Big news: chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns, the duo behind fermented favorite Bar Tartine, are working on an entirely new restaurant concept. Called Motze, the restaurant will offer a globally-influenced menu with strong ties to Japan. Balla and Burns both have extensive experience with Japanese cuisine — Balla ran the stoves at Nombe for two years (and O Izakaya before that) and cooked in the country, and Burns recently took a trip there for fermented rice research.
Though they are still looking for a space, Balla and Burns will preview the food every Monday night moving forward at Bar Tartine, starting Monday, August 15. Dishes like black koji and flax seed crackers with salmon roe; fat dumplings with egg and shiso; poached chicken with tomato chili paste; and eggplant with rye shoyu, nepitella (a mint-like herb), and avocado; and sesame candy with bee pollen will all be previewed. The family-style meals are $58 per person, and you can call for reservations or book online.
Meanwhile the Burns-Balla dream team are still moving forward with their plans to revamp Bar Tartine. You may remember the pair purchased the restaurant from Chad Robertson and Elizabeth Prueitt as a part of the failed Tartine-Blue Bottle merger. Since then, they've been working on the transition of the space to make it fully their own (including renaming it Crescent). Currently — as is so SF — the switchover is held up in city logistics, but they're hoping to make the change in 2016.
In case you're curious, Motze is named for a fifth century BCE Chinese philosopher who "touted universal love and authenticity," which is right in line with Burns and Balla's Crescent renaming decision as something that "summarizes the ebb and flow of things, and the birthplace of civilization and food." Stay tuned for more details.