For years I've driven up and down Potrero Hill, De Haro St. to be exact. Up to 22nd St. to my home. Down to Division St. for work. Back and forth, day after day. For the past two years there has been a curious sign on a showroom building at the corner of Alameda St. "restaurant space available". It was an odd location, but seemed to have a patio and from what I know of this neighborhood, a lot of potential. We've got Adobe, Advent, Zynga and every designer worth his salt within 4 blocks. And, we're dying for a real restaurant. I've dreamed often about selling my business and opening up something in that spot, who-knows-what, because I sensed this was a gem.
Grand Pu Bah tried, but it proved to be niche rather than the next Slanted Door. Pizza Nostra, from the Chez Papa gang, was a step up, but still didn't have the 'it' factor. There's a ton of adequate places nearby, from Patisserie Phillipe, Chez Papa, Sunflower, Aperto, Umi Sushi - but nothing would turn the heads of your garden-variety foodie. They're just neighborhood joints. Enter Skool.
The "space available" turns out to be a sexy spot for the next hot restaurant. I had lunch there today and got a lowdown from the owner. Apparently the landlord had a vision when he built the building years ago. He was willing to wait for the right people to come along to realize his vision. He built out the space with a designer's eye and the attention to detail is clear. The place just feels good.
The people he chose were the couple behind Blowfish, Andy Mirabell and his fiancée Olia Kedik. Moreover, they teamed up with another couple, Toshihiro and Hiroko Nagano in the kitchen. There's a definite young- entrepreneur vibe about the space, as the busy themselves to make your experience exceptional and to connect with their potential regulars.
Well, spank my ass and call me Sally, but I'm sold. The menu is loaded with healthy fish-forward options. There is a clear sophistication behind the cuisine and enough to keep me occupied enough to become a regular. I've only had the Aji sandwich with a side of fries and a cup of carrot-ginger soup, but I'm ready to go back for more. There's a coffee-marinated steak sandwich, flatbreads and a bunch of creative fish mains. I'll work my way through and offer a proper review top to bottom later.
What really has me sold is the idea of maximizing the sunshine of Potrero out on the patio, once they finalized their liquor license. Even on the rare foggy day the inside bar is a really appealing place to swill and they plan on some fab cocktails, designed by a Rye alum (I didn't get her name). Can you sayz happy hour?