Every Monday, Virginia Miller of personalized itinerary service and monthly food, drink, and travel newsletter, www.theperfectspotsf.com, shares foodie news, events, and deals. View the last installment here.
Campy/classy Good Evening Thursdays
Good Evening Thursdays at Bruno’s… a sexy, weekly, speakeasy-like supper club
Take "Pussycat" in giant, Parisian ’60’s lettering, white tablecloths and waiters in vintage suits, a Rat Pack-vibe menu (reasonably priced) of Filet Mignon with bone marrow, chop salad, martinis, and Oysters Rockefeller, throw in a leering cat from the rafters, and, yes, a gold pole in the middle of the room (hmmm…?) and you have Good Evening Thursdays (at least until another name is decided upon). Up leopard-carpeted stairs in Bruno’s intimate, 35-seat private room, you’ve got yourself about the coolest non-restaurant, meal ticket in town. The genius behind this concept? A cracker-jack chef line-up of Chris Kronner (from Serpentine), Slow Club, Chez Panisse), Danny Bowien (of Bar Tartine), Sam White and Howie Correa (both front of house at Chez Panisse), and Oliver Monday (from brand new flour+water) who create and cook the meals each week. I went on debut night, May 7, and found it worth dressing up for. Sans reservations, the downstairs ’60’s-chic lounge celebrates Thursdays, too, no res. required, with old school imbibements and killer bar food, like Let’s Be Frank dogs with kimchi and bacon mayo, or pork banh mi. Read more and see photos in my latest Perfect Spot newsletter.
2389 Mission, SF
Artic char at Bar Crudo
Who says there’s a recession? All these new openings are keeping me busy… 5A5 Steak Loungeofficially debuted last week (mentioned in soft opening phase in my Perfect Spot newsletter). Ebisu just re-opened, remodeled and with new menu. In SoMa, Italian La Briciola opened where Vino e Cucina used to be. Swell took over in the former Bar Crudo space with Japanese Euro ethos still in play. Moroccan fave Tajine even returned… inside a Van Ness club, Heights Lounge. Little Skillet’s chicken ‘n waffle window is finally up and running and it’s tasty, y’all!
Bar Crudo moves to bigger digs on Divisadero
Bar Crudo is a spot like no other. Long one of my favorite places for seafood, it’s the place to be wowed with delicate, inventive crudo. The original spot, long situated downtown, recently closed, making way for a larger locale in the Western Addition. Fans like me are delighted to know there’s five new crudos to try (and eight hot dishes, thanks to a bigger kitchen). Owners (and actual bros), Tim and Mike Selvera, converted a former pizza joint on Divis into a new Bar Crudo, debuting this week. With Tim’s love of obscure, artisan beers, there’s fine ales to pair with your oysters, like Deschutes Brewery’s The Abyss, plus an impeccable wine list, even five cocktails created by non other than Jacqueline Patterson of Heaven’s Dog. Though I’ll kinda miss the charming, cramped layout of the original, thankfully, I don’t have to miss sparkling-fresh seafood and crudos like Arctic char with creamy horseradish, wasabi tobiko and dill.
665 Divisadero, SF
flour+water opens in the Mission
This one’s been long-awaited from a foursome with Gary Danko/La Folie and Postrio/Plouf pedigree. Yes, it’s yet another Italian restaurant (across from Cafe Gratitude) with salumis, wood-burning oven for pizzas and a communal table, but with a quality-focused menu based around the "four pillars" of Italian cuisine: pizza, pasta, salumi, and, of course, vino. In the pizza realm, I like the sound of the Novo, with potato, farm egg, house pancetta, oregano, or the Cariciofi: artichokes, onion, pecorino and capers. Hand-rolled pastas intrigue, like Corzetti Stampati with braised Monterey squid and fava beans. Antipasti include sweetbread, Meyer lemon and spring onion fritto – works for me! There’s a handful of entrees, salads, and desserts like olive oil cornmeal cake with honey-thyme ice cream. Don’t forget a mostly Italian wine list of around 60 bottles priced between $30 and $60. I can’t wait to see what Sean Quigley, owner of Paxton Gate, has done with the interior design.
2401 Harrison, SF
From East (NYC) to West (here), 54 Mint debuts in Mint Plaza
Umbrian native Alberto Avalle, founded and helmed New York’s famed Il Buco and after 15 years in the Big Apple, desired the relaxed pace and weather of California. Thankfully for us, he’s also bringing his passion for, and mastery of, Italian food to our city. Slated to open today, 54 Mint (neighbor to Blue Bottle Cafe and Chez Papa Resto), is a place for pure simplicity and high quality: hand-rolled pastas, truffles, Sicilian rice cakes with black squid, and wines all happily under $35 a bottle. Starting with dinner this week, by early June they plan to add lunch… for a Summer of la dolce vita.
54 Mint (between Jessie & Mission Streets)