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Side Dish 

Wednesday, Dec 9 1998
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Square Pegs
The Seattle-based Entros has opened its doors on Brannan Street, but all I hear is the sound of one hand clapping. Another overpriced fusion mutation -- Southwestern and Asian -- and the gimmick this time is the games. If you're bored of discussing the Y2K problem with other cubies, you can plop down $20 for a high-tech trivia game or some kind of virtual foosball; it's not a great place for a date but large parties might like to play. And remember, Elroy's, another out-of-town experience, tried to invent space-age Tex-Asian fusion and look where that got them. ... Harry suggests we stick with cuisine types that actually taste good together and bar games like liars' dice.

Set and Curl
The corner of 19th and Mission streets has a new game, and Beauty Bar is its name. The owner, Paul Devitt, who also partners in Beauty Bar and the Barmacy in New York, couldn't find an old salon to plop his saloon in, so he bought a nice one in New Jersey and shipped it out here, lock, stock, and dryers. It's a peachy concept, but it comes off like a museum exhibit on "retro" -- so cool it's cold. Still, my lady friends do like the complimentary emery boards.

You Can Call Me Flower
Move over -- there's a new bakery in town. On Pine right off Fillmore, the new Boulangerie will focus primarily on wholesale, with a small retail space up front. This bun in the oven is the baby of Pasqual Rigo, who labored for a time at Pan-O-Rama, the Real Restaurants group's in-house bakery. He's due next week some time. ... Around the corner, the old Oritalia spot on Fillmore is ready to cast its magic once more. With Bix's Doug Biederbeck and Bizou's Joseph Graham at the helm, chef David Shawn in the engine room, and Scala's Eddie Heintz as your cruise director, Florio won't need sorcery to cast a spell. The spot will offer Italian favorites, 60 seats, and a small bar. The neighbors will definitely eat it up, but can we talk "destination"? ... I don't think they'll have mussels or takeout on the menu at Florio. If that's your hankering, climb the hill to Vivande Porta Via. It's still the best place in the city to watch 'em make pasta over a steaming bowl of shellfish.

The Donors Circle
Looks like Mike Tempest, GM for Capital Grille -- Spear Street's East Coast implant -- has thrown in his scrubs and left the operating room. It was only a matter of time until San Francisco rejected this overblown transplant of a restaurant. What's of more interest, as we scientists like to say, is that the donor seems to be eating itself alive. I had expected to see the management staff go running back to corporate bases in D.C. and Boston, but the fact that they've stayed on here (at Shanghai 1930, in this case) certainly leads us to ask questions about a larger incompatibility. Oh well. I'm not going to let tears get in my petri dish.

Eleven Redux
I'm getting tired of all the speculation, so let's just lay it on the table: No, I don't think the fire was set intentionally. Yes, the insurance money came through. Yes, it was over $1 million. No, the building is condemned, so they've got to bulldoze before anything is going to reopen. Yes, there are a lot of interested parties nosing around the rubble, trying to catch the sweet scent of success under all that ash. Yes, Billy Massarweh and Ed Petrillo are likely going to sell. Harry thought they were going to build a new Tin Pan on the site, but the pair's last two attempts to expand that house -- in Rockridge and the Fillmore -- both fell through. And we've seen Tim Dale, who founded Undici and then Eleven on that spot a few years back, nervously pacing his old barrio.

By Harry Coverte

Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail Coverte@aol.com and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.

About The Author

Harry Coverte

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