For the last two months, the cozy corner storefront in Bernal Heights where chefs David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher earned a Michelin star for their seasonal tasting menus at Marlena has been closed to diners. But fans need not fear: The restaurant, which opened in August 2020 amid deep pandemic-era chaos, will emerge from its months-long hiatus with a fresh look including new banquettes, updated lighting, and a cool color palette.
In the meantime, however, the husband-and-wife team are taking things downtown for a fun limited pop-up, channeling the smoky campfires of long summer nights into two food menus and a tight cocktail list. The couple’s “Summer Camp at Hotel Zeppelin” kicks off June 22 and ends September 3, giving diners just over two months to experience a new side of the couple’s cooking at the historic Hotel Zeppelin on Post between Mason and Taylor streets.
While Marlena is known for its relatively affordable $65 four-course tasting menu, the pop-up looks to provide the couple with a chance to bring diners an elongated and more expensive experience. In the hotel’s main dining room, the duo presents a 7-course tasting menu ($125) featuring dishes like pea panna cotta with soft-boiled quail egg and chive tuile, and plankton pappardelle with salt spring mussels and a beurre blanc sauce. Dessert leans into the pop-up’s playful theme: gooey s’mores with the requisite graham crackers and chocolate.
For those seeking something more casual, there’s also a walk-in option at the hotel’s lounge, where an a la carte menu includes both entrees and shareable plates. The list ranges from kampachi crudo adorned with pluot and red shiso to roasted black cod in corn broth — plus more casual plates like a buffalo chicken sandwich and a burger topped with pickled jalapeno. On the desserts list expect a burnt honey cake and chocolate mousse. The pop-up also includes a cocktail list with options like the R2-D2 blending mezcal with pineapple and coconut and a splash of cava.
Marlena, which opened in March 2020 when health restrictions initially limited the couple to takeout only, has been one of San Francisco’s biggest restaurant success stories to emerge from the past two tumultuous years. The couple eventually eased into outdoor dining, finally opening their dining room to customers (aside from a single day debut in November 2020) in spring 2021 — and earned their first Michelin star just a few months later in the fall. Now they’re taking the summer to give the dining room the attention it deserves, with plans to reopen the Bernal Heights restaurant in September.
Reservations for “Summer Camp at Hotel Zeppelin” (545 Post St, San Francisco) open at noon on Friday, June 17 and are available on Resy. The bar opens at 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and dinner will be served from 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.