Some great news regarding our dear Greens (2 Marina Boulevard, Building A, Fort Mason Center, 415-771-6222), which has been closed for four months after suffering a kitchen fire just before dinner service on June 20. It will reopen on Oct. 15, in time for its 40th birthday in 2019. The kitchen has been repaired, and the main dining room has been restored to its original craftsmanship.
But with this reopening also comes some big news: Executive chef Annie Somerville, who has been leading the Greens kitchen since 1985 (the San Francisco Zen Center opened Greens in 1979), will be transitioning into semiretirement. But she will continue to oversee the culinary vision, and will be keeping her regular shopping schedule at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. Fortunately, she has instilled a strong culture of gratitude, humility, and being of service at the restaurant, which will continue as part of its DNA.
When asked about the success of Greens, Somerville comments, “I really believe our stability is about goodwill. As food culture has grown, we’ve had greater access to the most incredible ingredients of all time. We can execute high-level dishes with all the exceptional produce we acquire. And at the core of Greens, we are very mindful, especially of our staff; they are everything to Greens. Guests feel welcome here, and the employees feel a part of something special.”
So book your reservation, welcome the staff back, give Annie a hug, and get ready for a seasonal menu full of fall bounty from their partner, Green Gulch Farms.
Your new cheese headquarters has arrived: The Cheese School of San Francisco (900 North Point Street, Suite K201, Ghirardelli Square, 415-346-7530) has reopened in its new Ghirardelli Square home, the historic “apartment house” in the central plaza: a two-story freestanding brick house right by the mermaid fountain, with some spectacular views. It’s not only an awesome cheese school, but there is also a cheese shop, a cafe, and a private dining space. Owner Kiri Fisher brought on architect Wylie Price (State Bird Provisions, Ramen Shop, Fisher’s Cheese & Wine) to design this cheese dream emporium. The first floor hosts the cafe and shop (full of specialty items, from a case of cheese to crackers to cheese knives), while the upstairs hosts classes and private dining with views of the bay.
On the cafe menu (overseen by Claudia Gutierrez Smith), you’ll find Fisher’s American artisan grilled cheese with three cheeses melted between country bread (you’ll want to add on the prosciutto jam, and maybe a side of tomato soup); plus there’s pimento cheese, prepared in-house with Hook’s five-year cheddar, Calabrian chilies, garlic, and herbs; smoky blue wedge salad; mac and cheese; French raclette; and fun dishes like “fish and chips” with house-cured salmon salsa, crema, and kettle chips. The cafe will offer counter service and serve food all day.
Cheese mongers are available at the cheese counter to help with pairings and tastes, and charcuterie is cut to order. There are two grab-and-go cases filled with a selection of cheese, charcuterie, antipasti, salads, and you’ll also find chilled wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages.
Book yourself into an upcoming fall class (the pizza-making classes will use a new, three-tier pizza oven), and there are even new drop-in classes on Friday afternoons.
I know this is being covered elsewhere in the Marina Times, but I just had to mention how impressed I was with the food quality at the newly open Kaiyo (1838 Union St., 415-525-4804), featuring Nikkei cuisine, a Japanese-influenced type of Peruvian food from Japanese immigrants in Peru. The owner is John Park (co-founder of Whitechapel and Novela), and it’s one of those places where there’s as much attention paid to the bar offerings as the menu. Chef Michelle Matthews has been working with Ricky Yap, who consulted on the opening menu and sushi/seafood preparation techniques — if you were lucky, you got to sit at his counter when he was the sushi wizard at Akiko’s. The nigiri, Hokkaido scallop tiradito, and uni toast (with aji amarillo butter, chive, and fleur de sel) were outstanding, and don’t miss the Ceres, Rayearth, & Windham aperitivo. It also has a great style. Check it out, and try to snag a table on the outdoor patio!
Another location of Samovar Tea & Chai (1910 Fillmore Street, 415-814-3507) recently opened in the former Fraiche frozen yogurt spot on Fillmore, serving their tea drinks (and you can add boba), including matcha, turmeric golden milk, and house chai from big copper pots, and some bites too, from egg cups to toast to chia pudding to mochi muffins.