Truffles, foie gras, flowering teas, wok fire flashes, live noodle pullers and a floor-to-ceiling wall of small monitors showing Chinese cooking shows on loop? It’s not some sort of culinary Disneyland; it’s Martin Yan‘s forthcoming restaurant.
Celebrity chef pioneer Yan inked a deal to open a signature restaurant on the top floor of the Westfield San Francisco Centre last fall, and now that the project is finally moving forward, the details are coming into focus.
First and foremost, the name of the 200-seat restaurant has changed from Martin Yan’s Noodle Revolution to M.Y. China.
But even more enticing for the dining audience is the involvement of Willy and Ronny Ng – the brothers behind Daly City’s celebrated dim sum destination, Koi Palace.
They’ll run the day-to-day operations at M.Y. China, but unlike at Koi Palace, the dim sum menu will be short, roughly 10 to 15 dishes. There will be about 35 items on the menu in total, ranging from the expected (Peking duck) to luxurious (soup dumplings with black truffles, foie gras noodle rolls) to the exhibitionist: special noodle chefs will hand-pull noodles in YouTube-worthy fashion.
BCV Architects, the firm that did the Ferry Building, will design M.Y. China with modern, urban Chinese architecture in mind. Through an open kitchen, diners will be able to see the chefs toss the woks and wrap the dumplings. Running 5,600 square feet inside, 50 additional seats will spill out onto a 1,500-square-foot “patio” under the mall’s iconic dome.
The due date is always a moving target, but as of today, the goal is February.
To the next station: Some surprising news from the Peninsula: Zack Freitas is no longer the chef at Station 1 (2991 Woodside Road), the 9-month-old Woodside restaurant that has earned its share of raves.
Freitas cooked at Commis in Oakland and Manresa in Los Gatos before this gig; both sides insist it was an amicable separation and the best move. Sous chef Ryan Harris is stepping up while the restaurant seeks a replacement.
Back to basics: Changes are already in store for Sonoma’s newish Alsina Grill (23584 Arnold Drive). After opening in April, Alsina – the Argentine restaurant from the folks behind San Francisco’s now-closed El Raigon – has already hired a new chef in Eric Hollis.
If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Hollis was the chef at El Raigon during its heyday in North Beach, when it earned three stars from The Chronicle. Hollis left in 2006 to open a restaurant in Argentina; he returned in 2009 to cook at Epic Roasthouse, but has been living in Miami recently, away from the kitchen. He will start in August.
Some sugar for Oaktown: More established restaurateurs are spreading their wings in the East Bay. The latest is former Food Network star Tanya Holland, whose Brown Sugar Kitchen (2534 Mandela Pkwy.) remains one of Oakland’s hottest tickets.
Scoop has already reported on her plans for a San Francisco branch of Brown Sugar Kitchen in the Bayview this fall (5800 Third St.), but as luck would have it, another Oakland space also became available.
In August, she’s planning on opening B-Side BBQ a few blocks from her flagship. Located in the former Yardie Jerk space (3301 San Pablo Ave.), B-Side BBQ will offer a different style of ‘cue from the hefty smoker. She’ll start with takeout lunch only, then will build out the space next year to allow for a more extensive operation.
And to file away in the rumor category, word on the street is that a few San Francisco restaurateurs are eying the Levende East (827 Washington St.) spot in the Old Oakland district.
Hire powers: The late, great Ed Moose is probably smiling.
His former property, the Washington Square Bar Grill (1707 Powell St.), is a week away from turning the lights back on and reopening as Bottle Cap, a classic American restaurant from chef-owner Dane Boryta and wife Elizabeth Ferro.
They’ve hired Matt Sullivan from Blue Plate to be chef de cuisine, and Peter Gowdy to run the bar program. A veteran of Bourbon Branch and Tony Nik’s, Gowdy will offer a list of signature and classic cocktails, including some barrel-aged numbers later this summer.
Just across the park, new life is also nearing at the old Moose’s (1652 Stockton St.). Park Tavern, the bigger sister of Marlowe, has made a notable hire: Michael Kapash will be the general manager when the restaurant opens in September; he had been with the Lark Creek Group for the past 17 years.
As West Portal turns: The streets at West Portal are abuzz with the closure of longtime standby Cafe for All Seasons (150 West Portal Ave.). At this point, it’s unclear whether the shutter is permanent or not, but regulars have started a petition on the door of the closed restaurant, begging it to return.
In the meantime, look for an increased opportunity for nearby competitor Squat Gobble, but unfortunately, that means more people will have to mention squatting in a dining context.
More scoops: Check The Chronicle’s Inside Scoop SF website for breaking restaurant news and features. Go to www.insidescoopsf.com.
Paolo Lucchesi is a Chronicle staff writer. Send tips and notes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared on page E – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle