On Wednesday, November 1, husband-and-wife chefs David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher will welcome the first diners into their new restaurant 7 Adams. It’s not the first time the couple has opened a restaurant together, but it is the first time they’re doing it without the backdrop of a global pandemic, struggling against a tide of ever-changing health mandates and a crumbling supply chain. This time around, they’re bolstered with support from a well-established local restaurant group, Hi Neighbor Hospitality, and they’re excited to do it right. “Everything here was so intentional versus everything in the past, we were working out of what was given to us,” Chow Fisher says. “It’s just so purposeful that it brings new meaning to this fresh start for us. Now, this is actually a really great representation of who we are as people and cooks and chefs.”
Fans who’ve been following the chef-couple’s journey over the last few years understand how long of a road the duo has traveled to get to this point. They opened their first restaurant Marlena during the early days of the pandemic, enduring countless pivots from takeout-only to outdoor dining to, finally, getting diners through the front door — and a year into the restaurant’s tenure, Michelin bestowed on them a sparkling single star. Then they temporarily closed the restaurant for renovations, hosted a months-long pop-up, reopened in the original space, and went through a messy split with the restaurant’s owner. Now, they’ve landed new partners and a new home to turn their dream restaurant into reality.
In many ways, 7 Adams is a more personal restaurant than Marlena. They borrowed the restaurant’s name from the address of Fisher’s childhood home and while they’re sticking somewhat close to the menu format from Marlena, where they offered four courses for $75 with the option to supplement the meal with extra dishes, they’ve since dialed things in with the goal of delivering something more unique. At 7 Adams, they’ve bumped the menu up to five courses, the first two of which will be set by the kitchen. Fisher says they’ll often offer a seasonal vegetable course and something light, like a crudo. The opening menu, for example, starts with a nest of charred broccoli di ciccio followed by kombu-cured kampachi crudo.
The third course will mean a “dedicated pasta course,” Fisher says. He’s been tightening his pasta-making skills so diners will choose from two options, both inflected by what’s in season. Right now that means either a red kabocha squash ravioli with confit lobster mushrooms and toasted sunflower seed pesto, or tagliatelle served with a braised lamb shoulder ragu and shaved matsutake mushroom. For those looking for something even more decadent, there’s also the option to upgrade your pasta course to a ricotta gnudi with black truffle, poached new crop chestnuts, and Parmesan for $18. The decision to blend set courses and those left up to the customer was intentional, Hi Neighbor partner Ryan Cole explains. “It’s symphonic up and down,” he says. “The whole point is there are some things you don't need to worry about. But it forces you to share and forces you to have conversations.”
Course four marks the culmination of the savory side of the meal, where diners will choose from entrees such as chicken farce with braised salsify or roasted black cod, served in a mussel butter sauce. Sides come family-style, so the table splits honeynut squash farro verde made with mascarpone cheese and a grilled wedge of arrowhead cabbage boosted with a savory fish sauce caramel. Diners will also have a choice of two desserts: either a hojicha opera cake with compressed pear or an apple crumb cake with satsuma snow. A scoop of the couple’s newly launched Jack & Remi ice cream accompanies the latter, specifically a delicately floral orange bay leaf ice cream.
Hi Neighbor beverage director Steve Izzo put together a wine list that blends New and Old World selections with an eye toward featuring smaller, family-owned, and quality-minded producers many of which also use sustainable farming practices. The bottle list sits at 50 options with a dozen available by the glass. Diners can also expect a second menu option to emerge down the line: the couple says they’ll eventually use the bar as a chef’s tasting counter, where six seats will offer a front-row view to the garde manger at work. That menu will span between seven and nine ever-changing dishes with its own price point that’s yet to be determined. “You’re basically booking a seat to let Dave and Serena do whatever they want to do,” Cole says.
Kellogg Architects, Inc. worked with the team to create a space that feels both cozy and airy, a challenge considering the narrow nature of the dining room and low ceilings. They installed custom-milled abstract shapes that give off ambient light — “clouds,” as the team calls them — to illuminate the space, which spills out into an enclosed and heated back patio. Small touches including pine tree wallpaper serve as a nod to the tree-filled lawn from Fisher’s childhood home.
The restaurant’s opening carries heavy weight not only for the couple but also for Hi Neighbor, which hasn’t rolled out an entirely new restaurant in several years, Cole points out. They’ve got other irons in the fire — including the revamping of the historic Cliff House restaurant space overlooking Ocean Beach — but Cole says this project has been a particularly special one. “San Francisco has changed so much, I think right now we feel like our group is at the point where we can raise our expectations and our standards,” Cole says. “We don’t have to think about making any sacrifices here and I think that's what's going to set this place apart.”