A name has been revealed for Traci Des Jardins’s new restaurant in conjunction with the Presidio Trust that’s due to open this spring: The Commissary (101 Montgomery Street), paying homage to the Presidio’s military history. The menu will be Spanish-inspired Californian with local seafood and ingredients from the farmers and ranchers of nearby Marin and Sonoma counties. The restaurant is opening on the first floor of a former barracks that dates back to 1895, and how convenient — it will be in the former barracks mess hall. Look for a simple and pared-down design with salvaged Douglas fir tabletops, an open kitchen, a bar serving coffee in the day and cocktails at night, a private dining room, and a retail wine and grab-and-go area.
Did you know that the Sons & Daughters duo (Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara) is taking over the former Bottle Cap/Washington Square Bar & Grill location? Well, now some details have emerged about their plans, as well as the name: The Square (1707 Powell Street, 415-525-3579). They want the new restaurant to be neighborhood oriented and lively, much like when it was home to the Washbag back in the 1970s. To keep the scene communal and fun, the classic American menu will offer a variety of items, including bar snacks and large plates to share. Some possible menu items include pickles with bresaola, baby back ribs, chicken-fried quail, and a burger. Yup, it’ll be much more straightforward than Sons & Daughters, but still using quality ingredients.
As for what’s happening at the bar, they’re developing a full list of cocktails, most of them takes on classic drinks (think twists on the 7 and 7 and French 75). Amy Racine, the beverage director at Sons & Daughters, is developing the wine selection, working on a 65-bottle list from California and Europe. As for beer, they want to offer a wide range, from low end to higher, with both domestic and imported choices. Right now, the aim is to open March 1. The 3,000-square-foot space will offer seating for 90, and one-third of the restaurant will be saved for walk-ins each night. They also have some great late-night hours: Wednesday through Sunday 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Another classic space is getting a new tenant: It was just about a year ago that news of the closure of the grand and venerable Masa’s broke. The space has been empty ever since, but now we have word that Sachin Chopra of San Mateo’s All Spice and his wife, Shoshana Wolff, have taken it over. The new endeavor’s name is Game (648 Bush Street), with chef Zack Freitas (currently chef de cuisine of All Spice) in the kitchen. As the name might suggest, the menu will include game meats like pheasant and bison, with internationally influenced flavors and preparations. The menu will change seasonally, and include a limited-quantity daily burger made with game meat.
The concept is definitely more casual than Masa’s, but it won’t be completely informal either. There will be a choice of ordering à la carte or from the tasting menu, and the space is being redesigned to be more open, with an expanded bar area, adding some counter seating, and knocking out a wall to reveal a window in the front of the space. The dining room will seat 60, with an additional 12 seats in a private dining room. Masa’s impressive wine collection was included with the space, and they’ve also got a full liquor license. Wolff, who is a sommelier and winemaker, will craft the cocktail list and wine selection. The timeline currently has them opening in late spring or early summer, depending on license transfers and inspections.
A few chef updates: Taking over the vacancy left by executive chef Patrick Kelly at Gitane (6 Claude Lane, 415-788-6686) is Alicia Jenish (previously at Grand Cafe), who was originally brought on a couple of months ago as the corporate chef for Franck LeClerc’s restaurant group/Claude Lane (she will continue to mentor other chefs at his restaurants). Her new menu is taking a more rustic approach. She plans to bring “Gitane back to its gypsy roots,” taking inspiration from the cuisines of southern Spain, northern Africa, and southern France. Some highlights include pumpkin salad with Manchego, cress, and marjoram vinaigrette; local fish tagine; and a goat mixed grill with a cumin-scented chop, yogurt-marinated leg, crépinette, farro verde, pomegranate, and marinated feta. One thing to note is that Jenish will integrate a whole animal program with Boer goat from The Long Ranch, lamb from McCormack Ranch, and whole pigs from Llano Seco Rancho Organic Farms. There is also a new Spanish happy hour on the patio (Monday through Saturday 5 p.m. until closing), which will include three complimentary snacks available from the kitchen or outdoor bar cart, with the order of a cocktail, wine, beer, or house-made sangria.