New & Notable: San Francisco

Posted in New & Notable on September 15, 2014

Ferry Plaza Seafood: Long-running Ferry Plaza Seafood re-opened at its new North Beach location, featuring the same impeccably fresh fish and shellfish and extensive by-the-glass wine list that gained a wide following at the Ferry Building. The revamped menu from executive chef/general manager Joey Ng ranges from whole Texas prawns with sous vide cauliflower purée to local albacore sashimi with pickled vegetables and wasabi. A taxidermied Blue Marlin, caught by the owner in the Bay Area in the 1960’s, traveled from the original location to grace the new doorway. Could it be a seaman’s blessing? 653 Union Street, San Francisco website


The Commissary: Chef Traci des Jardins showcases Spain’s influence on Northern California at her newest venture, The Commissary. Situated at the Main Post in the heart of the Presidio, The Commissary is fittingly housed in what was once a mess hall of the former military base. Executive chef Reylon Agustin and culinary director Robbie Lewis interpret Spain through a seasonal and local lens: roast cuttlefish with arroz verde and squid ink and chickpea galetta with summer squash and harissa vinaigrette are served alongside seasonal sangria and Spanish wine varietals grown in Northern California. 101 Montgomery St., The Presidio, San Francisco website


Urchin Bistrot:The French bistro trend continues its forward momentum in San Francisco with the opening of Urchin Bistrot in the Mission. Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani, widely recognized for their work at Napa’s Terra and San Francisco’s Ame, could not resist devising dishes like deviled eggs with caviar and urchin and baked mussels with escargot butter. Their famous spaghettini with urchin and yolk is here, too. 584 Valencia St., San Francisco website


Causwells: Bistro fare, such as house made ricotta and charcuterie anchor the menu of modern American comfort food from executive chef Adam Rosenblum (formerly of Flour + Water) at this Marina District newcomer. An in-house smoker (for brisket, natch) and a globally-sourced list of wines by-the-glass add a whiff of excitement to the neighborhood. 2346 Chestnut St., San Francisco website


Plin: Chef Alexander Alioto, a fourth-generation San Francisco restaurateur, brings his well-regarded seafood-centric Italian to the Mission at his first solo venture, Plin. Theraviolo al uovo (and its legions of fans) is here, along with a menu separated by the verbs “begin” (raw tuna and Mission figs), “explore” (cold spaghetti and raw wild halibut), “discover” (Niman Ranch beef filet and fried oyster), and “sweet endings” (shortcake and peaches). 280 Valencia St., San Francisco website

Vignette: The craft of Neapolitan-style pizza was the inspiration for chef Mark Hopper’s Vignette. Housed in an industrial-style, modern barn at The Barlow, a former apple processing facility turned artisan community in Sonoma County, Vignette turns out a short menu of antipasti such as kale cacio e pepe and pizza made from naturally leavened “Zero” flour. All of the cooked dishes are prepared in the blue-tiled Stefano Ferrara wood-burning oven. 6750 McKinley Street at The Barlow in Sebastopol website


South at SFJAZZ: Serial chef and restaurateur Charles Phan (Slanted Door, Hard Water, The Coachman) reopened his small bites restaurant, South at SFJAZZ, in late July with a menu of rustic Mexican dishes from chef Rymee Trobaugh.  Goodbye Southern-fried chicken, hello nopales salad with pepitas and carne ajijic with chilaquiles, queso and garlic. Finally, a restaurant and bar in San Francisco where you can get a shot of mezcal with a sangrita and beer back. 201 Franklin St., Hayes Valley, San Francisco website