SF’s 12 Most Anticipated Spring/Early Summer Restaurants | Eater SF

Winter is the slow season for local restaurant openings, but even by that standard, we've had an exceptionally slow winter. Turns out there's a good reason why: no fewer than 12 major projects are expected to open between the end of April and the middle of June. The projects span SF and Oakland, and include two different restaurants from notable Top Chef alumni, a big new project fromMichael Mina, James Syhabout's fourth restaurant, the revamp of FiDi German stalwart Schroeder's, and three spots centered around SF's passion for craft beer. Without any further ado, we present the 12 spring and early summer openings that'll be on everyone's lips.

1) Union Square: Aveline and The European

Address: 490 Geary St.
Major Players: Casey Thompson, Adam Wilson
The Situation: Thompson, the Top Chef fan favorite from season 3 who trained under renowned Dallas chef Dean Fearing, is opening her first-ever solo restaurant, serving "refined casual fare." Meanwhile, Wilson, a veteran of Beretta, will mix cocktails in the intimate next-door bar, The European. 
Projected Opening: Early May
[All coverage of Aveline]

2) Jack London Square: The Dock at Linden Street
Address: 95 Linden St. 
Major Players: James Syhabout, Adam Lamoreaux
The Situation: Syhabout's fourth restaurant (after Michelin-starred Commis, Box & Bells, and Hawker Fare) is a team-up with Linden Street Brewery's Lamoreaux, where he'll serve casual, global food that goes well with beer. In addition to Linden's house brews, the bar will have full liquor, with cocktails and wine, and the huge parking lot will be ripe for block-party action. 
Projected Opening: June
[All coverage of The Dock at Linden Street]

3) Financial District : Pabu and The Ramen Bar
Address: 101 California St.
Major Players: Michael Mina, Ken Tominaga 
The Situation: Mina's Japanese concept, which kicked off in Baltimore, is coming to SF in a big way with a huge space at 101 California. He'll have help on the sushi front from Tominaga, who runs Rohnert Park's acclaimed Hana Japanese Restaurant. Expect a full tour of Japanese cuisine: sushi, sashimi, shabu-shabu, robata, and a big bar with cocktails. Next door, the Ramen Bar (Mina Group's first-ever fast-casual project) will serve farm-to-table bowls of handmade noodles with organic protein and veggies. 
Projected Opening: Early June
[All coverage of Pabu]

4) Cow Hollow: Palm House
Address: 2032 Union St. 
Major Players: Gayle Pirie, Lea Walker, Anderson Pugash, Bruce McDonald, Sam Levy
The Situation: The historic mansion that once housed Nettie's Crab Shack is becoming a Caribbean-oriented restaurant, with a menu conceptualized by Foreign Cinema chef-owner Pirie (and a kitchen led by Walker, Foreign Cinema's onetime chef de cuisine). Bergerac co-owners Pugash and McDonald have extended the patio, updated the interior with a Victorian colonial vibe, and brought on Levy, the Restaurant at Meadowood's bar manager, to come up with some tropical cocktails (a slushy machine is involved). 
Projected Opening: May
[All coverage of Palm House]

5) Dogpatch: Magnolia Dogpatch & Smokestack
Address: 2505 3rd St. 
Major Players: Dave McLean, Dennis Lee
The Situation: We joked about this one being long-delayed when it appeared in our fall openings guide; we're now in April, and it's still not open. However, we're told that it's really, truly going to be open the week of April 28th, so cross your fingers. By this point, regular readers should know the score: brews from McLean, creative BBQ from Lee (Namu Gaji), and whiskey. 
Projected Opening: The week of April 28
[All coverage of Magnolia Dogpatch]

6) Presidio: The Commissary
Address: 101 Montgomery St. 
Major Players: Traci des Jardins, Robbie Lewis
The Situation: Des Jardins has teamed up with the Presidio Trust for a huge new food program, encompassing catering, a small market, and this 112-seat restaurant, featuring Cal-Spanish cuisine from her protege Lewis, the former chef of Bacar. It'll have takeout and casual fare during the day, and become more upscale at night. Presidio locals will be able to snag housemade bread, jam, and charcuterie for their own tables as well. 
Projected Opening: Late May
[All coverage of Traci des Jardins]

