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Nob Hill & Russian Hill

Friday, October 30, 2015

A Rewind and a Rejuvenation at Reverb

Posted By on Fri, Oct 30, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Reverb's Duck Breast (Pardon the photo clarity but it's a dark restaurant!) - TREVOR FELCH
  • Trevor Felch
  • Reverb's Duck Breast (Pardon the photo clarity but it's a dark restaurant!)

The duck à l’orange is truly formidable. Or make that duck aux double oranges, double rutabega. Caramelized mandarin orange segments join a pool of a thick demi-glace evoking- orange and duck jus reduction poured tableside as the dish's base. Together they tag-team to gently accentuate the pleasantly gamy notes and right-on target tender and medium-rare (on the border of blood rare) twin thick duck breast medallions ($27).

Wait, this is on Polk Street at the base of Russian Hill and not from haute French stalwart La Folie? Nope. Then the curveballs. The accompaniments certainly aren’t typical of duck à l’orange. Stir-fried rutabaga and a refreshing baby lettuce spring roll meant to soak up the excess sauce baguette-style hail from the opposite side of the world from Place Vendôme. Rutabaga shows up again in a purée with coconut milk, making lowly mashed potatoes shed tears in their butter. Rutabaga has never had it so good.

Restaurants sometimes just need to shake it off, shake it off, and fix the grammar with a reverb instead of a noun. That is why the much-loved Verbena is now Reverb.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Russian Hill's Union Larder Is No Ordinary Wine Bar

Posted By on Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Summer Squash Salad and Viognier Watching The Cable Cars - TREVOR FELCH
  • Trevor Felch
  • Summer Squash Salad and Viognier Watching The Cable Cars

Union Larder
is exactly what wine bar proprietors mean when they come back from Paris or Rome and wax poetic about how they just fell in love with the wine bars there. They always seek to bring back that European formula because our bars are just…what is it? Boring? Impersonal? Lackluster food? BevMo quality wine?

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

House Rules Is Where to Go If You Cut Ninth Period

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 6:00 PM

If you're drinking to forget, please pay in advance. Especially you in the dunce cap. - PETER LAWRENCE KANE
  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • If you're drinking to forget, please pay in advance. Especially you in the dunce cap.

When a venue finds a concept and runs with it, it tends to go one of two ways over time: settling in nicely or aging very poorly. (The Madonna Inn and Rainforest Café would be a good examples, respectively.) House Rules, a gastropub in Russian Hill that perfectly exemplifies the Marina-creep along Polk Street, could go either way. It’s basically a Trapper Keeper of a bar, art-directed to exalt alcohol’s potential for sex and danger via visual reminders of detention. It may not be highbrow, but it is high-bro, although the gimmick probably tugs harder at guys whose high school days are more than seven years behind them, not less. Time will tell, but tentatively, it works.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Flour & Co. is an Oasis in the Nob Hill Pastry Desert

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2013 at 1:35 PM

The PB&J at Flour & Co. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • The PB&J at Flour & Co.

Previously, if you had a sick friend at St. Francis Hospital on Nob Hill, the only local pastry you could bring to cheer them up was a sad doughnut that may or may not have shared the deep fryer with something dubious. Not any more. The simply named Flour & Co., now open on Hyde near California St., will brighten your day whether you're out and about or an in-patient with amoebic dysentery.

See also: Heyday: Chez Panisse Alums Reinvent Power Lunch In the FiDi

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Drink of the Week: P37 Mary at Parallel 37

Posted By on Fri, Oct 12, 2012 at 12:45 PM

  • Lou Bustamante

The first thing that you'll notice as you take a sip of the P37 Mary ($14, ancho chili infused vodka, lemon, olive juice, house made tomato water, celery-habañero shrub, fresno chili pickling liquid, pickled vegetables, smoked salt rim) is how much finesse the drink has. Parallel 37 bar manager Camber Lay has created a version of the drink that tastes so fresh and vibrant, the purported curative effects seem more like fact than urban legend. It frankly made me wish I were hungover, just to see how well it worked.

