on their liquor license.
The 26th Annual Star Chefs and Vintners Gala is about to go down on April 21st at Fort Mason Center. Chaired by the esteemed Nancy Oakes of Boulevard, the gala is the main source of annual fund-raising for Meals on Wheels, supporting homebound seniors of San Francisco. The chef roster at this event never disappoints. This year, Roland Passot (La Folie), Tyler Florence (Wayfare Tavern, El Paseo), Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions), Mourad Lahlou (Aziza) and Staffan Terje (Perbacco) are among the 40 plus talents helping out. There will also be a specialty cocktail bar manned by Scott Beattie (Hi Lo BBQ) and Jon Gasparini (Rye). More information and tickets are available here.
SF Chefs isn’t until late July, but the organizers have already announced the spring dinner party projects. This year, there’s a preview of Acquerello’s new 1760 (teased above), a live lamb roast in Wine Country, a dinner cooked by Ravi Kapur and David Bazirgan, and a carb-fest a la Gary Rulli and Anthony Mangieri. More details and tickets are right over here.