Northside SF
The Tablehopper
Six new cheap eats spots for your dining radar
It’s a new year (cheers!), and there are plenty of new openings for you to add to your to-try list. Because many wallets can be a little strained after the holidays, this roundup of casual restaurants should truly fit the bill.

Now open in the former Café Kati space is Roostertail (1963 Sutter Street, 415-776-6873), an upscale, fast-casual American rotisserie in the Upper Fillmore. Chef-owners Gerard Darian and Tracy Green serve familiar favorites from the American and Californian traditions, using local or at least U.S.-grown produce. If you haven’t already guessed from the name, the restaurant’s emphasis is chicken, specifically Mary’s free-range, air-chilled chickens humanely raised in California that are cooked on a rotisserie spit. Crispy chicken wings tossed in Roostertail’s signature green sauce and a slow-roasted, spiced-rubbed beef brisket are also on the menu. Sandwich options include pulled pork with house-made pickles; beef brisket with sweet onion marmalade; rotisserie chicken salad, bacon, and Pt. Reyes toma cheese; barbecue chicken with caramelized onion and Portobello mushroom; and cheesesteak-style beef brisket, all served on Acme bread. The oversized chopped salads sound almost as hearty as the sandwiches when you add a daily protein, with local cheeses to boot. Seasonal sides, old-fashioned desserts, and local/domestic tap and canned beers and wines round out the offerings. Choose from seating at walnut dining counters and tables or at the black granite bar with red bar stools.

Over in North Beach, Tupelo (1337 Grant Avenue, 415-981-9177) has opened in the former Mojito. The chef is Mark Danziger, who worked at AQUA under Michael Mina, Chow, and Fog City Diner. The Southern menu includes cocktail-friendly soul food tapas like crispy pickles and ham hock croquettes, po’boy sandwiches, and six different grits dishes, plus some salads and a burger with candied bacon and a cheddar frico on the patty (crunch crunch). Gotta love the sausage on the sandwich from Little City Market and the bread from Italian French Baking Co., both in North Beach to keep it local. Oh, and on the brunch menu there’s pork belly hash and a crayfish omelet. Come hungry.

Yup, it’s another year of ramen, ramen, ramen. A new pop-up ramen shop opened in the Usual Suspects Cafe on Broadway called Kirimachi (450 Broadway Street), which means “fog city.” Chef Leonardi Gondoputro has worked in Japanese restaurants for the past four years (including Sanraku, but they don’t serve ramen there). Turns out it’s one of his obsessions – he likes ramen so much he wanted to make his own. He is serving two kinds: tonkotsu and chicken miso, using proteins from Marin Sun Farms, and the noodles are custom made. A bowl is $10, tax included. Hours are Monday–Friday 10:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.–9 p.m. (He is sharing the space with another vendor, so he isn’t in the location full-time.)

Cow Hollow has Bistro Unique (1849 Union Street, 415-218-4136) to add to its list of French bistros. The menu features a variety of salads, mussels, cassoulet, and steak frites ($25 at dinner), with omelets and croques for brunch. Lunch is also served.

In the Financial District, Francophiles will want to check out Galette 88 (88 Hardie Place, 415-989-2222), a gourmet gal- ette and crêpe place from Erin Rooney (Slow Club, Serpentine), Céline Guillou (formerly of Yield Wine Bar), and Jean-Marie Gillet. Their 40-seat spot serves ten savory buckwheat crêpes and five or six dessert crêpes ranging from $7–$10. Crêpes ordered for eating in include a small green salad (also available are three salades complètes). They also serve cider in bottles, aguas frescas, and Four Barrel drip coffee for now, with plans to add coffee drinks later. 

Out in the Richmond, one of the City’s most popular places for dim sum on the weekends (and family dinners), the three-year-old Hong Kong Lounge at 5322 Geary Boulevard opened a second location near Laurel Heights (3300 Geary Boulevard, 415-668-8802) in the former Pot de Pho space. Because the second location is a third of the size of the original location, the menu will be a bit edited (but don’t worry, it includes dim sum and the Peking duck).
Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular weekly dining e-column at and has a book about dining and drinking in San Francisco. Her new website,, highlights the City’s best dishes. E-mail hot tips to  marcia@

March 2012
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