First, although it's early, let's hand out our first annual Best Restaurant Name Award. This year's winner is the Monk's Kettle, which is a witty, memorable, and since the place in question is a craft-beer bar with food to match; ergo, a kind of hipster tavern evocative phrase. Everyone loves a monk, and kettle is just fun to say, especially after a fancy beer or two.
The Monk's Kettle is not a brewpub. No beer brewing is done on the premises, which are probably too snug anyway. Read more »
An adage favored by the paterfamilias: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. He has generally deployed this wisdom in the matter of automobiles, while for me it has tended to apply to ... well, practically everything. Bizou, for instance. This was the restaurant Loretta Keller opened at the corner of Fourth Street and Brannan in 1993, a time when the corner of Fourth Street and Brannan was a pretty lonely place at night. Read more »
Of the city's many village centers, I have always had a special fondness for the Inner Richmond enclave along Balboa, from Arguello to Eighth Avenue or so. Here you find Russian bakeries nestled across the street from sushi bars, with a Korean barbecue at one corner, a Chinese joint at the next, and a chic Cal-Med spot a few steps beyond the traffic light. Add a butcher shop, a nursery school, and a cleaners, and you have a self-sustaining little world. Read more »
If you didn't know that Dogpatch's newest glam restaurant, Serpentine, is the younger sibling of the Slow Club, would you guess? Signals are mixed, and your answer might depend on whether you concentrated your attention on the menus or the physical particulars of the related pair. On the latter point, we have a sort of local restaurant version of Wills and Harry, the British princelings beloved of paparazzi: a confounding blend of similarities and dissimilarities, evidence that could go either way. Read more »
In the Big Book of Troubled Restaurant Spaces, there will have to be a long chapter (with footnotes!) devoted to 2101 Sutter. Since the mid-1990s this unassuming but hardly forbidding site has been home to Nightshade, Laghi, Julia, Winterland, and now Cassis, and I might be forgetting a few. The comings and goings have been many and hasty. Why the address's occupants should have such a nomadic bent, one after the other, isn't obvious when considering the physical particulars. Read more »
Someone says the word global and quick! what's the first association that occurs to you? Warming? Expect a congratulatory phone call from Al Gore. I like Gore and wish he'd managed to become president, but he won't be calling me, because I would shout out knives! in response to global. Global knives, beloved of sushi chefs, are those ultrasharp Japanese knives made from ceramic material.
There's no sushi on the menu at Café Andrée, though executive chef Evan Crandall describes his new menu as global. Read more »
Ordinarily one would be distressed, though these days hardly surprised, by the news that a farmers market in the midst of the city was being displaced by a brand-new building full of luxury condos, with a fancy restaurant on the ground floor. Although farmers markets, like coyotes, have been modestly flourishing in the city of late, they are still a delicate species whose natural habitat often parking lots invites predation by developers. Read more »
Cooking styles have their seasons, just as nature does, and lately there has been a delicate springtime for restaurants serving Louisiana-style food. By this I mean Cajun and creole, a pair of slippery terms that are almost always mentioned together but, despite an implication of fungibility, don't mean quite the same thing. Read more »
Two cheers, then, for Google, which recently rerouted its Noe Valley shuttle-bus lines so as to cause less air pollution and other distress in the heart of a neighborhood that has become, in effect, Googleberry RFD, the nesting habitat for those countless Google employees who spend their working days in the suburban wilds of the Peninsula. The child is father to the man, and the city is now the suburb, a dangling appendage to industry but no longer itself industrial. Read more »