7) The Mission: Urban Putt
Address: 1096 South Van Ness Ave. 
Major Players: Steve Fox, Dane Boryta, Colin Carroll 
The Situation: The Mission continues its path to becoming a literal urban playground with the arrival of its first-ever mini-golf course, courtesy of longtime enthusiast Fox. The 14 holes will have San Francisco themes, while Boryta (Bottle Cap) will offer a menu of deep-dish pizzas, fried chicken, and other Americana. Full liquor is still in the works, meaning the planned Bon Vivants cocktails are off the table for now, but Carroll (Elixir) will curate craft brews and loophole cocktails. 
Projected Opening: May 5
[All coverage of Urban Putt]

8) Union Square: Dirty Habit 
Address: 12 4th St. 
Major Players: David Bazirgan, Francis Ang, Brian Means
The Situation: Fine-dining palace Fifth Floor is no longer, but its team has stuck around to guide it into a new, more casual incarnation: a bar-centric concept featuring Means' cocktails (including some barrel-aged, large-format, and savory options), and small and shared plates from chef Bazirgan and pastry chef Ang. The space has been totally redone, and will center around a brand-new patio with a fire pit. 
Projected Opening: May 1
[All coverage of Dirty Habit]

9) The Mission: Chino
Address: 3198 16th St. 
Major Players: Joe Hargrave, Telmo Faria, Danny Louie
The Situation: The Tacolicious dynamic duo of Hargrave and Faria are embarking on their first non-Mexican project with Chino, which will feature dumplings, noodles, veggies, and other Chinese small plates. Louie (Alembic) has been brought on to do the cocktails. 
Projected Opening: End of May
[All coverage of Chino]

10) Financial District: Schroeder's
Address: 240 Front St. 
Major Players: Jan Wiginton, Andy Chun, Manfred Wrembel
The Situation: A historic FiDi German beer hall is getting a fresh start thanks to Wiginton and Chun (Press Club), who are transforming it into a dual-concept restaurant with a casual bar in front and a more serious Cal-German restaurant in back. Expect 22 German beers curated by Master Cicerone Rich Higgins, cocktails from Future Bars alum Claire Jane Hunter, Austrian and German wines, and plenty of post-work office types ready to enjoy them all. 
Projected Opening: Early May
[All coverage of Schroeder's]

11) Lakeshore Grand: Shakewell Bar & Kitchen
Address: 3407 Lakeshore Ave. 
Major Players: Jen Biesty, Tim Nugent
The Situation: Biesty and Nugent (Scala's Bistro) are Top Chef and Top Chef: Just Desserts alumni, respectively, and have teamed up to create a casual neighborhood Mediterranean spot in Grand Lake with Spanish, Turkish, and North African influences. (You can see a sample menu right here.) Expect cocktails, too. 
Projected Opening: Late May
[All coverage of Shakewell]

12) NOPA/Western Addition: 4505 Burgers & BBQ
Address: 705 Divisadero St. 
Major Players: Ryan and Cesalee Farr
The Situation: The former Da' Pitt was pretty much tailor-made for famed local butcher Farr, who'll have access to one of the few grandfathered wood-fired BBQ pits in the city. Expect his killer burgers, chicken, pork shoulder, brisket, and artisanal sausages, plus beer and wine. A big patio will create a convivial atmosphere. 
Projected Opening: Takeout (no seating) launches May 3; patio opens mid-June


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Michael Mina Dishes Details for Pabu and The Ramen Bar | KQED

Chef Michael Mina may be an expert in refined American cuisine and seafood, creating dishes that are elevated, memorable and delicious—his beef tartare from the now shuttered but much beloved Aqua Restaurant is a fine Exhibit A. The Master Chef is also adept at launching restaurants that are exciting and on-trend. For the Bay Area, we can look forward to the opening of Pabu and The Ramen Bar in the near future. Mina shared tasty details about the concepts with Bay Area Bites recently. His comments have been edited for content and clarity.

Bay Area Bites: Tell us about Pabu and The Ramen Bar.

Mina: We couldn’t be more excited about this opening. Pabu and The Ramen Bar are slated to open in mid-June at 101 California in the FiDi. Pabu and The Ramen Bar is a collaboration and partnership between myself and Ken Tominaga, owner and chef of the famed Hana Sushi in Sonoma County.
My family and I have been regulars at Ken’s restaurant for years, and I’ve been looking for the right project to work with him on. I have been very fortunate, and at this stage in my career, the most rewarding opportunity is to build partnerships with chefs like Ken that need and deserve a showcase that this opening will create.

Ken has always wanted to do a big Japanese concept in San Francisco – it’s been a lifelong dream of his. When this opportunity presented itself and 101 California Street became available, I toured it and knew immediately that it would be perfect our collaboration.

