See ya, back-alley theme. [Photo: Patricia Chang]
In case you were wondering if Michael Bauer has power over the SF food scene, believe it: literally one day after he ripped into Betelnut for transforming into Hutong, the restaurant is changing back into its former incarnation. (Yes, we couldn't believe our eyes when we saw it, either.) Bill Higgins of the Real Restaurants group tells Inside Scoop that the restaurant managers decided to switch back this morning, and since the original renovation was accomplished in a week, it'll be transformed back in about that time.
As for the menu, chef Alexander Ong will hold on to some of his Hutong dishes, while bringing back other favorites from the Betelnut menu (we're guessing the dishes Bauer mentioned missing, like the minced-chicken lettuce cups, the fried calamari, and the beggar's chicken, are going to be first back on the boat). No word on whether or not the cocktail program will go back to as before. Hosts will begin answering the phones as Betelnut later this week, and everything in the space but the walls will go back to their original incarnations.
"We took a risk," says Higgins. "The correct thing to do is listen to what everyone, not just Michael Bauer, was saying." But mostly Michael Bauer.
· Betelnut is coming back this week; Hutong experiment cut short [Inside Scoop]
· Week in Reviews: Bauer Trashes Hutong [~ ESF ~]
· Inside Hutong, the Reborn Betelnut [~ ESF ~]