TABLEHOPPING Lovers of fine wine are going to prick their ears up over this one: Mark Bright (Saison) is opening Bright’s Les Clos (234 Townsend, SF; www.lesclossf.com), a wine bar in SoMa, and let’s just say there will be Burgundy. A lot of it. Plus some fantastic French dishes from Shawn Gawle, previously the pastry chef at Saison, who also has great savory skills as well.
The place is more than just a wine bar — it’s designed to serve the neighborhood all day, whether you are coming in for eggs and a Sightglass cappuccino in the morning, nabbing canelés to go, a sandwich to bring back to your desk, or a wine flight after you punch the clock (with some fantastic cheese), and then there are so many options to feast on: frisée aux lardons, Parisienne gnocchi gratinée with Comté, or how about some moules à la provençale? You’ll also have 40 wines by the glass to choose from. Love the wine you had? There’s also a retail shop, and Bright’s partner in the venture, Cara Patricia Higgins, has deep wine knowledge. There will be classes too, special tastings … and Humphry Slocombe ice cream. Done. Look for an opening in mid-September.
Russian Hill residents will soon be getting their own wine bar, shop, and hangout at Union Larder (1945 Hyde, SF; www.unionlarder.com), from Melissa Gugni and Jay Esopenko of North Beach’s Little Vine. The 30-seat spot should be opening very soon, with a zinc bar, housemade salumi from their chef (Ramon Siewart), and get this: Kristi Bachman, the buyer at the Cheese School of SF, is the cheese director, selecting close to 100 cheeses. Whoa. The meat-and-cheese boards will be on another level, trust. Plus there will be oysters, sandwiches, salads, and lots of quality wine and retail items.
Fans of Brenda’s French Soul Food who live near the Divisadero corridor are going to be thrilled with this one: hopefully by mid-November, Brenda Buenviaje and her partner Libby Truesdell will be opening Brenda’s Meet & Three (919 Divisadero, SF) in the Blue Jay Café. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be on offer, and will include many Southern dishes, not just highlighting Brenda’s love for all things New Orleans. Think blue plate specials for lunch, and dinner means you take your pick from five or six proteins (like her delicious fried chicken or fried catfish) and three sides, with up to 15 in all, like smothered green beans and mac and cheese. Vegetarians will be able to make a full meal out of the sides. Everyone wins (and will get fat).
Here’s a story of a pop-up getting a brick-and-mortar location: Val Cantu of Californios (3115 22nd St, SF; www.californiossf.com) is going to be opening his restaurant in the Mission in the former Panchita’s 3. It’s going to be an intimate space, with 24 seats and seven at the chef’s counter. His cuisine style is a modern take on Mexican cuisine, with references to Californios and Alta California (you can Wiki that). There will be three tasting menus, all priced to be affordable ($45–<\d>$75): an omnivorous four-course, a vegetable four-course, and an extended seven- to 10-course menu. Look for a November opening.
Things continue to get sudsy: opening near Nob Hill this fall is Hogwash (582 Sutter, SF), just next door to Cantina. One of the owners is behind Zeki’s Bar, partnering with Paula Thompson — they brought in Rich Higgins to assemble the beer list (30 on draught). Look for gourmet sausages made in-house and other beer-friendly food, plus beer milkshakes and floats! The cool design is from Geremia Design, including custom-made communal tables that will assuredly inspire a social vibe. And then there’s the beer…
Folks who live or work out near Mission Bay will have a new and casual place on the waterfront for all three meals called Stem (499 Illinois, SF) from Bon Appétit Management Company (Public House, the Commissary). The menu will be mostly Mediterranean, and there will even be some ingredients from its edible garden. You’ll also find cocktails, coffee, and craft beer (and wine on tap). Bonuses: views of the bay, heated outdoor seating, fire pits, and bocce courts! It will seat 158, and is due in late fall. *