Downtown workers will be happy to know Dennis “I do good things with carbs” Leary (Sentinel, Golden West) has your back yet again; he has partnered up with his House of Shields cohort Eric Passetti to open Café Terminus (16 California St., SF. www.terminussf.com) right where the California Street cable car line ends. Start your morning with coffee, pastries, or an egg toast, and lunchtime brings a Cubano sandwich that is getting raves, plus roast beef and horseradish, and some other rotating numbers. Oh hey, you’ve already punched the clock. Starting at 2pm, bar manager Will Herrera has you covered, with cocktails and enough pastis on the menu to make you feel partially transported to a Métro station in Paris for a hot minute. The place has a clean look, with lots of white tile to showcase all those glimmering bottles of booze. Salud.
Polk Street has a couple new additions. First up is a spot that’s destination-worthy for sure. Anyone who finds deep love in an espresso cup will want to make a pilgrimage to Saint Frank (2430 Polk St., SF. www.saintfrankcoffee.com). Owner Kevin Bohlin honed his barista chops at Ritual, and has been pulling shots of his own lovingly sourced and roasted coffee (which he has roasted at Ritual) at an espresso bar pop-up at Public Bikes in South Park. But now he has brand-new and sleek digs, with custom-designed machines that are nestled in the counter, so you’ll be eye-to-eye with your barista (they can quickly see what kind of a night you had). You’ll find two espresso options each day, highlighting different farms, plus pour-over picks too. You’re covered with some top locally baked goods, too (Marla Bakery, Le Marais, and Mr. Holmes). Open daily 7am–7pm.
Just down the street on Polk, locals will find the former Pesce is now Uno Dos Tacos (2227 Polk St., SF. 415-525-4116), courtesy of the Beretta folks. It’s being billed as a pop-up location until its permanent address opens on Market, in the former Sellers Markets space in the Financial District. It’s pretty simple (taqueria-style), with high-top tables: lunch for now, and dinner will launch soon, with an expanded menu and cocktails.
BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET
So, the spendy dinner menu at Spruce (3640 Sacramento St., SF. www.sprucesf.com) has kept your visits to a minimum? Perhaps the new Sunday brunch is more our speed. Dishes like pain perdu ($14), ricotta blintzes ($13), and farro porridge ($14) are in the classy house, and there’s a lobster Benedict (that bad boy is $22, however). It’ll be hard to say no to the beignets too. Classic brunchy cocktails like a Ramos fizz and Bloody Mary will help ease you into you day. Brunch is served 10am–2pm, which means if a craving for the famous Spruce burger strikes at high noon, you’ll know exactly where to go to get a handle on those munchies.
YOU GOTTA EAT THIS
For those of us who don’t have barbecues in our backyards (not the easiest thing to have when you’re on a third floor of a Victorian), the taste of grilled chicken can be somewhat elusive, if unmistakably enticing. It’s also important that it’s good chicken, and not keeping company with all those birds that just got recalled. Seriously, ew.
But over at Don Pisto’s (510 Union St., SF. www.donpistos.com) in North Beach, owner Pete Mrabe only uses Mary’s organic birds. He brines them lightly for two days, then debones two entire legs (so you get not one but two thighs and the rest), marinades them, and puts ’em on the mesquite grill. Wait until you taste this chicken — it’s so juicy and flavorful and kissed just right by the wood flames. This bountiful plate is a steal for $15, and while the chicken is pretty stellar on its own, you also get some avocado mash, salsa borracha, and corn tortillas from La Palma. Psssst, there’s also a crazy-good grilled pork rib chop in case you want to share with your dining buddy.