TABLEHOPPING: Alta CA takes us higher, Comstock Saloon rocks some changes, and two new brunches light up those late, late mornings.
There's a new hangout in town, with a kitchen that wants to stay open until 1am to feed you. And I'm not talking about cardboard-crusted pizza, or greasy tacos, or coagulated tikka masala (ew). Wipe all those thoughts away. How about housemade pastrami and bialys, or a cheeseburger (which comes with bacon) on a house-baked bun? Doesn't a homey bowl of cracked wheat with hen of the woods mushrooms sound good? Confit chicken leg? Yes. Yes. Yes. You'll find all this and more at the brand-new Alta CA (1420 Market, SF. www.altaca.co), which just joined the percolating Mid-Market scene, kitty-corner to the new Twitter building.
It's the latest space to open in the Daniel Patterson Group of restaurants (Coi, Plum, Haven), with chef Yoni Levy leading the charge. You can come by for lunch or dinner, and there's also a full bar, at which you can order a barrel-aged cocktail to go with your dill-pickled deviled eggs. (The wine list is also pretty killer, and there are some local beers on draft, too). Whether you're on a date or dining solo, the stylish place has a fun vibe that isn't overbearing or too quiet — much like the third bed in the three bears, it's just right. There are 65 seats and a very cool floor-to-ceiling shelving system that separates the kitchen from the dining room, but still allows you to peek into the busy kitchen (you voyeur you). Open Mon–Fri 11am–2am and Sat–Sun 5pm–2am.
If you swing by Comstock Saloon (155 Columbus, SF. www.comstocksaloon.com) in North Beach, no, you aren't seeing double. Actually, you kind of are (boozehound!). The dining room has a new second bar that's been added — woohoo, more room for thirsty people! — and the dining tables have been replaced with high-top marble tables, so the feeling in the dining room is now more casual and easygoing.
In keeping with Comstock's vintage Gold Rush feel, the new bar is actually an oldie: a restored old-growth redwood and mahogany slab, with an antique tap handle that dates all the way back to 1880. Yeah, that's fricking old.
To go with all this old-new coolness is a fresh menu from the new chef, conveniently named Ronnie New. He was previously at Magnolia, and is bringing a bit of his New Orleans roots to the table (think peel-and-eat Louisiana Gulf shrimp and an andouille Scotch egg with mustard aioli). He's also showcasing a Comstock burger, rabbit currywurst with fries, and squash fritters. Bonus: the full menu is now served Mon–Sat 4pm–12am and Sun 4pm–10pm (the bar is open daily 4pm–2am). One last tidbit: Comstock is continuing its Saloon's Free Lunch Friday, which means if you purchase two boozy beverages, you receive a free lunch, how sweet is that? (The dish changes weekly.)
Two new brunches for your neverending list o' brunchy options in this town. First up, La Urbana (661 Divisadero, SF. www.laurbanasf.com) has juuuuuust started weekend brunch, with menu items like eggs with grilled chorizo and a Manchego quesadilla; chilaquiles with grilled steak and over-easy eggs; an omelette with Manchego, bacon, onion, rajas puree, and pea tendrils; and tamales de chile con queso. While the brunch plates will cost more than a visit to San Jalisco (think $12–15), you'll be able to pair a nice mezcal bloody Mary with them. Pro tip: ask to order the Mexican Dude off the nighttime cocktail menu (housemade horchata, vodka, mezcal, and espresso coffee liqueur). If that isn't one of the best hangover helpers you've ever had, I don't know what I'm doing anymore. Serving 11am–2:30pm.