For such a short week, there have been a lot of openings. Plan ahead, everybody!
Babu Ji (280 Valencia St.) An import from Australia by way NYC, Jessi and Jennifer Singh‘s 74-seat restaurant is full of aqua and gold, and it’s already open. The street-food-heavy a la carte menu includes “Inauthentic” Butter Chicken, a thali-style curry platter with charred naan, and a beer fridge where you’re invited to help yourself. The name Babu Ji, and corresponding watercolor-and-digital image, come from a neighborhood ambassador who lived joyfully beyond his means.
UPDATED: Finn Town (2251 Market). Why stop an oyster bar when you can have an “oyster and fin bar” with buffalo-style rock shrimp? Ryan Scott, the smiley chef who formerly ran Mason and the two Market & Ryes, brings Finn Town, opening Friday, Dec. 2 in the Castro. The team is something of a super-group, with pastry chef Cheryl Storms (of the recently closed Pinkie’s Bakery), chef de cuisine Jason Raffin (formerly of Scotland Yard in the Marina) and mixologist Anthony Parks (of Fifty Fifty Cocktail Co.) As befitting a Castro restaurant, this is going to be a place to eat well and also booze it up hard — at both dinner and brunch, right out of the starting gate. Scott will sign copies of his cookbook, One to Five, on
Sunday, Dec. 4 Saturday, Dec. 3 (Please note the date has changed.)
The Den (2240A Mission St.) Wes Burger ‘N’ More‘s build-out had a little room left over in the front, and on Friday, Nov. 25, Wes Rowe et al. will open a tiny bar (max. occupancy: 15) called the Den, serving a rotation of low-ABV punches. The first two — Bad Apple and Ginger Spice — come from Claire Sprouse of Tosca and The Bywater. Look for a late-night menu of tots and burgers in the near-to-medium term.
Brandy’s Bar (217 Columbus Ave). Smaller than even the Den, Brandy Ho’s — the North Beach Chinese restaurant that really wants you to know they don’t use MSG — opened a three-seat, 10-person bar called Brandy’s Bar, aka Baby Ho’s. Eater reports that it might make a good substitute while nearby Mr. Bing’s undergoes a renovation, and that you can drink a brandy hot toddy with spicy ginger syrup and cloves.
Slice House (1535 Haight). Tony Gemignani of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana (and many other pizza places around the Bay) is set to take over the former Big Slice Pizza in the Upper Haight, according to Hoodline.
Iron & Oak (1001 Broadway, inside the Oakland Marriott City Center). Downtown Oakland’s newly renovated Marriott has a new M Club for Elite rewards members, but also a restaurant called Iron & Oak, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner with dishes like Loaded “Tots” and something called a Big Beast Board (roasted leg of lamb or a braised lamb shank, with sides, for two or more people).
Spices (291 Sixth Ave.) It’s not a grand opening, but the debut of a new interior and a new menu at this Inner Richmond standby, which was Spices II. Look for lots of Sichuan pepper and dry hot pot dishes, 1000 Chili Pepper Fillet of Fish, and stinky tofu.
Fiddler’s Green (1333 Columbus Ave.) Although named for the Celtic afterlife where the music never stops playing, Fisherman’s Wharf Irish bar Fiddler’s Green closed a year ago after almost a quarter-century in business. But it’s back, this time with bars on three levels, and food. Take your uncle, make him tell you about the way things used to be even when he says not to get him started.
Betty Lou’s Seafood Grill (318 Columbus Ave.) In the North Beach space formerly occupied by Viva Pizza — which Hoodline reports moved around the block to shack up with Estia Greek — comes this white-tablecloth Italian joint, serving cioppino, a lobser ravioli, and a 16-ounce bone-in ribeye. You can get your fish served “alla Betty,” with sautéed fresh tomatoes, capers, garlic and olive oil.
Off the Grid: Justin Herman Plaza (opp. the Ferry Building). Alongside the Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center, Off the Grid will open its holiday market every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., through Jan. 8, 2017. Food trucks will rotate biweekly, including Happy Dumpligs, Me So Hungry Too, Koko Republic, and more.