Today we receive word Bluestem, the oft-delayed, nearly 7,000-square-foot Yerba Buena "steakhouse" we've been tracking since 2008, will be opening in "early Summer," right next to Press Club, Tropisueño and Amber India. The concept has changed a bit in its pre-opening years. Owner and former PlumpJack Director of Operations Adam Jed first settled on a steakhouse, then decided a steakhouse brasserie was a better idea, and now he's dropped the steakhouse part entirely. Take a first peek at the light, un-steaky logo here at right as proof. The menu will still be "protein-focused" in Jed's words, but it's going to be an all-day affair—11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week—featuring sustainable, seasonal cooking, divided into the following sections: bar snacks, appetizers/sharable items, entrees, sides and desserts. He's brought on chef Sean Canavan who has a penchant for nose-to-tail butchery, handcrafted sausages and charcuterie to make it all happen. Jed adds that he and his wife used to be vegetarians, so those folks will be taken care of: "yes, why not put a portabello burger on the menu and seasonal great tomatoes." There's also talk of a sustainable corn dogs.
Olle Lundberg, who designs all Charles Phan's restaurants, is going to take his inspiration for the interior from "an open meadow." There will be lots of windows, corner sofas, soft edges and a Eurospan "cloud" ceiling. Lundberg will do everything in his power to make the 170-some-seat dining room and lounge, 17-seat bar and 30-seat outdoor dining terrace feel like one connected, continuous space; so yes, very meadow-like. The color-scheme is dominated by tones of moss gray and bone, accented with deeper purples and mustardy yellows. Inside Scoop has some rendering that should help you visualize the thing. Libations shall include 12 local wines on tap, 5 beers on tap (one of Bluestem's investors is a master brewer) and cocktails that are not made by a "mixologist."
Now back to that outdoor terrace. Jed says it's actually on the roof of the 1st floor, so it's eye level with Market Street parades. They'll start out with dining and happy hours up there, but he also sees it as a great event space. So we've got chef Canavan's nice pedigree (China Grill Management and Lespinasse in NYC; La Folie, Kokkari and Left Bank Brasserie in SF), the new non-steakhouse direction, a cutting edge Olle Lundberg look and a better economic climate than the last few years have offered. Maybe waiting around was worth it.
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