San Francisco

Seafood-focused Ayala to open at Union Square's Hotel G

Los Angeles-based Cast Iron Partners, LLC is poised to launch Ayala, a new seafood-focused eatery, at Union Square's Hotel G next month, according to a representative. 

The restaurant group comes from 30-year industry veteran Carl Schuster, who's also the co-founder and CEO of Wolfgang Puck Catering.

Bill Montagne, who won the Jean Banchet Award for Best Chef de Cuisine for his work at Chicago's Nico Osteria, will be Ayala's chef-partner, while Melissa Perfit (Bar Crudo, Hard Water, Bar Tartine) will serve as its executive chef. 

Ayala will take over the space at the Hotel G formerly occupied by 398 Brasserie, which closed in 2017. It joins existing upstairs bar Benjamin Cooper.

Executive chef Melissa Perfit. | Photo: Courtesy Ayala

Ayala's seafood-focused menu is "flexible and designed to be shared," said a representative for the restaurant. 

A raw bar will feature a rotating selection of fresh seafood offerings, such as oysters, Dungeness crab prepared three-ways, Santa Barbara purple uni and red abalone.

Also on offer are locally-inspired crudos, like kombu-cured halibut; pastas like a toasted nori chitarra with uni; and entrees like whole-roasted hiramasa, cioppino verde, or a bone-in pork shank with charred corn polenta, pomegranate and escarole. 

Bar director Julian Cox will offer a cocktail menu with a nautical theme, using ingredients like navy-strength gins and rums, East India Sherry, port and Madeira. An assortment of wines curated by Nick Tilly and Essam Kardosh will also be joining the lineup. 

Chef partner Bill Montagne. | Photo: Courtesy Ayala

The 1,400-square-foot space will feature seating for 120 guests, with an oysterette facing Geary Street, a cocktail bar and a full dining room. The raw bar features a marble-clad oyster station with three different dining options: a VIP table for seven, a semi-private dining area along a 14-seat shared banquet table, and a lean bar with full views of the kitchen. 

Ayala is aiming for a November debut, with dinner to be served nightly. 


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