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.
Kaiyo (2 images)
Why now: Union Street gets a serious boost with this new spot from John Park — you may already know his work from Whitechapel and Novela, which he co-owns. Here, the focus is Nikkei cuisine: a Japanese take on Peruvian eats. (And drinks, with both Japanese whiskey and Peruvian pisco well represented.)
Eat this: A bevy of small plates (rock shrimp tempura with salsa limo, Australian wagyu ribeye with olive oil and crispy garlic, uni toast with Santa Barbara urchin) plus drinks. You could spend 30 minutes prioritizing the anime-themed cocktails; we’ll start with the Prince on the Hill, with El Tesoro blanco tequila, kirschwasser, Chardonnay, lemon and sparkling water.
Images via Kaiyo
Angler (2 images)
Why now: Literally just opened, Angler needs to go in your date book stat. It’s the new project from chef Joshua Skenes, known for leading Saison to its three Michelin stars and the intermittent distinction of offering the state’s most expensive meal. Happily, the price point comes way down with this a la carte seafood menu.
Eat this: Whatever Skenes sources from his network of fishermen and local farms: maybe California King Crab “simply roasted over the embers” with oysters from the raw bar, maybe some antelope tartare.
Images via Embarcadero
Camper (2 images)
Why now: The vibe is all local, all the time, at this seasonal-first spot building the daily menu around the haul at area farms. At the moment, it’s dinner only, but look for lunch and brunch hours in the months to come — the better to admire all the Heath Ceramics tile behind the bar.
Eat this: Start with the newly in vogue roast chicken, or live a little with the 45-day dry-aged strip loin, with potatoes, charred leeks and cultured butter. Maybe some of the shoestring fries with Catalan ketchup? And then a bottle of the Ruinart?
Images via Camper
Piri Pica (2 images)
Why now: Fine casual gets a nice big bump with this Mozambican-style chicken shop (like a very fancy Nando’s), from the Portuguese team of chef Telmo Faria (whom you should already know from Uma Casa) and Azores-born Khalid Mushasha.
Eat this: The quarter bird with the moderately spicy piri-piri sauce (you can take this up a level or down, to a lemon and herbs sauce), with French fries and grilled corn. Don’t overthink it.
Image via Piri Pica
Shake Shack (2 images)
Shake Shack (preview!)
Why now: It’s the first one in the Bay Area and we’re already imagining the line stretching up and down the 101 from Palo Alto for miles in every direction. Expect a second location in Larkspur promptly, followed by a third in the City — specifically Cow Hollow, which would seem to make all kindsa sense. Opening date: TBD in October.
Eat this: Well, if you’ve ever been to Manhattan or L.A., you probably already have your favorites. But spare a thought for the locally inflected burgers (details also TBD), or the “concrete” frozen custard incorporating our very own Dandelion Chocolate.
Images via Shake Shack