It's Fall. And with Fall, restaurant openings go haywire. Charles Phan's Wo Hing General Store, three new BBQ/Southern-inspired restaurants (in the Mission and the Marina) and the first of three Bay Area Umami Burgers should be opening in the next few months. And that's just off the top of my head. With soft-opening this, and grand opening that, firing off left and right, sometimes it's nice—necessary, even—to step back and relish the gems that've been sitting here, right underneath our noses, for years: the Chez Papas, Canteens, and Outerlands of our city. This post is dedicated to the San Francisco fixtures that haven't just survived for three, five, maybe even 20 years, in our cutthroat restaurant-scape; they've flourished. And you better believe they've got something good in the works for the next few months.
It's asparagus season if you haven't noticed. Saturday morning, I started at Nopa with a shaved asparagus and pea shoot salad tossed with grilled thin slabs of Bodacious cheese. The next day, I was at Zero Zero diving into a heaping plate of asparagus, charred from the grill, tossed with black garlic and glistening with olive oil. That was brunch. When I wandered into the produce aisle to buy ingredients for dinner last night, asparagus spears as thick as broomsticks stared me down.