The Alembic has a new executive chef, Rachel Aronow (3rd Cousin, Luma), and she’s already adding to the menu with items like charcuterie made from a lamb she raised in her native Sonoma. The chef, who replaces David Faro, is getting acquainted with The Alembic’s kitchen and backyard garden, and will introduce a full new menu in early August.
Aronow will combine the separate bar and restaurant menus of the past but maintain an emphasis on meat and small plates, keeping favorite dishes like jerk-spiced duck hearts, fried chicken, and bone marrow. She’s expanded charcuterie offerings already and is in the process of procuring more livestock — cows and pigs — to raise for The Alembic. The chef hopes to be cooking with her own beef and pork by early 2018.
New dishes from Aronow include a stout-cured beef heart, made with a grandfather style of curing, the heart itself stuffed with other ground, dry-aged or cured meats. For non-meat eaters who might be concerned by that dish, the chef also touts a vegan entree she introduced last night: Variations of grilled squash in a bed of shakshuka that she likens to an Israeli ratatouille. Nodding to her heritage — Aronow’s bio on Instagram reads “Little Jewish chef in SF” — the chef tells Eater that “you’ll definitely see a bit of ‘Jewish grandmother doing fine dining’” in her food.
Aronow also hopes to channel the ethos the Alembic has already established for more than a decade. Responding to a groundswell of enthusiasm for cocktails, Dave MacLean of nearby Magnolia Brewing (and, later, Smokestack in the Dogpatch) opened The Alembic in 2006. Since then, it’s ushered upscale, seasonal bar food and cocktail pairings into their present day ubiquity. A serious remodel closed the kitchen for most of 2014, but by 2015, the bar and restaurant emerged twice as large as before, with a dedicated dining room adding 26 more seats.