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Urchin, Ame and Terra's Casual Sister, Lands on Valencia

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[Photos: Patricia Chang]

After earning Michelin stars in both wine country (Terra, Bar Terra) and SOMA (Ame), the dynamic duo of Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani have set their sights on the Mission with today's opening of more casual Urchin Bistrot. Housed in the former Wo Hing General Store space, it's a partnership with Ame alumni Michael Morrison and Susan Naderi Johnston, who are serving as the chef and GM, respectively. The focus is updated French bistro fare, modeled on the bistronomiques that are currently taking Paris by storm. Don't expect the standard moules frites and cassoulet when dining here; like Monsieur Benjamin, it's classics with a twist.

Morrison's menu plays around with iconic French dishes, but lends them a lighter touch, as in a take on brandade made entirely with vegetables (celery root, potato, and cauliflower) or the signature sea-urchin spaghettini. His cassoulet subs lamb shoulder, ribs, and sausage for the standard duck and pork, while the hand-chopped steak tartare comes over remoulade with fried oysters on top. The "Hiro Sandwich," with meatballs, bone marrow, and jalapenos, also looks insane in a good way. There's a five-course prix-fixe option for $50, with wine pairings for an additional $38. Here's the full food menu.

On the cocktail side, another Ame alum, Rafael Jimenez Rivera, is heading up the bar. (He's also worked at A16, Plum Bar, and most recently, Comal, where he earned the EBX award for Best East Bay Bartender.) The menu is French-inspired, with cognac, Chartreuse, Suze, and absinthe showing up in drinks like the Gentian Tonique (gin, Suze, apricot, lemon) and the Armadillo Apothecary (mezcal, absinthe, lime, bay leaf, egg white). Wines are mostly French and affordably priced, with everything in the $25-75 range; there are 15 wines by the glass, four California draft beers, and another handful of bottled beers. Here's the full drink menu.

Sone and Doumani designed the 99-seat space with Zack DeVito (Craftsman & Wolves, Starbelly). It includes a mural drawn by Sone and executed by Twin Walls Mural Company, featuring Mission icons like the Roxie Theater sign, Sutro Tower, and the Armory. Sidewalk seating is on the way shortly, and there are also plans to open for brunch down the line (and possibly lunch as well, if there's sufficient demand). For the moment, hours are Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-10:30 pm, and Friday-Saturday, 10:30-11 pm.

· Watch Hiro Sone, More Chefs Read Aloud Bad Yelp Reviews [~ ESF ~]
· Sone and Doumani to Open a Mission Restaurant [~ ESF ~]

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