gap year at nico turbot
The aged turbot from Gap Year at Nico
By Diane Rommel / January 30, 2020 10:23 am

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.

Mamahuhu
Inner Richmond

Why now: Imagine if your humdrum hometown Chinese restaurant — and its standard menu items, like the Happy Family stir fry — were reimagined by Brandon Jew, the man behind the Michelin-starred Mister Jiu. 
Eat this: The fun is in choosing your all-time favorite — beef and broccoli? the aforementioned happy family? kung pao chicken? — and seeing how Jew’s reworked them. 

517 Clement St. (map)

Via Boutique Crenn / Instagram

Boutique Crenn X Cubert
SoMa

Why now: Because another Michelin-starred chef — Dominique Crenn, who earned three for her eponymous Atelier — is letting her imagination loose — here, with a pop-up bakery. 
Drink this: See the Instagram feed for ideas, including classic French boulangerie treats like a chocolate and almond croissant, “croissant loaf,” Alsatian kugelhopfs with rum raisins, and pain au chocolat

425 Mission St. (Salesforce Transit Plaza), (map

gap year at nico

Via Gap Year at Nico

Gap Year at Nico
Jackson Square

Why now: The product of an incredibly creative workaround to chef Nico Delaroque’s decision to spend a year back home in France with his family, Gap Year at Nico is the brainchild of Lazy Bear alum Jordan Guevara: He has the titular year to do, more or less, whatever he likes. 
Eat this: If you’re hankering for Delaroque’s menu, get as close as possible with this report on his favorite meals in town, exclusively shared with InsideHook. Otherwise, give Guevara’s super-creative, dinner-only tasting menu a try. Expect an evolution, but for the moment, you’ll find imaginative pieces like duck pithivier with apple and mint. 

710 Montgomery St. (map

Nightingale
FiDi

Why now: Of all the cultural relics from the 1970s, the fern bar (exactly what it sounds like) deserves its return to the spotlight. 
Drink this: Definitely the Disco Punch, with Absolut Elyx, loganberry liqueur, dry riesling, and balsamic gastrique. 

239 Kearney St. (map)

Via Michelle W / Yelp

QingShu
Inner Sunset

Why now: Like a custom hotpot for one, the main dish at QingShu — malatang — makes its grand introduction to the Inner Sunset. Could it be the next ramen??? (Probably not, but still worth trying.) 
Eat this: You’re definitely getting the malatang. Pick your greens (lettuce, spinach, watercress, etc.), your protein (lobster ball, cuttle ball, squid, crab, etc.), and your soup base, which ranges from the “original pork bone soup” to a tomato base to the Szechuan pickled cabbage soup. 

816 Irving St. (map)