The charming bistro space pictured above is Mason Pacific, which is opening tomorrow in Russian Hill. Owned by private-equity CEO Jay Thomson and his wife, Shannon McTiernan Thomson, it's a showcase for the cooking talents of Shannon's brother, Sean McTiernan, a CIA-trained chef who's worked at Taillevent and Joel Robuchon's La Table in Paris, as well as Delfina and Rose Pistola back home. (He and his sister are fourth-generation San Franciscans.)
McTiernan's menu is eclectic and approachable, with offerings like parmesan potato skins, smoked-cod brandade, and buttermilk fried chicken to start, followed by entrees like housemade tagliatelle with truffle fondue or lamb sugo, wild salmon with pepperoncini sofrito, and a burger on a pretzel bun. For dessert, there's chocolate pot de creme or Humphry Slocombe ice cream. See the full menu here.
Wine is a highlight at Mason Pacific, which offers both a European-oriented everyday program from former RN74 lead sommelier Eric Railsback and a curated selection of vintage French and Californian bottles from the Thomsons' private collection. "I wanted a wine list that offers a lot of value in terms of food-friendly drinking at every price level, from the simplest bottle of rosé to a 25-year-old bottle of grand cru Burgundy," said Jay Thomson. Another unique feature is a draft program from Copain Wines, featuring red and white wines made specifically for the restaurant and sold in 250-mL carafes. There are also two draft beers and a handful of bottles.
The former Lalola Bar de Tapas space, nestled along the cable car line at the border between Russian Hill, Chinatown, and Nob Hill, has been completely revamped with beige leather banquettes, big mirrors, and lots of statement light fixtures. The dining room seats 24, and there's also a more relaxed bar area that will eventually play host to casual breakfast and lunch options and morning coffee from Sightglass. For the time being, Mason Pacific is open Tuesday-Sunday from 5-10 pm.