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Foodie Updates: Plin Headed to the Mission, Encuentro Expands, and More

Mushroom burgers at Encuentro Restaurant in Oakland. Photo via East Bay Express

If you haven't gotten to the dozen or so restaurants that have debuted in the last month, allow us to mention a few more to add to your list. Plus, we have the announcement of a new Italian concept from one of the Alioto clan coming to the long dormant former Conduit/Another Monkey space, and a new bar debuting in the former Red Devil Lounge spot on Polk.

First up, Top Chef alumna Casey Thompson is officially opening the doors of Aveline (490 Geary Street), and its companion cocktail bar The European, on June 6 at the Warwick Hotel near Union Square. The menu is going to have a decidedly refined, California sensibility, but Thompson has hinted at only a few dishes we can look forward to. The combinations are pretty interesting: crispy chicken skins with charred onion, eggplant, and trout roe; and Iberico pork with buttermilk curd, green tomato jelly, and ranch consommé. The cocktails are being covered by former Beretta guy Adam Wilson, and include things like a Violet Fizz (gin, cream, raspberry, seltzer). [Eater, KQED]

Coming up in the Mission, in the conduit-pipe-heavy space that was originally designed for long-gone Conduit (by respected local architect Stanley Saitowitz) and which was more recently home to Another Monkey (280 Valencia Street), is Plin. It's an Italian restaurant from former Seven Hills chef Alexander Alioto, whose dad and uncle have long been the proprietors at Alioto's on Fisherman's Wharf. Alioto won some praise for his cooking at Seven Hills, and this is a significantly larger project with a full bar, as the Scoop reports. The conduit pipe is all going away, he says, and they're aiming for a late July opening, with a pasta-centric menu. [Scoop]

Over on Nob Hill, the former Red Devil Lounge space (1695 Polk Street) has re-emerged after a reclaimed-wood-heavy remodel as Harper & Rye. The barman behind it is Jamal Blake-Williams, formerly the bar manager at Mamacita and Padrecito, and he's partnered with one of the partners from those restaurants, Nate Valentine, on this new project, with a cocktail menu by Padrecito's Dave Ruiz. The place looks a fair bit like Padrecito (and like Churchill), with leather sofas, unfinished wood surfaces, and patterned wood floors. Expect the Russian Hill and Marina contingents to descend. [Eater]

Today brought the news that Grand Cafe, with its grand Art Deco-inspired interior, is closing at the Hotel Monaco off Union Square. Much as they just did with Fifth Floor – transforming it into the more casual, cocktail-centric Dirty Habit – the Kimpton Group is doing away with the fine dining aesthetic and will be switching things up later this year. The new concept is still unnamed and details are TBA, but Grand Cafe's last day will be July 31. [Inside Scoop]

And over in Oakland, vegetarian wine bar Encuentro has expanded down the street into more of a full-fledged restaurant, at 550 Second Street (near Jack London Square). Almost all of chef Lacey Sher's menu is or can be made vegan, and they still have a huge selection of wines by the glass (over 50), but now there are more food options. They're reopening doing dinner only, but lunch will be added back soon. [Eater]

Also in Oakland and opening next week is The Dock at Linden Street, the new collaboration between Linden Street Brewery and Commis/Hawker Fare chef-owner James Syhabout. There's a beer tasting shed which will continue Linden Street's tasting-room vibe, and now there's a full-service restaurant, with outdoor space, that will be serving dinner only with cocktails as well. Among Syhabout's upscale comfort food ideas: jerk chicken wings with rum and pineapple vinegar gastrique; curry chicken with lime pickle and roti; and onion rings with pumpernickel crust, dill, and caviar dip. Also, there's going to be a rotating selection of pies, including one with house-made "Kool Whip." They're set to open up on June 3. [Scoop]