New in Town

New And Noteworthy

Café Claude {2120 Greenwich Street; 415.375.9550}

Ah, Paris! Wouldn't it be nice if you could linger on a patio by the Seine, croissant in-hand? Well, it turns out you're closer than you thought. While Café Claude isn't a quick jaunt from Notre Dame, it is a fabulous new French feature near Fillmore Street. Hot on Frank LeClerc's menu are the same treats you'll find in streetside cafés in the City of Love (and Good Food): Charcuterie et Fromage, Truite Amandine (trout with almonds and capers), Confit de Canard (duck leg confit), and an impossibly decadent Mousse au Chocolat. Wines, naturally, are front and center, including a heavenly host of bubblies, crisp whites, and serious reds—including more than a dozen by the glass. And what would make this white tablecloth, cozy dream even more French? Why, music, of course! Every Thursday-Saturday, 7:30-10:30pm, live acts serenade while you indulge. La vie est belle, n'est-ce pas?

A16 Oakland {5356 College Avenue, Oakland; 510.768.8003}

You may know (and patronize with glee) Chef Christopher Thompson's beloved A16 in Marina, but the visionary talent is tantalizing with a new concept in the East Bay now, aptly named A16 Oakland. While the original location boasts Southern Italy's culinary charm (with pizza and wine at the top of the list), Chef Rocky Maselli is taking the new go-to in a slightly different direction. A full bar caters to cocktail connoisseurs, while the clean, vaguely minimalist dining room with heavy wood accents showcases many a seafood gem (like the Bodega Bay halibut and Mendocino sea urchin) and some delectable fried treats (our eyes are on the Crispy Fried Lamb Sweetbreads). And to drink? Wine, of course, but also a lust-worthy assembly of limoncellos, grappas, and amaros.

The Barlow Sonoma {200 Morris Street, Sebastopol; 707.824.5600}

Lucky for Sonomaites, the looming project of The Barlow has come to fruition—complete with several innovative concepts. Instead of a single, stand-alone building housing one culinary concept, the minds behind Barlow have opted to created a bigger space for several restaurants. Among them: Zazu Kitchen + Farm, which opened in August. Paired with a handsome garden surrounding the property, Zazu is dishing up local, organic, farm-to-table fare with a creative kick. For example, locally-sourced pig takes the spotlight in everything from Bacon-Wrapped Dates to Pig Face Poutine (yes, it's delicious, if a bit weird). Cocktails are equally as impressive, while the space intrigues with something of an industrial vibe—complete with roll-up garage doors and corrugated metal. Then there's Woodfour Brewing Co., an internationally-inspired brew hut with the likes of Brett Pale Ale, Dunkelweizen, and Coffee Porter on draft. They also boast an impressive menu for those who like to nibble and sip—with not an item inching above $15. What's next for The Barlow? We're not sure, but it's bound to be delicious.

Proposition Chicken {1750 Market Street}

Politics and dinner have never been more delicious. Partner Ari Feingold puts it this way: “The reason we called it Proposition Chicken is because everyone feels really strongly about their chicken choices, especially in the Bay Area. So we had a little fun using the intensity of the San Francisco ballot initiative for the way you eat your chicken.” That intensity centers on free-range birds in a quick-service concept. You can have it one of three ways: fried, rotisserie-style, or in veggie form (tofu). You can get in a sandwich, on a salad, or simply on the bone. There will also be sides to add some meat to the meal: wings, biscuits, caramelized Brussels sprouts, and hand-cut fries. It's all slated for first service in mid-October, so prepare your taste buds for chicken done right, no matter what the Colonel says.

Tamber Bey Tasting Room {1251 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga; 707.942.2100}

A recent jaunt to Sundance Ranch has brought Tamber Bey Vineyards a fresh look for a popular tasting room. The clubhouse of the former ranch has been converted for sipping and chatting, surrounded by a 22-acre equestrian facility. That means you get amazing views north of Napa in a one-of-a-kind location. Oh, and the wines are delish, too (especially the Unoaked Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc-centered 2011 Sabino). Check the website for information on scheduling tastings and tours, by appointment only.

