With so many restaurants in the Adriano Paganini empire, including Beretta, Starbelly, Delarosa, Super Duper Burger, and the forthcoming Uno Dos Tacos, one could be forgiven for forgetting about his first collaboration with Ruggero Gadaldi, Pesce, which has been a stalwart presence on Polk Street for more than ten years. But the Venetian-inspired seafood spot finally has digs that will make local eaters sit up and take notice: they've shut down the Polk Street location and moved everything over to a glamorous new 100-seat space in the Castro, which formerly housed 2223 and the short-lived Jake's on Market.
The team's goal for Pesce 2.0 was to make the experience feel much the same, just in bigger environs (the new space is more than double the size of the first Pesce). Gadaldi is the executive chef on the project, but as he also has Beretta and Delarosa's kitchens to run, he's brought in a familiar face: Top Chef and Scala's Bistro alum Jen Biesty, who'll be running the kitchen for a few months as she gets her own project, Shakewell Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, underway. The menu is mostly the same as before, but Gadaldi's added a few new pizzettas to make use of the pizza oven that came with the space, and Biesty helped him develop some recipes for cicchetti, Venetian-style bar snacks that will be displayed behind the bar and sell for $2-3. Here's the full food menu.
On the drinks side, the wine list has been amped up a little, with about 50 mostly Italian bottles, and a revamped cocktail menu that emphasizes classic drinks and Italian liqueurs. (Here's the drink menu.) Designer Grace Mack of the Puccini Group was responsible for the interior revamp, adding accents like a long marble bar and a second standing bar, cool lighting fixtures, and hip banquettes. The current plan is for Pesce to softly open tonight at about half capacity, then open up more tables as they get settled in. Hours will be daily from 5:30-11 pm, with the bar opening at 5 pm; weekend brunch will be added in a few weeks. As for the original space on Polk Street, Paganini and Gadaldi are holding on to it, but haven't yet decided what it'll become.