Appetite: Steak, pork, Victoria Lamb and an El Carajo cocktail or two

SF's best spots, deals, events and news

Welcome to Appetite, a new column on food and drink. A long-time San Francisco resident and writer, Virginia Miller is passionate about this incomparable city, obsessed with finding and exploring its best spots, deals, events and news. She started with her own service and monthly food/drink/travel newsletter, The Perfect Spot , and plans to pass along up-to-the minute news to us. View her last installment here.

New openings

FiDi's A5 Steak Lounge for the urban-chic carnivore

Frisson was one of the coolest restaurant spaces I've seen: a modern-day-chic meets the '60's vibe with orange couches, a round room and striking dotted-lighting ceiling. Though closed awhile, the space is now reincarnated. The same round, dome ceiling remains, though this time the room is redone in softer, sleeker hues with faux-alligator chairs and cream-colored booths. Steve Chen and Albert Chen (not related), are the new owners, creating a current-day steakhouse for the urban carnivore, A5 Steak Lounge. A5 refers to the highest grade of Japanese Wagyu beef, which, yes, will be served along with some choice US Prime beef. Chef Marc Vogel helms the menu, which refreshingly offers a range of sizes and prices in steak cuts - even those who just want a taste can order, let's say a 4 oz. rib-eye (around $12), an 8 oz. slab (low $20's), on upwards. You can have your steak and eat it (all), too.

A5 is in the middle of a soft opening until the official launch date of March 10. Be the first to try it out (with reduced prices) during the limited, four-nights reservations, with the caveat that you provide feedback as the staff hones the menu and service prior to opening.

244 Jackson Street
Email for reservations:

Tipsy Pig gastrotavern debuts in the Marina on Feb. 24

The Marina restaurant take-over of Nate Valentine, Sam Josi and Stryker Scales (behind Mamacita, Umami and Blue Barn Gourmet) continues with The Tipsy Pig, opening today in the former Bistro Yoffi space. The Tipsy Pig will start out only with dinner, but will eventually serve brunch and lunch as well, and the bar will be open till 2 a.m. I hear it's a rustic, wood space separated comfortably into a Living Room (with bar, leather booths, wood tables), the Library, and an inviting back patio pleasantly aromatic with citrus trees, seating up to 50 people at communal picnic tables. Produce will, by-and-large, be sourced from Sonoma's Oak Hill Farm for a locavore nod, while over 50 artisanal beers are available on tap or by the bottle along with -- what else? -- classic american cocktails. Menu items include a Spinach Salad with kabocha squash, plenty of pig dishes and a Brussel Sprout/Apple Hash. Whether or not we need another gastropub, the Marina doesn't have one and I think all things combined (patio, beers, yummy-sounding menu, open all day...), it sounds well worth checking out.

2231 Chestnut Street

Special events

Tuesday, 2/24: South Fundraiser for Australia's bushfire victims

Dine for a cause tonight at our local Australian/New Zealand gem, South. Aussie chef Luke Mangan wanted to help his homeland and is doing so with a special, four-course dinner benefiting victims of the Victorian bushfires. For $125, there's dinner, wine pairings (from South sommelier Gerard O'Bryan) and a live auction with proceeds donated to the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Relief Fund.

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