Halibut with Robuchon potatoes at the new Selby’s.
You know a restaurant has got it going on when nearly all of its 48 main dining-room seats are already booked solid for the next two months and its private dining rooms already are sought after for Christmas soirees — and it hasn’t even opened its doors yet.
Such is the case of the hotly anticipated Selby’s in Redwood City on the edge of Atherton, which officially opens to the public on Tuesday, July 23 to serve dinner nightly.
It’s the latest project by the Bacchus Management Group, which also operates nearby Michelin-starred The Village Pub in Woodside, The Village Bakery & Cafe in Woodside, Pizza Antica in San Jose’s Santana Row, and Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto; as well as Michelin-starred Spruce, and The Saratoga, both in San Francisco.
The 10,000-square-foot property on El Camino Real has been various restaurants since 1938, most recently Chantilly’s. For more than a year, including four months of construction, the Bacchus Group labored to completely transform the interior into a sumptuous establishment, as I saw when I was invited in as a guest of a media preview dinner last week.
The main dining room on the first floor.
The mixed media “Golden State” art work created by Lost Art Salon proprietor Rob Delamater hangs above the fireplace.
The swank bar.
Local artist Magnus Scheven’s focal point chandelier.
Dark emerald mohair covers the walls not only to add luxury, but act as a sound dampener. I dare you to not spend at least a few moments caressing the walls (yes, really) that feel like plush velvet to the touch. Real gold leaf glitters on the back wall of the bar, as well as the ceiling of the restrooms. There’s even a secret poker room upstairs that doubles as a private dining room.
A pile of just-seared shishitos gets dressed with lovely goat cheese and sage leaves.
Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards and Winery in the Sonoma Valley takes pride in everything it does. It grows its own organic olives and Bordeaux varietal grapes, and makes its own olive oil and wine. It’s even won state awards for its sustainability practices.
Moreover, it has its own culinary team, whose talents are on full display in the new cookbook, “Stone Edge Farm Kitchen Larder Cookbook” (Rizzoli), of which I received a review copy.
The book is by John McReynolds, Mike Emanuel, and Fiorella Butron, who are respectively the culinary director, estate chef, and chef de cuisine for the winery.
The winery boasts a restored 1910 farm house, where tastings can be enjoyed by appointment-only, along with options for food and wine pairings, private cooking demonstrations, and private dining events.
The recipes reflect the bounty of produce the estate raises: “Lacto-Fermented Vegetables,” “Asparagus Tempura with Meyer Lemon Aioli, ”Oak Ember-Grilled Pork Chops with Quince Mostarda” and “Cabarnet Sauvignon Grape and Wine Granita.”
I gravitated to “Charred Padron peppers with Goat Cheese and Sage,” which also can be made with shishito peppers instead.
The seafood sampler at The Vault.
The iconic Bank of America skyscraper in San Francisco’s Financial District holds a special place in my heart.
It’s where my Mom worked for years at a brokerage firm. And it’s where I’d work high school and college summers in her office for her boss, sorting and filing papers. The company was located on the 32nd floor, high up enough that when the Blue Angels were in town, you could gawk at the planes — and feel a rumble — as they whizzed by the windows practically at eye level. Now, that was something.
It’s been many years since I’ve been back inside that building. But recently, I had the chance, when I was invited in to dine as a guest at the new The Vault, located on the concourse level.
The newest concept by the Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group, it is also quite something to behold. The restaurant group may be known for its relaxed, neighborhood spots — Trestle, Corridor, and Fat Angel — but The Vault, which really is in the bank’s old vault area, is total swank.
As Hi Neighbor partner Ryan Cole told me, “It’s a different crowd than SOMA.”
The place where power people imbibe.
Private liquor lockers for patrons.
That meant a different vibe was in order. After all, the building still houses some of the top financial services firms around. While one could easily still walk in here wearing the usual skinny jeans uniform, you will see far more suit jackets and blazers than you ever would in the South of Market area.
Portuguese mackerel conserva and a glass of natural wine make a perfect nosh at Verjus.
Should you be adding to your Allbirds collection at the trendy shoemaker’s only San Francisco store, you need to pivot afterward to Verjus.
Should you be browsing the stylish watches at nearby Shinola, you need to follow it up by taking a seat at Verjus.
Basically, if you’re anywhere in San Francisco’s Jackson Square — or even farther afoot — you need to make a beeline to this natty new wine bar by Lindsay and Michael Tusk of acclaimed Quince and Cotogna restaurants.
If you know the couple’s two other San Francisco establishments, you know they don’t do anything halfway. Verjus, which opened in January just a short stroll from Quince and Cotogna, takes the concept of a wine bar and improves on it royally with one of the largest collections of natural wines offered in the Bay Area, along with a menu of classic European bistro-type food done impeccably well. Yet the vibe is as laid-back as you’d want. There’s a hidden refinement to everything that bolsters the experience without ever turning it stuffy or pretentious.
The wine bar.
The fun menu board.
I had a chance to see for myself, when I was invited in as a guest of the establishment recently.
Ever tried a duck burger? You definitely should!
Chicken and turkey make decent enough burger substitutes.
But they ain’t got nothing on duck.
If you’ve never had a duck burger before, prepare yourself for a most righteous patty on a bun.
In the cookbook, “Kindness & Salt: Recipes for the Care and Feeding of Your Friends and Neighbors” (Grand Central Life & Style, 2018), of which I received a review copy, the recipe may be called “Duck Meatloaf,” but even authors Ryan Angulo and Doug Crowell advise that it can be eaten burger-style with a smear of mustard.
The two owners and chefs of the popular Brooklyn spots, French Louie and Buttermilk Channel, have served this duck dish at the latter since it opened in 2008.
The cookbook’s title refers to the two most important ingredients they believe that are needed to take a good meal into the realm of greatness.
The 100-plus recipes give the makings to serve just that in the casual comfort of your own home with recipes such as “Salt-Roasted Beet Hummus,” “Slow-Roasted Pork Spare Ribs with Ancho Chile Marinade” and “Delicata Squash Tart.”