TABLEHOPPING: New openings brought to you by the letter "V" — plus nifty North Beach spots for lunch and Sunday dinner.
Here we are, barely wiping the holiday cookie crumbs from our mouths, and there are already a slew of new places open to tempt us away from our green smoothies. Nice try, there, you little resolution-maker you.
One place that actually will still have you eating your vegetables is the new Verbena (2323 Polk, SF. www.verbenarestaurant.com) on Russian Hill. Chef Sean Baker of Gather in Berkeley has a menu that will usher in some major vegetarian-carnivore peaceful coexistence. You can choose from six different vegetable dishes — or go for some duck meatballs — and if you just come in for a cocktail or two, you'll find small bites as well. The wine list demands some of your attention too, since Michael Ireland (French Laundry, Quince, Meadowood) is behind it. Yeah, dude knows wine. Dinner nightly.
Meet your new after-work local. And your new brunch spot. Now open in the former 330 Ritch in SoMa is Victory Hall & Parlor (330 Ritch, SF. www.victoryhallsf.com), from a couple ladies — Deanna Sison Foster of Little Skillet and farmerbrown and Mia Weedning of Mission Bowling Club and Mini Bar — who obviously know a thing or two about good eats, drinks, and times. There are a few communal seating areas, so go ahead and bring your posse. The bar menu has a bunch of creative craft cocktails to reel you in (you'll find everything from kimchi to rhubarb listed as ingredients), and the menu o' eats comes courtesy of alley-mate Little Skillet. Deviled eggs with crispy chicken skin and a crab and collard dip delight, while weekend brunch brings a big biscuit sandwich and fried chicken and waffles. Hubba. Dinner is coming up too. Just to be clear, lunch will still be available from Little Skillet in the alley Mon–Fri 10:30am–2:30pm, and then inside Victory Hall & Parlor after 4pm. All-day brunch on Sat–Sun starts at 10am.
Shout-out to Three Twins Ice Cream (254 Fillmore, SF. www.threetwinsicecream.com), which is back in business in the Lower Haight after a fire in September of 2011 put the SF scoop shop's brick and mortar location out of business. It's back with an icy vengeance: The case now has room for 12 ice cream flavors, and ice cream sandwiches sweeten the menu now.
Ramen hounds have a new spot to add to their list: LA-based Ramen Yamadaya (1728 Buchanan, SF. www.ramen-yamadaya.com) has opened its first SF location, right in Japantown (in the former Iroha, RIP). Yamadaya's tonkotsu ramen is reportedly the business, and an LA friend tells me the kotteri ramen (with an extra-thick and rich broth) is another solid score. Closed Tuesdays.
BALLIN' ON A BUDGET
North Beach has two strong and budget-minded options for you. First up, swing by Naked Lunch (504 Broadway, SF.) on Sunday evenings for pop-up Chao Mien by Sam Saechao. On the menu: food inspired by the cuisine of the Mien tribe from Southeast Asia, so expect dishes like red coconut curry and chicken-cilantro dumplings. (Track 'em on Facebook as chao.mien.1.) Sundays 5pm–9pm.
Love sandwiches? (Raises hand.) Then head over to Comstock Saloon's (155 Columbus, SF. www.comstocksalooncom) new lunch counter during the week, when you can score a fried chicken sandwich, rabbit currywurst, and other lunchtime beasts, like a mighty fine looking meatball sandwich. Sidle on up to the new second bar inside to place your order Mon–Fri noon–4pm. (No fear, the Friday free lunch offer still stands — order two drinks and you get the lunch item of the day!).