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Monday, March 30, 2009

Date Night: Jardinière

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 3:29 PM


The fancy dinner deal patrol continues this week at another top San Francisco spot, Jardinière (300 Grove at Franklin), where a new series of three-course Monday Night Prix-Fixe dinners is available for the insanely low price of $45, including wine pairings. The menu changes weekly (see the entire month's lineup here ), but the menu for tonight (Monday, March 30) billed as the Savoie Dinner, looks like this: warm asparagus salad with country ham (paired with a Giachino, Roussette de Savoie, 2005); roast Hoffman chicken with tartiflette potatoes (with a Xavier Monnot, Maranges Premier Cru Clos de la Fussière, 2006); and biscuit de savoie (with a Château de Suron Quarts de Chaume, 2000). To make a reservation, call 861-5555 or visit

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Around Town: The Chill Cafe

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 1:49 PM


It seems a new frozen yogurt shop opens somewhere in San Francisco almost every week. In that kind of environment, how do you distinguish yourself? Trang Nguyen is hoping she's found the answer at her Financial District shop The Chill Cafe (125 Kearny at Post). There's much more on tap than the standard cup or cone, starting with an inviting, airy atmosphere; shaved ice with more than 20 not-so-standard all-natural flavors; dessert crepes; a slew of specialty drinks (frozen hot chocolate, anyone?); frozen yogurt and frozen custard with nearly two dozen original toppings (see: dark-chocolate-covered gogi berries, Valrhona chocolate rice pearls); and Four Barrel coffee. Perhaps the most compelling draw is a recently introduced selection of bánh mì ($5.50), the scrumptious Vietnamese-style sandwiches from her mother's recipe, offered in three variations: ham with pâté, lemongrass chicken, and lemongrass tofu. "This is not a frozen yogurt shop," Nguyen says. "It's a place where people can come to hang out, meet friends, get work done, use the WiFi. I wanted to create exotic, intense, interesting flavors, stuff off the beaten path."

As for Nguyen's personal favorites: "I would go for the rooibos red tea frozen yogurt with raspberry, crystallized ginger, and housemade red tea syrup, and the lemongrass chicken sandwich." The Chill Cafe is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5:30 p.m. For more info, call 433-1233.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Date Night: Holy Cow! Happy Hour at Epic Roasthouse

Posted By on Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 11:31 AM


Rolling with the economic punches and getting a little less epic, pricewise, Epic Roasthouse (369 Embarcadero at Folsom) has launched a new Holy Cow! happy hour at its upstairs Quiver Bar, featuring a bar menu packed with goodies costing $3 to $5 and a slew of $5 specialty cocktails. Highlights include the Farewell to Arms (Oronoco rum, grapefruit, vanilla, and lime) and the Sazerac (Old Overholt rye, Herbsaint, Peychaud's bitters, and a sugar cube), $7 martinis made with Russian Standard vodka, $5 wines by the glass, and a selection of $2 bottled beers. On the edible front, check out the soft homemade pretzels with smoked sea salt, served with grain mustard sauce ($3); and slow confit of chicken drummettes with molasses and blood orange barbecue sauce and celery root slaw ($5). The Holy Cow! happy hour is in effect Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. For info, call 369-9955.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Date Night: Crab Feast at Bistro Boudin

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2009 at 7:50 AM


Every Thursday in March, slap down a measly $25 to partake of one of the best deals going. At Thursday's Crab Feast at Bistro Boudin (160 Jefferson at Pier 43 1/2) you'll get a freshly steamed Dungeness crab with drawn lemon butter, a classic Caesar salad with homemade sourdough croutons and shaved Reggiano, and linguine with slow-roasted tomato arrabiata -- not to mention, of course, plenty of Boudin's trademark sourdough garlic and cheese bread. Carbtastic! As the menu reminds us, in the words of infamous local newspaperman Herb Caen: "Fresh-cracked Dungeness crab with Boudin's round 'dark bake' sourdough and a well-chilled bottle of California Chardonnay is still the quintessential San Francisco meal." Make reservations online or call 351-5561. Bistro Boudin is open Thursday-Monday, 11:45 a.m.-9 p.m.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Weekly Planner: Gros Winemaker Dinner

Posted By on Fri, Mar 6, 2009 at 6:03 PM

Sometimes you just have to let it all hang out. That isn't usually on a Monday night, mind you, but when an event like this comes along, concessions must be made. So prepare to kick back this Monday, March 9, and quaff some fantastic French wine at the very special Gros Winemaker Dinner at one of the most elegant restaurants in town, Spruce (3640 Sacramento at Spruce). The Gros family, known for its outstanding Pinot Noir, presides over one of the finest domaines in Vosne-Romanée in the Burgundy region of France. And lucky you: The domaine's star wine, Clos des Réas, is on the menu with four other wines, paired with a menu by chef Mark Sullivan that truly looks to be fit for royalty.

Take a look: pomelo and green apple salad (paired with Hautes Côtes de Nuits Blanc 2006); roasted monkfish with pancetta and braised cabbage (with Chambolle-Musigny 2005); bone-marrow consommé with dark fruit preserves (with Vosne-Romanée 2006); roasted leg of goat with winter vegetables (with Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas 2005); and farmstead cheese (with Vosne-Romanée, Clos des Réas 1996). The dinner costs $150, exclusive of tax and gratuity. For reservations, call 931-5100.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Around Town: The Tipsy Pig

Posted By on Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 3:16 PM


Melding inspiration drawn from the classic English pub and rustic New American gastronomy, Marina newcomer The Tipsy Pig (2231 Chestnut at Pierce) aims for the best of all possible worlds: a gourmet, artisan menu with handcrafted cocktails, yet a spot cozy enough to be a neighborhood hangout with a "living room" and "library." Perhaps the most radical twist: It's kid-friendly, with a special menu for hungry little piglets. "We want to be a second home for people," co-owner Nate Valentine says. "When I see people with families in there, I couldn't be happier. The food is very seasonal and simple and clean. We'll be using a lot of current seasonal farm produce to create simple, fresh American dishes. We're not trying to re-create or overcomplicate things. We just want to highlight what's already there."

