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.
ALX Gastropub (2 images)
Why now: If you’ve eaten at chi-chi Alexander's Steakhouse (at its locations in Cupertino, S.F. or Pasadena), the person who picked up the bill probably charged it to a corporate card. Consider this lower-key (though still fancy) spinoff to a solid choice — even if you can’t expense it.
Eat this: Hey, we didn’t say it was cheap: you’ll be getting the $35 foie-gyu burger (30 percent foie gras, 15 percent wagyu) with Camembert, sun-dried tomatoes and crispy shallots, plus fries.
Theorita (3 images)
Why now: Che Fico is already winning laurels as one of the year’s best openings, nationwide. Consider this your chance to get a first taste of its downstairs spinoff, a pie shop and “dinette” led by the mothership’s pastry chef, Angela Pinkerton.
Eat this: All-day pie! (Duh.) Otherwise, satisfy yourself with a frankly glorious Cobb salad, Boylan’s cream soda and the butter fries.
Outer Orbit (3 images)
Why now: There’s more to Hawaiian food — even to the subdivision of fast-casual Hawaiian food — than the ubiquitous poke bowl. For proof (as well as pinball galore), see the menu here, a tribute to co-owner Christian Gainsley’s native state: Hawaiian nachos with taro chips, house-made spam and cheese “hotpockets” and lomi lomi guacamole with trout.
Eat this: The Hawaiian plate lunch with guava-smoked Kalua pig, plus karaage fried chicken and the seasonal pickles and togarashi tots: tater tots with spicy togarashi seasoning.
Doppio Zero (2 images)
Why now: This Hayes Valley Neapolitan pizza joint is so new (it opened yesterday) that we haven’t checked it out yet, but its sister restaurants in the South Bay (Mountain View and Cupertino, specifically) have supplied excellent southern Italian to the tech-focused crowds.
Eat this: Only three restaurants in S.F. qualify for the rigorous Vera Pizza Napoletana certification, so we’ll definitely be ordering the no-fewer-than-five Formaggi pizza, with fontina, fior di latte mozzarella, smoked mozzarella, gorgonzola and parmesan.
The Alice Collective (2 images)
The Alice Collective
Why now: A low-key, veggie-centric Oakland café from the guy (Ted Wilson) behind the mid-Market’s The Hall? With lunches hovering right around the $10 mark? Absolutely, and we’re expecting to see the occasional pop-up from the start-up kitchens making use of the commissary space.
Eat this: The flank steak baguette, with seared flank, lemon aioli, arugula, parmesan, baguette. But even better, stop by next Wednesday, September 5, for a party to celebrate the opening (wine! beer! conviviality!).