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The Weekly Feed
Carolyn Alburger | Photo: Courtesy Outside and Stuffed | May 28, 2013
A first look at La Urbana’s new face and menu, fall opening updates, and more news and scuttlebutt from the Bay Area food scene.
Above, we have a first look at the future exterior of La Urbana, the monster Mexican food-and-drinkery headed to the Divisadero corridor, probably by mid-July. Hector Falcon will be painting this new mural to represent a new generation of artists shaping Mexico City right now. As the neighborhood stands by for something with even more square footage than Nopa restaurant, let’s talk about a few more salient details.
First, La Urbana will be a contemporary restaurant with food and décor inspired by the breakout dining scene in Mexico City. This means no nachos, no queso, and definitely no fajitas. Chef Benjamin Klein, last seen at Mala Ocean Tavern in Maui, will co-pilot the kitchen with Mexican-American chef de cuisine Julio Aguilera. The menu will mostly consist of Mexican small plates like Kumamoto oysters “La Playa” with cucumber-serrano froth; carnitas tortas with pickled red onions, chili garlic aioli, and goat Gouda on a fresh-baked brioche bun; and Manila clam menudo served with cabbage tostadas, toasted hominy, and radish. Dinner will be served daily from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., just like at Nopa.
The owners here are Eduardo Rallo, of the locally based Resmex Group and Mexican architect Juan Garduno. As you can see on La Urbana’s Facebook page, the interior design is a far cry form the colonial-style terra cotta and tiles that many U.S. Mexican restaurants sport. A large L-shaped bar and communal seating will populate the sleek interior. Needless to say, some San Franciscans will probably think it’s too chichi, while others will embrace the break from reclaimed wood and subway tiles.
Come fall, the more casual street food serving La Mercado Urbano will be opening next door in the former Lake Gallery garage (see the white part of the building above), complete with a parklet. The garage doors will be open during the day, but lowered at night to create more of a lounge feel. And one more thing: Mezcaleria Urbana will connect the spaces, serving as a tasting room and retail mezcal and tequila shop. Expect a mezcal-forward cocktail program with drinks like the Acapulco-Manila (described as a mezcal martini), and the Mezcal & Cacao, blending mescal with Oaxacan cacao. Sure Nopalito is around the block, but it seems they’re definitely filling a new niche here.
Crucial Pierogi News
The long-awaited Stuffed pierogi restaurant, headed to 2788 Mission Street, hopes to raise ten thousand dollars via indiegogo to open. The owners are Midwesterners, Dana Sacco and Andy Schoengrund, who are hell bent on brining a wide array of riffs on potato-stuffed dumplings to the Mission district. A twenty dollar donation will get you into the pre-opening party. More background can be found on Eater and GrubStreet.
Fall Opening Wire
1) Dogpatch: Third Rail, the Range team’s new cocktail bar coming to the old Retox space (628 20th Street), is now looking at a September opening. Chef Phil West will run the bar along with Jeff Lyon, his current bar manager. In semi-related news, Magnolia Brewery's new brewery, bar and barbecue restaurant across the way (2505 Third Street) is gunning to open by July.
2) Polk Street: Verbena (2323 Polk Street), the new nose-to-tail and vegetable-focused restaurant from Sean Baker of Gather forecasts a late September opening. The restaurant will have a slightly less rustic menu than Gather and it will feature much of the whole animal butchery happening on the premises. More on the food should come to light in the next month or so.
Mission Street Food founders and charitable restaurant pioneers, Anthony Myint and Karen Liebowitz, have something new up their sleeves. The Making Of A Charitable Food Movement kicks off this Friday at SFMOMA with Bar Tartine, Mission Chinese Food, Stag Dining Group, Tacolicous, and Wise Sons Deli selling five dollar snacks, a dollar of which will be donated to The Food Bank. Over 40 other restaurants will sell $50 gift certificates, of which $5 will be donated to people in need. And—to further drum up the feel-good vibes—there will be cooking demos from Tartine Bakery’s Chad Robertson, Flour + Water’s Thomas McNaughton, Commonwealth’s Jason Fox, Central Kitchen’s Ryan Pollnow, and Mission Chinese Food’s Jesse Koide. This event could become an ongoing thing, and you can find out more about that at ShareTable.org.
Dinner And A Show
Tickets just went on sale for Wente Vineyards’ 27th annual summer open-air concert series. The shows kick off in July, and this year’s lineup includes Huey Lewis and the News, Counting Crows, and REO Speedwagon. There are all kinds of ticket options for these. You can go up for dinner beforehand at the Restaurant At Wente Vineyards, or take part in a buffet-style dinner on the lawn. Find more information here.