Table Stakes: March

To keep tabs on every S.F. 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.

Moongate Lounge
Chinatown
Why now: Mister Jiu’s has just done us the extraordinary favor of installing a super-chic lounge immediately above its Michelin-starred eatery. It’s gorgeous — get yourself a seat in one of those horseshoe-shaped, velvet-walled booths immediately.
Eat this: Cocktails and dim sum. You’ll obviously want one of the extremely seasonal drinks — maybe the Start of Spring, with vodka, spring pea, sarsaparilla, honey, and sesame — with tasty dishes like the Alaskan king crab Crab Rangoon, the salt-and-pepper Monterey squid, or West Coast oysters with hawthorn jelly.

28 Waverly Pl. (above Mister Jiu’s) (map)

Nommo
Rincon Hill
Why now: So you were interested in a bit of the good life: a half-dozen British Columbia oysters? A cheese plate loaded with Cowgirl Creamery’s Mount Tam and Humboldt Fog’s classic chevre? Maybe somewhere within striking distance of the waterfront for a post-dinner stroll? (In other words: killer date spot.)
Eat this: Well, start with all of the above — but give a close look to the burger: house-ground chuck and brisket with cheddar. (Fries, with “Nommo aioli & ketchup,” are extra.) You’ll probably also want a pair of the $14 cocktails — maybe the Better Angels, with vodka, chamomile, lemon and ginger ale.

396 Harrison St. (map)

Rooster & Rice
Castro
Why now: Fast-casual chicken-and-rice joints are on the march across town — and this one has risen from the (metaphorical) ash of the only recently departed Indo. The heart wants what it wants … especially when it’s Thai-style chicken and rice dishes.
Eat this: Speaking of, you probably do in fact want the khao mun gai: organic chicken (breast and thigh) in a chili-ginger-garlic-soybean sauce, with a side of jasmine rice. Extra sauce for a buck.

4039 18th St. (map)

Dim Sum Corner
Chinatown
Why now: Dim sum may be the superior option for a low-stakes, post-swipe date — it’s tasty, quick, and casual, but definitely a step up from coffee. This is the newest, coolest option.
Eat this: Smoked pork belly sliders? Classic potstickers? Classic shiu mai? Peking dumplings? You know the drill.

601 Grant Ave. (map)

Burma Club
SoMa
Why now: Because you love Burma Club, and Burma Love, and eagerly anticipate the arrival of Burma Bites — or you’re looking for a snazzy date spot right within walking distance from most of the city’s cubicles.
Eat this: Your choice of Burmese appetizers — Burmese samusas with chicken and curried potatoes, maybe the pumpkin pork stew — and a pair of the pina coladas.

8 Mint Plaza (map)