A few weeks ago, Bar Tartine welcomed chef Nicholas Balla to its kitchen. Balla is replacing Chris Kronner, but he’s also replacing his French-leaning menu. The former co-owner and chef of Nombe, an izakaya restaurant in the Mission, Balla is Hungarian by decent and went to highschool in Budapest. No, Bar Tartine isn’t sporting the latest izakaya menu in town. And yes, the menu at Bar Tartine is starting to have Eastern and Central European leanings. But it’s hardly this cut-and-dried. Tartine Bakery co-owner Chad Robertson—the man, the baker—gave us the lowdown.
The Kronner era has commenced at Bar Tartine. Five days in and the ex-Serpentine and Good Evening Thursday chef is now installed at the Mission restaurant, filling the shoes of former chef Jason Fox (who, it should be noted, is a very fine chef who we hope will end up someplace good, and soon). Chris and I are old friends, so I paid him a visit last night to see how he's settling into his new post. In the last few weeks the restaurant, which has always been one of my favorite spaces in the city, has undergone a minor makeover—now, groupings of framed art (including some by owner Elisabeth Prueitt's father) hang from the walls—the overall effect is bistro-like and charming.