Tenderloin supper club Black Cat quietly pounced on some new talent earlier this year, with hires including executive creative chef and culinary consultant Tu David Phu, a contestant on the latest season of Top Chef. The ambitious establishment opened in 2016, divided into an upstairs bar and downstairs dining parlor and live music venue. Critics were initially a bit wary of the food, but for what it’s worth, the Chronicle’s Michael Bauer is already praising the new menu, which is below, with updates from Phu and chef de cuisine Robert Hurtado in the kitchen
Phu was named a 2017 Chronicle Rising Star Chef for his Vietnamese pop-up AN, and before that, he was executive chef at Berkeley’s Gather. His offerings at Black Cat include Vietnamese touches like Saigon bouillabaisse and sirloin banh mi, plus riffs on classics like a scallops Rockefeller. While the entertainment is always downstairs, patrons can order food to the upstairs bar, too.
Also new on the team is cocktail director Chris Amirault, an LA bartender of Otium at the Broad Museum. His new cocktail menu is in place, featuring cocktails like a Chinatown Negroni with smoked tea, a Russian Hill Mule (Old Tom gin, vodka, aloe liqueur, lime, and ginger) and an apparently modified French 75 called a Pardon My French (with mescal, passionfruit, vanilla, lime, and sparkling rosé). Later in May, he’ll roll out a second, dedicated cocktail menu just available upstairs, so stay tuned for that.
Finally, a new general manager and wine director, Zach Pace, is onboard. He comes from Lazy Bear and Foreign Cinema before that. And there’s always rotating talent in the form of musical performances at Black Cat — though you won’t typically see Steph Curry playing a tambourine (as he did once last year).
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified Tu David Phu’s role at Black Cat. He is executive creative chef and culinary consultant, not executive chef.