TABLEHOPPING Columbus Avenue in North Beach continues to rise as an exciting dining destination with the opening of Doc Ricketts (124 Columbus, SF; www.docricketts.com). It’s a historic location, with two different areas: there’s the restaurant, Doc Ricketts, and the basement (the former Purple Onion) is where you’ll find Doc’s Lab, opening this Friday; the space is keeping its history alive and will feature live entertainment, from music to comedy to literary events. It’s a strong team: owner Christopher Burnett of Darwin Café, chef Justin Deering (15 Romolo, Café des Amis, Conduit), and Charlie Brown, previously at Prospect, are in charge of operations.
The menu is casual but packs layers of flavor, like in a dish of cauliflower three different ways, and Half Moon Bay bass with fregola, clams, and fumet; there are some hearty picks like a short rib burger, and roast chicken with liver toast as well. There are 32 seats plus eight at the bar, where you can hang out and check out the list of $6 snacks and a plate of housemade charcuterie. Sidewalk seating is coming too, just in time for the Bay Area’s summery fall days. There’s a list of classic cocktails, a wine list with food-friendly picks, and four beers on tap. Whether you’re coming by for dinner or a show, they’ve got you covered.
There seems to be a storm brewing around the new Bandidos (2200 Market, SF; www.bandidosinsf.com) that just opened in the Castro in the former Leticia’s space, with commentors on social media, local food blogs, and Yelp decrying the offensive name. A note on its Facebook page says: “Hi all, we are working with the people who have contacted us personally regarding this issue. Until then we are turning off all posting ability on FB. Thanks.” Bit of a rough start there. We’ll have to see what’s communicated next from the team. Although it’s not as rough as the opening of the brand-new Capone’s Speakeasy (1400 Park, Alameda; www.caponesspeakeasy.net) in Alameda, whose owner was arrested the night of the grand opening party for alleged public drunkenness, resisting arrest, and whoa there, guess who tried to bite an officer on the leg? At least he’s on-brand with his restaurant’s mascot.
A drama-free opening is Bistro L’Aviateur (2850 21st St., SF; 415-757-0272), starting service in the Mission tonight (Wed/10). The owners, husband-and-wife team Maha and Vincent Laforge (with Maha’s sons helping out in the kitchen!) will be serving French cuisine with Tunisian and Mediterranean influences. The menu will be small, but will change daily. It’s an intimate neighborhood spot, with room for 25, plus a bar and communal table. Not only is it open for lunch and dinner — you can come by for Tunisian-style tea and pastries available in the afternoon, too (like marzipan with rose water and North African spices). Hours will be Mon, 11:30am–7pm; Wed–Fri, 11:30am–9:30pm; Sat, 5:30–9:30pm; Sun, 11am–3pm; and closed Tue. Hours may change in the coming weeks as the owners figure out what works for the neighborhood.
Also in the Frenchie camp and opening today, across town in the Marina, is the bistro half of the newly expanded Le Marais Bistro and Bakery (2066 Chestnut, SF; www.lemaraisbakery.com). You’ll be able to add dinnertime to your breakfast and lunch visiting times — chef Nicolette Manescalchi is serving Mediterranean dishes like socca with herb jam and rosehip- and cumin-spiced chicken roasted on an oak grill. Delicious. Executive pastry chef Emily Riddell will have you covered with some fab plated desserts, so save some room. And there are some Euro wines and beers, too. Dinner is served Sun–Thu, 5:30–10pm and Fri–Sat, 5:30–11pm. *
Marcia Gagliardi is the founder of the weekly tablehopper e-column; subscribe for more at www.tablehopper.com. Get her app: Tablehopper’s Top Late-Night Eats. On Twitter: @tablehopper.