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Three New Restaurants to Try Soon

Wine bars, street bowls, and tapas.

Tomatoes with avocado salad at Perle Wine Bar in Oakland.

 

Perle Wine Bar
Oakland
What was once Pour Wine Bar is now Perle Wine Bar: a more appealing name and a more alluring place. Under former Butterfly chef Rob Lam, the Montclair restaurant’s ambitions exceed those of most wine bars. From housemade charcuterie and “pearls” (oysters and caviar in varied preparations), the menu opens to an array of smart, indulgent items such as mushroom cappuccino soup, crowned with truffle foam, and Pernod mussels steeped in anise-scented broth. A burger served French dip–style hints at the kitchen’s playful side, while pan-seared abalone with tempura squash blossoms shows its delicate touch. Though the bar pours plenty of reds, whites, and rosés, the TV behind it serves as a reminder that “wine bar” is a loose term. You could just as well call it a kick-back place to drink and eat.
2058 Mountain Blvd. (At Antioch Ct.), 510-808-7767 —Josh Sens

The Temple Club
Oakland
What do you do when you’re an Oakland chef who has come home after living in Vietnam for 16 years? You open a Vietnamese restaurant, naturally. So it goes for Geoffrey Deetz, who opened the Temple Club as a love letter to his time overseas. For a place that caters, to a large extent, to a non-Vietnamese crowd, the place feels very Vietnamese in certain respects—in the obscure regional dishes that populate the short, rotating menu, and in the half-size “street bowl” option for noodles. Purists might frown on a tangy version of pho made with corned beef brisket. But many dishes, like the mi quang (a saucy rice-noodle dish topped with shrimp chips and annatto oil), or the pungent durian cheesecake, pull no punches—and are delicious to boot.
2307 International Blvd. (At 23rd Ave.), 510-479-3680 —Luke Tsai

Barcino
Hayes Valley
Tapas bars can feel like a throwback to the ’90s, when tiny plates of Spanish tortilla were all the rage. But Barcino, the latest addition to the Absinthe Group’s stable of fashionable restaurants, is a tapas bar born of today’s San Francisco—with its dapper Hayes Valley crowd, its slick, refreshing cocktails, and enough hanging plants to rival an indoor arboretum. The menu draws inspiration from Catalonia, so while there are larger plates (paella, mainly) for those who want a heavier sit-down dinner, you’ll fare best by doing as Catalonian barhoppers do: Order a round of crisp, jewel-box-shaped patatas bravas and garlicky pa aum tomaquet (a stellar, deconstructed version), sip sweet vermouth on the rocks, and hope the next bar on the crawl is half as enjoyable.
399 Grove St. (At Gough St.), 415-430-6590 —L.T.

 

Originally published in the January issue of San Francisco 

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