Esprit de Corps

Hotel Biron is a little bit of Paris in San Francisco

Paris Mon AmourNeed another reason to liken San Francisco to Paris? Check out Hotel Biron, a discreet new gallery and wine bar behind Zuni Cafe at 45 Rose. The space, named after a Parisian inn that is now the Rodin Museum, is owned by Caroline Sanders and Patrick Panella, who opened it on Oct. 31 to instant attention from off-duty restaurant employees. A photograph of the Paris structure is sealed into the gallery floor, but other artworks are less permanent: The duo plans to rotate them monthly. The wine list stands at 25 local and international selections, all poured by the glass, but Panella hopes to grow it to 100 in the next couple of months. Hotel Biron also offers a tasting menu of four kinds of caviar, along with an assortment of cheeses and chocolates. Délicieux.

Cash in the TrashWe're all familiar with the Oscars, but a recent award ceremony was more along the lines of Oscar the Grouch. The Commercial Recycler of the Year (CORY), aka the Golden Dumpster award, recognizes the top restaurants, hotels, and office buildings that have excelled in recycling programs. The event, sponsored by various private and municipal groups, gave top honors to Jardinière and Clement's Mescolanza, which received $5,000 and $3,000 respectively in the best large and small restaurant categories. Jardinière's director of operations, Larry Bain, explains, "We can no longer just throw things away. There is no such place as "away.'"

On the Fly Fly Trap, located at 606 Folsom, has been around since 1906, keeping its menu intentionally reflective of San Francisco's classics. Even though he's only 32, new Executive Chef Glen Tinsley, previously of Yountville's Napa Valley Grille and Danville's Blackhawk Grille, respects that tradition: Harry was especially impressed with Tinsley's stellar renditions of such traditional dishes as Dungeness crab cakes and chicken coq au vin. Keep up the old work!

The Show Must Go OnEven though some kitchen staff and waiters have fled the Fifth Floor to follow George Marrone to the new Redwood Park (opening this month), the restaurant isn't sweating it. In January Fifth Floor's dining room will debut the menu of recently hired Executive Chef Laurent Gras, a 36-year-old veteran from the kitchens of Peacock Alley in New York's Waldorf Astoria and Alain Ducasse's Paris and Monte Carlo properties. Considering that chef Gras snared a three-star review from Ruth Reichl when she wrote for the New York Times, Harry's betting he'll do just fine on this coast.

Holiday CheerIt's that time of year for restaurant folk. Customer requests become trying, chefs and event coordinators come to blows, that four-top leaves $50 on a $500 bill, parking gets impossible, your online purchases won't arrive until Dec. 27, you didn't get your requested days off, and air- port security kept your Laguiole wine opener. But don't lose sight of the big picture. As the holiday season descends upon us, Harry raises his Manhattan to his readers and sends best wishes of health, humanity, and happiness for the coming year.

 
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