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The Tablehopper

‘Wellington Wednesdays,’ new openings will have you well fed

The muffaletta chopped salad at The Elite Cafe. Photo: tablehopper.com

COW HOLLOW/MARINA

The short-lived Gipsy Darling will be replaced by a casual Filipino pop-up called Elena Una (3347 Fillmore Street) from chef Janice Lazaga and her wife, Kaye Otbo. Look for some updated Filipino dishes. By the time you read this, they should be open. Tuesday–Saturday 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4:30–9 p.m.

In the former Betelnut (2030 Union Street), Adriano Paganini’s restaurant group, Back of the House, which is taking over the space, has revealed it will be a contemporary Mexican restaurant. The menu will feature traditional dishes from Mexican states spanning the Gulf to the Pacific (so, um, that’s a lot of ground, but we’ll see what they focus on). Family recipes, masa ground on-site (by hand!), and roasted meats by the pound (carnitas) are mentioned, plus small plates like sopes and crab tostadas, as well as other starters, salads, mains (whole-roasted fish), and more. Chef-partner Luis Flores (Uno Dos Tacos) is playing a big part in the concept, taking several trips to Mexico with Paganini. There will also be traditional and craft cocktails, with a focus on mezcal and tequila (of course), and pitchers. Always dangerous. Stand by for more on timing and the name.

Fans of beef Wellington will want to check out Wellington Wednesdays at the newly named (former Spaghetti Bros.) Maybeck’s (3213 Scott Street, 415-400-8500). A whole beef tenderloin (prime, dry-aged) from Flannery Beef will be sliced and served until sold out. Price is $24 per person with a side of creamed spinach and black truffle jus. Starts at 7 p.m.

GHIRARDELLI SQUARE

Waxman’s Pizzeria (900 North Point Street, Ste. B-201B, 415-226-1244), opened recently next to Waxman’s restaurant. The menu includes fried appetizers and main-dish salads, sandwiches like the JW chicken salad sandwich (with Jonathan Waxman’s famous chicken), a meatball sandwich, and pizzas like chicken, corn, cherry tomato, Fontina; shrimp, Grana, salsa verde, chili; and Nueske’s bacon, potato, Grana, aioli. There’s also a kid’s menu and wine for mom and dad, plus a patio to enjoy it on. Tuesday–Saturday noon–9 p.m. and Sunday noon–5 p.m.

RUSSIAN HILL

There’s a new place to check out: Dakshin (2127 Polk Street, 415-400-4906), a fast-casual South Indian spot in the former Batter Bakery space. The menu includes a thali plate, dosas, uttapam, and curries, like a prawn curry, Mangalore chicken, and more. The owner is Pradeep Paniyadi of Sangeetha in Sunnyvale. Wednesday–Monday
11 a.m.–10 p.m.

FILLMORE

Last month, I gave you a preview of what to expect with the reopening of the updated The Elite Cafe (2049 Fillmore Street, 415-346-8400), and let’s just say you should be pretty pleased they are now open! The 78-seat space is all spiffed up, with fresh gray-blue paint on the historic mahogany booths (which were extremely weathered), lots of Carrara marble tabletops (reminiscent of classic New Orleans eateries), a new penny tile floor (which is more like the original in the 1920s), and plenty of shiny brass. Everything has a crisper look instead of the previous brown tones.

The menu from chef Chris Borges, a New Orleans native, is full of flavor and fun touches, like vadouvan with the lightly fried okra, and there’s a muffaletta chopped salad with ham, mortadella, salami, smoked provolone (pictured), Gruyère, giardiniera/house-pickled vegetables, and Little Gems. There are plenty of classics, like a crawfish étouffée made with plump Louisiana crawfish and uni butter, and a duck gumbo with a pleasing thickness and house-smoked duck sausage. Stewed okra makes for a great vegetarian dish, and meat lovers will like the house-pickled pork and grilled andouille in the red beans and rice. And there’s Southern fried chicken, oh yes (it’s buttermilk-soaked Mary’s chicken).

The bar program got a nice update from Kevin Diedrich (Pacific Cocktail Haven [PCH]), with a spirituous spin on a Sazerac (made with Cognac). You’ll be tempted to walk out the front door with the frozen Irish coffees and Hurricanes in their plastic to-go cups, but don’t do that, you’re in San Francisco.

Hours are Monday–Friday 5–10 p.m., with the bar menu served to midnight; the bar is open until last call (or 2 a.m., if the party doesn’t want to stop). Weekend brunch starts at 9 a.m. and continues into dinner. Welcome back to the Fillmore!

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Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column, tablehopper, about the San Francisco dining and imbibing scene; get all the latest news at tablehopper.com. Follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram for more culinary finds.

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