The Tablehopper

Say, ‘Qui’ at Le Marais Bakery and ‘Come to Mama!’ at Black Bark BBQ

Tower of power — the raw bar at Parallel 37’s new Second Sunday brunch buffet. photo: ©


Love croissants? Then you should visit the new location of Le Marais Bakery (900 North Point Street) in Ghirardelli Square. The small, 500-square-foot location is technically a pop-up in the former Kara’s Cupcakes space while Patrick and Joanna Ascaso work on opening their bistro, also in the square. There is a possibility that they’ll stay on after the new bistro opens in late spring. The bakery is smaller than their Marina location and focuses on pastries, including their excellent viennoiserie, as well as tarts, quiche, cookies, and some salads and sandwiches. There is also Stumptown coffee and espresso, indoor seating at bistro tables and black Thonet chairs, and outdoor seating when the weather improves. Hours are Monday–Thursday 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Friday–Sunday 8 a.m.–10 p.m.


The new barbecue project from chef David Lawrence and his wife, Monetta White, Black Bark BBQ (1325 Fillmore Street, 415-848-9055) is here. On Jan. 13, the new fast-casual restaurant finally opened its doors after years (literally) of planning, recipe testing, and remodeling. Lawrence has been traveling and researching regional American barbecue, and even brought on barbecue expert Edith Cheadle from Dallas, with more than 20 years of smoke under her belt, to help open the restaurant and consult on the food.
The barbecue style gravitates toward Texas with dry rubs, but also looks to the Carolinas and Kansas City for inspiration. Lawrence calls this “San Francisco-style barbecue,” and plans to offer his ribs, along with chicken, hot links, brisket, pulled pork, and a rotating pit master special, depending on mood and the best-looking cuts available. Many of the sides are made using Cheadle’s recipes, including bourbon mac ’n’ cheese with cornbread crust, smothered greens with ham hocks, and sweet potato casserole. Seasonal salads are also available. The drinks include 12 local beers on tap, as well as six wines, plus bottled options — look for plenty of ciders, too.
The space is casual, with room for 56 diners in the open dining room. Ordering is done at the counter, and the open kitchen allows a view into the pit. There are televisions for watching the game, if that’s your thing, and on nice days there will be outdoor seating for 15. Hours are Wednesday–Monday 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.


Looking for somewhere new to brunch? Ritz-Carlton Hotel brunch buffet spreads are legendary, so I was pleased to hear the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco is launching a Second Sunday Brunch Buffet at Parallel 37 (600 Stockton Street). And with chef de cuisine Michael Rotondo leading the charge, it’s a good one. After you make your way to the Bloody Mary bar, it seems the raw bar will be your next stop, with oysters, crab claws, shrimp, and other fresh seasonal seafood on offer. You’ll also be able to select dim sum, sushi, salads, local and international cheeses and charcuterie, smoked salmon with mini bagels, paddlefish caviar with blinis, and some hand-carved meats like prime rib and rack of lamb, along with king salmon Wellington and eggs Benedict.
As you have probably suspected, it’s not inexpensive — the cost per person is $115, exclusive of tax and gratuity, but think of it like this: It will be your one opulent meal of the entire day! Hours are 11 a.m.–2 p.m., and upcoming second Sundays of the month include Feb. 14 (how’s that for a Valentine’s Day date?) and May 8 (Mother’s Day — book it now!). Visit or call 415-773-6198 for reservations.


Joyce Goldstein tells us that new location of Andy and Tanya Booth’s The Spanish Table (130 Clement Street, 415-702-6199) is now open. Now you no longer need to drive over a bridge to get to their Berkeley or Mill Valley locations when you need some paella ingredients. And if there’s someone in your life who deserves some awesome Spanish chorizo, or a cazuela, some Spanish wine, Portuguese port, or perhaps some vinegar, you know where to go. Pantry items in effect, from rice to cookies! And sherry fans, there’s a huge selection for you.
The store includes a small deli, serving Spanish and Portuguese cheeses cut to order and meats like chorizo and jamón. There are also plans to serve bocadillos, seasonal dishes, and to offer coffee service, including café con leche and cortados. Open Monday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

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Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column, Tablehopper, about the San Francisco dining and imbibing scene; get the latest news at and follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram. Dana Eastland is the associate editor for