After months and months of delays, Aster, the new project from Brett Cooper and the Daniel Patterson Group, is finally here, with opening night set for tomorrow, March 31. The restaurant is the first solo project for Cooper, the acclaimed former Outerlands chef, and the first in an unusual new business strategy for Patterson (Coi, Alta CA), who's partnering with young chefs from his stable to open new restaurants where they'll lead the culinary charge. (Cooper is a Coi alum; Kim Alter, who worked with Patterson at Haven and Plum, will also be opening a DPG restaurant in Hayes Valley later this year.)
Cooper's NorCal-centric food at Aster plays with a range of influences, most notably Japanese. Umeboshi and tatsoi are used in a dish of pork loin and fried potatoes, an uni appetizer changes daily, and pig's-head croquettes are accompanied by a riff on yuzu kosho made with mandarins. Desserts, from McCrady's alum Sean Ehland, are equally creative, ranging from a beet cremeux to a frozen chocolate mandarin. Much of the restaurant's product comes from extremely small farms around the area, many of which are growing product exclusively for Aster; everything from vinegar to yogurt is made in-house. Here's the full menu—note that the price of every item includes service, as announced by the group back in November.
Scott Kester, the DPG's go-to designer, redid the 45-seat former Beast and the Hare space in a warm, wood-heavy palette, with a large communal table at the center of the room and a petite open kitchen in back. The wine list offers biodynamic and naturally produced vintages, including nearly two dozen by the glass, European beers abound by the bottle, and there are also sodas made with housemade syrups and tinctures for those who'd rather not imbibe. Hours for Aster are Sunday-Thursday, 5:30-10 pm, and Friday-Saturday, 5:30-10:30 pm.