SF en fuego

The handsome bar at Schroeder's




TABLEHOPPER Just when you thought you already had enough options of new places to check out, you get hit with more. Yup, this month is bonkers, and could very well be setting a record for the most openings in a month. Let's do this.

Due to open this week is Outerlands (4001 Judah, SF; www.outerlandssf.com), with a newly expanded space (owners Lana Porcello and Dave Muller took over the Chinese restaurant next door and knocked the wall down) and a new chef (Greg Kuzia-Carmel). There will be 20 more seats, and a big bonus is the new bar area, with 10 bar seats and some high-top bistro tables, perfect for those moments when you just want to slip in for a cocktail, or even a full meal. You'll notice the expanded kitchen with a cool architectural feature above it (it looks like a white wave). The cocktail list will be more extensive, with Chris O'Brien as the new bar manager and some consultation from Kevin Dowell, who is the bar manager at Foreign Cinema — look for some initial cocktail pop-up nights to start as they ramp things up. Other additions: Brunch will now be served Saturday and Sunday, and during the week 8–10am, there will be an edited brunch service. It's enough to make someone plot a morning beach walk, with breakfast before (or after!). Outerlands plans to start with lunch this week (10am–3pm), but check its website before heading over — weekend brunch will be kicking in too, and then dinner service and bar bites soon thereafter.

Now for a couple of SF classics that have been redone and zhooshed. First up, the Big 4 (1075 California, SF; www.big4restaurant.com) has reopened, and fortunately not tooooo much has been changed inside. Ty is still shaking cocktails at the bar and telling jokes, the white tablecloths and leather banquettes in British racing green remain, and guests will still hear the grand piano playing. So what's new? Well, the snazzy carpet for one. A big change is longtime chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls has departed, and the menu from the new chef, Kevin Scott, will be launching May 23 (there's just an interim menu for now). Some of his dishes will include previous menu staples but with new twists.

There's also a new cocktail menu with some additions. You can come by for breakfast and dinner daily (6:30–10:30am and 5:30–10pm) and there's talk of lunch service returning too!

Another SF icon that got a big redo is Schroeder's (240 Front, SF; www.schroederssf.com), the 120-year-old downtown German beer hall, with new owners and quite a new look too (although the Herman Richter murals remain in place). While it's definitely a beer hall, the space has a sense of modernity as well (blond wood, Tolix metal chairs, and check out the illuminated glass shelving with beer steins). You can order cocktails from bar director Claire Jane Hunter at the original rosewood bar, cicerone Rich Higgins is behind the quality beer selection (15 on tap), and the wine list is from Mauro Cirilli of Press Club — yeah, people who know what they're doing. Prost to all of it. Chef Manfred Wrembel (Plum, Incanto) is doing a Cali spin on German dishes (like spätzle with corn, tomato, and ricotta), with some meaty entrées (yes, there's wiener schnitzel) and the bar menu features a dry-aged cheeseburger.

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