Welcome to our exciting new partnership with Eater. For this weekly Friday column, Eater editor Paolo Lucchesi gives his opinionated report on all the restaurant news that's fit to print, including hot new openings, hot design renderings and Rachael Ray in flames.
1) It's a new month, the rain has passed, and even in the face of the times, myriad new restaurants—or in some cases, new old resturants—continue to pop up around town. This week saw two long-awaited, high-profile debuts (among others): Contigo, Brett Emerson's oft-delayed Spanish joint in Noe Valley, and the legendary Washington Square Bar & Grill, finally reopen under new ownership after it shuttered over a year ago.
2) But then again, there's still the occasional reminder of the economic times. The turn of the calendar also marked a temporary shutter for the PlumpJack Cafe as we know it, as the mayor's flagship restaurant has gone on hiatus to "reconcept" itself. Odds that the white tablecloths stick around: 30 to 1. Odds that Gavin's baby arrives before PlumpJack Cafe 2.0: 2 to 1.
3) More high-profile shutters: in the wake of $100K worth of fire damage, it looks like Cindy Pawlcyn's Highway 29 favorite, Mustard's Grill, is going to be down for longer than originally thought. As the rumors swirl around Napa, the restaurant says it will be back by May. We'll see.
4) Oh hey, speaking of disasters, the Metreon is (thankfully) finally pulling the plug on its current design. Come 2010, in its place will be a new "restaurant-centric" Metreon, the crown jewel of which is NYC's famed Tavern on the Green. It remains to be seen how well the behemoth will fare, but you figure anything is an upgrade on the current state of affairs, right? ... Right? Anyway, peruse the early Metreon renderings/details right here.
5) On Union Street, Luisa Hanson's ill-fated La Vinoteca might be turning into a pizzeria called Mamma Mia (with free delivery, omg!). It's just a beautiful trainwreck that somehow keeps ... on ... trainwrecking.
6) Jimmy Fallon might be off to a rocky start as the new host of Late Night, but the promo where he accidentally sets Rachael Ray on fire is probably the best thing I saw all week. And props to Ray-Ray too for her sense of humor.
7) Consider this an Eater PSA of sorts: if you've ever wanted to go to the French Laundry but didn't want to jump through hoops to snag an elusive reservation, now is your time.