7/18/2012 11:47:00 AM

Preview: Rich Table Almost Set in Hayes Valley

Nice seats if you can get 'em - Rich Table opens next week.
You gotta love a town where the most anticipated restaurant of the summer is a dressed-down, mom-and-pop in a somewhat off-the-beaten path neighborhood. Ok, to be fair, owners Evan and Sara Rich aren’t exactly no-names - together they’ve racked up stints on both coasts at places such as Bouley, Mas (farmhouse), Quince, Michael Mina and Coi. And Hayes Valley is suddenly a hotbed for alt dining. But nonetheless, Rich Table, their imminent Hayes Valley haunt, is already taking reservations for July 26 (and insiders are secretly betting that they'll swing open their doors before then). So what to expect?

Rich Table is popping up in the former Paul K space, where Evan and Sarah will strive to deliver the quintessential Bay Area dining experience - namely top-notch, daily changing, market-driven Northern Californian cuisine without the trappings of fine-dining (white linens, spendy china or fancy dress code). But don’t just expect fried chicken and mac 'n' cheese. The duo will pull in Japanese, Italian and French techniques to elevate the refined rustic eats. You can take a sneak peek at the opening menu, which includes the likes of oysters-on-the-shell ($3 each) and ricotta angolotti with pork belly and Douglas-fir ($23). As an alternative to the à la carte menu, diners who want to go the distance can splurge for the Chef’s Choice tasting, a six-course menu, tailored anew each night, that showcase the full imagination of the kitchen. (The tasting menu will be $70 per person, with participation by the entire table required).

Like the food, the wine program, overseen by Maz Naba, (most recently the wine director of Coi) will have a let-down-your-hair approach. They'll be three vintages on tap, about 20 wines by the glass, plus an esoteric bottle collection of wines focusing on those that have been lightly manipulated or otherwise express the local terroir (domestically and abroad), sold at three, accessible price points - $45, $55 or $65. Naba will also have a hand in the cocktail program - the full bar being a key component of Rich Table - which will include a well-edited list of seasonal ingredient-driven drinks.

Decor wise, don’t expect lots of flash - the 60-seat corner space (with 10 seat at the bar) is a comfortable, if not homey-looking affair, outfitted with tables and walls made from rough-hewn salvage barnwood, custom light fixtures fashioned from gas pipes and an open-kitchen lined with white tilework. Walk-ins will be welcome, though we're pretty sure those seats will fill up mighty quickly.

Rich Table: 199 Gough Street, 415-355-9085. Opening July 26 for dinner Wednesday-Monday, serving until 11 PM on Friday and Saturday. Reservations taken online via seatme.


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