Pabu will be a modern izakaya and sushi bar offering authentic, and high caliber Japanese cuisine, and contemporary takes on traditional Japanese dining options including a sushi bar, izakaya, robata grill and a specialized Shabu Shabu program.

The Ramen Bar, my first fast casual concept, will include both a take-out and dine in option, and feature signature ramen bowls from Ken, which will include fresh noodles, a choice of homemade broths, proteins, and an abundance of on site, freshly-grown vegetables and greens from our indoor/outdoor urban garden. This space will also include a unique bar concept highlighting the best in Japanese whisky, beer and sake.

Bay Area Bites: What dishes can folks look forward to for both spots?

Mina: We’ve got a lot of really cool things: at Pabu, an a la carte menu will be available in the izakaya and dining room highlighting seasonal small plates, grilled items from a robata grill, rice, and noodle and soup dishes for the everyday.

Some of my favorites from the menu include Ken’s award-winning sushi and sashimi, skewers, and tempura, as well as Ken’s “Happy Spoon” oyster topped with uni, ikura, tobiko and ponzu crème fraiche.

In the formal dining room, we’ll also be featuring two omakase menus – one is a traditional representation of Japanese products and technique while another is the Sushi Nigiri Tasting Menu.

We will also be featuring a specialized Shabu Shabu service, emphasizing a unique and interactive clean eating experience for the guest – featuring A4 and A5 Wagyu and fresh vegetables cooked in savory broths at their tables.

At The Ramen Bar, we will be highlighting four ramen offerings including our Tokyo Chicken Shio with beer can chicken and shio kombu (edible kelp), and our Kaisen Miso with shrimp, crab and Tokyo negi (Japanese onions).

There will also be a seasonal soba offering at The Ramen Bar with house-made gluten-free chilled noodles and broth.

Bay Area Bites: How will this be different from the Baltimore Pabu you opened with Ken Tominaga?

Mina: Both Ken and I have been on the hunt for the perfect location for this Japanese venture and while the opportunity first arose in Baltimore at the Four Seasons, San Francisco had always been the ideal market for both Pabu and The Ramen Bar. I’ve known 101 California as a neighbor for many years, and always thought it could be the perfect spot for an upcoming project. When the space became available, I showed it to Ken, and he fell in love with it immediately.

Obviously this project will be much bigger than the Baltimore restaurant – in terms of space. We have 10,000 square feet to work with, and are excited to take full advantage of the picturesque and natural indoor and outdoor setting to grow our own downtown herb and vegetable garden.

Bay Area Bites: What do you think the ramen scene is like in the Bay Area? How do we compare with other cities like Baltimore?

Mina: In many ways, I think the ramen scene in the Bay Area, especially in San Francisco, is still burgeoning. It still exists in the underground and has an almost cult following. With The Ramen Bar, I want to create a bigger platform for this style of Japanese cuisine, and make it more accessible for locals. Our location at 101 California is perfect for this, and why we’ve decided on doing both dine in and take out options with The Ramen Bar.

Bay Area Bites: What’s your guilty food pleasure?

Mina: I love roasted nuts, especially pistachios. They are my go-to late night snack.

Bay Area Bites: Are you still doing the East Indian concept on Steuart Street?

Mina: Right now we are focusing all of our attention and energy on the opening of Pabu and The Ramen Bar. It’s the concept I’ve always wanted to do in San Francisco, and feel incredibly lucky to have Ken to partner with on this opening.


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How Chefs Take Their Eggs | FoodandWine.com

How Chefs Take Their Eggs | FoodandWine.com

This week's installment of Mad Genius Tipsfeatures brilliant ways to prepare eggs; like separating them using just a plastic water bottle and poaching them in a wire mesh strainer. But before you start experimenting (or eggs-perimenting) get some inspiration from top chefs' egg dishes.

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10 Exciting New Restaurants to Look Forward to in 2014 | 7x7.com

The second half of 2013 was especially full of new eating and drinking spots, as we discussed last week. But today we're looking ahead at the bumper crop coming in 2014, including several new projects from established names around town, and two former cheftestants from the Top Chef franchise opening their first West Coast ventures here.

