The Cavalier San Francisco Opens Today, August 2nd
Today April 2, marks the launch of The Cavalier, an upscale British brasserie in Mid Market at 360 Jessie Street, set adjacent to the new Viceroy Group property, The Hotel Zetta.
The Cavalier represents the third restaurant in just over three years from Executive Chef/ Partner Jennifer Puccio and Managing Partners Anna Weinberg and James Nicholas. Building on the successes of Marlowe and Park Tavern, The Cavalier aims to be an instant classic- that favorite restaurant and bar where you want to eat every meal, and stop by at any time of day. The 135-seat restaurant is divided into four unique, intimate spaces, designed by Ken Fulk, the ultimate mix master of high style and downtown cool. “We wanted it to be a spot buzzing with activity and filled with a sense of history,” says Fulk.
The Blue Bar refers to the light-filled blue room lined with dramatic 12 foot arched windows. The generous, convivial 27-seat zinc bar is illuminated by vintage Italian tole lanterns. As the bar is a main focus point of the restaurant, so too is The Cavalierʼs cocktail menu. Divided into “Cavalier Classics” (including Pimmʼs Cup, a Royal ʻG and Tʼ and The Barrister, an English take on the Manhattan) “Club Cocktails” from the most famous English establishments, like the White Lady, created at The Savoy in 1930, and “Colony Cocktails” (including an East Indies Sling).
Diners sit opposite the bar in tufted peacock blue banquettes under brass portrait lamps. The bar leads into two dining rooms: the first, the crimson-hued Main Dining Room, surrounded by luxe black banquettes, “It was important for us to create a space where there wasnʼt one bad seat in the house”, says Nicholas. The Wine Stables is a cozy, inset room, wrapped in a hand painted scene of a formal English Fox Hunt. Next stop: the Rail Car, named for the roomʼs likeness to a heritage train, complete with brass luggage racks set a top the banquettes to set shopping and bags
Launching with a dinner-only menu, The Cavalier will then expand into breakfast and lunch starting October 1st.
The unabashedly Anglophilic dinner menu offers dishes that improve upon pub classics and “Sunday lunch” staples. The Boat of Prawns are seared, served head–on, and presented with housemade prawn salt and a traditional English Marie Rose sauce. Lamb Scrumpets (from the English term “to scrump”, to cook until crisp) in which the tender, braised lamb ribs are quickly deep-fried and then served with
Eggs get special attention, “The English love their eggs!”, says Chef Puccio, with three versions of English specialties. The Quail Egg Mayonnaise is presented as delectable one-bites, where individual soft-cooked quail eggs are dressed with pickled shallot liquid, Dijon mayonnaise and housemade celery salt, and finished with a light touch of fried shallot. Hen Egg Hollandaise is rendered all the richer by using
only pullets (hens under a year old) for their prized, larger, richer yolk, and a creamy goat butter. The accompanying “soldiers” are finger sandwiches made from Acme Pan de Mie and filled with burrata and prosciutto to make a decidedly upscale ham and cheese. Most decadent, perhaps, is the Duck Duck Scotch Egg. The classic dish is made even more flavorful by wrapping the duck egg in duck leg confit before frying.
The Cavalier Fish and Chips improves upon the pub grub staple, using a yeasted batter that leavens and makes the fry that much more crispy and toothsome. Rather than the traditional malt vinegar, which can create a soggy dish, a heady malt vinegar aïoli is offered in its place to dunk the Thrice–Cooked Chips into. Whole Roasted Petrale Sole is a fresh California take on the Dover classic, served with local
samphire, a salty seawater succulent found regularly on modern British menus.
The much-loved pie is given the upscale treatment by Chef Puccio in cast iron cocottes, with a Wild Mushroom Pie filled with silky Morels, Chanterelles and Hen of the Woods and a Steak And Oyster Pie filled with beef cheek and Corned Beef, with an oyster served in its shell to eat as is, or to pour into the pie itself.
Beef Dripping Chips are served with the house Rib Eye, rotisserie items like the Leg of California Lamb, Loin of Pork- or can be served on their own with any dish. Fresh, market driven alternatives to British convention abound- bright, flavorful Minted Peas and Beans replace the standard technicolor, bland “Mushy Peas”. The dessert menu offers, among other delights, an authentic Lemon Posset and Steamed Pudding.
A semi-private club at the rear of The Cavalier, Marianneʼs, will open in the coming months. Named for Weinbergʼs favorite style icon, Marianne Faithfull, the intimate salon is fittingly decadent, with low lighting, Moroccan touches and club chairs perfect for late night tête-à-têtes. Among the eclectic artwork is a large original photograph from 1968 Rolling Stonesʼ Beggars Banquet album, which inspired the bohemian, decadent, bacchanal tone for Marianneʼs.
Visit their website thecavaliersf.com