Category Archives: Restaurants

Sent Sovi Transforms Into Relish Gastro Lounge

An adult root beer float at Relish Gastro Lounge.

An adult root beer float at Relish Gastro Lounge.

 

The hushed atmosphere and the white tablecloths have been jettisoned. And a whole new concept and personality have taken hold.

Sent Sovi in downtown Saratoga was Chef David Kinch’s stepping stone to even greater accolades as he went on to establish the Michelin three-starred Manresa in Los Gatos.

Chef Josiah Slone purchased the restaurant from Kinch, and for nearly 13 years kept the fine-dining ambiance, but with his own spin on it.

Now he and wife Khin Khin Slone have overturned that format, and launched a much more casual restaurant in its place.

Relish Gastro Lounge debuted in February with its reclaimed wood tables, color-changing lights, and soundtrack of rock and jazz. I had a chance to check it out a couple weeks ago when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

RelishSign

The tap system.

The tap system.

The wine preservation system.

The wine preservation system.

You’ll find 20 wines by the glass (preserved with the same argon gas system Sent Sovi used), along with 24 beers on tap. The menu, headed up by Chef Timothy Uttaro, former Sent Sovi sous chef, is made for sharing.

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Coi’s Second Act

Ocean trout as imagined by the newly anointed chef of San Francisco's Coi.

Ocean trout as imagined by the newly anointed chef of San Francisco’s Coi.

 

Daniel Patterson is a hard act to follow.

The cerebral and celebrated chef created a very personal oasis of zen elegance in a neighborhood of strip clubs when he opened Coi in San Francisco.

Last year, he decided to step down as executive chef to devote more time to overseeing his growing roster of restaurants — Alta CA in San Francisco, Aster in San Francisco, Haven in Oakland, and Plum Bar in Oakland — as well as his new Locol fast-food concept in partnership with Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ Truck fame.

But he has found a most accomplished successor in Matthew Kirkley, who took over COI in January. The Baltimore-reared chef has worked at such renowned establishments as the Fat Duck in London, L20 in Chicago, Restaurant Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas, and Le Meurice in Paris.

His flawless technique and breathtaking food attest to the fact that Patterson has left Coi in extraordinary hands.

The restaurant offers three wine pairing options.

The restaurant offers three wine pairing options.

The intimate dining room.

The intimate dining room.

I had a chance to experience it when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant earlier this month.

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Black Bark: Bringing Back the ‘Cue to the Fillmore District

Three sauces at the ready at Black Bark BBQ in San Francisco.

Three sauces at the ready at Black Bark BBQ in San Francisco.

 

On his many walks around San Francisco’s Fillmore District, Chef David Lawrence remembers stumbling upon an intriguing sign imprinted in the sidewalk across the street from his elegant 1300 on Fillmore restaurant.

It read: Kansas City Hickory Pit Bar-B-Cue, 1335 Fillmore.

The long-gone business hinted at the Fillmore’s past as a neighborhood where barbecue once reigned, including in spots such as at 1911 Fillmore St., the former site of Leon’s Bar-B-Q, and now home to the celebrated SPQR.

In much the same way that Lawrence and his wife Monetta White brought back a stylish jazz supper club feel with 1300 on Fillmore to this neighborhood that historically attracted black artists and musicians, they sought to return a vestige of delicious smoke and fire to the neighborhood.

Owners Monetta White and David Lawrence.

Owners Monetta White and David Lawrence.

In January, they did just that — opening their second restaurant, Black Bark BBQ, right in front of the old Kansas City sign that first piqued their interest.

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New Chef Bringing Table-Side Service Front & Center to Bourbon Steak at Levi’s Stadium

http://www.foodgal.com/2015/07/bourbon-steak-scores-at-levis-stadium/

Executive Chef Lee Bennett putting on a show with crepes Suzette at Bourbon Steak at Levi’s Stadium.

 

Raised in Yorkshire, England, Executive Chef Lee Bennett was head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill, worked at Alain Ducasse’s Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, and has cooked at events for the likes of David Beckham, and the royal family.

Now, he’s bringing his years of classical training and a bit of British sensibility to Bourbon Steak & Bourbon Pub at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

Most notably with table-side service with carts, which he hopes will distinguish Bourbon Steak from other steakhouses in the area.

“The older people remember table service and love it,” Bennett says. “And it’s so old-fashioned that Millennials have never seen it, so they think it’s cool.”

Each day, Bennett plans to feature a rotating special done table-side. It will include everything from beef Wellington or Dover sole finished table-side to bananas Foster flamed in front of diners.

Last week, I had a chance to check out the new offerings, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

Bennett took over the helm at the steak house and adjacent Bourbon Pub in January — just in time for the Super Bowl. Although his wife is American, Bennett says he was still getting the hang of football in the states, when the big game descended upon him.

“I don’t know the game too well,” he says with a chuckle. “But it was a phenomenal experience. We opened up the restaurant after the game because Beyonce, Stephen Curry and others wanted a bite to eat. It was great!”

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Pulling Up A Bar Stool At Harvest Table in St. Helena

Smoked trout at the Harvest Table.

Smoked trout at the Harvest Table.

 

That’s exactly where I planted myself.

On Super Bowl Sunday.

While the rest of the Bay Area congregated in San Francisco for all the hoopla or Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara for the actual game, I headed to St. Helena.

Not to escape the hubbub, necessarily. But since I had to be in Wine Country bright and early the next day, I decided to stay the night before. It gave me the perfect excuse to check out Chef Charlie Palmer’s new Harvest Table at the venerable Harvest Inn.

Palmer took over the property a year and a half ago. He added a restaurant last spring, taking what was once just a reception area and building it out, though, keeping the ornate staircase and massive fireplace already there to add interest to the modern, clean-lined space.

The grounds have a Mediterranean-country feel with towering trees and a stone courtyard.

The grounds have a Mediterranean-country feel with towering trees and a stone courtyard.

The neatly appinted bar.

The neatly appointed bar.

He installed Executive Chef Levi Mezick, formerly of Restaurant 1833 in Monterey, and he hired Culinary Horticulturalist Laura McNiff to tend the fruit trees and herbs growing on the property.

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