10. Aveline

Top Chef season 3 runner-up Casey Thompson has been in the Bay Area but laying low over the last few years. We're pretty excited to see what she does with her own Bay Area kitchen this spring at Aveline near Union Square, which she says will feature "refined casual," modern Californian food. She's also opening a next-door cocktail spot called The European with Beretta guy Adam Wilson. 490 Geary Street

9. Bon Marché

Marché means "market," and the AQ/TBD team of Matt Semmelhack and Mark Liberman are also making reference with their upcoming brasserie project to Le Bon Marché, the famed Parisian department store. The huge new restaurant with French influences is coming to the Twitter building, hopefully by late 2014, and is set to feature one of the biggest selections of champagne and sparkling wine in the country. Market Street between 9th and 10th

8. 4505 Meats' Divisadero BBQ Spot

The next exciting debut on the ever-gentrifying Divisadero corridor will be the new barbecue offshoot of butcher and burger-maker 4505 Meats. Chef Ryan Farr is taking over the former Brothers BBQ at Divis and Grove, more recently known as Da'Pitt, and will be slinging ribs and things there pretty soon. 

7. Pabu and Ramen Market

Restaurateur Michael Mina is set to open his fourth and fifth S.F. restaurants, which will come as an attached pair, later this year. Mina is partnered with chef Ken Tominaga of Hana in Rohnert Park on the Pabu concept, and they already opened the first one in Baltimore. Like that one, the S.F. branch will serve sushi, shabu shabu, robata, and izakaya fare, and it will have a cocktail bar and the attached, all-day ramen spot, Ramen Market. 101 California Street

6. Kin Khao

Well established food blogger Pim Techamuanvivit of Chez Pim fame, who also happens to be the longtime girlfriend of Manresa chef-owner David Kinch, is opening her first restaurant near Union Square this year. She was born in Bangkok, and Kin Khao will be focused on Thai cuisine using fresh, Northern California ingredients.  Given her skills and connections, we're banking on this place being an awesome addition to good-food-starved Union Square. 65 Cyril Magnin Street

5. Suvir Saran's Unnamed Mid-Market Project

As we learned back in November, former Top Chef Masters contestant Suvir Saran is bringing his brand of high-end, modern, farm-to-table cuisine, with Indian influence, to the NeMa building across from Twitter. The place still doesn't have a name, but will be 120 seats, and will perhaps take some cues from Saran's Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurant Devi, which he has since sold. 14 10th Street

4. Chino

It may not be one of the fancier openings on the horizon, but we're guessing it will be one of the most packed and delicious. Tacolicious guy Joe Hargrave is partnered with former Bar Agricole chef Brandon Jew to take over the recently shuttered Andalu space at 16th and Guerrero. The concept is modern Chinese, with a focus on dumplings and cocktails, at a low price point. (The latter will hopefully make this a more successful venture than the short-lived and overpriced Wo Hing General Store.) 3198 16th Street

3. Monsieur Benjamin

Benu chef Corey Lee's exciting new Hayes Valley French bistro, in partnership with former RN74 chef Jason Berthold, promises to be one of 2014's more buzzy openings. In addition to focusing on modern takes on traditional bistro dishes, Lee promises to make this a spot for late-night dining, meaning Nopa won't be one of the only nice-ish options for post-midnight gorge-fests anymore. 451 Gough Street

2. The Progress

The much anticipated, next-door spinoff of State Bird Provisions is set to arrive by the middle or end of this year, and chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski promise it will be different from but "symbiotic with" their wildly successful Fillmore Street spot. Expect bigger plates, a full bar, and a lot more space in general, in a space formerly occupied by a movie house called The Progress Theater. 1525 Fillmore Street

1. Ravi Kapur's Unnamed TenderNob Project

It still doesn't have a name or many details, but knowing what we know about the talents of Kapur and business partners Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak (of Nopa fame), and the careful deliberation that went into Kapur's creative process following his departure from the kitchen at Prospect in 2012, we've put this upcoming restaurant at the top of our list.  All we know is that it won't be, at least directly, a spin on Kapur's Hawaiian-influenced pop-up LihoLiho Yacht Club, but it will probably feature an array of influences, from Indian to French to Korean, as much of his food does, and the style and service, coming as it does from the Nopa team, is bound to be great too.


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2014 to Bring Bumper Crop of New Restaurants in SF | SFGate.com

Winston Churchill once said that it's wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see. The list of local restaurants currently scheduled to arrive this year is impressive, but when it comes to the full slate of expected 2014 openings, it's just the tip of the iceberg; as the year progresses, countless more projects will enter the fray.

As restaurant designer Michael Brennan put it earlier this week, "It's Boomtown."

High-powered chefs will open more restaurants. Michael Mina now has 18 restaurants across the country, including his eponymous downtown San Francisco flagship; this year he'll open two Japanese restaurants a block away - Pabu and Ramen Market (101 California St.) - as well as Bourbon Steak & Pub in the new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara.

