Table Stakes: October 2016
Cider in the sun, sushi, fried chicken and world-class wine
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.
Fiorella is the sort of local Italian place every neighborhood dreams of but few deserve — especially for former Brooklynites still looking for a replacement for Franny’s, where some of the team made their bones. Everyone wins with this menu: Your celiac BFF (with the gluten-free pasta), elementary school kids (10 percent of some sales benefit their art program), and anyone hungry enough to eat an entire Clam Pie — our heart skips just thinking about it — by himself.
You wanna eat? Like you really want to eat? Put down that kale smoothie and sidle up to a place at the newly reopened Elite Café, which makes good on chef Chris Borges’ N’Awlins roots with a menu full of Creole classics, from fried okra and blue crabmeat dip to crawfish étouffée and duck gumbo. Conveniently, there’s a kale salad for those who want to stay local.
Do you like wine? Stop reading. Call/text/email/drone Morris for a reservation, stat. This is the dream project from former Frances sommelier Paul Einbund, whose father gave Morris its name. The wine list? 50 pages. The staff? Trained by super-somm Rajat Parr. Even David Barzelay’s Instagramming the pork trotters with Asian pear and buckwheat doughnuts. Who are we to second-guess David Barzelay?
Forget the banks: This is the best and biggest hustle going on in the Financial District. Just opened, and without so much as a Twitter account, this takeout sushi window opens at 11, closes when they’re out, and will sell you a $200 chirashi bowl of uni and rice — though most offerings are around $20. If you’re looking for the spot, head for the former Peasant Pies — they’re taken it over.
303 Sacramento St. (map)
Sonoma Cider Taproom & Restaurant
We don’t need a reason to head up to Healdsburg, our favorite city north of San Francisco that we can reach before we’ve reached the end of the Hamilton soundtrack. But we’ll add this new taproom to the list anyway — both for the almost two dozen craft ciders on tap as the chance to drink them in an outdoor patio a block off of Healdburg’s main square.
Photos: Elite Café by Storey Photography