Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mid-Week Menu: Picán Change, B No More, and the Return of Sushi Sho

By Luke Tsai
Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.

1) The last we'd heard, Picán owner Michael LeBlanc was getting ready to embark on a tour of the South to find a replacement for departing chef Dean Dupuis. It looks like he found someone closer to home: Inside Scoop reports that LeBlanc has hired Sophina Uong to serve as the classy Uptown soul food spot's new executive chef. Uong's previous gigs include 900 Grayson (where she was an opening partner), Maritime East, and Zax Tavern. None of those were Southern restaurants, so it'll be interesting to see what changes she has planned for the menu at Picán.

Shrimp and grits at Picán.
  • Shrimp and grits at Picán.
2) Disappointing news for regulars at B Restaurant's Old Oakland outpost: B has closed its doors after completing its final dinner service last Wednesday. Inside Scoop first caught wind of the fact that A.G. Ferrari's Paul Ferrari had filed an application to take over the restaurant's liquor license. No word yet on Ferrari's plans for the space.

3) On a more positive note, diners who have missed Sarah Kirnon's elegant Caribbean cooking since she left Hibiscus earlier this year are one step closer to being able to get a hold of her fried chicken on the regular. Inside Scoop notes that Kirnon has signed a lease on a space in Swan's Market, in the old Jesso's location. Her new restaurant, Miss Ollie's, is tentatively slated to open sometime in the fall.

4) Diablo Dish offers some fresh details about Stag's Lunchette, the new sustainability-minded deli-restaurant that's opening on 17th St., in the old Uncle Dougie's (R.I.P.) location. It looks like the menu will focus on sandwiches that showcase house-made meat products like rotisserie-grilled porchetta and sous-vide pastrami, as well as a decent number of vegetarian options. According to the restaurant's Facebook page, they'll be open in two weeks.

Fancy crabcake and pancetta sandwich at Stags Lunchette, via Facebook.
  • Fancy crabcake and pancetta sandwich at Stag's Lunchette, via Facebook.
5) The intrepid eaters at Chowhound have a big scoop: Long-shuttered Solano Ave. favorite Sushi Sho has reopened in El Cerrito, at 10749 San Pablo Ave., after a long delay. At least according to initial reports, it sounds like the food is as good as old regulars remembered it being.

6) The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit conservation group based in Virginia, is asking Bay Area residents to vote for their favorite green restaurant. The five semifinalists include two East Bay nominees: Chez Panisse and Gather. The winning restaurant will receive the Nature's Plate Green Restaurant Award.

7) WTF has been keeping tabs of the spate of kitchen fires that have knocked out several prominent Chinese restaurants in the East Bay, spurring one to move to a new location. The long and the short of it is that recovery has been slow. Of course, restaurants that serve other cuisines aren't exempt from such difficulties: The Daily Cal reports that a plan to move Café Intermezzo and Raleigh's Bar and Grill — both destroyed in a fire last fall — into temporary tent structures has stalled.

8) Finally, don't miss my stories on Uptown newcomer Donut Savant's inexpensive treats and my introduction to the time-honored coffee traditions of Ethiopia.

Got tips or suggestions? Email me at Luke (dot) Tsai (at) EastBayExpress (dot) com. Otherwise, keep in touch by following me on Twitter @theluketsai, or simply by posting a comment. I'll read ‘em all.

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