Posts for December 11, 2012

Tu Lan Reopening Delayed; Hapa Ramen Popping Up; and More

Sixth Street: Tu Lan (8 6th Street), which shuttered in July after repeated vermin problems and other health-department alarm bells, has pushed off their reopening until mid-March. [Scoop, Earlier]
Mission: Former Outrageous Foods host Big Chef Tom and his aforementioned weekend pork-belly-burger pop-up at Beast and the Hare (22nd and Guerrero) gets a special write-up on the Bold Italic today. [Bold Italic]
FiDi: The Chai Cart has launched a second cart at Market & Drumm. [SFoodie]
Oakland: Hapa Ramen will be doing a "ramen happy hour" at Hawker Fare on Sunday from 4:30 to 6:30. Also, don't forget they'll be at Wing Wings in the Lower Haight tonight. [Zagat, Earlier]

Newly Installed Michael Mina Chef Ron Siegel Talks Car Brainstorms, and Cooking a Lighter Kind of Fine Dining Fare

Chef Ron Siegel spent two decades making a name for himself at restaurant like Aqua, Masa's, and the Dining Room at the Ritz before taking a job this fall as executive chef at his former Aqua boss's restaurant, Michael Mina. Siegel's now been on the job almost three months, and Grub Street spoke to him today after experiencing his new menu at the restaurant last week. Gone are some of Mina's signatures, like his "Five Oceans" dish and truffle-stuffed Jidori chicken (though the lobster pot pie remains), and in their place are some equally artful, Japanese-inflected, and perfectly balanced dishes that reflect Siegel's passion for great ingredients.

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Fable, a New American Restaurant, Coming to the Former Luna in the Castro Next Month

The back deck at the former Luna.Photo: Yelp

The long vacant Luna space at 558 Castro Street — one of a host of vacant spaces in the neighborhood — is finally getting some new life in January as Fable. As Tablehopper reports today, the concept from owner Jon Hearnsberger is a New American bistro with a "storybook modern" interior by designer Craige Walters. There will be a "cabin-style dining room," with an open kitchen and dining counter, and the back deck is getting a makeover as well in time for spring. Look for Fable to open in mid-January, and possibly as early as January 7. [Tablehopper]

Hecho to Close in the New Year, Get Replaced by a New Brasserie From Café Claude Owner

Franck LeClerc, the owner of Claude Lane restaurants Gitane, Café Claude, and Claudine, is expanding his empire outside the alley in 2013 with two new restaurants. The first, as the Scoop reports, will likely be a new French brasserie in the space currently home to Hecho (185 Sutter at Kearny), which is the process of being sold to LeClerc as we speak (escrow closing in February or March, and Hecho remains open for now). The second will be another Café Claude in the Cow Hollow, which we first reported on in August, and which is still six or more months off. The brasserie does not yet have a name, but LeClerc says he plans to move the bar to the upper level mezzanine, and that he's aiming for the place to be "fun and loud." Look for both to open in mid-2013. [Scoop]

Someone Finally Invents a Burrito-Dropping Drone

Time well spent: Some dudes put together a concept for a burrito-delivery drone. Just tell the aptly named Burrito Bomber where you are via your smartphone, then wait for hellfire your carnitas to rain down by parachute. Practical? No. Awesome? So awesome.

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Bouche Names New Chef; Nicolas Borzee Returns to France

Upstairs at Bouche

Young chef Nicolas Borzee, who came in as opening chef at one-year-old Bouche (603 Bush at Stockton) with an impressive pedigree having worked at Coi and Alain Ducasse's Louis XV, has departed the restaurant and gone back to France for the time being. As the Scoop reports, owner Guillaume Issaverdens has hired a new chef with an equally impressive résumé, Michel Réthoré, who'll be cooking in America for the first time beginning December 16. Réthoré most recently worked at Restaurant Le Cygory in Montpellier, and previously earned himself a Michelin star as executive chef of Le Domaine de la Tortiniere in Veigné. For now, Bouche is still serving Borzee's menu (which Jonathan Kauffman was once confused by, and which a Michelin inspector called "uneven"), and Réthoré will be remaking things in his own fashion within a month or so. [Scoop]

Japan’s Massive Tsukiji Fish Market to Close Next Year, Relocate in 2014

New York might be swimming in fake fish, but an iconic tourist destination for sushi lovers the world over, Tsukiji Fish Market, is growing. The 78-year-old bustling, chaotic, wholesale marketplace is the largest of its kind in the world, and Tokyo officials say it has outgrown its current digs (and the governor wants its centrally located real estate for other purposes). Recently they unveiled designs for a new fish market a mile and a half away in the Koto Ward that's 40 percent larger than Tsukiji at 408,000 square meters (more than 4 million square feet).

