Thanks for the warm welcome to Bay Area Bites! Last week was the debut of my first weekly Table Talk column, and I’m happy to be here with restaurant news, tips, and updates for you every Monday. This week, I have some hearty eats for you—from a new meat & three menu to some of my fave hefty deli sandwiches—plus a special guest tempura chef is visiting from Japan, and a fun Kentucky Derby party.
Town Hall Meat & Three
Looking for a spot to have an ample Southern Sunday supper? Town Hall in SoMa—which is approaching their 15th anniversary this November, so you know they’re doing something right—is now offering a Southern classic Meat & Three menu for Sunday dinner service (5pm–9pm). They’ve been offering an edited version of a communal-style meat & three menu for 2–3 people on their dinner menu, and now they’re expanding it to quite the to-do on Sundays.
Luncheonettes in the South first started offering meat & threes to their working class customers who wanted a taste of home cooking for lunch in the 1920s. Town Hall’s dinnertime version is $45, and is even more abundant than a meat & three, so come hungry. It comes with your choice of starter: chicken andouille gumbo or butter lettuces with apples, candied walnuts, and blue cheese dressing. For your main, you can try dishes like their famous buttermilk fried chicken (the recipe has been updated a bit, and is as delicious as ever), country pork chops with a tangy rhubarb mostarda, St. Louis ribs with Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, or grilled Skuna Bay salmon with chow-chow relish.
Your three sides should include their warm jalapeño cornbread, and you’ll note chefs (and brothers) Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal’s love of New Orleans in the smoked andouille jambalaya. Seasonal sides like grilled asparagus or spring peas with country ham keep it local, while crispy fried okra keeps it classic. And for dessert, you may get key lime pie (or carrot cake may be offered). They also have kids and vegetarian options, so all are welcome. If you want to go whole hog (har), you can order their country ham tasting platter (three for $39). And since Sundays are mellow downtown, you’ll get lucky with parking too.
Tasting menu by chef Hitoshi Arai at Hitachino Beer & Wagyu
The ANA (All Nippon Airways) Air Restaurant team is back with another special event, featuring a guest chef from Japan: this time it’s chef Hitoshi Arai from Tempura Tenko, one of Tokyo’s top tempura restaurants (his 12-seat restaurant is in the city’s historic Kagurazaka district). For his San Francisco debut, he’s going to be serving an extensive tasting menu at Hitachino Beer & Wagyu near Union Square, with host chef Noriyuki Sugie. The menu (which can change) will include Kobachi-style appetizer platters (7 total pieces), salad with local vegetables, seafood tempura (6 pieces), vegetable tempura (6 pieces), small tendon and miso soup with clams and chives, and dessert. It may sound like a lot of food, but chef Arai uses white sesame oil, which reportedly tastes fresh and lighter. He’s also going to be highlighting San Francisco seasonal ingredients.
Dinner tickets are $250 and the meal is expected to last 2.5 hours. You can also add a Hitachino beer and sake pairing (3 sakes, 3 beers) for $65. It’s an intimate affair—you’ll sit at the counter (8 guests total), with just 32 spots available for his entire visit (May 14 and May 15, 5:30pm and 8:30pm). The seatings are at 5:30pm or 8:30pm, and the dinner is expected to last approximately 2.5 hours.
The Kentucky Derby at Comstock Saloon
Anyone who loves the Kentucky Derby (and all its mint juleps and big hats) will want to attend Comstock Saloon's annual Kentucky Derby event on Saturday May 5 (1pm–4pm). While watching the live stream of the race (“The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports!”), there will be plenty of themed cocktails, food specials from chef Jason Raffin, and here’s the extra-fun part: they host two best-dressed contests! You can try to win “Best Hat” and “Dandiest Fellow,” so be prepared, people really turn it out. There will also be race “betting,” with all betting proceeds going to the SF-Marin Food Bank, and Comstock will of course project a live streaming of the Kentucky Derby race.
Happy Hour at Lord Stanley
Looking for a chic spot to enjoy happy hour? Carrie and Rupert Blease of Lord Stanley in Russian Hill have just launched a new happy hour deal that will include a coupe of bubbles from their selection of small producers and an appetizer for just $15 from 5:30pm–7pm. Some potential and rotating pairings include a glass of Le Sot de L’Ange “Sottise” rosé with trout blinis with locally foraged seaweed; Bourgeois Diaz 3C Cuvée Champagne with grilled asparagus and miso spinach dip (that dip is incredible, just saying!); or Suriol rosé cava Penedès with wagyu tartare and horseradish pita.
Quality Sandwiches from Limoncello
This is for my fellow sandwich lovers: have you tried any of the quality sandwiches from Limoncello, the corner deli that opened a little over a year ago at Franklin and Sutter (maybe you’ve whizzed by it in your car?). Well, as the daughter of a former deli owner, it makes me happy to see such a clean and well-stocked case, and the friendly owner Jalal Heydari makes well-stuffed and assembled sandwiches with love. It’s picnic and festival season, so here’s your next sandwich supplier!
There are all kinds of combos on the menu, from the Siciliano (ham, salami, mortadella, and provolone cheese with salt and pepper, oil and vinegar) to the Calabrese (dry hot coppa, cured pork shoulder rubbed with red cayenne pepper, fresh mozzarella cheese, mixed greens, sun-dried tomato, oil and vinegar)—but when they ask if you want it spicy, be careful because their peperoncino spread is really feisty. I also love their eggplant Parm, it’s a balanced sandwich and not loaded with too much breading and sauce. The ciabatta from Royal Bakery is pillowy and fresh, and delivery is also lightning fast (I use Uber Eats—you can get $5 off your first order with my code: eats-ubertablehopper). But if you go in person, the grocery section of his store also has some fun items, including that peperoncino spread. Buon appetito!