"We thought it was just going to be a takeout place and wine bar," says executive chef Bridget Batson about Claudine (8 Claude Lane), the small, casual restaurant she opened with owner Franck LeClerc last November. "Bauer loved it, and it just grew into this little dinner spot. But we're pretty happy with it." In keeping with their pattern of frequent changes to the small menu, and in response to diners' desires for lighter dishes, she and chef de cuisine Caleb Jones are launching a new menu Tuesday that's going to be more focused on California with a touch of French mixed in. "We were doing 'global local' from the beginning," Batson says. "But we've definitely seen that customers tend to want more of the fresher, California stuff, so we're responding to that."
Favorite dishes like the meatball, kale and fregola soup (which Bauer raved about), and the chicken liver mousse will stay put, but the rest of the menu will be driven by Jones's trips to the Crocker Galleria farmers' market, and will continue to evolve with the seasons.
Among a few example dishes on next week's menu: King salmon crudo with Granny smith apples, celery root, celery salad, and garlic cream; a slow-roasted lamb belly with tomato ravioli, marinated zucchini salad, shallots, herbs, and pine nuts; a burrata salad, with toasted farro, and grilled escarole, and grilled foccaccia; and maitake and oyster mushroom tartine, with parsley, cream, and an arugula salad.
Also in the works is a new, more California-focused wine list from a new, as-yet-unannounced wine director, which should be happening in a couple of weeks.
And Batson hints that there are some big changes afoot at Gitane as well, where she remains executive chef, but more on that later.
Claudine - 8 Claude Lane at Bush - 415.362.1988 - Open Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Saturdays, 5:30 to 10 p.m.