Northside SF  

October '09

The Tablehopper
A trio of new (and delicious) places in Pacific Heights
By Marcia Gagliardi

Now open in the former Vivande Porta Via space on Fillmore Street is Elizabeth Falkner’s Citizen Cake (2125 Fillmore Street, 415-861-2228), with chef de cuisine Amy Glaze. Lunch is served from 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m., with dishes like clam chowder with white wine, leeks, potatoes, lardon, and cream ($10); heirloom chicories salad with dates, red onion, pecans, blue cheese, and honey vinaigrette ($9); and sandwiches like an open-face fried chicken Cobb sandwich with bacon, egg, avocado, and tomato vinaigrette ($12). There are also four pizzas ($11–$15). During the snack time (3 p.m.–5 p.m.), there are arepas with smoked trout, ancho crema, cucumber, and pepitas ($6); chopped liver toast ($7); and more.

Dinner is served from 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m. with some of the same starters as lunch, like beet salad with mache, grilled beef heart, horseradish, and crème fraîche ($11), plus a hiramasa crudo of radish, persimmon, carrot, avocado, jalapeño, and ponzu ($15). In addition to the pizzas, the main dishes include dorade royal (caramelized cauliflower, golden raisins, pancetta, lemon, caper berries, and brown butter, $21); poussin (mushroom and wild mushroom stuffing, parsnips, Brussels sprout leaves, cranberry-pear sauce, and sherry jus, $24); and Kobe beef cheek stroganoff (egg noodles, Thumbelina carrots, Tokyo turnips, and chanterelles, $19).

As for sweets, Falkner was inspired by her recent trips to Barcelona and Rome, so look for a chocolate hazelnut sculpture cake. Soon there will also be ice cream made with liquid nitrogen – which Falkner revealed was actually something higher-end Victorian ladies made. She said it makes for a really clean ice cream because it doesn’t crystallize.

Fillmore Bakeshop (1890 Fillmore Street, 415-923-0711) has replaced the former Patisserie Delanghe, with the father-daughter team of Douglas and Elena Basegio. Both were trained in Switzerland, and some may know Doug from the Woodside Bakery and Cafe (he was there for 20 years). Their style is contemporary European-American, with cakes, tarts, pastries, cookies, pies, seasonal items, and wedding cakes, all made from scratch. Specialties on the menu include Danishes, like the popular blueberry-cream cheese version that sells out each morning, and an almond-pear croissant. For those wondering, yes, you can still get princess cakes and profiteroles here. The interior has also been updated; there are six seats, with more coming soon. Tuesday–Friday 7 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.–6 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m.–4 p.m.

And now open in the former Restaurant Cassis space is Sweet Maple (2101 Sutter Street, 415-655-9169) from owner Steven Choi (who is behind the Taylor Street Coffee Shop and Fred’s Place Coffee Shop in Marin). It’s open daily for breakfast (served all day) and lunch, offering a deep-fried French toast called “Big Hip.” There are also a variety of panini, Niman Ranch beef burgers, soups, and salads. You can wake up with coffee and espresso from Equator, or something stronger, since they also have a beer and wine license. Look for a completely redone interior, with new tables, chairs, and lighting. Daily 7 a.m.–3 p.m.

Over in Jackson Square, Michael and Lindsay Tusk’s casual offshoot to Quince, Cotogna (490 Pacific Avenue, 415-775-8508), is now open. The former Myth Café space has been totally transformed into a spacious 62-seat modern trattoria, with a copper-topped counter (seats six) overlooking the open kitchen and a separate copper-topped bar (seats eight) with a gleaming Synesso espresso machine on the back bar. The room’s smart design features tobacco leather bench seats, elm-topped tables, original brick walls, Jerusalem stone floors, a wood slat ceiling, and full-length windows onto the street.

Chef Michael Tusk (with chef de cuisine Ryan Childs from Chez Panisse) offers a seasonal menu of rustic Italian dishes, with the most expensive item at $25. The Italian rotisserie and grill – in a beautiful British racing green – spit-roasts hogs and game birds, and there are also pizzas from the wood-burning oven, along with house-made pastas (like tagliatelle with chanterelles, bacon, and pane mollica), local fish and seafood (like petrale sole rotolo with Taggiasche olives and sorrel), salads, charcuterie, and cheeses.

Wine director David Lynch has been working on a prezzo fisso list of about 50 Italian wines, all priced at $40. The idea is to serve wines that over-deliver for the price. (But if you want to order a big boy from the Quince list, all of those wines are available as well.) Asti Spumante is offered by the glass, as are eight whites and reds. Jason “Buffalo” LoGrasso is the bar manager, who mixes up both updated classics and Italian-inspired cocktails. Dinner Monday–Saturday and lunch Monday–Friday. And about the name: cotogna means “quince” in Italian.

And in North Beach, Joe Dimaggio’s Italian Chophouse (601 Union Street) has shuttered.


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