Category Archives: Restaurants

Sons & Daughters: Grand Food From A Tiny Kitchen

A trio of amuses starts off the night at Sons & Daughters.

A trio of amuses starts off the night at Sons & Daughters.

 

When you step inside the doorstep of San Francisco’s Sons & Daughters, you can’t help but notice the open kitchen smack in front of you — mostly because of its size.

Put it this way: Walk-in closets are larger.

To see four chefs working so seamlessly in such close quarters gives you pause.

And to see the caliber of the food they manage to turn out there takes your breath away.

The elegant restaurant, dressed up with charcoal linens, chandeliers and large framed mirrors, was opened in 2010 by chefs Teague Moriarty and Matt McNamara. These days, McNamara also lives on and works the 83-acre Dark Hill Farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which supplies the Sons & Daughters Restaurant Group that also includes The Square in North Beach.

A sliver of a kitchen.

A sliver of a kitchen.

A 2015 Holm Oak Pinot Noir from Tasmania as part of the wine pairings.

A 2015 Holm Oak Pinot Noir from Tasmania as part of the wine pairings.

I had a chance to dine at the cozy 28-seat restaurant, when I was invited in as a guest a week ago. When you are seated, along with the menus (which have the name of your party printed at the top in a welcome message), you are presented with a leather-bound booklet that includes information and photos of the farm. Food scraps are composted on the farm, which produces fruits, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, and rabbits that inspire every menu. Indeed, on the back of the menu is a list of the season’s harvest that may be in the dishes that night — everything from redwood sorrel to apriums to ice plant to Buff Orpington eggs.

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Mosu Blossoms on Fillmore Street

Chef Sung Anh in his kitchen at Mosu.

Chef Sung Anh in his kitchen at Mosu.

 

Chef Sung Anh had no idea the trajectory of his career would change when Corey Lee sat down in front of his station at the sushi bar at the illustrious Urasawa in Beverly Hills.

Anh, who was born in Seoul and had already cooked at Water Grill in Los Angeles, had begun as a dishwasher at that kaiseki temple and worked his way through every position, including reservationist before becoming sous chef there.

He admired Lee, also Seoul-born, who had made his mark as the head chef of the French Laundry in Yountville before striking out on his own to open the acclaimed Benu in San Francisco.

“I joked to him that I wanted to be more than a sushi chef,” Anh recalls. “I wanted to wear a white chef’s coat.”

And he did. Thanks to Lee’s encouragement, Anh joined the French Laundry as chef de partie for two years before becoming chef de cuisine of Aziza in San Francisco. In late February, he took his biggest step yet — opening his own restaurant, Mosu in San Francisco’s Fillmore District.

The name is derived from “cosmos” (pronounced co-so-mo-su), vibrant Korean flowers that Anh fondly remembers from his childhood.

Tuna belly and monkfish liver rolled up in kombu and daikon.

Tuna belly and monkfish liver rolled up in kombu and daikon.

It’s a tiny (only 18 seats), very personal restaurant, as I discovered when I was invited in as a guest a couple weeks ago. It’s also by reservation-only. Which is good, because it’s unlikely passersby would come in otherwise, because the restaurant is behind a massive, unmarked wood door. You have no idea what is behind it just by looking at it. Anh explains that he designed it that way to play up the themes of simplicity, modesty, intimacy and mystery.

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Join the Food Gal and Chef Hector Figueroa of Pintxo Pote for A Cooking Demo

MacysPinxtosPote

Fall in love with the flavors of Basque-Spanish cuisine when Chef Chef Hector Figueroa of the delightful Pintxo Pote in Los Gatos joins me for a cooking demo, 2 p.m. July 24 at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

Pintxo Pote specializes in authentic tapas, particularly those traditionally served in the seaside city of San Sebastian, Spain. These delectable small plates are meant for sharing with alongside glasses of Spanish wine.

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Big City-Eats At Small-Town Rancho Nicasio

The stunning rabbit liver appetizer at the Western Room inside Rancho Nicasio.

The stunning rabbit liver appetizer at the Western Room inside Rancho Nicasio.

 

You’ll be excused if you’ve never been to Rancho Nicasio in Marin before.

The out-of-the-way roadhouse and live music venue may not have been on most people’s radar before. But it sure is now.

That’s because about four months ago, it added a new chef.

Not just any chef. But Ron Siegel, former executive chef of Michael Mina Restaurant in San Francisco, who previously headed Masa’s in San Francisco and Charles Nob Hill in San Francisco. And the first American-born chef to beat an Iron Chef on the original Japanese TV cooking competition.

Chef Max Brown who has been at Rancho Nicasio for 18 years since his father Bob Brown, former manager of Pablo Cruise and Huey Lewis & The News, bought the property is still there. He still oversees the main dining room and the massive backyard barbecue festivities.

The unassuming facade of Rancho Nicasio.

The unassuming facade of Rancho Nicasio, built in 1941.

The Western Room.

The Western Room.

But Siegel now serves up an entirely separate menu in the Western Room inside the rustic Rancho Nicasio.

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Anya Fernald’s Jam Tartlets

Whether topped with jam or fresh fruit, these little tartlets are irresistible.

Whether topped with jam or fresh fruit, these little tartlets are irresistible.

 

Anya Fernald is probably best known for being the co-founder and CEO of Belcampo Meat Co., the world’s largest sustainable meat company, which owns everything from its animals to its own slaughterhouse to its own stores and restaurants where its meat is sold.

But leave it to me to get a review copy of her new cookbook “Home Cooked: Essential Recipes For A New Way To Cook” (Ten Speed Press), and to not make a meat-focused recipe, but a dessert one instead.

Because, yes, that’s how my sweet tooth rolls.

HomeCooked

That’s not to say the book isn’t filled with tantalizing carnivore dishes. Having had the pleasure of eating Belcampo’s fare on a couple of occasions, I can attest that you taste the impeccable quality of the meat from the get-go. Because Belcampo raises its own animals, it makes a point to use every part so that nothing goes to waste. The recipes reflect that in everything from “Seared Lamb Heart Crudo” to “Chicken Hearts Cooked in Brown Butter” to “Toma Cheese with Green Herbs” to “Pork & Pepperoncino Sausage.”

But when Fernald writes in the book that “Jam Tartlets” is one of her most requested recipes, how could I resist?

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