Posts for January 31, 2013

Fable Opening Slightly Delayed; Oakland’s Guest Chef, One Year In

Castro: There's still no opening date for Fable, coming to the former Luna space at 558 Castro. But there is Aesop's Fables-inspired artwork, and cheeky "reclaimed wood"-patterned wallpaper. [Scoop, Earlier]
Outer Richmond: A new mystery restaurant has finished their build-out in the former Video Café space at 5700 Geary. It looks Asian. [Eater]
Sausalito: Plate Shop, which opened two years ago, is closing this weekend. The people behind Le Garage are taking it over. [Scoop]
Oakland: Here's a nice piece from Berkeleyside about Guest Chef, the Rockridge spot where the chef and menu change every two weeks, and which is now a little over a year old. [Berkeleyside]

Get Up Close to Pier 70 and Learn About the Big Development Plans

Earlier this week we mentioned that a big new redevelopment project was on the horizon at the dilapidated Pier 70, headed up by developers Forest City and Orton, which will include several new restaurant spaces. Well, now the project has a website, and they're hosting a site tour and open house on February 13, for which you must RSVP here. [Earlier]

Bauer Loves Wakuriya in San Mateo Even More Than Before

Mr. Bauer last visited the eighteen-seat, Michelin-starred Wakuriya in San Mateo two years ago (Mandy Erickson first reviewed the place in 2009), and he says he hasn't been back since because tables are as hard to get as at the French Laundry. He says the $95, nine-course tasting menu (the only option) is "the deal of the decade, considering the care and quality of the preparations." He loves all of chef Katsuhiro Yamasaki's delicate dishes, especially the sashimi and an "extraordinary triad" of appetizers served together: lotus root, rare duck breast, and a trout salad with Japanese mountain potatoes and Brussels sprout leaves. All told, he ups their rating to three stars, and also compliments the serenity of the dining room, and the way hostess and server Mayumi Yamasaki seems to "float rather than walk from table to table." [Chron]

Masa’s Closing After Three Decades on Nob Hill

The dining room has undergone many changes over the years. This image is from 2009.Photo: Courtesy of Masa's

Masa's, the fine dining staple opened by chef Masataka Kobayashi in 1983, is closing after 30 years on Bush Street. It's the end of a long run for a restaurant that comes at a time when such formal, tablecloth'd fine dining has gone out of fashion, and not long after the high-profile closures of the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton and Cyrus. (Cyrus, of course, closed due to a landlord dispute, but nonetheless, the Bay Area will soon be short three of its more formal venues and it's feeling like the end of an era.) As the Scoop reports, chef Gregory Short, who's manned the kitchen for most of the last decade, is moving on to a corporate job at Aramark in the South Bay. Feburary 16 will be Masa's swan song.

Read more »

Exclusive: Check Out the 7,000-Pound Smoker, and the Menus, at Hi-Lo BBQ

After 2011 brought a notable uptick in southern cuisine around town, San Francisco may be upping its barbecue game, at long last. It's been nearly two years since we first caught wind of the new barbecue project by Maverick/Hog & Rocks founder Scott Youkilis and partners Dave Esler and Eric Rubin, and the time has finally come for its opening. Hi-Lo BBQ officially opens Monday in a newly renovated, double-height space tucked into the block of 19th Street between Mission and Valencia, right across the street from Hog & Rocks. As Youkilis tells Grub Street, he and Esler had plans for a barbecue spot at some point, and they found the space by chance right after Hog & Rocks opened. They knew immediately that this needed to be the barbecue place, but they took time to get Hog & Rocks off the ground, and to plan the design and menu carefully.

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What to Eat at 1601 Bar & Kitchen, Opening Within Weeks in SoMa

One of Fernando's composed salads.Photo: Courtesy of 1601 Bar & Kitchen

Here's an update of another anticipated opening that was on our Winter/Spring Preview radar: 1601 Bar & Kitchen (1601 Howard Street at 12th). The new Sri Lankan-inspired restaurant from chef Brian Fernando is facing some construction delays, so their opening has now pushed into late February or early March. But the menu is a work in progress, and you can have a peek at it below.

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Nestlé Found Guilty of Spying on Activist Group

Not really the best disguise.

