Scala's Bistro is hiring: This month has seen the departure of both Executive Chef Staffan Terje and Rich Wood, the restaurant's general manager. Staffan will be heading back up to Donna Scala's Don Giovanni in Napa -- Donna is pulling her involvement in the San Francisco restaurant to focus on her northern projects. Expect something new from her camp soon -- her five-year contract with Kimpton expired on Sept. 15 and was not renewed. Meanwhile, the supremely able Mr. Wood will take his formidable knowledge to the new Serrano property, where he will work with Executive Chef John Beardsley. And Dana Wronski will return from Puccini & Pinetti to take over management duties on Powell Street. Got that?
If you've been wondering where your shaved truffles are this year, you're in for a rude awakening. Due to a trade war, the U.S. has imposed a retaliatory tariff on certain European "luxury" imports. The tariff will double the price of white truffles from $1,400 a pound to $2,800. Also named on the Trade Department's grocery shopping list: Roquefort, mustard, chocolate, and certain preserves. This import tax is intended to tit the European Union's tat -- its refusal to import our beef because it contains growth hormones. There are hormones in our meat? What do the Europeans know that we don't?
It's Saturday night. Where are your favorite -- or not so -- restaurant owners? Well, this week they were at Florio. John Cunin was having liquid fare at Karl's bar, while Bill Kimpton entertained guests in the coveted window table. Guess he's already tired of climbing all those stairs to his newest spot, the Fifth Floor. Restaurateurs: the socialites of the future?
And the social scene was similar for last week's test dinner (I love being a guinea pig) at the aforementioned Fifth Floor. The Gramercy Grill Kaufmans nibbled while the Bistro Viola Zeitounis sipped the complimentary champagne and Joey Altman of Bay Cafe entertained his date at a quiet corner table. The man of the hour, George Morrone, table-hopped. Fifth Floor is a jewel of a restaurant -- the room, the staff, and, of course, the food, are all excellent. My favorite nouvelle classics from George's kitchen were the trio of tuna tartare, suckling pig à l'orange, and Morrone's signature tuna foie gras. Now, if only they can thaw out the icy publicist.
Down But Not Out
After only 2 1/2 months of serving cheap and hearty fare, BAM on Fillmore has closed its doors. The sign by the door states that the place is simply pausing to reconceptualize and create a fall/winter menu: Owner Peter Schneiderman is going in for back surgery, while Amey Shaw works on the new menu. Best wishes for a fast recuperation and reopening.
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