What to expect when modern Russian restaurant Birch & Rye opens in San Francisco
As previously mentioned, Moscow-born Chef Anya El-Wattar, former cook at Greens, will be opening Birch & Rye, an upcoming new Russian restaurant in Noe Valley. Now we have some juicy updates: She no longer appears to be working with Amiran Tskhvaradze, the former Bevri chef in Palo Alto, but has now announced that she will be working with chef Evan Eisan, who comes from Jean Georges and Public. in New York and Acqua and Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco – neither of which are Russian or Georgian restaurants, but dazzling nonetheless.
Either way, the menu moves forward with oozing khachapuri cheese boats, the iconic Georgian dish, as well as ‘high versions’ of potato salad, borscht, stroganoff and other ‘modern Russian’ specialties. Showcasing fermentation and taking advantage of the burning wood-oven, according to a representative. The brunch seems especially nourishing with rye waffles with sour cherries and hazelnuts, as well as a bowl of salted roasted buckwheat topped with nameko mushrooms and a candied egg.
Also new, Long Now’s Jennifer Colliau of Interval will be a beverage consultant, infusing vodka with everything from flowers to horseradish, as well as a range of rare vodkas. The wine list leans Californian, French and Georgian. Architects II is renovating the old Mahila space in Castro and 24th, and seems to have toned down the bright yellows and reds. Birch & Rye is therefore a little more serene with neutral tones, warm woodwork and blue banquets and cushions. As it always seems to be going, the opening has been pushed back – Birch & Rye now plans to open in early 2022. Stay tuned for the full reveal.
Popular Filipino-Japanese pop-up is now full service
Earlier in the fall, the popular Filipino-Japanese pop-up Ox + Tiger started teasing a new semi-permanent location, and although it’s been open for a few months, they’re finally ready for full service. Installed in the former Silog space of Tenderloin, they prepare six izakaya-style dishes for only 10 seats. There are only two seats per night and they are only open on weekends. It’s a big departure from the take-out they served during most of the pandemic, moving to a full seated experience with yakitori-style fish balls on skewers, seafood doria and other comforting riffs and mixes of Japanese and Filipino dishes. Take a reservation if you can.
Inside the San Jose factory making 30,000 tamales this season
It’s officially tamale season too, and Mercury News takes a tour inside the Tamale Factory, an institution in San José for 25 years, where owner Claudia Lopez and her team of women aim to fold over 30 000 tamales for the holiday season. [Mercury News]
Impossible Foods embarks on ghost delivery
Redwood City-based Impossible Foods has announced a new “restaurant brand,” which is of course Siliconese for ghost delivery cuisine, according to Restaurant Business. In eight states, including California, you can now order a plant-based burger or fake chicken nuggets through various nefarious delivery apps.
Chef Jose Andres is the new face of laboratory chicken
Also in the fake meat news, Chef Jose Andres is the new face of lab chicken. He’s joining the board of directors of Good Meat, which is headquartered in San Francisco, and he has promised to put cell culture chicken on the menu at one of his restaurants. It is a partnership that recalls Dominique Crenn and Upside Chicken, Traci Des Jardins and Impossible Foods, and other starred chefs signing agreements with major brands supported by companies.