Northside SF  

October '09

The Tablehopper
Michael Mina and Bourbon Steak, Bee-Bo pops up, and a new Moss Room menu
By Marcia Gagliardi

And so the space at 252 California Street lives on: as of Oct. 19, the latest incarnation of Michael Mina (252 California Street, 415-397-9222) is now open. Mina’s menu, executed by chef de cuisine Jeremy Ravetz, integrates French and Japanese influences. Lunch is served Monday–Friday exclusively at the bar, featuring an array of seasonal small plates as well as salads, soups, and classics like the Michael Mina well-known ahi tuna tartare. Guests can also dine at the chef’s tasting table, with a minimum party of eight. Dinner is served nightly, with a menu that includes platters to share and the option to have the chef cook for your table. Dinner appetizers range from $16–$28 and entrées from $32–$49.

The design was by Frost Tsuji Architects, who also designed Aqua 20 years ago. There is a dark walnut bar and tables, with an emphasis on organic and natural textures. A highlight is the handmade custom porcelain by Northern California ceramicists Jered Nelson, Trent Burkett and Scott Parady. 

The sommelier is Matthew Turner, and the wine list, created by Rajat Parr, includes an eclectic collection of small, boutique, American wineries as well as celebrated French and European vineyards. There are also cocktails featuring hand-pressed juices and seasonal ingredients. The lounge opens Monday–Friday at 11:30 a.m. and Saturday–Sunday at 5 p.m.

As for the restaurant’s former digs, the transition from Michael Mina to Bourbon Steak (355 Powell Street, 415-397-3003) at The Westin St. Francis on Union Square is complete. The executive chef is Omri Aflalo, an extern from the Culinary Institute of America at Aqua when Mina first met and worked with him (he has also worked for Gary Danko and Michel Richard). On the menu: “Starters For The Table,” like potato skins poutine with short ribs ($14), crispy Korean chicken wings ($15), or Michael Mina classic lobster corn dogs ($16); appetizers include All Star Organics little gem salad with pancetta and hard-boiled quail egg ($14), and American Wagyu tartare ($18); entrées like San Francisco cioppino ($38), Prather Ranch lamb chops ($48), and an $18 burger. Oh yeah, and butter-poached steaks, like an 18-ounce bone-in rib eye for $42, or a 10-ounce American Kobe flatiron for $49. Designer Michael Dalton has brought in a strong and masculine color palette (cognac, bronze, steel blue, and nickel) and there are 102 seats, with 42 in the bar and lounge. Open for dinner Sunday–Thursday 5:30 p.m.–10 p.m., Friday–Saturday 5:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m.; bar opens at 5 p.m.

Are pop-up restaurants the new street food? Since Joey & Eddie’s in North Beach is officially closed, and the new owner hasn’t been revealed yet, current chef-owner Joseph Manzare is launching an interim project called BeeBo (1652 Stockton Street, 415-989-7800). Every Thursday through Sunday, you can swing by for rustic Italian food (pasta, pizza, grilled fish, and meat), and there’s a happy hour with 75-cent oysters and $5 margaritas until 7 p.m. Thursday–Sunday bar opens at 4:30 p.m., dinner 5 p.m.–7 p.m.

Also in North Beach, Macellato, The Sandwich (59 Columbus Street) has taken over the Caffè Macaroni space. There are just two sandwiches served every day: the Gallina (a Fulton Valley fried chicken sandwich) and the Italiano (Fra’ Mani salami, mortadella, hot coppa, and provolone). Behind the project is 25-year-old Vito Froncillo, son of Andrea Froncillo of the Stinking Rose group. Froncillo wanted to get his son going in the family biz, and a simple sandwich shop seemed the perfect vehicle for him and his friend Dino Mastino. Available for takeout, or you can also enjoy a beer or glass of wine if you’re eating in. Sandwiches $9 (tax included), cash only. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. daily.

Since chef Michael Morrison has taken over for Justin Simoneaux at The Moss Room (55 Music Concourse Drive, 415-876-6121), his menu has taken a more Asian/modern Californian turn (it’s a style he knows well from working at Ame). The new approach can really be seen with the appetizers, including barbecue octopus and pork belly with pickled burdock, Fresno chili and scallion oil ($16); sashimi of kombu-cured ocean trout with freshly grated wasabi, shiitake mushrooms, and citrus ($15); and a chawan-mushi with Manila clams, shimeji mushrooms, and white soy ($13). Mains have more of a California feel, from the roasted Sonoma County squab with confit, potato purée, and molé sauce ($29), and there are two new entrées for two, like a rack of California lamb with lentils, harissa and preserved lemon ($49).

Marcia Gagliardi also writes a popular weekly e-column about the S.F. dining scene; subscribe for free at where you can also find her new book. Got a hot tip? E-mail

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