Sausage Bagels at The Board (photo: Grace Sager)

 

Grilled Salmon Bowl at Pacific Catch

On the Blackboard: San Francisco

By Trevor Felch

New York bagels, from New York, at The Board
You hear it all the time from New York expats—San Francisco’s food scene is amazing but the bagels can’t compete. Adam Mesnick took matters into his own hands when opening the three-month old diner-style sibling to his popular flagship, The Deli Board. He won’t say what his secret source is, but the bagels are indeed flown in from New York. Choose a simple schmear of cream cheese, or a served closed or open-faced bagel with avocado—because this is California after all—and on some days, the shipment from the east even includes lox. We have no doubt that these are some of SF’s best bagels—and probably will even impress the New Yorkers in the crowd.
Neighborhood: SoMa MAP

Bouchon welcomes spring with a new chef
David Hodson recently took over as chef de cuisine at Thomas Keller’s casual French destination in Napa, marking a return to the restaurant where he started as a young chef de partie in 2009 before moving onto The French Laundry. With the chef comes a new and exciting spring menu full of seasonal-specific dishes like Sacramento Delta green asparagus with piquillo pepper marmalade, burrata, and crispy Bayonne ham. The dessert menu offers a thrilling chance to try K+M Chocolate (a collaboration of Keller and an esteemed Italian olive oil maker) with a parfait of chocolate mousse, candied hazelnuts, and speculoos cookies.
Neighborhood: Yountville MAP

Bernie Lomax cocktail at Lord George

Lord George celebrates Spring Break
Now in its fourth season, Lord George’s rotating guest bartender series, Mavericks, is a beach party for the next three months with the “Spring Break” menu from San Francisco bar star Brian Means of Union Square’s P.C.H. (and previously at Dirty Habit). Expect playful riffs on poolside classics like the Polka Dot Bikini that turns a piña colada upside-down with a rich coconut cream base rounded out by vodka, rosé, and lemon juice. With names inspired by ‘80s pop culture references (Bernie Lomax) and beach clichés (Toes in the Sand), each drink comes with its own retro postcard on the menu. The must-try is The Third Wheel, somehow both tiki and elaborately stiff thanks to Licor 43, amaro sfumato, and Japanese whisky. The Top Gun-inspired Sets on the Beach comes in a tall glass nestled inside a small flamingo floatie. Even better, 50 cents from each Mavericks cocktail goes to the American Cancer Society.
Neighborhood: SoMa MAP

Clean seafood catch at Pacific Catch
We hear about “clean eating” all the time, but in this case it’s not activated charcoal juice or açai bowls. Pacific Catch’s locations now offer “clean catch” dishes that focus on sustainably caught seafood prepared in simple, health-minded preparations, along with non-seafood dishes following the same philosophy. For example, grilled Verlasso salmon (approved by Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch), quinoa, and brown rice bowl with avocado, roast cauliflower, marinated cucumbers, and a cilantro-pepita pesto. Surprisingly, there are also dessert and cocktail options—yes, you can feel good about the vegan forbidden mango sticky rice with coconut cream and the blood orange margarita.
Neighborhood: Inner Sunset MAP

Crawfish boil at Alba Ray's (photo: Hardy Wilson)

Crawfish-filled good times at Alba Ray’s
It’s always a NOLA-style party at the Mission’s popular Cajun cooking destination, but crawfish season takes it to the next level. For $49, enjoy a family-style crawfish boil that covers the table with all sorts of delicious sides and seafood. Besides the mud bugs served by the bucket, guests can enjoy char-broiled oysters, boudin balls, hunks of corn, andouille sausage, and beignets for desserts (save room!). There is a two-guest minimum, the boils are Tuesday through Saturday only, and reservations must be made at least 72 hours in advance.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Michel Bistro transitions into Bardo Lounge & Supper Club
It’s rare for a restaurant to transition seamlessly from one concept’s closing to the next one’s opening, but it’s happening in Oakland. Michel Bistro in Grand Lake says goodbye with a public farewell party on April 14, and reopens as Bardo Lounge & Supper Club in mid June to early July. The staff, including chefs Anthony Salguero and Brian Starkey, will stay on with owners Seth and Jenni Bregman, who bought Michel Bistro last year. Until mid-April, a menu of Michel Bistro’s greatest hits, led by bison tartare and the much-adored lamb burger, will be served. Looking ahead, Bardo will be a distinct change with more of a ‘60s supper club-meets-cozy living room vibe, with period favorites like meatloaf sliders and deviled eggs.
Neighborhood: Oakland MAP

$20 family meal deal at Compline

Compline’s must-try nightly $20 family menu
A pair of talented sommeliers with glittery resumes including The French Laundry and Charlie Trotter’s head up this key new destination in Napa. Blurring the lines between retail shop, wine bar, and casual restaurant, with a smart selection of seasonal Californian plates and a well-curated selection of mostly non-Napa wines, Compline fills a niche in Napa by being open late and actually serving a non-pub grub menu, until midnight nightly. Compline’s steal of a $20 family meal deal offers a weekly changing plate and a glass of wine for $20 from 9 p.m. to midnight nightly. Think lasagna with a Nebbiolo from Piemonte’s Langhe region, or the Colombian dish tostones con pollo (chicken and tomatillo salsa atop fried plantain slices) with a Scheurebe (yes, that’s a real grape) by Pfeffingen from the Pfalz region of Germany.
Neighborhood: Napa MAP

Serpentine heads to Kentucky for Sunday supper
The Kentucky Derby is still a month away, but it’s not too early be thinking about mint juleps and chocolate chess pie. In 2017, Serpentine renovated the décor and tweaked its Southern-edged menu for its tenth-anniversary this year. To celebrate hitting the decade mark, they’re offering a monthly family-style Sunday Supper for $40 per person. The debut edition focused on Lousiana, and on April 22 the next one heads to Kentucky. Starters include cornbread, deep-fried catfish in brioche, and a platter of Southern meats and ham with pimento cheese and biscuits. Chicken and dumplings alongside spring succotash are the mains before the straight-out-of-Louisville dessert duo of chocolate chess pie and strawberry-rhubarb cobbler.
Neighborhood: Dogpatch MAP

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