Where one exciting pop-up departs, another arises: Mario Tolentino, who won the Food Network's Chopped back in 2010, has announced he's going to be doing a pop-up dinner in the Stable Cafe space in the Mission that previously housed Saison. Tolentino, who worked under Michael Mina at Aqua, opened three restaurants with Aqua's Laurent Manrique, ran Juliet Kitchen & Bar in NYC, and most recently cooked at Laurent Tourondel's BLT Steak in Miami, has decided to move back to SF after five years away. To get himself back into the swing of things, he's putting together Point of View, a one-night "unique sensory dining experience" that'll be held on Friday, March 15.
The nine-course tasting menu will be inspired by Tolentino's recent travels through Southeast Asia, with takes on everything from street food to hot pots. The $125 price of admission will include beer, sake, and cocktails by "a well-known local mixologist" Tolentino doesn't want to name yet. There'll also be plenty of entertainment: Tolentino has plans for a live projection installation, a photography gallery, a DJ, and a pamphlet, all of which will be organized around the Southeast Asian theme. "I've been doing consulting work for the past five years, and I wanted to create a concept for myself," he says. "I just wanted to go out on a limb and try something really different."
Right now, Tolentino says, the Stable Cafe space is a blank canvas: though Saison's Joshua Skenes took his prized Molteni stove and many other items with him to his new location in SOMA, Stable's owners have installed two new six-burner stoves, and the space is fairly plain, allowing him to accessorize as he chooses.
If the first edition of the dinner goes well, Tolentino would like to do three more "volumes" of the Point of View series over the next 3-4 months, focusing on different regions, cuisines, or seasons in each dinner (again, with an associated art and music component). Beyond that, he's not sure of his plans, but says he's open to either working on a brick-and-mortar of his own or taking a chef gig with an existing spot. In the meantime, you can buy a ticket to the March 15th dinner here; there are two seatings, 6 and 9 pm, with 24 tickets available for each seating.
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