Cow hollow has a sudden burst of new restaurant openings, starting with Contrada (2136 Union Street, 415-926-8916) in the former La Cucina. The casual-chic restaurant is from managing partners Dena Grunt and Mick Suverkrubbe, with chef Jason Tuley (TBD, Parlour in Oakland, and most recently Picco Restaurant and Pizzeria in Larkspur) leading a Tuscan menu with house-made pasta, wood-fired pizza, and other items such as slow-roasted meats.
Sample menu dishes include farro-juniper rigatoni with wild boar sugo and aged pecorino (you want to get this, it’s perfect for winter!); squid ink bucatini with Dungeness crab, chilies, and smoked bread crumbs; local clam pizza with Calabrian chili, wild nettle, the pop of cured lemon, and tomato sauce; and wood-oven grilled Romanesco with capers, charred lemon, and bottarga. The pizzas are quite notable, with the crust striking this balance between Neapolitan elasticity and a thin and crisp structure so you can actually pick up a slice.
Look for a Cal-Italian wine list from consultant Shawndra McCrorey (A16), with a bunch of quality selections on tap. There is also a back deck that seats 40 (have to wait for the weather to improve), with two communal live-edge walnut tables and a wine garden. Open Wednesday–Monday 5–10 p.m. (until 12:30 a.m. Friday–Saturday).
I was happy to see chef Dominique Crenn recently announce her upcoming project, Bar Crenn (3131 Fillmore Street). It will be opening next door to Atelier Crenn (3127 Fillmore Street), in the space of what was the Cellar Door wine bar. The San Francisco Chronicle reports further that Bar Crenn will feature biodynamic and natural wines (curated by wine director Matt Montrose), older wines, low-ABV cocktails, ports, and Madeiras. There will also be some small plates and dishes to share. The atmosphere will be relaxed and a place to hang out with friends, or for a drink before or after dinner. The opening is looking like sometime in April; I’ll keep you updated.
The newly opened Flores (2030 Union Street, 415-796-2926) is now serving Mexican brunch Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Dishes include pancake de elote (corn pancake, maple crema, powdered sugar; $13), huevos poblanos chicken mole, mini quesadilla, pickled onion, oregano; $13), and carne asada (six-ounce skirt steak, rice, refried beans, two eggs any style, house-made tortillas, pico de gallo; $19). The Vida Fuerza (cold-brewed coffee, coconut milk, cinnamon; $6) will get you back in the game. There are also large-format beverage options, like a passion fruit mimosa for six (which is basically a bottle of bubbles and a carafe of passion fruit purée — so it could be good for just two people, or even one, heh).
Back in 2015, I reported on Kinjo (2206 Polk Street, 415-921-2222), a sushi restaurant coming to Russian Hill from the chef-owner of Saru (Noe Valley) and Ijji Sushi (Divisadero Street), Billy Kong, and the chef-owner of Seiya (San Carlos), Kuo Hwa Chuang. Takatoshi Toshi of Sausalito’s Sushi Ran (who has been there for over 10 years) will be running the kitchen serving Edomae-style omakase sushi ($120). The restaurant was due to open at the end of January, and will be open Tuesday–Sunday 5:30–10 p.m., with specific seating times at 5:30, 6, 8, and 8:30 p.m.
New York’s Deuki Hong, of the awesome Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, is coming to San Francisco. He’s opening a Korean fried chicken joint called Sunday Bird in the back of the upcoming Boba Guys (1522 Fillmore Street) space, just next door to Wise Sons Bagel and Bakery. Think whole Mary’s birds, used for fried chicken (half or whole), chicken soup, fried chicken skin, and more. It’s due to launch in February, and because it will be a pop-up space, Sunday Bird will be there indefinitely (the plan is to find a permanent space for the concept). Hong is also about to sign a lease for a Korean barbecue restaurant (also on Fillmore Street), which will have a fermentation lab and late-night vibe. Look for San Francisco’s Korean BBQ game to get upped significantly by the end of 2017.