Posts for April 27, 2012

The Napper Tandy Closed for Facelift, Maybe Getting New Name

Over on 24th and South Van Ness we're getting word that six-year-old Irish pub The Napper Tandy is temporarily closed and there's a bunch of construction work happening inside. Uptown Almanac notes that they've painted over the main signage, as well, leaving only the "The" intact, so perhaps there's a new name in the works? Perhaps something a little less painfully Irish-y? There's been no liquor-license action at his address, but we'll keep our eyes and ears open. Stay tuned. [Uptown Almanac]

Radio Africa to Launch Lunch With Young Chefs From Bayview Non-Profit Old Skool Café

Radio Africa & Kitchen, which just opened in the Bayview in March after many delays and with a nice chunk of change in City assistance, is soon going to be adding daytime service. As KQED reports today, to cover lunch service, owner Eskender Aseged is going to be hiring some kids from nearby non-profit Old Skool Café, which we just wrote about last week. It's a supperclub that just opened at 1429 Mendell Street which both employs and trains at-risk youth ages 16 to 22 in cooking, serving, and performing. Radio Africa will be the first business we're aware of to provide actual restaurant employment to some of these kids outside of Old Skool Café itself. [KQED]

Hirsch Files His First Review for the Ex, of Tu Lan; Tsai Reviews a Thai Place With a Mini Racetrack Inside

For his inaugural review as he fills the shoes of longtime critic Patty Unterman, Jesse Hirsch turns to well known Sixth Street Vietnamese place Tu Lan, which once, long ago, impressed Julia Child, and which his predecessor first reviewed in 1981, when she was still a critic for the Chronicle. Hirsch shows a good sense of humor about the place, which has never gotten any less divey even as the neighborhood tries (slowly) to improve itself. "On one visit, I was unsettled by the prolonged stares of a laughing, gently rocking man," he writes. "Turns out he works there." He's a fan, just like Julia and Patty and everyone on Yelp is, of the super-deep-fried Imperial Rolls, and says the shaking beef and curried fried rice are pretty good too. Not everything's perfect, the service is kind of a charming joke, and he still ends up concluding, "The place is weird, outrageous, and you’re privy to some of the City’s best people-watching." Also: The wine is super cheap. [Examiner]

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Regarding the Economics of Saison, and How Much Labor Goes Into Each Tiny Herb Sprig

Skenes's signature brassicas dish.

Former Bushi-Tei chef Michael Hung (who's making a one-night appearance on Monday at Jardinière, where he also used to work) recently did a stage (or unpaid internship) at Saison. He writes thoughtfully and compellingly today on the restaurant's blog about the much-blogged-about recent price-hike at the restaurant, breaking down various costs of ingredients and the day's labor and three dollars of firewood that goes into the brassicas dish alone, and makes a good case for what chef Joshua Skenes has been saying all along: It's basically a non-profit operation.

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If You Want to Be a Famous Chef, You’d Better Have Noma on Your Resume

Rene Redzepi: Everyone's favorite mentor.Photo: Courtesy of the Embassy of Denmark, London

Gone are the days that an ambitious young chef seeks out Guy Savoy or Michel Bras or a Michelin three-star restaurant in Paris to do a stage that makes their CV look fancier. Nowadays, you need to be able to claim having done some time with René Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen in order to feel cool. At least that's what we've learned today via both Adam Platt's review of New York's Atera, run by a Noma alum, and a piece in the Wall Street Journal about all the ex-Noma cooks (Nomads?) who have spread around the U.S. and the world opening up new, geographically specific restaurants in a similar vein — including recent Food & Wine Best New Chef honoree Blaine Wetzel of the Willows Inn, on Lummi Island near Seattle.

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Actually Pretty Awesome: Beef Tongue at Namu Gaji

A glorious take on tongue.Photo: Mohammad Gorjestani

We've only had the opportunity to dine once at Namu Gaji since it opened earlier this month, but given the location (18th and Dolores) and the established reputation of Namu, we were already pretty sure it would be a hit. We were also pretty sure we were going to like a new dish that had been described in some of the preview copy from the team — a simple preparation of braised and slow-grilled beef tongue in a Japanese style — but oh man did we underestimate how ridiculously good this shit is.

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Bauer Appears to Like Maven

The bar at Maven.

There appears to be a full-length review in the works for Maven (598 Haight Street), the pairings-focused restaurant from chef-owner David Kurtz and partner Jay Bordeleau, and Michael Bauer hints today that he's a fan of the place. He writes that Kurtz's dishes "never cease to pleasantly surprise me," focusing especially on a simple dish of asparagus with a poached egg, smoked-bread "soil," black garlic, and pickled rhubarb. When his review drops (we're guessing in a week or two), it will be the only formal review of the place thus far besides Virginia Miller's in the Guardian. [Between Meals/Scoop]

Off the Grid Lights Up Hayes Valley For the First Time on a Friday

There's only room for three trucks/stands at the Hayes Valley iteration of Off the Grid, but with the added bonus of nearby Biergarten, Ritual, and Smitten Ice Cream, it's a party. Tonight marks the first Friday Off the Grid in Hayes Valley, and as Hayeswire tells us, the vendors on site at Octavia and Linden will be Adam's Grub Truck, The Rib Whip, and Tandoori Chicken USA. They'll be there from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and just to make it more of a party, there will be music during the prime time of 7 to 8:30 p.m. Added bonus: It's actually lovely out today. [Hayeswire]

Super Duper Is Headed to the Metreon

Local restaurateur Adriano Paganini remains in major expansion mode as Grub Street discovers today that he's sealed the deal for a new location of Super Duper at the renovated Metreon. The location is on the Mission Street side, and there were some inklings of this reported a few months back, but now it's firm. The new location, which is scheduled for a mid-June opening, will be the fifth for the burger chain, joining the Marina, Market Street, Mill Valley, and original Castro locations — and we heard last year that Paganini was eyeing possible locations in Palo Alto and Walnut Creek as well. Meanwhile, work has started on transforming Medjool into a new Argentinian-focused bar-restaurant for Paganini's empire that still needs a name.

‘Mad’ Cow Was Ten Years Old, From Tulare County

A few more details have emerged about the sad old dairy cow that sparked this week's national media panic about mad cow disease. The upshot: It was really old (ten years, to be exact), it was from a dairy in Tulare County, it had been euthanized after becoming lame, and it was headed for a rendering plant and not into the food supply. Also, the type of the disease it had was "atypical," i.e. the kind that develops naturally, on rare occasions in older animals, and not from contaminated feed. [AP, Earlier]

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