The Tablehopper

Nob Hill rising while Hutong flips back to Betelnut

Opening soon is Mason Pacific (1358 Mason Street, 415-684-1907) from Jay Thomson and Shannon McTiernan Thomson in the former Lalola space that borders Nob Hill, Russian Hill, and Chinatown. Executive chef Sean McTiernan (Rose Pistola, Delfina) is offering a menu that is on the quality neighborhood bistro tip. Sample dishes include rabbit terrine on house-made levain with grilled lettuce and pickled mustard seed, and New York strip with pickled mushroom and a lemon-ponzu reduction. Sommelier Eric Railsback (RN74) is behind the extensive wine program. Some highlights: food-friendly wines by the glass, aged wines from Thomson’s personal collection, and a carafe program with wines made specifically by Copain. Dinner will be Tuesday–Sunday 5:30 p.m.–11 p.m.

The nearby Rue Saint Jacques (1098 Jackson Street) has closed and Lorenzo Logoreci (Allegro Romano) is moving in. The new name is A La Romana, and it will be a casual enoteca and pizzeria. Look for an opening in a couple of months.

Now open in the Gramercy Towers on Nob Hill is Osso Steakhouse (1177 California Street, 415-771-6776). Jerry and Jennifer Dal Bozzo (The Franciscan Crab Restaurant, The Stinking Rose, Calzone’s, and the revamped The Old Clam House) are behind the project and are partnering with Dante Serafini. (The Dal Bozzos and Serafini co-owned Boboquivari’s, the locally loved steakhouse on Lombard Street, along with Andrea Froncillo, who is now the sole owner of Bobo’s.) “Osso” means “bone,” which all makes sense when you see the menu specifically highlights four- to six-week dry-aged, bone-in prime beef. The restaurant has a swank, Art Deco-inspired look. Open nightly 5 p.m.–10 p.m., valet for your ride is $10.

Speaking of Bobo’s, owner Andrea Froncillo has taken over Amigo Cantina (1434 Lombard Street), which is next door. He’ll be opening Bobo’s Lounge in its place with cocktails and a bar menu; look for a July opening.

In Cow Hollow there has been quite the change-up at Hutong, the new restaurant concept that was launched in the former Betelnut (2030 Union Street, 415-925-8855) space. The Real Restaurants group decided to axe the Hutong concept, flip it, and reverse it back to Betelnut. Nothing like a two-star review from Bauer to have you eighty-six an entire concept just one day after the review comes out. “Uh, never mind!” So back to the vintage pictures of the ladies on the walls and green beans we go.

The former Johnny Rockets space on Fillmore is now Glaze Teriyaki (1946 Fillmore Street, 415-590-2199). This is the first San Francisco location of the New York import, whose owners are from Seattle and bill their offerings as “Seattle style.” They offer lots of appetizers, combo dishes and salads, all with their charcoal-grilled meats (and vegetarian options like tofu and vegetables). Bonus: They are partnering with Devil’s Teeth Baking Company in the Outer Sunset on desserts. Glaze is open daily 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

Brenda Buenviaje writes in with some great news: She and wife/business partner Libby Truesdell are opening a new cafe on Polk Street, just two doors down from the current Brenda’s French Soul Food. It will be called Libby Jane Café (644 Polk Street) after Libby (awwww). Anyone who comes to Brenda’s for brunch on the weekend knows there’s always a wait. Well, now you’ll be able to pick up some coffee (including chicory coffee, of course) and espresso drinks from Ritual while you’re standing around, and you can also snag one of her famous biscuits if you’re really hungry. There will also be takeaway sandwiches, soups (hello, gumbo), and some house-canned items as well, like their jams and watermelon pickles. There will be a short counter inside with room for six to eight, but otherwise it’s a grab-and-go kind of place. They are shooting for a midsummer opening. Since their po’boy shop in lower Fillmore has hit some delays, this project will likely open before that one.

New cafe alert in the Inner Richmond/Laurel Heights area: Fifty/Fifty Coffee And Tea (3157 Geary Boulevard, 415-684-888). On tap: Ritual coffee, bubble tea, loose teas, tea smoothies, and baked goodies from Dynamo Donut and Devil’s Teeth. Reportedly it has a cute look and Wi-Fi. Open daily.

A new place called Artesano (3415 California Street) will be opening in Laurel Heights in the former Asqew Grill space. It’s a new project from chef-partner Jeff Gambardella and owner Douglas Mathieux of neighboring Rigolo Cafe, which bills itself as “the most child-friendly restaurant in S.F.” Their new project is casual South American comfort food. They’ll be open for both lunch and dinner, and are aiming for an approachable, comfortable vibe. Stay tuned for more details soon, like an opening date.

Just in case you head out to Shanghai Dumpling King on Balboa in the Outer Richmond for your sugar egg puff fix and wonder what the hell happened to the restaurant, the original location is undergoing some renovations. There’s a new location in the meantime at 696 Monterey Boulevard (at Gennessee), 415-387-2088.

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Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular weekly e-column about dining in S.F. (subscribe for free at and has a book, The Tablehopper's Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco. E-mail tips to [email protected].