Benu owner Corey Lee's second restaurant, Hayes Valley's Monsieur Benjamin (451 Gough St.), will be a more casual bistro, with Mina vet Jason Berthold in the kitchen when it opens in the spring.

Fellow fine-dining chefs Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara - the guys behind Michelin-starred Sons & Daughters - are also branching out to a new hood: North Beach, where they hope to break the curse that has plagued North Beach's old Washbag (1707 Powell St.).

James Syhabout (Commis, Hawker Fare) had a big 2013 with the debut of Box and Bells; this year, he'll make it an Oakland quartet with the Dock, a casual restaurant and beer garden at Linden Street Brewery (95 Linden St.).

The State Bird Provisions tandem of Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski are moving forward on their adjacent restaurant, the Progress (1525 Fillmore St.), while Charles Phan hopes to resurrect Heaven's Dog as a new concept, rumored to be an English-inflected one.

Brandon Jew is joining forces with the Tacolicious folks to open Chino, a Chinese restaurant in the former Andalu space (3198 16th St.), and Sushi Ran veteran Mitsunori Kusakabe is bringing high-end sushi to the Financial District with Kusakabe (584 Washington St.).

On the Mid-Market front, New York star chef Suvir Saran is opening a 9,000-square-foot restaurant in the Nema building (14 10th St.), next to Twitter, where the AQ guys are still plotting the 7,300-square-foot Bon Marché.

Traci Des Jardins is building a restaurant in the Presidio, while restaurateur Franck LeClerc (Cafe Claude, Gitane) is building another French one downtown in Gaspar Brasserie.

Ravi Kapur will team up with Nopa's Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak for a still-unnamed restaurant at 871 Sutter St. That juicy one is still a ways out, but that area of the city - west of Union Square - will see lots of action before then.

Down the hill, "Top Chef" vet Casey Thompson is opening Aveline (490 Geary St.) and an adjacent bar, the European, with Beretta vet Adam Wilson.

Around the corner, Bartlett Hall (242 O'Farrell St.) is quickly coming into focus. It's a new restaurant, bar and lounge that will serve creative American cuisine from chefEmmanuel Eng, pour barrel-aged cocktails, and even brew its own beer; the aforementioned Brennan will design the 140-seat space, due in the spring.

A block away will be Kin Khao (55 Cyril Magnin St.), the much-anticipated Thai restaurant from Bangkok-born Pim Techamuanvivit, who is best known for her popular food blog, Chez Pim. With her first restaurant foray, she'll explore the Thai dishes of her youth through a Northern California lens.

Several other first-time restaurateurs will also live the American dream.

Marla Bakery's brick-and-mortar restaurant (3619-21 Balboa St.) is coming together nicely, with a massive two-deck wood-fired oven.

Ryan Farr hopes to give the Divisadero corridor some delicious meaty fumes when his4505 Meats barbecue joint debuts in the old Da Pitt space (705 Divisadero St.). Also transitioning from pop-ups to full-fledged restaurants are familiar faces like Hapa Ramen, Pizzahacker (3299 Mission St.), and Belly Burgers (1550 Howard St.).

But none of those can compete with the grande dame of San Francisco street food: theTamale Lady. Banned from selling tamales at Zeitgeist, she is now trying to open her own restaurant at 16th and Mission.

The Dogpatch shall receive an infusion of beer, with Triple Voodoo Brewing andMagnolia both imminent, while the Mission will welcome a surefire sensation in San Francisco's first mini golf course, Urban Putt (1096 South Van Ness Ave.).

Some of the year's most anticipated places will be physical expansions of current hits. Sunset haven Outerlands (4001 Judah St.) is under the knife, ready to unveil its new look in February or March. Similarly, the Ferry Building's Hog Island Oyster Co. is doubling in size by commandeering the vacant space next door. Now only if Swan Oyster Depot could do the same.

Then there are the old-timer comebacks.

Dormant dive the Nite Cap (699 O'Farrell St) will finally relight its funky sign in this year under new owners.

January will bring temporary closures to both Nob Hill's clubby Big 4 (1075 California St.) and downtown's 120-year-old Schroeder's (240 Front St.). Both will get light face-lifts; in the case of Schroeder's, the new owners are leaving the beer hall in the front but are carving out a German-Californian restaurant in the rear with new chef Manfred Wrembel.

It's going to be a busy year in Boomtown.


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