San Francisco, CA
From S.F. Chronicle - "THE INSIDE SCOOP"
The corner of Chestnut and Fillmore -- the starting point for those walking the Marina drag -- is a prime San Francisco location.
At the end of June, the restaurant went through yet another incarnation. The name changed to Circa, and when the place reopens in September, the menu will be different as well.
Chef Erik Hopfinger will re-do the grill's pub grub menu into upscale comfort food, the style that made him a Chronicle Rising Star Chef in 2002 at Spoon, the forerunner of Tablespoon (2209 Polk St., near Vallejo).
"The Marina has matured over the past five years, and we want to create a sophisticated venue that better represents the taste of the neighborhood," says Suverkrubbe. "We want to get away from bar and grill, and really want to make the place more respected as a restaurant."
San Francisco's Michael Brennan, who designed Cortez and Boca, is doing the redesign. He says the word swank comes to mind, but the space still has to appeal to the Marina nightlife crowd and the Sunday brunchers (one and the same?). He plans to add a large-party booth in the center and cozy banquettes along the wall for a lounge effect. And, lest I forget, he'll put in columns, and have 10-foot crystal chandeliers dripping from the ceiling.
Hopfinger's menu will fit that lounge-y style, with modern classics served in shareable sizes. We're talking Dungeness crab tater tots, PB&J foie gras -- with house-made peanut butter sauce and blueberry demi-glace -- and a cupcake sampler dessert.
The 25-item menu will come in small plates priced between $4 and $10, or in larger family-style plates for $12 to $19. And, first-daters, the food is being designed so you don't make a dribbling mess.
The wine list is being crafted by Mark Bright, who also consults for Oola and Dosa. He's discontinuing the current all-American list and mixing it up with international wines, focusing on smaller producers. Plus, he's pushing for winemaker dinners and more Champagne by the glass.