Postrio closing for reconcepting, cheap eats on the rise in the Marina
By Marcia Gagliardi
Here’s some big news that rocked the restaurant community: Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio (545 Post Street, 415-776-8135) is closing after 20 years in business – quite a run. The restaurant is undergoing a redesigned interior, courtesy of EDG Interior Architecture + Design (EDG is also remodeling the entire hotel). When it reopens in late 2010, there will also be a new menu and concept. The main dining room will end dinner service sometime in mid-June; the restaurant will continue to provide breakfast service to hotel guests, and the bar will offer “enhanced lunch and dinner menus” to the public. The restaurant is planning to host a series of notable chef dinners the second week in June (and yes, Puck will host one of the nights).
More changes/closure: the Terrace at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco (600 Stockton Street, 415-296-7465) has closed – the space will be used for private meetings. The famed Sunday brunch (currently $55) will be served in the Dining Room, and breakfast, lunch, weekend afternoon tea, and dinner service are all now served in the Lobby Lounge.
Now for some new additions to the scene: The restaurant formerly known as A5 just settled some legal issues with A16 last week, so their new name is now officially 5A5 (244 Jackson Street, 415-989-2539), referencing the five senses and the A5 rating of beef. The steak lounge has opened in the former Frisson space in Jackson Square. The menu is by chef Allen Chen, who was most recently at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino. The rotating menu includes a variety of bar-friendly bites like shooters and lobster tempura, plus salads, and different cuts and grades of steak, available in 4 to 22-ounce cuts, in addition to seafood, and a number of side dishes (you can see the menu on their Web site, www.5a5stk.com). Hours are Monday–Thursday 5:30–10 p.m., Friday–Saturday 5:30–9 p.m. (last reservation), and then shifting to more of a lounge atmosphere, with entertainment like jazz trios, live vocalists, and DJs kicking in at 11 p.m. and running until 2 a.m.
Over in the Marina, Noodle Theory (3242 Scott Street, 415-359-1238) has opened in the former short-lived Ramen Club space. This is a second location (the first location is in Rockridge), so maybe they’ll last longer than the previous joint. The menu looks really appetizing (and uses Niman Ranch products). It’s similar to the Rockridge menu, but some new salads and other dishes will be added soon. Hours are Wednesday–Monday 11:30 a.m.–4 p.m. and 5–10:30 p.m., open continuously with no afternoon break on the weekends.
The transformation from Pita Pit to Marina & Kebab (2257 Chestnut Street, 415-441-9010) is complete. This is a second location for Hayes Valley’s Hayes & Kebab (hence the nomenclature). The menu is close to the same (think wraps, kebab plates, etc.), except no moussaka because the kitchen is smaller. Hours are Sunday–Thursday 11 a.m.–10 p.m. and Friday–Saturday 11–2 a.m. Yup, late-night Mediterranean!
Also in the Marina, the very small Let’s Be Frank (3318 Steiner Street, 415-674-6755) “doghouse” is open. Well, a Cass Calder Smith-designed doghouse. You’ll be able to get their trademark grass-fed beef hot dogs and family-farmed pork brats, new spicy “hot” dogs, a Not Dog (it’s vegan!), Devil Sauce, plus chili made with heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo, Bi-Rite Creamery ice cream sandwiches, local beers, and wines. Open daily.
Looking for a new place for brunch? The Tipsy Pig (2231 Chestnut Street, 415-292-2300) can now set you up with a weekend tipsy brunch. On the menu: dishes like a grilled cheese breakfast sandwich, huevos rancheros, French toast, a scramble, salads, and of course the burger (most dishes range from $10–$12). There will also be some rise-and-shine cocktails, like a blueberry fizz. Brunch hours are 10:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Eventually a light menu will be in place from the end of brunch until dinner service beings.
A tipster called in to let me know Taste Of The Himalayas (2420 Lombard Street, 415-674-9898) has new owners from Shangri-La Cafe & Grill in Rohnert Park.
Moussy’s (1345 Bush Street, 415-441-1802), a cafe in the former La Cave Bistro space in the Alliance Francaise is now open. There are a variety of egg dishes, like eggs Benedict, croque madame, and croissant stuffed with egg and cheese. For lunch, there’s a Merguez or steak sandwich, and house-made tarte tatin for dessert. Open Tuesday–Sunday 9 a.m.–4 p.m.
Many fans of Tajine (2080 Van Ness Avenue, 415-240-0145) – it used to be on Polk) will be happy to know it has returned! Mohamed Ghaleb reopened his Moroccan restaurant in the Heights on Van Ness, which is normally a nightclub. He’ll be doing a prix-fixe menu Tuesday–Sunday (closed Monday) for $29.95, which will include soup, salad, appetizers like chicken or vegetarian basteeya or a Merguez plate, choice of entree (lamb or fish tajine, and other items), couscous, plus mint tea and other treats. There will be a number of vegetarian choices, and a bar menu with smaller dishes. There is low seating with lots of pillows in the dining area. You’ll also be able to eat with your hands (don’t worry, there will be a hand-washing ceremony prior, and rosewater at the end). The place morphs into its club-like existence Friday and Saturday nights. Kitchen hours: 5–10 p.m.
After over a million dollars and a complete gutting, the Sunset restaurant Ebisu (1283 9th Avenue, 415-566-1770) is now open, with a redeveloped interior, a new and improved sushi bar, and a state-of-the-art kitchen. There are also new menu items (additions include a robata menu and traditional shabu shabu), plus a new Web site (www.ebisusushi.com) with online ordering.
La Boulange de Fillmore (2043 Fillmore Street, 415-928-1300) just received a fresh paint job and 20 more seats on their mezzanine. The menu has also been revised and expanded, now with burgers, fries and more egg dishes.
And don’t forget, the twice-yearly Dine About Town San Francisco restaurant promotion is running from June 1–15. Presented by the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau (SFCVB), over 125 restaurants are participating, offering diners prix-fixe lunches for $21.95 and dinners for $34.95, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Dates and times vary by restaurant. A la carte menus will also be available. New restaurants on the June Dine About Town San Francisco list include: bacar, E&O Trading Company, Isa Restaurant, Perry’s on the Embarcadero, and Spruce. Reservations may be made on San Francisco’s official visitors’ Web site: www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/taste/dineabouttown.
And a little news and a note for you: I am taking July off, and it’s not because of some fabulous summer vacation somewhere. I am actually going to be writing my heart out, putting the finishing touches on my manuscript. Yup, I’m writing my first book! It will be a Tablehopper guidebook to dining and drinking in the City and outlying areas (title forthcoming). The award-winning Ten Speed Press is publishing it, and the book will be released in spring 2010. I’ll share more about the concept later, but there definitely will be a twist to differentiate it from the other guidebooks out there. Enjoy the summer, and I will be back with more restaurant news in August!
Marcia Gagliardi also writes a popular weekly e-column about the S.F. dining scene; subscribe for free at www.tablehopper.com and get it in your inbox every Tuesday. She additionally writes for San Francisco magazine, Edible San Francisco, and the weekly SFCVB blog, Foodie 411. Got a hot tip? E-mail email@example.com.