With the great scything-down of 2008 well past us, San Francisco's restaurant industry sent up hundreds of blooms, some of them quite brilliant. Yet competition, normal restaurant-world pressures, and the lingering malaise afflicting the economy killed off a number of significant restaurants. Here are the 10 SFoodie mourns most keenly, listed in alphabetical order:
1. 1550 Hyde.The Weekly called this Russian Hill wine bar and bistro a charming blend of Paris and classic San Francisco when it opened in 2004.
2. Bacar. “Bacar isn't just a restaurant; it's an extravaganza … with a big budget, an all-star cast, mezzanine seating, and multiple subplots,” the Weekly wrote in 2001; the restaurant changed directions rather radically after that, but the epic scale of the place remained.
3. Bruno's. The first official review of my tenure at the Weekly. The Mission bar hasn't closed, but after contracting out food service to Katharine Zacher and Ryan Ostler for a spell it stopped serving dinner (again). Those biscuits! The smoked ribs! Dammit, this one hurt bad.
4. Le Cheval. How could a successful, much-loved Vietnamese restaurant, one of the anchors of the downtown Oakland food scene, close down? It's a rather sordid story, actually ― and not Le Cheval's fault. We wish the owners luck finding a new location.