See Also:

- The Bloody Mary at Laszlo

- Scrambled Eggs With Crab and Truffle at Parallel 37

- The Citizens Band Bloody Mary

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Drink of the Week: Golden Gate 75th Celebration in Cocktails

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 11:30 AM

St. Charles Punch at Aurea - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • St. Charles Punch at Aurea

With the official 75th Anniversary of the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge this weekend, the festivities will also come in cocktail form.*

At Aurea inside the Renaissance Stanford Court Hotel on Nob Hill, they're serving the St. Charles Punch ($12, Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac, Fonsecca Terra Bella Organic Ruby Port, lemon juice, fresh berries), a drink that was popular in 1937 when the Golden Gate Bridge opened up. The interplay of the grape based brandy with the ruby port is fantastic, with just enough lemon juice to brighten the drink up.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Number 23: The 2 A.M. Apple Fritter at Bob's Donuts

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 1:37 PM

No, you're not just drunk. It really is good when it's fresh. - IANN IVY
  • Iann Ivy
  • No, you're not just drunk. It really is good when it's fresh.

SFoodie's countdown of our favorite 50 things to eat and drink, 2012 edition


At 2 a.m., belly full of Jack Daniels and hair reeking of stale cigarette smoke, you're not so concerned that sustenance is organic, vegan, or pedigreed. No, at two o'clock you need a gut bomb. Something that seems delicious in the moment yet has magical medicinal qualities to help you rise the next afternoon in a slightly less muddled, less excruciating state. At 2 a.m., you need Bob's apple fritter.

To be frank, this thing will sink you. Comprised of globs of dough braided with too much, too sweet glaze and a gummy, fruity concoction, Bob's apple fritter tastes absolutely nothing like a real apple. And it shouldn't. But at 2 a.m., odds are good that your savior has been recently plucked from a vat of bubbling oil, rendering the fritter extravagantly melty and the glaze lustrous. It all goes down easier than that last shot of Cuervo you just gulped.

At a proper morning hour the apple fritter is a death wish to start your day. But at 2 a.m., under Bob's filthy fluorescent lights and paired with a noncompostable cup of Farmer Brothers coffee? It's perfect.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Trends in Beer: The House Brew Comes to Bar Tartine, Public House, and More

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 9:00 AM

  • Gil Riego, Jr

Magnolia/Namu Gaji Toasted Rice Beer
Last year, Magnolia collaborated with Public House to create Billy Sunday's Best Bitter. The traditional cask-served English bitter has become a staple for beer geeks out for a day at the ballpark. With Magnolia's current expansion, we can expect to see similar projects in the coming year. By the end of April, newcomer Namu Gaji should have its own Magnolia brew on tap. Collin Casey, Namu's beverage director, expects the beer to fit well with the restaurant's focus on lower-alcohol, sessionable beverages. While the beer is still in the final development phase, the addition of toasted rice will add a level of complexity while paying homage to Korean culinary tradition.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

CUESA's Sarah Henkin Moves on to New Venture, Square Meals

Posted By on Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Sarah Henkin, CUESA's market chef in charge of coordinating their Market to Table and Lunch and Learn programs, as well as other culinary events, is moving on to a new restaurant-shop. The venture, Square Meals, shares a combined space with Batter Bakery at 2127 Polk.

They had a soft brunch opening last weekend and opened permanently on Monday. Henkin herself starts cooking there next Monday, Dec. 12. The other cooks currently holding down the fort are Alison Clement, who's also the owner, and Jared Bene, formerly of Maverick and Citizen's Band.

As for the food? Henkin says, "think delicious and mostly healthy food for take-away, eat-in, or delivery." There's a weekly rotating menu of about 20 items with daily hot lunch and dinner specials. Salads, grain dishes, main dishes like meatloaf, lasagna, marinated/grilled steak, roasted chicken, and fresh fish.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Big 4's Wild Game Week, May 12-16 (or DIY)

Posted By on Tue, Apr 28, 2009 at 8:01 AM

Wild game week returns to the The Big 4 restaurant in the Huntington Hotel (1075 California at Taylor) from Tuesday, May 12, through Saturday, May 16. The dishes on this year's menu range from such relatively normal meats as rabbit, quail, boar, antelope, buffalo, and elk to serious exotica such as "Nigerian salt prawn," Brazilian pacu, sika deer (originally native to Japan), and Himalayan yak.

An appetizer and entree will set you back $55-65, and desserts from the regular menu are $9-10. The restaurant is open from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and you can make reservations online or by calling 771-1140.

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