The Tablehopper

The new year brings openings, closings, and more to the Northside

You can afford to eat every week at Pasta Pop-Up (which could be a dangerous thing). Photo: Pasta Pop-Up


It’s getting close for Dominique Crenn’s new wine bar project, Bar Crenn (3131 Fillmore St.), slated to open in the former Cellar Door on Feb. 20. On Instagram, she shared that “wine director Matt Montrose has amassed a collection of the great wines of France. … A rotating collection of wines are available by the glass as well as a more developed bottle list of some remarkable producers of world-class wine.” There will also be low-ABV cocktails and “old-style French aperitifs,” which will integrate some NorCal ingredients and style.

Crenn says the food will be an homage to French classics, and in a move à la In Situ, the menu will feature dishes from recipes provided by famous chefs and restaurants, including Alain Ducasse, Guy Savoy, Yannick Alléno, Pierre Sang, and many other top-rated chefs. Her team will also be working on some of their own variations of French classics.

The Mina Test Kitchen (2120 Greenwich St., 415-625-5470) has closed for now with no restaurant lined up just yet for their incubator. Besides, chef Adam Sobel is busy with Cal Mare in Los Angeles, plus other big openings in the Mina Group. Stand by for what’s coming next in about four months or so (by the way, it’s a great private event space).

Over at Contrada (2136 Union St., 415-926-8916), opening chef Jason Tuley has moved on after one year, and Denise St. Onge is the new executive chef, making it an all-female management team. Go ladies! St. Onge’s background includes Michael Mina, Gary Danko, and most recently, SPQR as pasta cook, butcher, and eventually sous chef. Look for some vegan and gluten-free offerings (including pizza) and handmade pastas.

Now open is Gio Gelati (1998 Union St., 415-867-1306), serving authentic Italian gelato in a variety of flavors, many seasonal (with fruits and vegetables — expect some savory flavors, too). There’s even a nondairy version, and gluten-free cones from Italy, so everyone wins! The team is Patrizia Pasqualetti (her family has been in the gelato business for more than 40 years), Nicola Trois, Guido Mastropaolo, and Nicole Moserle. You can also enjoy pastries, cornetti, espresso, and cakes. Daily 8 a.m.–10 p.m.


There’s some groovy Korean in the former Gussie’s at Fillmore Social Club (1521 Eddy St., 829-3750). The menu is a bit fusion-y: kimchi jun pancake, Korean fried chicken served two ways, tako (octopus) wasabi, ssam (marinated rib eye wrapped in lettuce and pickled radish), stir-fried yaki udon, and shakshuka baby back ribs (I said it was fusion-y!). The wine, beer, sake, and cocktail picks are a cut above. The space was tricked out with a custom mural from artists Kelly Tunstall and Ferris Plock (KeFe). Daily 5–10 p.m.

The New Fillmore announced that Monetta White and David Lawrence (formerly of 1300 on Fillmore) will be relocating Black Bark BBQ (1325 Fillmore St.). They cite the lack of foot traffic (due to the beleaguered Fillmore Heritage Center) as a primary move impetus. It sounds like they have a location lined up and plan to reopen in the spring, so stand by for some confirmation on the where.


There’s a new project from the Il Casaro team (Francesco Covucci and Peter Fazio) in their former Vicoletto location: They have permanently opened Pasta Pop-Up (550 Green St., 415-433-5800), designed as an easy place to swing by for a plate of pasta before heading home or to enjoy some wine and snacks with friends.

They worked hard to keep the prices low and affordable (no pasta is over $14 on the current/soft-opening menu, subject to change). But they didn’t want to sacrifice quality or good food ethics either, so the seafood is sustainable, and the ingredients are local.

And they’re making the pasta in-house! There’s rosemary pappardelle with slow-braised lamb shoulder and tomato sauce, and gnocchi Bolognese (yes, please), and spaghetti with clams. Oh yeah, and there’s squid ink spaghetti with clams, mussels, squid, and cherry tomatoes. Sign me up for that, too.

Starters include calamari fritti, ’nduja-stuffed potato croquettes, broccolini, a salad, and more —nothing is over $7. There’s a varied list of Italian wines by the glass, plus some beers, too. Covucci tells me they will also be integrating a charitable component; stand by for more on that. The place got a little refresh and feels a bit warmer, although it was always a cozy little spot. Tuesday–Sunday 5–10 p.m.

Also in the news: They have decided on the name of their project in the former Panta Rei: Barbara (431 Columbus Ave.), with a targeted opening at the end of February. According to their website, they are planning to serve Roman-style pinsas. And cocktails. Details to follow.


Send to a Friend Print
Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column, tablehopper, about the S.F. dining and imbibing scene, get all the latest news at Follow @tablehopper on Twitter and Instagram for more culinary finds.