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.
Why now: One of the hottest teams in SF dining — with past productions like Liholiho Yacht Club and Nopa — debuts its newest project: a gorgeous homage to Eastern European cooking, in the swish 18th Street space formerly occupied by Farina.
Eat this: Your choice of blood sausage, kielbasa or bratwurst — they’re a pet project of chef David Golovin. Or the pork and beef stuffed cabbage with fermented green garlic, dill and cultured cream. Or the chicken and pork jowl meatballs. Go hungry; choose liberally.
3560 18th St. (map)
Why now: Maybe you’re in line as you read this, waiting for one of the only 300 bowls of Michelin-starred ramen served here daily. Or maybe you’ve read about the Tokyo original and want to see what the fuss is about.
Eat this: You’re gonna get the shoyu ramen, with char siu, bamboo shoots and a black truffle sauce — it’s a different take on ramen from all the spots serving it in the heavier tonkotsu broth.
135 4th St. at the Metreon (map)
Why now: A most welcome resurrection, and a solid opportunity to eat as much melted cheese as possible, fondue spot Matterhorn has earned a reopening one year after its original owners retired. Thankfully, the as-close-as-you-can-get-to-the-Swiss-Alps-without-flying wood-paneled lodge decor is still intact.
Eat this: How about the $25-per-person fondue offering three “historic cheeses”: l’Etivaz, Vacherin fribourgeois and Gotthelf Emmental, served with bread, potatoes and pickled vegetables. A spice-rubbed beef fondue, served in a red wine stock, is another option.
2323 Van Ness Ave. (map)
Why now: You like good food — especially Egyptian meals taken inspired by chef’s mom — but you’re gluten-free, paleo or keto. Alternatively, you’re looking to lose some weight, and want to follow in the chef’s same footsteps.
Eat this: It’s gluten-free heaven: bagels (made the right way: boiled), cinnamon buns, hamburger buns, pizza crusts and more. Plus a pastrami croque monsieur with béchamel sauce, and a veggie version as well.
2706 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto (map)
Why now: Turns out coming up with a new dining concept multiple times a year is exhausting, which is why the Over Proof team ditched that idea, took a break and reinvented the space as a reservation-only, high-end date spot.
Eat this: How about a three-caviar flight with house-made potato chips for $75? (We said it was high-end.) Otherwise, the pan-seared scallops with brown-butter soubise.
3174 16th St. (map)
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