Looking for somewhere new to eat? Here’s your monthly cheat sheet of five brand-new places that recently opened around town.
At first, you may be saying, “Hold up, I thought this was a bar?” And it is, an awesome one in the Mission. But when the bar snacks are as good as they are here, well, you need to know. It’s kind of like Trick Dog: amazing drinks, gratuitously good (and affordable) bar food, and you gotta love a kitchen that’s open until 1 am. The project has some top local bar vets behind it, and in the kitchen is Kevin Cimino, the opening sous of St. Vincent. Start with the Mumbai Mule or Tarragon Collins, and then you should strongly consider the kimchee fritter (covered in bonito flakes), mapo sloppy Joe in a bao, falafel lamb dog, and larger appetites will appreciate the juicy pimento cheeseburger. High creativity marks for the dolmas made with dirty rice and collard greens. 3174 16th St. (at Guerrero)
After departing its location in the Ferry Building Marketplace, this new North Beach location is almost like an entirely new restaurant. Not only can you get their classic dishes of raw oysters and crab Louie, but since there’s a full kitchen here, executive chef Joey Ng has put together an expanded menu, adding dishes like local king salmon and grilled Maine lobster (there’s also a burger). Luxe seafood sandwiches (er, they’re $27) include a Dungeness crab melt and soft-shell crab BLT. There’s also an extensive list of seafood-friendly wines by the glass (and beers), outdoor seating, and lunch is coming soon. You can sit at the long counter, or grab one of the tables and enjoy all the natural light. 653 Union (at Columbus)
Fans of the original Loló location on 22nd Street in the Mission will be happy to know the owners decided to keep it and put a Loló offshoot restaurant in there. As you can gather by the name, the menu is primarily about ceviches (Alberto Pitman from Mexico City is running the kitchen), and you’ll even find a ceviche on there from a recipe from the assistant general manager’s Peruvian mother (adorable). Some Loló classics are available (the tuna tacon, taco tropical) and a bunch of other plates too—it’s casual. Of course the new look remains colorful, the vibe is friendly and energetic, and there are also 16 outdoor seats where you can enjoy your sangria. 3230 22nd St. (at Mission)
Corey Lee (of Benu fame) noticed a classic French bistro with late hours was missing from our city’s dining landscape, so he took matters into his own hands, and voilà! His new Hayes Valley spot is understated and chic, with a gleaming open kitchen that is mesmerizing. Running the show is Lee’s French Laundry and Per Se kitchen crony, Jason Berthold, and the two of them have crafted a menu of French bistro classics given a little boost through elevated technique and modern touches. Start with some raw oysters, and then make your way through the menu of escargots, seafood sausage, sweetbreads, and steamed mussels—and we haven’t even made it to the main courses! Not only is the Symphony/Opera crowd thrilled with this new destination, but anyone craving a glass of quality wine and a roast chicken for dinner has their spot, ditto a late-night diner seeking a cocktail, bone marrow, and burger with frites. Dessert is all about the palmier ice cream with Calvados caramel, do it. Lunch and brunch are coming very soon. 451 Gough (at Ivy)
Chef-owner Alexander Alioto (yes, of those Aliotos) has opened his own restaurant on Valencia Street after departing Seven Hills in Russian Hill. The former Conduit (and Another Monkey) location has been given quite a makeover—the room is now serene, contemporary, and comfortable (the booths in the middle of the room are the most private seats). The menu is primarily focused on seafood and Italian pasta, so you’ll find the namesake agnolotti al plin, stuffed with a hearty chicken filling (and accompanied by little pieces of crisp chicken skin), and a dish of baby Manila clams and white shrimp over polenta. The format is small plates, and the roughly 20-plus dishes average around $10 each. There’s also quite the wine list with some reserve selections, and the full bar features some Italian-inspired cocktails. 280 Valencia (at 14th St.)
Marcia Gagliardi is the founder of the weekly tablehopper e-column; subscribe and get more food news and gossip at tablehopper.com. Follow her on Twitter: @tablehopper.