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Farley’s Adds Paninis in Potrero Hill

Perhaps in an effort to compete with the wildly popular Plow (which just got another glowing write-up this a.m.), the nearby Farley's Coffee (1315 18th Street at Texas) has just added a panini menu which includes a muffaletta, and a three-cheese grilled cheese with scallions, all on Acme salted focaccia. Also, they're serving Three Twins ice cream now, too.

The Pear Opens in Napa, in the Former Rotisserie & Wine Spot

It's pretty much just as Florence left it.

A new "Southern bistro" called The Pear opens today in the Napa Riverfront space formerly occupied by Tyler Florence's Rotisserie & Wine. It's a new venture by Danville restaurateur Rodney Worth (The Peasant & the Pear, Prickly Pear Cantina), and as Eater reports, he'll be picking up right where Florence left off, serving Southern and New Orleans staples like hush puppies, shrimp and grits, and gumbo, and making use of the already installed rotisserie for chickens. They just had a grand opening party on Saturday night, and today is the official opening day. And they're open seven days a week, for lunch, brunch, and dinner. [Facebook via Eater]

The Pear - 720 Main Street, Napa - 707-256-3900 - Open Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and until 11 p.m. on weekends.

Jim Gaffigan on Delicious-Looking Celebrities and Being ‘the Opposite of a Vegan’

"Halle Berry looks delicious."Photo: Jimi Celeste/Patrick McMullan

At last night's premiere for the third season of Portlandia, there was a lot of talk of veganism and restrictive diets (SNL's Taran Killam on the Master Cleanse: "I did it for three days and shat water like you wouldn't believe"), but Jim Gaffigan, upcoming Portlandia guest star and famous opponent of Hot Pockets, had the most to say on the subject.

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Rickybobby Opens Wednesday in the Lower Haight

Oh, and there's two-headed cow taxidermy over the menu board.

Back in September we first heard word that Broken Record chefs James Moisey and Shane LaValley were leaving their Excelsior digs and moving their whole operation, lock, stock, and kitchen staff, to the former Rotee space at Haight and Webster. The new place is called Rickybobby, after Will Farrell's character in Talladega Nights, and the inspiration for the name came one day after they'd already batted around a bunch of names that were too lame or cutesy, and the movie happened to be playing in the bar. As Moisey tells Haighteration, "Instead of giving the restaurant a name, we gave it a nickname." Now they're getting set to softly open Wednesday, December 12 for dinner starting at 5:30 p.m., with table service (unlike at Broken Record), but it's BYOB until the beer and wine license arrives. We'll have some more menu details and more for you shortly, but suffice it to say, the food will be the exact same dude food they were doing at Broken Record (Texas toast, lobster mac and cheese, bacon burger, steak), and then some. [Haighteration, Earlier] Update: Here's a slideshow, with menu.

Rickybobby - 400 Haight Street at Webster - Opening December 12, 5:30 p.m. until midnight-ish

Hostess Drew on Pension Funds to Cover Operating Costs

Oh, Hostess. Apparently as the snack-cake maker skidded toward oblivion, the company scrapped pension contributions and used money previously earmarked for employees' retirement funds to cover operating expenses. Which, as we all now know, didn’t quite work out as far as keeping Twinkies rolling off the production line and workers working are concerned. (The Wall Street Journal says that the decision to end pension contributions was what set the stage for the standoff between the company and its unionized employees.) Rerouting pension contributions isn’t necessarily illegal, but it’s still pretty scummy. [WSJ]

Finding Grace: See the First Service at Curtis Duffy’s Restaurant, Opening Tonight

In the final installment of our video series Finding Grace: The Making of a Restaurant — chronicling the creation of Michelin-starred chef Curtis Duffy's much-anticipated Chicago restaurant Grace from gutted space to finished restaurant — we're in the kitchen on the first night of service. (Grace's official public opening is tonight, but last week's dinner for a small private party marked the first time they fed paying guests.) General manager Michael Muser admits to nerves and perfectionism, saying, "If it was up to Curtis and I, we wouldn't open for four months," but chef Duffy is confident about his team and his menu, and for the first time, he shows off one of Grace's dishes — a wagyu beef course with seasonal accompaniments including matsutake mushrooms and salsify. This is one of the country's most ambitious new restaurants, and it's your first glimpse of the food and the interior (which have been kept under wraps until now), as well as the conclusion of the story our video series has been telling since April. See it all in this seven-minute video, straight ahead.

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Recent reader reviews on MenuPages

  • Lucca Food Store See the menu

    “Billy's Philly”

    Billy is only there after 5 pm but if you are around go there and ask for his billy philly, the best philly you'll find this side of the Mississippi.

  • Le P'tit Laurent See the menu

    “Elegant Sauces & Fabulous Bread”

    It is the place me and my love go for every intimate moment.

  • Hidive See the menu

    “Are you kidding?”

    You have to be totally drunk to think that this is even acceptable as a public watering hole.


Jay Barmann
NY Mag