Another ambitious restaurant is set to open in the Tenderloin, adding to the growing cadre of spots like Whitechapel, Huxley, and Liholiho Yacht Club. Called Black Cat, the concept is a jazz-focused restaurant with a decidedly lounge-bent, something owner Fritz Quattlebaum (NYC’s Casa Nela) and operations partner Khalid Mushasha think is lacking from the San Francisco scene. "We all know San Francisco has an abundance of great restaurants, but there are not that many places where a group of friends can get together in a casual but sexy bar-lounge atmosphere and enjoy good food," he told Eater.
Black Cat harks back to the time when the Tenderloin was filled with arts and entertainment, and the restaurant will bring some of that back on a stage with live jazz programming curated by SFJazz performer Theo Croker and a cabaret revue for Saturday nights (and eventually brunch) developed by Emma Henley. When there are no live shows, the stage will feature a video art installation created for Black Cat by filmmaker Sarah Feeley (Tim Burton's Corpse Bride).
Quattlebaum envisions the bi-level space as a salon of sorts, where "people can rub elbows and have this experience of spontaneous conviviality," Quattlebaum said. "That’s what a cocktail party is — you show up and you bump into friends and people who will be friends." Designer Craige Walters (Blackbird, Hecho) is bringing in luxe elements like velvet, distressed leather, and golds to create what Quattlebaum wants to be a "sexy" vibe. Even staff uniforms will fit the theme with Tenderloin-based designer Harputs’ Own designing outfits with Japanese wool and black leather.
Chef Ryan Cantwell (Zuni Cafe, Chez Panisse) will be running the food program, creating globally-influenced small plates — with a particularly strong Spanish focus — meant to be shared for a supper club feel. Dishes like oyster pot pies, swordfish polpettes, and Portuguese-style clams are just a few of the items that will be served nightly until 1 a.m.
Accompanying Cantwell’s food are classic cocktails, large-format, low-alcohol punches, and housemade sodas from bartender Gabriel Lowe (Locanda, Beretta, The Battery), plus a 90-bottle international wine list from wine director Eugenio Jardim (Jardinière).
Black Cat is scheduled to open early summer and will be open until 2 a.m. nightly.