Whew, so many new openings right now, and none are in the Mission, shocking. First up is La Urbana (661 Divisadero, SF. www.laurbanasf.com), bringing a splashy and funky-chic spin on a classic cantina to Divisadero. Executive chef Ben Klein and chef de cuisine Julio Aguilera are offering modern takes on traditional Mexican dishes (entrees hover around $23), so a huarache comes with duck leg, the quesadillas “Tijuana” have smoked goat cheddar and summer vegetables, and braised short ribs feature bone marrow. Que bueño. There’s also quite the selection of mezcals, featuring some small-batch and hard-to-find producers, and it’s worth noting the house margarita has a bacon salt rim. Well then. The design is pretty tight: the lounge (and bathrooms!) are covered in stunning ceramic tiles from Mérida, and behind the 20-seat zinc bar is shelving made of vintage Mexican furniture—it’s all lit up, giving it a dramatic effect. DRAMA! The dining room has room for 60, and it’s lively to say the least (read: loud), with large windows that look out on the street. Modern Mexican — we are so ready for this!
Another spiffy new opening is 1760 (1760 Polk, SF. www.1760sf.com), bringing a much-needed urban restaurant to the Nob Hill-Russian Hill area. It’s quite the seasoned team: co-owners Giancarlo Paterlini and Suzette Gresham (of Acquerello), with wine director Gianpaolo Paterlini, and their chef they snagged from LA, Adam Tortosa. No tablecloths at this location, but you will find a handsome look, with polished concrete floors, a mirrored wall behind the bar, and a communal seating area. You can swing by for a glass of wine and a couple small plates, or reserve a table for a full-on dinner — the menu is designed to be flexible. Dishes will show influences from Asia and Italy, but there’s no (con)fusion going on here, okay? Envision watermelon gazpacho with Dungeness crab, finger lime, and borage; a few pastas, like bucatini, uni, garlic, red pepper, and bread crumb; and a fried duck sandwich? Quack-quack-hello. Dishes will range from $8–$22. The wine list is packing some heat: look for around 250 European and domestic selections. There’s also some serious bar talent: bar manager Christopher Longoria (previously at Aziza). Cheers to all of this.
Lastly, the long-awaited Palmer’s Tavern (2298 Fillmore, SF.) is now open on Upper Fillmore, sporting a Rat Pack look, with booths and barstools upholstered in dark red leather, and a long mahogany bar manned by white-jacketed bartenders. Owners Albert and Klaus Rainer are known for their other establishment, Leopold’s, and have brought on chef Raymond Tamayo. Classics like steak tartare and a burger, plus some summery items, like chilled corn soup and fried squash blossoms are being served.
Coming up this Thu/12 is my second tablehopper singles event, this time for gay fellas who love food and wine (and men, der). If you’re single and like to mingle, join us at the newly remodeled MKT Restaurant–Bar (757 Market, SF. www.mktrestaurantandbar.com) at the Four Seasons. There will be eight courses of very tasty dishes, paired wines from Purple Wine Company, and a cocktail from Charbay. You won’t leave hungry (or sober). It’s like a mash-up of a cocktail party, dinner party, and speed dating with cool people with great taste: just like you. Tickets ($95) and info at tablehopper-gaysingles.eventbrite.com.
YOU GOTTA EAT THIS
So a few issues ago I mentioned the ramen burger at Nombe (2491 Mission, SF. www.nombesf.com), so of course I had to go check that thing out, especially after hearing about the massive lines for it at the SF Street Food Festival. Not a monster-sized burger patty by any means — it’s a mix of Wagyu beef and pork belly — but considering the bun is made of lightly crisp ramen noodles, it can’t get toooo honking or it will lose all structural integrity. Pro tip: don’t let it sit, either. When that burger hits the table (cutely wrapped up in paper), take your Instagram pic and then it’s time to start munching, stat. Go for the umami blast version with miso, shiitake, and blue cheese. The burger is $10, and look for a vegetarian version coming soon.