San Francisco: On Watch

Posted June 30, 2016

What’s on the rise in San Francisco right now? Chef Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food and Mission Cantina names names.

 

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Brandon Jew at Mister Jiu’s

Chef Brandon Jew only opened the doors to the hotly-anticipated Mister Jiu’s in April, but his restaurant was years in the making. Jew took obsessive care in restoring his 10,000-square-foot Chinatown space—a Cantonese restaurant and banquet hall since the 1880s. He excavated old recipes, synthesizing his own Chinese heritage with lessons learned in iconic California-cuisine kitchens like Zuni and Quince. And according to Danny, it’s exactly this level of diligence that makes Jew one to watch.  “Brandon is the guy who first exposed me to what Chinese food can be—he introduced me to San Francisco places like R&G Lounge and Spices II, which inspired Mission Chinese,”  he says. “Watching him use his knowledge of those products and do his own interpretation is incredible.” Danny notes that a lot of the chatter surrounding the restaurant has focused on the all-star support staff—a pastry chef from Aziza; a sous recognized by the San Francisco Chronicle as a rising star; a general manager that put Al’s Place on the national radar. “I cant wait for people to stop talking about all the people that work for Brandon, and start talking about Brandon,” he says. “Mister Jiu’s is such a personal thing for him.”
Mister Jiu's: 28 Waverly Pl, San Francisco; 415-857-9688; misterjius.com

Yoni Levy at Outerlands

Adaptability counts for a lot with Danny, who has rolled with changes as Mission Chinese Food stretched and morphed—from San Francisco to New York; from indie pop-up to full-fledged restaurant. So he pays close attention to the goings-on at Outerlands, which opened in 2009 but has consistently reinvented itself. Owners David Muller and Lana Porcello originally envisioned Outerlands as a place for soup and bread, but it grew in scope over the years as they collaborated with chefs—like the celebrated Brett Cooper—and expanded into the space next door. “Outerlands started as this little idea, but it became a big thing. There’s always this energy there that these guys are just going for it,” says Danny, who is particularly excited about the restaurant’s latest hire. Chef Yoni Levy joined Brooke Mosley in the kitchen at Outerlands after working with Daniel Patterson at Alta. “Yoni’s food is amazing, and he’s a really awesome dude,” says Danny. “It’s great to see him help take that restaurant into its next life.”
Outerlands: 4001 Judah St, San Francisco; 415-661-6140; outerlandssf.com

Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman of Wise Sons Bagel & Bakery

The idea that you can’t get a good bagel in California is very well-established—such an axiom, in fact, that it was even the subject of a cover story in the New York Times magazine last year. So Danny has his eye on this new bakery from Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman of Wise Sons Delicatessen. “I wax poetic about Jewish culture and food. It’s a lot like Asian food because people tend to compare it to what their grandmother would make,” says Danny. Wise offers a classic lineup of bagels and bialys, classic shmears and smoked fish, along with other Jewish-inspired baked goods like rugelach and babka. “Wise Sons is going to be a household name in San Fransisco because they are the first ones to do it well,” says Danny. “They are going bravely where no one else has really gone and that’s admirable.”
Wise Sons Bagel & Bakery: 1520 Fillmore St, San Francisco; 415-872-9046; wisesonsdeli.com/fillmore

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