SF: September’s Hautest Dining + Drinking Happenings

When it comes to dining and drinking in SF, there’s never a dull moment. New restaurants, new menus, new chefs, new milestones. To help you keep up with everything, here’s the news you need to know:

Sam’s Seafood Alley Opens

Sam's Seafood Alley
Sam’s Seafood Alley

After 148 years as a San Francisco institution, Sam’s Grill and Seafood Restaurant has debuted Sam’s Seafood Alley, a new outdoor patio with seafood favorites and refreshing drinks, on Belden Place Lane in the Financial District. Last week, Managing Partner Peter Quartaroli and his talented team unveiled signature cocktails; exclusive food offerings with a focus on local, seasonal and sustainable seafood; and exciting programming. The menu is offered Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sam’s Seafood Alley’s cocktail list includes classic martinis and manhattans, as well as The Alleycat, a signature cocktail featuring cucumber vodka, cucumber and aperol on ice with a lemon squeeze. Beer is available by the bottle and on tap, and sommelier Lance Tolaio curates a diverse wine selection focusing on white and rose varietals from around the world. At Sam’s Seafood Alley, a sprawling awning protects you from the elements, while hardwood flooring adds comfort, elegance and polish to the space. Comfortable lounge seating from Restoration Hardware invites guests to relax and mingle. The focal point of Sam’s Seafood Alley is its gorgeous teak burl bar, which adds an approachable, rustic appeal to an otherwise elegant aesthetic.

Oro to Open in Mid-Market on Sep. 9

OroPhoto Credit: Courtesy Oro

Executive Chef/Owner Jason Fox of Commonwealth is opening his second restaurant concept, Oro, in partnership with Timothy Felkner, Founder of Vigilante Hospitality on September 9. Located in San Francisco’s Mint Plaza, Oro is a casual restaurant concept that draws from the vast local resources to create eclectic California fare with a Mediterranean influence.

Fox, who oversees the menu working alongside Chef de Cuisine Travis Day, formerly of Central Kitchen and Yoshi’s, offers approachable dishes that enhance seasonal ingredients with harmonious combinations of bold flavors and textures, something he is well-known for at Commonwealth. With Oro, Fox has designed a menu that allows guests the ability to share dishes and experience a wide array of flavors.

A portion of the menu is dedicated to items that can be served individually, such as Salt Cod Croquettes with preserved garlic aioli, or Halibut Chicharrones, allowing each guest to individually select a snack rather than committing to an entire dish. The menu consists of family-style sharable dishes, ranging from small plates such as Potato Gnocchi with corn and chanterelles and Pork Terrine with elderberry capers and horseradish, to larger dishes for two such as Roasted Whole Rock Cod with celery salsa and summer peppers and Half a Chicken with tomato and swiss chard panade. Fox and Day are working with whole animals and have initiated a charcuterie program including Coppa de Testa, Salami Cotto, and Rabbit Rillettes.

In addition to the regular dinner menu, guests can choose to eat from Oro’s “blind” tasting menu. Tailored to individual preferences, this menu allows guests to leave it up to the kitchen to decide what to serve, including some “off-the-menu” family style dishes for a set price. “The blind tasting menu is based on the idea that when Jason and I go out to eat at a friend’s restaurant, the chef will take the menu away and send us food “blindly,” says Felkner. “We love how each course is a pleasant surprise and look forward to making this experience more accessible to our guests.”

Oro’s Bar Manager Randy Mariani, who has experience working at Tupper & Reed and Foreign Cinema, designed a cocktail menu comprised of both craft cocktails and fun twists on spirit forward classics utilizing many ingredients made in-house such as syrups, tinctures, shrubs, infusions, and specialty ice. Highlights include the Granite Lady with Cava, Cocchi Americano, Dry Vermouth, Strega, and lemon, the Barbary & Hearst with strawberry infused bourbon, Meyer lemon, ginger, and Old Fashioned Bitters, and the 1854 with scotch, Smoked Cherry Heering, Benedictine, and Sightglass Coffee. To further encourage a shared dining experience, a section of the menu is dedicated to large-format cocktails that can be enjoyed amongst four or more people such as the Octopus’s Garden with gin, Aperol, grapefruit, lemon, Peychaud’s bitters, and soda.

Wine Director Kelly Evans, most recently Head Sommelier of Saison, oversees the 100-plus bottle wine list ensuring that selections complement the cuisine and enrich the overall dining experience. The list features a concentration on Old World with many of California’s newest classics, all ranging from delicious and affordable to premium and complex. Oro also offers a reserve list for the more serious oenophiles, which is available upon request. Guests can expect an array of aperitifs, dessert wines, and sakes to be featured as well. Additionally, Oro will be a local beer haven featuring a blend of draft local microbrews and imports such as Devil’s Canyon Full Boar Scotch Ale, Almanac Golden Gate Gose, and Brasserie Dupont Foret Saison, to name a few.

Designed by Roddy Creedon of Allied Architecture and Design in San Francisco, Oro brings together traditional sophistication with a modern industrial style. Red, blue and gold hues highlight the 100-seat dining room and bar, reflecting back to the history of Mint Plaza where gold coins were minted in 1854. An elegant white marble bar top makes a statement as guests enter Oro, contrasted by deep walnut tables, metal accented chairs and exposed concrete walls. A series of high top tables line the center of the bar with the main dining area toward the back. The space is further adorned with custom made chandeliers, softly muted grey curtains, reclaimed wood wall panels, and a refined wall covering set as a backdrop for their extensive rotating art program. The first local artist showcased in the series is Erin Parish.

Located at 8 Mint Plaza, Oro will serve dinner Monday through Thursday from 5:30-10p.m and Friday and Saturday from 5:30-11pm. Reservations can be made at www.orosf.com, or by calling 415-974-1212.

Celebrate Harvest at Press Club

Press Club
Press Club

On Sunday, Sept. 27, Press Club, San Francisco’s favorite wine bar and lounge at the foot of the Four Seasons Hotel invites guests to celebrate the wine harvest with a comprehensive tasting event featuring some of the establishment’s favorite wines. The posh spot will create an exclusive atmosphere for wine-loving ticket holders to enjoy unlimited tastings and small bites from Press Club’s delectable menu – during its annual Harvest Party. Representatives from 16 California wineries from Santa Barbara to the Sonoma Coast will be present, sharing sips of their vintages and sharing insights on the flavors and nuances of the season’s harvest. From 2:00-5:00 p.m., head sommelier Mauro Cirilli will welcome representatives from 16 California wineries including: La Fenetre Wines, Turnbull Wine Cellars, C. Donatiello Winery, Kunin Wines, Bravium, Arietta, Porter Creek Vineyards, Bedrock Wine Co.,Caraccioli Cellars, Hendry Ranch Wines, Skylark Wine Co., Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery and Paradigm Winery. The Press Club is located at 20 Yerba Buena Lane, San Francisco.

Foreign Cinema To Celebrate Its Sweet 16

foreign cinema
Foreign Cinema, one of San Francisco’s most enduring and iconic dining destinations for local, national and international visitors, celebrates its 16th birthday with a night of delicious jubilation on Thursday, September 24. Chefs Gayle Pirie and John Clark toast the occasion with their favorite wine – Chablis! The two have created a vibrant a la carte menu inspired by the wine and region, combined with some of their favorite dishes and ingredients. Highlights include Three Cheese Gougères, Fruits de Mer, Oysters on the Half Shell, Coquilles St. Jacques, Grilled Duck, Comte, Chaource, Epoisses; LeGrande Aioli, the fist walnuts, Fall Escarole, Tarte Tatin and Oeufs a la Neige.

In addition, Wine Director Shannon Tucker will show off all the complexities the Chablis region has to offer by featuring some of their favorite producers. The selection will highlight older and younger wines including Dauvissat, Tribut, Raveneau, Fevre, to name a few.

Proceeds support MissionLocal, a Mission District publication that has been reporting on everything from tacos to tech, crime to culture, murals to MUNI, recording the lives and changes in the city’s oldest neighborhood since 2008. Foreign Cinema is located at 2534 Mission Street at 22nd Street.

