TABLEHOPPING A unique intersection of art and food at curATE, and two ideas for date night in Russian Hill
Sometimes you read about an event so cool and artsy and smart that you have to say, "Hell to the yes, more of this please."
It turns out Quince is closing for two months of renovations (July 25 to Sept. 19). In the meantime, the Quince folks will host a very chic series of pop-up dinners called curATE at Hedge Gallery (501 Pacific Ave., SF, www.hedgegallery.com), just across the street. You know it's going to be cute, because Stanlee Gatti is producing the events. Every week (Wednesday through Saturday, July 30 through Aug. 30), there will be a different gallery installation by contemporary curators, and chef Michael Tusk will be making a five-course menu to accompany the theme. Guest programmers include Jeffrey Fraenkel, Anthony Meier, Jessica Silverman, John Berggruen, and Iwona Tenzing. The one I'm eyeballing: Jessica Silverman's exhibition, titled "White Is the Warmest Color," will be paired with an all-white menu. How can you say no?
Even if you can't pony up for the dinner, you might opt for the gallery reception of wine and canapés 6:30pm–7:30pm ($50 per person, inclusive of tax and service charge). The gallery reception and five-course tasting menu is $199 per person, inclusive of tax and service charge. Wine pairings will be offered ($110, including tax and tip), along with select items from the bar and access to the full Quince wine cellar. Going solo? There will be a communal table. Or you can purchase an individual table (with seating for up to 10 guests). Tickets and more info at www.sfcurate.com.
Looking for a good spot for a date night? Head on up to Russian Hill to visit two places that are practically built for a date (and the neighborhood is a fun one to walk through after dinner).
If you're a fan of handmade pasta, you'll want to reserve a table at Seven Hills (1550 Hyde St., SF. www.sevenhillssf.com), which has a new-ish chef who came on at the end of last year, Anthony Florian, whose résumé includes Quince, Cotogna, and most recently, Pizzalina. Florian brings an update to the popular raviolo with an egg inside, plus a hearty bowl of pappardelle with braised lamb sugo. And then there's the fusilli neri (black from squid ink) with tender cuttlefish, tomato, chile, and bread crumbs. The owner is very passionate about wine and happy to make some pairings. Cin cin.
Another great spot to couple up along Hyde Street: Stones Throw (1896 Hyde St., SF. www.stonesthrowsf.com), which opened last November, and is really hitting its stride. Chef Jason Halverson offers a menu of Cal-American dishes with a strong seasonal bent, and lots of tableside flourishes.
Start with the pork belly and peaches (and crispy pig ears!), and the squid ink conchiglie pasta is a spicy hit. The dish I can't stop thinking about is the grilled octopus "okonomiyaki," a Japanese-inspired pancake, with bacon dashi, spicy turnips, and marinated mushrooms. Don't miss it. Stones Throw may only have a beer and wine license, but there are some clever low-alcohol cocktails and some quality beers that will get your attention. Ditto the wine list: You'll find unique, ever-rotating selections. The vibe here is a bit more urban and fun, so it would be great for date number one or two. (Even if you're on your own, come in for a warm bite at the bar and a glass or two of something good).
Marcia Gagliardi is the founder of the weekly tablehopper e-column; subscribe for more at www.tablehopper.com. Get her app: Tablehopper's Top Late-Night Eats. On Twitter: @tablehopper.