Rounding out his 2017, Bauer returned to ‘Aina in the Dogpatch to give it a proper review. The critic last checked in when chef-owner Jordan Keao added dinner service, but now that the restaurant has added counter seats for chef Chris Yang’s $60, six-seven course tasting menu, the budget-minded Bauer is over the moon.
Dogpatch Hawaiian restaurant ’aina has taken a rare trajectory in SF dining, completing the journey from a popular brunch pop-up to a brick-and-mortar restaurant with a modern tasting menu. That menu will be served at the chef’s counter starting November 10, and it’s six courses for $60.
These places have the vibes, the food, and the drinks to turn any hangover around
Oh, you’re not that into brunch, you say? Then you must not have lived in San Francisco very long. Indulging in the weekend meal is more or less a sport in the city, something that locals, and the restaurants that cater to them, take as seriously as comparing yoga classes and complaining about Muni.
Aina’s chef is diving deeper into his Hawaiian roots
Not all Hawaiian brunch pop-ups can make it to brick-and-mortar status. Not all Hawaiian brunch pop-ups seamlessly add dinner and lunch to the lineup. And not all Hawaiian brunch pop-ups add a tasting menu at the chef’s counter. But ‘aina has proven that its transition to permanent neighborhood restaurant is the natural extension of chef Jordan Keao’s natural ability to educate diners on Hawaiian culture, while deftly delighting them with flavorful, authentic food.
A brunch hit that's expanded for dinner but maintained its foothold in the weekend daytime service game, 'āina serves island favorites with a twist: Think kalbi loco moco and spam musubi "ssam style." Low ABV cocktails are fresh and fun additions for daytime drinking, including options such as a take on the uber popular Hawaiian shave ice.
There's a lot more than sunshine and water views to love about this neighborhood
Once upon a time, the Dogpatch, a working class neighborhood on the eastside of the city, was home to canning factories, shipyards, warehouses, and lots of wild fennel fields. The latter is perhaps where its name comes from, as there were "patches" of dogfennel everywhere, though it may also be because of the wild dogs that used to roam there. Either way, because neighborhoods like Potrero Hill and the Mission started spilling over their boundaries, this one gritty area has transformed in recent years and is now an easily walkable — it's flat! — place full of artists, green spaces, local shops, and new construction, as well as some of the city's oldest houses that survived the 1906 earthquake and stunning water views.
It's that time of year again, as the Michelin inspectors bestow the city's best restaurants with the sparkling French star rankings. But before any stars are given out, the Bib Gourmands have been announced. The Bibs are awarded to restaurants offering "exceptional good food at moderate prices," which means a much bigger pool of candidates, and a confounding mix of price points that expand upon the definition of "moderate." (Kokkari Estiatorio and Tacos Sinaloa aren't exactly comparable, price-wise.)