The world's largest food company has been ordered to pay civil damages to an anti-globalization activist group it spied on for a year, the Independent reports. In 2003, Nestlé hired Swiss security firm Securitas AG for the purposes of infiltrating the meetings of Attac, which touts the benefits of breastfeeding and actively protests the market saturation of the corporation's ubiquitous formula. Using a false name and identity, Securitas AG embedded at least one employee with the protestors for a year, during which time she sat in on meetings and strategy sessions and then reported findings to Nestlé. Her identity was discovered after someone placed an anonymous call to a Swiss anti-corruption hotline, and while criminal charges stemming from the investigation were dropped in 2009, the maker of Nescafé, Nesquik, and several candy bars has now been ordered to pay 3,000 Swiss francs, or approximately $3,238 dollars, to the nine activists. That's a lot of Kit-Kats. [Independent UK, Attac]

Stuffed Facing Delays in the Mission

Sacco's pierogis.

Such is the way with virtually all openings, but Stuffed (2788 Mission at 24th) has hit a few hurdles with the city that will delay their opening at least another month. We broke news of the Midwestern-style pierogi-centric restaurant in November, and you can preview the menu here. Co-owner Dana Sacco tells us that they did not know when they applied for their beer and wine license that they needed a change of use permit for the space, which did not previously serve alcohol. So, once that comes through, perhaps by March, they will open. And until then, Sacco and partner Andy Schoengrund are "hanging in there" and may do a couple of private events. [Earlier]

America’s Sick Restaurant Workers Are Contributing to This Country’s Disease Outbreaks

Does this guy look a little green around the gills?Photo: iStockphoto

Your salad may be making you barf, but should you also be blaming the sick cook who can't afford to take a day off, back there in the open kitchen trying not to fall into a pot of bolognese? Precarious relationships between restaurant owners and employees who work long hours for typically low shift pay are all the more tested by outbreaks of food-borne illness, a new study suggests, and the whole thing is pretty grim.

Barfing and accounted for. »

The Rare Barrel, a New All-Sour Brewery, Coming to Berkeley Later This Year

The team: Jay and Brad Goodwin, and Alex Wallash.Photo: East Bay Beer

A new brewery is headed for West Berkeley called The Rare Barrel (937 Carleton Street), and it's the project of a young barrel-aging specialist, Jay Goodwin, who formerly worked for beer-geek-famous Orange County brewery, The Bruery. The plan is to do a line of all aged, sour beers of various types, experimenting with different spices, fruits, and barrel types, and to open a tasting room with light snacks and several taps sometime later this year, as Eater finds out. They're actually brewing the beers at another, undisclosed facility (what the geeks call "gypsy brewing"), and doing the aging and bottling on site at the new space in Berkeley. These beers need to spend anywhere from six months to three years in the barrel, and so far the team (which includes Goodwin's father Brad Goodwin and sales guy Alex Wallash) has got 205 barrels going, with space for up to 1,500. [Eater, East Bay Beer]

Top Chef Seattle Recap: David Rees on Ships, Icebergs, and Scylla and Charybdis

Maritime law dictates that plates on ships must be very intricate and complicated.Photo: David Moir/Bravo

The gang is overjoyed at Josie’s elimination. Five chefs remain — enough to field a team in this Sunday’s Super Bowl. (I think this is true, but I can’t check because I don’t want my Internet browser history to have a record of me searching for sports.)

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An Update on Glaze Teriyaki Grill, Coming to Upper Fillmore This Spring

Glaze Teriyaki's combo plate.

We learned a few weeks ago that Manhattan-based Glaze Teriyaki Grill had their eye on the recently shuttered Johnny Rockets space at 1946 Fillmore, and now the Chron confirms the news. Owners Paul Krug and Ian McCormick are Seattle natives who have opened two locations of their Seattle-style teriyaki concern in New York, with this S.F. location being their third. It's a takeout concept, with meat or fish grilled fresh to order and served, with glaze, over rice (NY Mag recommends the salmon). It's expected to open sometime in the spring. Read their story here, and their explanation of what "Seattle-style" terayaki is (hint: it's Korean-influenced). And you can see a full pictorial menu here. [Chron, Earlier]


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