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: What is your level of interest in “modern ‘Mad Men’ vibes”? Truth be told: Ours is pretty high! Which is why we’ll be manning one of the seats at this extremely mid-century Mission bar, which takes the height-of-the-’60s concept so far that one cocktail, the Gemini, is made with Tang.
Eat this: The menu reads like an in-joke-y assignment on ’60s dining—so go with the fondue (“served with broccoli, potatoes, and bread”) or Swedish meatballs.
842 Valencia St. (map)
sorrel (2 images)
Why now: The popular pop-up, with its $55, four-course tasting menus from Quince alum Alex Hong, touches down for good with a familiar menu: Italian-inflected, with lots of local/seasonal California touches.
Eat this: Spring lamb tartare (“with nuts and seeds”), followed by the chestnut tagliatelle with blonde morels and Meyer lemon—or maybe the king salmon with dandelion.
3228 Sacramento St. (map)
Why now: Everyone’s going to be talking about the $289 tasting menu, the product of another high-end pop-up, RTB Fillmore, and its high-profile chef (Rodney Wages, an alum of the best-of-the-best in the Bay, including French Laundry, Saison, Benu and Atelier Crenn).
Eat this: The tasting menu, obviously, which will certainly include Wages’ famous tortellini en brodo with smoked foie gras and grilled bacon broth. But prepare yourself for surprises from this eclectic-minded chef, whose background also includes a stint in South Korea and time running a caviar company.
1552 Fillmore St. (map)
Why now: The venerable, nearly 100-year-old Berkeley institution gets a thorough, and thoroughly successful revamp, with a new menu courtesy of Chris Kronner. That little flutter is the sound of recognition: Yes, this is Chris Kronner of Oakland’s KronnerBurger.
Eat this: The burger, of course—though note it’s not a redux of the KronnerBurger; burger aficionadoes will note that while the KronnerBurger is 100 percent dry-aged beef, the Henry’s burger will be 20 percent dry-aged, 80 percent fresh ground. Bonus: Chad Robertson (of Tartine) is handling the rolls.
2600 Durant Ave. (map)
Why now: You may already know Powder Shaved Snow, serving a sort of Taiwanese ice cream, from its first location, on Divis. Here? They’ll have a liquor license.
Eat this: The happy hour three-piece flight with piña colada, strawberry daiquiri, and passionfruit mojito.
At Spark Social SF, 601 Mission Bay Blvd N. (map)