Miguel Peffer Is New Chef de Cuisine at Barbacco

Barbacco, the beloved and noted Italian eatery located in San Francisco’s Financial District, has named Miguel Peffer as its Chef de Cuisine. Sharing a like minded philosophy for sustainable and well-sourced ingredients, Miguel will be Chef Staffan Terje’s man in charge at barbacco, after a wealth of experience working through the ranks of its kitchen. A Bay Area native and graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Miguel gained his restaurant culinary training at a number of highly established restaurants in the city immediately afterwards, including Paragon, Salt House, and Waterbar. When barbacco opened in 2010, Miguel joined the staff as a cook, recognized early on for his talent by being promoted soon afterwards to sous chef. Miguel has worked in closely with Chef Terje over the years, embracing and immersing himself in Italy’s varied regional cuisines and their unique ingredients, dishes, and culinary techniques. At barbacco, Chef Miguel will showcase his creative talents, putting his touches on the Italian cuisine that the restaurant is renowned for.

To celebrate Italy’s regional cuisine, Chef Miguel creates an additional menu within the dinner menu. The dishes are created from recipes to reflect tradition and the bounty of the season. September’s regional menu at barbacco is inspired by Campania, and features the following:

Insalata Caprese
Mozzarella di Bufala, Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fried Carnaroli Rice Croquettes with Ragu Napoletano

Insalata di Frutti di Mare
Seasonal Shellfish Salad with Lemon and Olive Oil

Linguine alle Vongole
Pasta with Clams. Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic, Chili Pepper

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca
Pasta with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Anchovy, Capers, Olives

“Zuppa di Pesce”
Neapolitan Fish and Shellfish Stew with Tomatoes, Garlic, Chili Pepper, and White Wine

“Coniglio all’Ischitana”
Rabbit Braised with Tomato, White Wine, Basil, Chili Pepper

Regional Wines

Pietratorcia – Biancolella, 2012
Terredora di Paolo – Falanghina, 2013

Terredora di Paolo – Aglianico, 2012
Monte di Grazia – Alicante Bouschet, 2010

New Menus at Café Claude

Cafe Claude happy hour_Credit Cafe ClaudePhoto Credit: Courtesy of Café Claude

Café Claude, downtown San Francisco’s quintessential French bistro, is excited to announce the addition of two new menus to its repertoire. A new weekday Happy Hour menu features an array of cocktails, wines on tap, dollar oysters and classic French bites such as poutine, spicy frites and a trio of croques.  The team has also introduced a $25 three course Prix Fixe Lunch Menu, highlighting a variety of favorites including the Goat Cheese Tartelette, Mustard Crusted Salmon and Crème Brûlée. Guests can enjoy offerings from both menus al fresco on Café Claude’s charming patio. Café Claude is located at 7 Claude Lane, San Francisco.

Tuesday DJ Night at Americano Restaurant & Bar

Daytime Patio Americano 2Photo Credit: Courtesy Americano Restaurant & Bar

Make your plans now to attend Americano Restaurant & Bar’s Tuesday DJ night, taking place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. each week through October. As you know, Americano at Hotel Vitale is a hot spot in San Francisco’s waterfront neighborhood, providing the perfect setting to decompress with friends and co-workers over seasonal shared plates, craft cocktails, and refreshing suds while listening to a new local talent each week mixing tunes. Americano’s expansive outdoor patio with incredible views that include the historic Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge. It is the ideal setting for visitors to enjoy Peroni on draft, as well as other fun summer-into-fall selections such as Blue Moon Cinnamon Horchata Ale and Crispin Apple Cider.
Americano’s talented Executive Chef Josua Perez will also be on the patio grilling bites to pair with the music and drinks. A sampling of Chef Josh’s offerings include:

Bruschetta with Grilled Peaches, Burrata & Mint
Pork Belly with Heirloom Tomatoes, Arugula & Grilled Bread
Merguez Sausage Crepinettes with Corn Pudding & Watercress