The partners responsible for two Ozone Thai's have tapped former Le Colonial chef Joseph Villanueva to craft an affordably priced pan-Asian Californian menu (think kalbi beef sliders, oxtail tacos) for massive new restaurant and bar 03 Bistro & Lounge, aiming to bring some serious flash and flavor to the Civic Center; the Zen-chic dining room, boasting a sleek purple, silver and black color palette, an impressionist Buddha print and a lounge area nearly the same size, is designed to cater to both the happy hour and pre-curtain rush, as well as the late-night crew (524 Van Ness Ave.; 415-934-9800).
Swapping in chopsticks for sporks, new ad hoc Asian rice bowl pop-up Rice Broker is a temporary replacement to its predecessor Spork run by owner Neil Jorgensen, who’s biding his time until the building gets demolished; the walk-in, cash-only joint brokers in “beers and bowls” – a compact slate of affordably priced dishes such as rice porridge topped with pork-and-ginger meatballs, sashimi-style ahi tuna over sushi rice and a handful of pickled snacks, accompanied by eight all-Asian brew options (open Wednesday-Sunday, 6-9:30 PM; 1058 Valencia St.; 415-643-5000; for at least a few months check the website for updates and menu).
Finally, an update on the The Moss Room space.
The name will probably stay the same (for now), but Loretta Keller has turned over this subterranean sit-down restaurant to upstairs tenant Charles Phan (Slanted Door, Wo Hing) who has quickly reopened the joint for lunch only (seven days a week) with a revamped menu that’s similar to his signature Slanted Door-style California cuisine with a Vietnamese flair, including the likes of imperial rolls, glass noodles, and fried chicken with a spicy sriracha butter sauce. The wine list has also been tweaked to reflect Phan’s preference for food-friendly wines, but the bar still pours specialty cocktails. The swift move was to accommodate the needs of the Academy of Science’s daytime visitors, but we’re told that additional menu changes and expanded dinner hours are expected to be rolled out shortly - at which point, a name change is quite possible (55 Music Concourse Drive in the California Academy of Sciences; 415- 876-6121).