It has almost come to fruition: Russell Jackson, known in the subculture dining world as the Dissident Chef, will finally open his 135-seat brick-and-mortar project at Pier 5 on April 6th. The restaurant has been a long time coming and the toughest part of the process he told me in an earlier interview was "meeting the right people with the right intentions." He ultimately found the space through a friend, Alicia Esterkamp. He met Alicia and Simon Snellgrove of Pacific Waterfront Partners when they hosted him at one of his SubCulture Dinners. They had kept in touch as Jackson searched for the perfect space for Lafitte. He had actually signed a contract to take over property in the middle of the city when Alicia called him and said she wanted him to see the space. Jackson says, "I walked in and it was perfect. There was no question that this was going to be Lafitte's home. It really had all the elements I was looking for. I also have spent my life next to the water so selecting a place steps from the water really brings everything full circle for me."
Jackson, who is trained in classical French and Italian cuisine, has done everything from burger and pizza joints to regional Mexican and contemporary American and Japanese. He has worked with greats like Wolfgang Puck, Paul Boucouse, and Michael Richard. He graduated in the top 10 of his graduating class at the California Culinary Academy and ran his first restaurant, Russell's, in L.A. while being a private chef for A-list celebrities. Closer to home, he cheffed at Black Cat in North Beach.
Lafitte, named after a pirate whose take-no-prisoners approach to life Jackson admires, will not have a set menu. Rather, Jackson prefers to serve whatever is fresh and available each day, calling it a "menu of logic." He plans to be open: Monday through Friday for lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; dinner Sunday through Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. until "late," and Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. until "later"; and brunch on weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.