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Mais Oui: The French Invasion

An article that ran yesterday in the New York Times about the resurgence of French food in New York City struck a chord with me. For all of San Francisco’s Italianate leanings, the same seems to be true here—all of a sudden, the “French culinary mafia” seems once again to be picking up speed. The other night I ate at Chez Papa Resto, where my old friend David Bazirgan is the chef. David is supremely talented, and I’ll happily patronize any restaurant where he’s cooking. The food–lovely renditions of French classics given the Baz touch—seems anything but tired.


Cafe Claude, prepare for a little healthy competition.
Photograph courtesy of Cafe Claude

Two days later, cute restauranteur Franck Leclerc, who hails from Paris, took me on a tour of his soon-to-open Gitane (which, he claims, will be open in just about a month). The small space, directly across from his long-time fixture, Cafe Claude, on Claude Lane, is a “gypsy-inspired” restaurant that will take food cues from Southern France, Northern Spain and North Africa, executed by Lisa Eyherabide (ex-Le Charm, Piperade and Burgundy’s Côte d’Or—the restaurant best known, sadly, for the suicide of chef/owner Bernard Loiseau a few years ago).

Still not convinced? There’s also the promise of a brasserie from the Bacchus Management Group (Spruce, Woodside’s Village Pub) slated to land on Union Street sometime in the next year—name, further details TBD…anyone got news for me?

But wait—there’s more! (I know, now I sound like I’m selling something on QVC). The chef at the recently opened Luce in the InterContinental Hotel, Dominique Creen—also French. Seriously, Italy who?