Devotees of Castro neighborhood favorite and Eater 38 perennial Frances (a group that includes pretty much everyone who's ever eaten there) have been foaming at the mouth for the debut of chef Melissa Perello's sequel, Octavia, which will finally open its doors tomorrow night. Housed in the former Baker & Banker space in Pacific Heights (and named for the street on which it's perched), it's essentially a bigger, bolder incarnation of Frances, because you can never have too much of a good thing.
Perello isn't sharing most menu details until opening night, but diners can generally expect the fine-tuned global comfort fare for which she's well-known, with an expanded menu thanks to her new, larger kitchen. A few sample dishes: squid-ink noodles with fennel, green garlic, and bottarga; leg of lamb with purslane, green olive, and almond; and grilled asparagus with miso vinaigrette and caramelized shallots.
Wine director Paul Einbund also has a larger cellar to play with at Octavia, where he's offering both the approachable, easy-drinking wines for which Frances is known, and some swanky reserve options he's imported from Italy, Burgundy, the northern Rhone, and California. Instead of Frances' custom-blended wine on tap, Octavia will offer two bottles each quarter that are collaborations between Einbund and various winemakers. To bookend the meal, there's a selection of eight vermouths and eight Madeiras, including one that dates to the '40s.
Michael Baushke of Apparatus Architecture designed the 50-seat space, with an assist from Perello's father, Phil, a former wood-shop teacher who oversaw construction and designed the bench seating. It's definitely reminiscent of Frances, with lots of textured wood, black accents, and minimalist art. The space has also been opened up quite a bit from the Baker & Banker days, letting in plenty of natural light.
Hours for Octavia will be daily from 5-10:30 pm; reservations are now available on OpenTable, and the space will have some seating for walk-ins as well. And if you can't score a table right away, do note that Perello has a Blue Apron recipe debuting next week.