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Friday, March 5, 2010

Opening, um, Sometime in SOMA: Quietly Ambitious Radius

Posted By on Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 3:00 PM

click to enlarge Chef Kelly Hughett behind the curvy bar-to-be. - LIVESOMA/FLICKR
  • LiveSoMa/Flickr
  • Chef Kelly Hughett behind the curvy bar-to-be.
No one said opening a restaurant was easy, certainly not one with as much ambition, in its modest way, as SOMA's Radius. Despite Tablehopper-stoked buzz about a possible Friday opening (that'd be today), Radius did not unlock its front doors earlier, doors at 1123 Folsom (at Langton) that used to belong to Julie's Supper Club. Owner Jon Whitehead reports that fire inspectors failed to give the all-clear. A launch next week is a distinct possibility.

Anyway, today's opening was only expected to be soft-ish. Radius will eventually have two discrete parts, three if you count the mini-market selling produce, flowers, and ingredients such as house-made stocks and pickling mixes. Chef Kelly Hughett will oversee both casual café and somewhat more formal sit-down ― it was the café Whitehead and partners Yong and Christian Baker were hoping to open today ― with ingredient-sourcing rules that extend only 100 miles out. We assume that means stuff like garlic and duck breasts, not Gayo Mountain and Tellicherry.

Hughett is where the ambition comes in, since she has a resume seriously packed with fine dining, including a multi-year stint at the Ritz-Carlton, after tastes of Vegas, New York, and Ducasse. Which you wouldn't necessarily know looking at the café's Cal-French opening menu, with its duck confit salads, its rustic soups and pasta, even fried chicken. Whitehead expects the full restaurant to be launched by the end of the month, but, well ― delays happen.

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