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Four New Restaurants to Try Right Now

Third-wave matcha, farm-to-table Indian, and housemade soba.

SLIDESHOW

Matcha cream pie at Stonemill Matcha.

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Stonemill’s sparkling matcha and iced matcha latte.

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The front of the former Bar Tartine space.

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Besharam.

Photo: Connor Bruce

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HK Home Kitchen.

Photo: Luke Tsai

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Soba Ichi.

Photo: Waki Hamatsu

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Stonemill Matcha
Mission
For the novice whose matcha literacy is limited to the occasional green tea ice cream, this Mission district teahouse, located in the former Bar Tartine spot, is a total-immersion school. Where else in the city can you find such a high grade of the coveted tea powder, spun off into so many wildly varied and delicious forms: the traditional hand-whisked beverage, yes, but also a cold brew or a latte or a yuzu-brightened sparkler, or in a topping for shaved ice, or in a multitude of pastries, including a croissant made in collaboration with Tartine Manufactory? In its approach and aesthetics, Stonemill Matcha is a close cousin to the third-wave coffeehouse. Beyond that, the menu of Japanese-inspired light lunch fare—highlighted by the chicken okayu, a rice porridge crowned with a perfect golden-yolked egg—is worth a visit all on its own. And the lush, elegant matcha cream pie deserves a spot in the pantheon of the city’s finest desserts. 561 Valencia St. (near 16th St.), 415-796-3876 —Luke Tsai

Besharam
Dogpatch
Not all exciting new restaurants are born of pop-ups. Take Besharam, which sprang to life at La Cocina, a food incubator geared toward women of color, and now makes its home inside a Dogpatch art gallery. Here, Heena Patel, who was born in Gujarat, India, marries the bold flavors of her native state with ingredients from local farmers’ markets. The result is a lively collection of border-­bending dishes, such as blue cheese naan, smacked with wasabi raita, and kachori dhokli, a traditional lentil stew made here with edamame dumplings instead. The restaurant’s name means “shameless,” a sassiness that comes through not only on the plates, which bear the inscription “spicy food for spicy girls,” but also in the fish moilee, a coconut curry nearly hot enough to melt your teeth. 1275 Minnesota St. (at 24th St.), 415-580-7662 —Josh Sens

HK Home Kitchen
El Cerrito
Sometimes the reboot is better than the original. Mac’s Wok, an El Cerrito spot known for gigantic portions of absurdly inexpensive Hong Kong café fare, closed in 2015. Now the restaurant has reemerged, just down the street, with a new name but a near-identical menu. If anything, the food is even tastier. Like other exemplars of its genre, HK Home Kitchen serves an array of greatest hits from the East and West: French toast shares menu space with Cantonese rice porridges. The baked pork chop smothered in cheesy red sauce, served over rice or spaghetti, makes for a comforting introduction to Hong Kong–style fusion food. And a platter of pan-fried crispy noodles is the rare crowd-pleaser that can feed two hungry diners for less than $10. 10140 San Pablo Ave. (near Central Ave.), 510-679-5288 —L.T.

Soba Ichi
Oakland
In the Bay Area, soba, ramen’s elder and more dignified cousin, tends to be an afterthought—an unheralded offering at Japanese restaurants that specialize in something else. But at Soba Ichi, these buckwheat noodles are given pride of place. The West Oakland restaurant is one of only a few in the United States that make their soba in-house daily, and it shows: Springy in texture and nutty in flavor, the noodles are especially refreshing when you order them cold and plain, presented on a wooden tray with a tub of shoyu-based dipping sauce. Run by the folks behind the Berkeley izakaya Ippuku, Soba Ichi shines in its non-noodle dishes, too: creamy housemade tofu, for instance, and anything on the menu that’s fried. 2311 Magnolia St. (near 24th St.), Ste. A —L.T.

 

Originally published in the September issue of San Francisco 

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