Valentine's favorite dish is the Tipsy Sliders ($12), Chimay-braised pulled pork and red cabbage slaw on Hawaiian sweet buns. Notable drinks include the Drakes Woodworm ($10), comprising Le Tourment Vert absinthe, St. Germain, lemon, gomme, bitters, and ginger beer; and a soon-to-be custom beer, Tipsy Pig Brew, which should go down nice and smooth if you're sitting in one of 50 seats on the garden-enclosed patio. Sigh. Now if only the place weren't in the Marina. Kidding! Check out the full menu and make reservations at

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Night Cap: Fifth Floor Restaurant and Lounge

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2009 at 5:07 PM


You might have noticed that lots of people in San Francisco think they know all about wine. But very few can claim the title of master sommelier, as can Emily Wines (yes, that is her real last name) of Fifth Floor Restaurant and Lounge (12 Fourth St. at Mission). In fact, Wines made history last year by becoming only the second woman to pass the rigorous Master Sommelier examination and win the prestigious Remi Krug Cup. So it's lucky for wine enthusiasts that Wines on Wine, her biweekly series of classes, is under way once again. At "Wine and Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery" on Wednesday, Feb. 25, students will explore a variety of wines alongside delicious cheese pairings from a local artisan cheesemaker too. Classes cost $40 per person (half off if guests stay for dinner) or $325 per person for the entire 10-course series. The class begins at 6 p.m. Sign up by calling 348-1555. For details and the entire spring schedule, visit

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Around Town: Bloodhound

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 11:47 PM


All that was old is new again at SOMA's newest watering hole, Bloodhound (1145 Folsom at Seventh St.). In the former Cassidy's space, the establishment has embraced the return of the handcrafted cocktail and extended that same ethos to every aspect of the bar, from the walls of century-old barn siding to the rocking chairs, custom-made chandeliers, and tables of raw redwood,. Taken together, Bloodhound has the cozy feel of a hunting lodge, complete with antlers, ancient Field and Stream adverts, and -- of course -- a jukebox and pool table.

Co-owner Mike Goebel says the theme wasn't predestined, but evolved during the renovation. "As things progressed, the space felt very 'lodgey,' like a warm hunting lodge, which we thought was very cool, so we ran with it but made very sure not to go over the top," he says. "My product isn't only a cold beer or a stiff cocktail; it is also the ambiance or vibe of the space that is so important, so I make sure to focus on that as well. To me, the feel is just as important as the drinks."

Speaking of stiff cocktails, Bloodhound pours a short list of honest-to-goodness drinks -- Goebel recommends the Bloodhound No. 1 (Hangar One vodka, Campari, and grapefruit) -- as well as a cultivated beer list heavy on the Belgian brews. Check out the drink list here. Happy hour runs Monday-Friday 4-7 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday noon-4 p.m. For more info, call 863-2840.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

SF Weekly's Seven-Day Dish

Posted By on Tue, Dec 2, 2008 at 3:12 PM


If you happened to be in the market for a deep-fried turkey in San Francisco last week, chances are you came across the name of Yats (2545 24th St. at Utah). The Potrero Hill purveyor of "New Orleans Original Po' Boys" is new in town and operates lunch service out of a tiny kitchen at Jack's Club. That hasn't stopped owner and New Orleanian Yon Davis from cranking out an impressive array of authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine. His Thanksgiving fried turkey dinner and bring-your-own open turkey fry was a huge hit: "We were able to fry 137 turkeys, 77 for the open fry on Thanksgiving Day," he says. "The response was amazing." Yats' regular menu is straight-up New Orleans classic: po' boys, gumbo, jambalaya, red beans with rice, and étouffée. Davis says the shrimp po' boy has been his best seller: "We go to great lengths to get New Orleans French bread out to California. And that is what makes a po' boy -- the bread." His favorite item is the gumbo, he adds: "To make and to eat." While the food takes center stage at Yats, it's about much more than a sandwich to Davis, who moved to San Francisco a little more than a year ago. "Opening this restaurant has helped with my homesickness as my city rebuilds," he says. "I hope to eventually earn enough to rebuild some of my family's houses that were lost in Katrina. I love San Francisco, but New Orleans is home."

Yats is open for lunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday. For more information, call 282-8906. --Brian Bernbaum

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

SF Weekly's Seven-Day Dish

Posted By on Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 4:21 PM



Genuine signs of the fall season can be pretty hard to come by in San Francisco -- few falling leaves, no seasonal chill – but, luckily, those who yearn for a little taste of seasonal change can get their fill at Aqua (252 California at Battery), one of the city's most refined and critically acclaimed fine dining spots. Until the end of October, chef Laurent Manrique and chef de cuisine Ron Boyd are presenting an Autumn Mushroom Tasting Menu, featuring mushrooms harvested on or around Mount Shasta. Menu highlights include porcini in a soufflé with smoked shallots and foie gras; chanterelles and yellowfoot mushrooms with Atlantic cod, fennel, sunchoke, slow egg yolk, and marjoram; and lobster mushrooms with Maine lobster, house-cured bacon, and truffle. The seven-course menu coasts $150 per person, plus $85 for sommelier-chosen wine pairing. For reservations, call 956-9662, or sign up online.

Want to read the rest of the 7-Day Dish? Of course you do, so just hop on over and subscribe to the weekly email newsletter.

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