Here's the latest in SF food news. In this all-Mission edition, a sushi restaurant rebrands and reopens, a Yucatecan restaurant makes its debut, and a soon-to-open Peruvian eatery shares its plans for a nightclub/restaurant complex.
Pinche Sushi (564 Van Ness Ave.)
The Elephant Sushi empire appears to have broken up. Once five restaurants strong, the local mini-chain of shoebox sushi spots has subdivided into two ownership groups.
The Elephant locations in the Tenderloin (75 Geary St.), Russian Hill (1916 Hyde St.) and Oakland (352 14th St.) are now operating under an ownership company called Matreshka LLC, according to public records.
Meanwhile, the Mission location remains under Elephant's original ownership group, and has rebranded as Pinche Sushi — a cheeky moniker aimed at Spanish-speakers. (In Spanish, "pinche" is a swear word used as a modifier, making the new name roughly equivalent to "Goddamned Sushi.")
The same owners have also held on to the former Elephant outpost at 380 Golden Gate Ave., now a poke-bowl spot called Pinche Poke.
Despite the new name, Pinche Sushi doesn't have much of a Latino influence. On the menu, you'll find the standard array of rolls and nigiri, along with some quirkier items like "I Got Chives, Buddy" (arctic char and salmon sashimi with chive pesto and truffles) and "A Nice Sandwich" (a soy wrap with spicy tuna, crushed garlic pita chips, tahini, honey mustard and mayo).
High rollers can order a 16-piece omakase platter ($40) or some "bumps" of ikura ($10) or Siberian caviar ($20) to slurp off the small of their thumbs.
El Porteño II (2293 Mission St.)
Last March, the owners of Excelsior-based Peruvian restaurant El Porteño (5173 Mission St.) purchased a pair of restaurants at 19th and Mission streets — the former Alba Ray's (2293 Mission St.) and Bissap Baobab (3376 19th St.)
Both were high-dollar deals: at the time, Mission Local reported that the Alba Ray's building went for $1.65 million, while Bissap Baobab fetched a little over $2 million.
Owner Silvia Ormeño and her daughter, Kimberly, have already opened a Peruvian restaurant and nightclub, Kimbara, in the Bissap Baobab space. Now, they're gearing up to debut El Porteño II in the Alba Ray's space, with the goal of opening at the end of March or beginning of April.
The original El Porteño serves chifa peruano cuisine (a fusion of Peruvian and Chinese food born out of the Chinese diaspora in Peru in the late 19th century), and most of the menu at El Porteño II will be similar. However, the new restaurant will also have some new dishes with Peruvian fusion elements.
The space will have a full bar, with plans for karaoke on Friday nights and brunch specials on Saturdays and Sundays. It will also serve food late — likely until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Silvia Ormeño said that the Alba Ray's space is in good shape, and that the family will make only minor changes to its design. Eventually, they hope to open up the wall it shares with Kimbara, connecting the two locations to encourage Kimbara clubgoers to enjoy a late-night meal at El Porteño II.
Cocina Mayah (2909 16th St.)
Finally, a restaurant specializing in the cuisine of the Yucatan region recently debuted at 16th Street and South Van Ness Avenue.
Cucina Mayah offers items unique to the region, including panuchos (fried corn tortillas topped with refried black beans, marinated onions and cabbage), cochinita pibil (braised pork with achiote seasoning) and relleno negro (a spicy black stew traditionally made with turkey, but served here with chicken).
For those who prefer more standard taqueria fare, there's also a full selection of tacos, tortas and burritos, as well as empanadas and tamales.
Cucina Mayah is now open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. until midnight.
If you've seen something new (or closing) in the neighborhood, text your tips and photos to (415) 200-3233, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If we use your info in a story, we'll give you credit.
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