In this edition, the Elbo Room reopens under a new name and ownership; an Asian fusion spot expands in the FiDi; a Mission bar launches brunch and an Outer Richmond tavern now offers happy hour deals.
Valencia Room (647 Valencia St.)
While many feared that long-running Mission bar and dance club Elbo Room would be lost to condos, the building is staying put — and reopened last night under new ownership as the Valencia Room.
Last year, Steve Schefsky, an owner of Polk Street bar Playland and FiDi bar Topsy's Fun House, acquired the bar from its longtime former owners, Susan and Dennis Ring.
With operators Matt Shapiro and Erik Cantu (who took over from the Rings in 2010) having already made plans to move Elbo Room to Oakland, Schefsky teamed up with operators Davin Ché and Sylvia Holden (previously of Brooklyn bar Mary's) to reopen the bar as Valencia Room.
Longtime Elbo Room fans will find the space looks much the same, aside from some new collages in the entryway, new lighting throughout and a new neon sign out front. Ché and Holden have also upgraded the bathrooms, and added a state-of-the-art Void Acoustics sound system for DJs and live music acts.
The bar is in its soft-opening phase, so a schedule of events is still to come. But fans can follow its Instagram page for updates.
Bamboo Asia (311 California St.)
Fast-casual Asian eatery Bamboo Asia is on an expansion tear. Its new California Street outpost opened this past Friday, May 17, marking its second location in the FiDi (the other is at 41 Montgomery St.) and third in San Francisco. In June, it will debut another location at 1221 Broadway in downtown Oakland.
Offering a mix of Japanese, Vietnamese and Indian fare, Bamboo's lineup includes rice bowls, banh mi sandwiches and sushi rolls. Options include the "northern catch" bowl with salmon, tempura shrimp, red rock crab, eggplant chips and more; or the shaking beef curry, with beef, green beans, avocado and coconut curry over rice.
True Laurel (753 Alabama St.)
Mission cocktail bar and eatery True Laurel is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
"We have lots of regulars that live around True Laurel," said bar director Nicolas Torres, and the hope is to offer them a neighborhood brunch option. The bar won't accept reservations for brunch, and will remain open straight through from morning to night (though the kitchen closes from 2-5 p.m.)
Chef-owner David Barzelay (Lazy Bear) and his chef de cuisine Geoff Davis developed the menu, which includes dishes like soft-scrambled eggs with chicken confit, house made fermented hot sauce and butter and the bar's popular patty melt, topped with a beef fat fried egg.
On the sweet side of things, Davis told Hoodline that his and his team are doing "a pretty straightforward buttermilk pancake" with "Bloody Butcher" cornmeal from Tierra Vegetables in Sonoma County. It's topped with butter mixed with sweet corn puree, and drizzled with smoked maple syrup.
New brunch drinks include the coffee-centric True Brew (cold brew, caffe’ amaro, PX sherry, cold crème) and the Oh Shandy, a mix of Temescal Hazy IPA and a winter citrus shrub topped with salt. There are also four non-alcoholic cocktails, such as a salted grapefruit spritz (grapefruit oleo, soda, salt) and the King’s Cup (lemonade, thyme, rooibos tea).
For the complete brunch menu, click here.
Violet's (2301 Clement St.)
On Monday, year-old Outer Richmond tavern Violet’s launched a new daily happy hour, featuring discounted snacks and beverages like $9 wings, $7 chips and dip, $4 Miller High Life and a $9 cocktail, the Happy Daze (with bourbon, hibiscus-infused vodka, apple whiskey, mint, lemon and club soda). Those seeking a full meal can get a burger and a Happy Daze for $21.
The happy hour, which runs from 5-6 p.m. on weekdays and 3-5 p.m. on weekends, is intended to complement Violet's late-night menu (which is offered Tuesday-Thursday after 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday after 11 p.m.) Both are relative rarities in the neighborhood, which doesn't have much in the way of nightlife.
“There were not always a lot of options out here," said co-owner Boris Nemchenok. "We’re happy to be able to fill a need in the neighborhood with things like late-night service, and we notice both travelers and neighbors joining us."
Nemchenok and co-owner Brandon Gillis, who are also behind nearby pizzeria Fiorella and its sister location on Polk, recently brought on a new chef for Violet's — State Bird Provisions and Fatted Calf alum George Mullen. He's planning to update the restaurant's menu to make it more seasonal, with new additions like farmer's market vegetable crudités.
Mullen has been “awesome to work with," Nemchenok said. “His background has brought new skills and a new perspective to Violet’s, and we’re excited to have regulars and new diners in to try his dishes."
For more information, visit Violet's website.
Have you noticed a new addition to (or subtraction from) San Francisco's food landscape? Text a tip and a horizontal photo to (415) 200-3233, and we'll look into it.
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