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: Want to get here before everybody else? This second-story spot on Divis opened yesterday. Now’s your chance to try the clubhouse leader for “best pizza in town” awards come December.
Eat this: Baked in an Italian pizza oven with dough made from California-grown grain, Che Fico’s pizzas should taste like nothing else around. We’re planning on the pie with mushroom, sausage, mozz, and Calabrian chili.
834-838 Divisadero St. (map)
Why now: Wursthall is what happens when a food writer’s dream comes true: it’s the debut restaurant from Kenji López-Alt, winner of a James Beard Award for The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science.
Eat this: Roasted bone marrow (we are in Northern California, after all), followed by a bratwurst (of course) with sauerkraut and grilled onions.
310 Baldwin Ave., San Mateo (map)
Why now: If you’re looking to celebrate in Palo Alto (and not in the mood for Nobu), this contemporary American from not one but two French Laundry alums (master sommelier Dennis Kelly and executive chef Anthony Secviar) is absolutely your top choice.
Eat this: Anything particularly spring-centric from the super-seasonal menu — like the ricotta dumplings with truffles, Parmesan and peas.
250 California Ave., Palo Alto (map)
Why now: Sprung from the mind of two Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn, this wine bar, designed with a “1930s Parisian salon” brief, is the latest from team behind Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn.
Eat this: Ideally you’ll be eating next door, at Atelier Crenn — but if it’s not feeling like an $800 sort of night, snack on a bar menu that includes recipes from Crenn and others, including Alain Ducasse and Guy Savoy; we’d order the former’s tarte flambée.
3131 Fillmore St. (map)
Why now: Chef Fernay McPherson and her famous rosemary chicken are setting up a permanent (well, yearlong) residence at the Emeryville Public Market. If you can make it out there, you’ll eat extraordinarily well for next to nothing (two pieces of chicken, cornbread and a small side for under 10 bucks).
Eat this: Obviously the chicken. Once that’s taken care of, consider adding pickled veggies and the red bean and rice salad.
5959 Shellmound St, Emeryville (map)