La Urbana {661 Divisadero Street; 415.440.4500}

It's possible we've already downed several of Urbana's mouthwatering plates, but there's ever more to try. Opened in early September, this upscale Mexican destination has truly remarkable flavor combinations. Who would have thought to woo us with the likes of duck leg, Mayocoba bean spread, and queso fresco? These guys. There's a healthy helping of inspiring dishes, whatever your appetite or budget demands (plates range in cost from $3 to $26). After you sate your savory cravings, save room for the Chocolate Crémeux (Oaxacan chocolate, canela truffle, and mezcal gelée) and an El Pueblo Margarita (secret ingredient: smoked cinnamon syrup). There's just no better way to close out a meal in the elegant, crisp, urbane Urbana.

Hashibiro Kou {1560 Fillmore Street; 415.441.9294}

Named after an endangered Japanese stork (because, why not), Hashibiro Kou is already lighting up the block with izakaya-style dining. A transformation of the former Nan California Korean Kitchen has brought wood-paneling in for some serious design changes, coupled with sprawling lithographs and a contemporary Japanese vibe. The menu—courtesy of Chef Nick Yoon—is largely Japanese-influenced, though hints at Korean flavors. Cases in point: Boneless Short Ribs with vegetables and sesame ponzu, and Tender Pork with housemade kimchee. Sake-based cocktails round out the experience, and we'd expect no less—it is a social drinking-and-dining concept, after all. If you're just ambling in, try this: Hamachi Carpaccio with a touch of chile and mint. Pair with the fragrant Love Hotel libation. Repeat.

Tacolicious North Beach {1548 Stockton Street, North Beach; 415.433.1800}

What's in a name? A taco, apparently. This booming local chain opened its fourth outpost this past summer, and Chef Telmo Faria is dishing up the same satisfaction San Fran has come to expect of Tacoliciousness. As you probably already know, the Tuna Tostada is to-die-for (and if you haven't yet risked your life to eat it, you should), while the Traditional Carnitas Tacos still make us swoon. There's more than fixin's in a shell, though; snacks like Fried Plantains and Grilled Squid keep things fresh and fun, while 20-plus cocktails make Tacolicious quite the catch for after-work vent sessions and friendly get-togethers. You can feel good about a drink and a bite, here, especially since sustainable sourcing is at the heart of this Mexican hotspot. You can thank the dynamic trio Joe Hargrave (owner), Chef Faria, and Mike Barrow (beverage director) for that.

1760 {1760 Polk Street; 415.359.1212}

Some come for the cocktails, others to eat, a few for the scene—but whatever the draw, there’s no getting lost on the way to 1760, the new Polk Street modern American restaurant named after its own street address. Guests find an urban, semi-swanky interior of leather seats, concrete floors, and cool lighting, while in the kitchen, Chef Adam Tortosa prepares nuanced food that reflects seasonal and local availability of ingredients. Tortosa’s cultural influences include Italy and Thailand, a provocative combination that shows through in popular dishes like his Watermelon Gazpacho, Beef Tartare, Grilled Avocado, and Fried Duck Sandwich.

SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant {72 North Almaden Avenue; 408.299.2000}

Upscale pub grub, craft beer, and late-night cocktail hours have brought new life to a retired nightclub in San Jose. SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant opened this summer at the hands of restaurateurs Ryan Melchiano and Ryan Hisamune. The bistro showcases a California menu of seasonal ingredients and European accents, with a few influences from further abroad. The Whole Branzino, Pappardelle, and Burrata show the Italian influence of Consulting Chef Ola Fendert (who created the menu), while the Organic Chicken Nuggets, Manchego-Doused Mac and Cheese, and the Truffle Fries elevate classic items of a sports bar into the echelons of fine dining.