To keep tabs on every San Francisco restaurant and bar opening is folly. But to keep tabs on the most worthy? Yeoman’s work, and we’re proud to do it. Thus we present Table Stakes, a monthly rundown of the five (or so) must-know spots that have swung wide their doors in the past thirty (or so). Bon appétit.
They had us at "'help yourself' beer fridge," but that's just one of the attractions at this new, bred-in-the-Mission take on Indian. Chef Jessi Singh's global-hopscotch upbringing — he's Indian-born, New York-raised and a veteran of the Aussie dining scene — is reflected in Babu Ji's eclectic spirit — unless you know another spot with both oysters in pickle butter and tandoori lamb chops.
The Hirsch Room at Timber Cove
If you don't have plans for Thursday, set your compass for north: to Timber Cove, for the opening of the Hirsch Room. The hotel will celebrate the debut with a menu courtesy of Michael Mina and Jasmine Hirsch of open-only-by-appointment-and-even-then-not-always Hirsch Vineyards. Expect a five-course menu of "coastal food paired with hard to source Sonoma Coast Hirsch wines"; get a move on those tickets by calling 707-847-3231.
Looking for not just any Japanese, but bucket-list this-is-going-to-be-a-Netflix-documentary-at-some-point Japanese? Set your course for Napa's Kenzo, handiwork of Hiroyuki Kanda — holder of three Michelin stars at his eponymous Tokyo restaurant for nine years running. The 27-seater offers a $225 prix fixe (service included). If you're wondering how authentic the dining experience is, consider the fact that all the design elements were sent via shipping container from Japan.
Did we say something about bucket-list Japanese? We've got another Michelin-starred sushi chef to contend with in the Mission (and yeah, this surfeit is one of the reasons people don't actually up-sticks and move to those rent-cheap cities we're always reading about). Here, the be-starred is Masaki Sasaki, whom you might know from his work at Maruya or his consulting at Omakase; at this, his namesake restaurant, expect "edomae" — Tokyo-style, privileging locally caught fish — omakase of the highest caliber.
Billed as "America's first urban cooking club," Kitchen Collective is like a gym for foodies: Show up when you like, and make the most of a fully stocked kitchen and the help of an on-call culinary expert. Members can bring a guest daily and can takeover a private dining room once a month; rather than being sequestered in the kitchen, member-chefs can chat with their friends via live feed beamed straight from the kitchen. It's not cheap — the initiation fee is $2500, with monthly dues of $250 — but for community-minded foodies, it might be worth the price.