Side Dish

Feeling Dizzy
Vertigo owner Nancy Mootz almost choked on her canape when casual cocktail-party conversation turned to the departure of her chef. Apparently, Mootzie was caught unawares when Lynn Sheehan, recently imported from Mecca, packed off for the East Coast, leaving her resignation on top of a cleaned-out desk.

Bad to the Bone
The South of Market Residents' Association is strutting proud after its first kill. The association's latest newsletter happily announces the demise of V/SF and its darned annoying cabaret license. "Bondage A Go-Go" and other weekly parties at the old Oasis site are moving to other venues, and a sale is in the works. Good luck to whoever snatches it up -- it won't be easy. With SOMARA's first taste of blood has come a newfound sense of strength for the group: Look for its grass-roots campaign to cancel New Year's and birthday celebrations to get under way soon.

It's OK to Slurp
Zao Noodles, which has been doing well in Palo Alto, is opening a slurping shop on Fillmore and California, in the space that was going to house a new Tin Pan. Apparently noodles have taken over where wraps left off -- but this is a very old idea that just seems new again. Zao joins a legion of bowl boutiques including Nirvana in the Castro and Oodles on Bush. Harry's been a big fan of this simple food since ramen helped him (and hordes of other students) survive his college years. Japanese soba (thin and brown) and udon (thick and white) dominate these new menus, but if you're searching for something a bit different, Vietnamese pho, served with vermicelli rice noodles, is guaranteed to sate your palate. Check it out at Sunflower Restaurant, a cute -- no other word will do -- dining room on 16th Street.

Size Isn't Everything
Alberto Petrolino, a Silks alumni, and his wife have realized a long-held dream with Terra Brazilis on Hayes at Laguna. This modern restaurant featuring authentic cuisine should renew local interest in the food of South America. Meanwhile, Anne and Craig at Delfina are basking in the attention their little bistro has garnered -- but they are feeling a bit cramped in their tiny space. I like the coziness of the surroundings, but you've gotta have enough tables to pay off those credit card bills.

Gonna Fly Now
I never told anyone about Liquid. Did you? Where else could you pay little or no cover for a night spent getting your ya-yas off on the city's smallest dance floor in front of its best DJs? Nothing fancy -- nothing even close to fancy -- but it worked. Now the brain trust behind Liquid has spread its wings and taken flight with its second endeavor -- Six. On Sixth Street -- incidentally, just down from another fantastic Vietnamese noodle joint, Tu Lan -- Six has two floors and decor. Will success spoil the Liquid crew? Let's hope not.

Fish Wrap in the Window
It seems Christmas marked the death of many places in town. Some won't be especially missed -- Opla on Church is turning into a crepe shop -- while others, like Cafe Babar, leave a gaping hole. Babar's Chimay lanterns at the top of Guerrero were a beacon for those in search of a tranquil place to drink imported beer in classy and unpretentious surroundings. It was the last true mod bar, and you know that the Orbit Room, with all those vintage bikes, doesn't count. Coming soon: a place for Irish pub and grub.

Another less than Feliz Navidad was experienced by patrons and employees of Sol y Luna. This well-known spot for spicy food and spicier dancing closed permanently over the holidays. Owner John Mays' other property, Casa Madrona Hotel and Restaurant in Sausalito, is doing well, with a huge expansion in the works. Harry's question: Did the Embarcadero Center management team force him to close in favor of a higher-paying tenant?

For What Ales Ya
Time to recalibrate the ol' Richter scale. Contrary to my previous reading, Faultline Brewing is scheduled to open on Chestnut Street in the spring. ... Potrero Brewing is opening its doors in March beneath the shadow of Anchor's plant on the hill. ... San Francisco Brewing is still pouring pints after all these years, though their prices have gone down. Ho hum.

By Harry Coverte

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

 
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