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The Weekly Feed
Carolyn Alburger | Photo: Naseema Khan | February 4, 2013
What’s new, trending, and gossiped about on the Bay Area food scene.
THE SCOOP: By now everybody knows Claude Lane restaurant don, Franck LeClerc is planning a warm brasserie with an upstairs bar and a mid-Century look in the former Hecho space at 185 Sutter Street. Over the weekend, I learned the name for the new restaurant will be Gaspar Brasserie.
Turns out, Gaspar was LeClerc’s grandfather’s last name, but the moniker is a fit for several other reasons too: Gaspar’s two symmetric A’s make it a great design study for the logo, and it is also the name of one of the Three Kings (a.k.a. the Biblical magi). Know who one of the other kings is? Balthazar. LeClerc says he—like Michael Bauer—is a big fan of the New York brasserie by that name. They haven’t begun construction yet, but the team is gunning to complete a significant remodel, and open Gaspar by the summer 2013.
OVERHEARD: Meanwhile, over at Bouche, word on the street is that Nico Borzee replacement Michel Réthoré didn’t work out. Apparently Réthoré was a little too “old guard” for the restaurant, and owner Guillaume Issaverdens is looking for someone spry, talented and able to keep up with the fast pace of running a kitchen in Downtown San Francisco.
OPENINGS: After a weekend of soft opening madness, the Hog & Rocks’ team’s new counter-service barbecue spot, Hi-Lo, opens tonight in a former senior citizen home at 3416 19th Street in the Mission. We took a first look at the breezy, barn-like décor last week, and you can check out the food and cocktail menus over at GrubStreet. It should be noted that other places like Southpaw and Cedar Hill serve barbecue with seasonal, local ingredients, but Hi-Lo is the first one to boldly declare its provenance: “Northern California barbecue.”
There’s also a lot of talk about Josh Skenes’ newly relocated Saison, a 2.2 million dollar, 18-seat restaurant which opened on Friday at 178 Townsend Street. Late last year, Skenes told me he’s shooting for three Michelin stars here. Now, this interview he just did with Zagat, is a fun read. You can almost hear Skenes indignation when he says he doesn’t want Saison to be “an elite restaurant,” but more of a place “anybody”—even a “smart” cook who saves his money—can come to eat his $248 tasting menu. Math time: Cooks at places like Saison make under $30,000 a year, so that would be just about 1% of annual salary spent on one dinner out. Not sure “smart” is the word that comes to mind there.
REBIRTHS: San Francisco’s iconic home of cheap margaritas and questionable cover bands, Gold Dust Lounge (est. 1933) went down with quite a fight last year in Union Square. On Friday, the Bovis family and partners reopened in three times the real estate square footage on Fisherman’s Wharf—and just in time to bear witness to yesterday’s 49er heartbreak. Inside Scoop has a nice look around.
REVAMPS: There’s still time to visit Tosca Café as we know it. The Spotted Pig Group of New York has not yet passed on details as to when they’ll be closing the historic bar for its big redo, but Food Republic reveals that it will eventually have a late-night food menu in addition to the expected addition of dinner.
EVENTS: 1) This Sunday, Cotogna will ring in its newly extended Sunday brunch service with $5 bloody Marys and a sidewalk sale of porcelain from Bernardau, Heath and Raynaud. 2) From February 10 to 23, E & O will celebrate the Year of the Snake with special menu additions like crab dumplings with green curry and coconut oil ($18), and new cocktails from Carlos Yturria, such as the serpent tail ($11) made with pisco, huckleberry, and sage. 3) Although Paul Canales left Oliveto to open Duende, the restaurant’s tradition of annual whole hog dinner continues. New chef Jonah Rhodehamel will use over 2,000 pounds of pork from February 19 to 22nd in special menu additions such as spit-roasted pork leg, boudin noir with sauerkraut and house-cured prosciutto.
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