The Presidio Trust has made a bold commitment to make the Presidio a real dining destination for San Francisco. In partnership with the Bon Appétit Management Company and Traci des Jardins, two new and very exciting restaurants are making their debut.
Now open in the Presidio (101 Montgomery Street, on the Main Post), The Commissary is a new restaurant from award-winning chef Traci des Jardins (Jardinière, Mijita, Public House). It is housed inside the old Montgomery Street barracks, which was constructed in 1895, and incorporates many artifacts from around the post, such as tabletops made from a salvaged 125-year-old Douglas fir and lighting fixtures reclaimed from an historic Army gymnasium.
In total, there are 112 seats, including a chef’s counter, which faces the large open kitchen, a communal table, bar, and a private dining room for up to 20 guests. Out front, a beautiful shaded porch lets patrons dine with a view of the Main Post lawn (on Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons, Off the Grid populates the same lawn with a myriad of food vendors). The restaurant also offers a mercantile shop, so guests can purchase and enjoy a bottle of wine and picnic provisions out on the lawn or surrounding park benches.
Chef Jardins’s menu honors the Presidio’s 200-year historic legacy with a focus on Spain’s influence on Northern California, San Francisco, and the Presidio. Working with her in the kitchen is culinary director Robbie Lewis (who worked with her at Rubicon in 1993 and for five years at Jardinière) and executive chef Reylon Agustin (also from Jardinière).
Start off with a dry rosé and an order of sweet pea and ham croquetas or sardines escabeche. The pan con tomate is also delicious and comes with slivers of cured anchovies. Larger dishes include a New York steak (mojo verde, salt roasted potatoes), grilled squid (garbanzo beans, fennel, aioli), and fennel and baby artichoke paella (young parsley salad). In addition to the wine list, The Commissary offers a full bar with handcrafted signature cocktails, such as Sand and Fog (scotch, sherry, eucalyptus, nettles). Desserts also pay homage to Spain with classics such as crema catalana (sherry sultanas, vanilla cookie).
Open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., light breakfast; 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., lunch; Monday through Saturday, 5:30 to 9 p.m., dinner. Closed Sunday.
Arguello and The Presidio Officer’s Club
Also in the works by the same partnership as The Commissary is a new restaurant located inside the historic Presidio Officer’s Club. Arguello will feature authentic Mexican cuisine with seating for 118 people inside and on a heated patio. Currently undergoing renovations, the Officer’s Club will also house two floors of education centers, event spaces, a theater, and exhibits. Originally built in 1815 when the Spanish Army occupied the Presidio, the Officer’s Club enjoyed a rebirth in 1934 and became known for its glamorous social scene. Officers would mingle with Hollywood stars such as Bob Hope, Veronica Lake, and Joan Crawford. The new remodel will offer the public the opportunity to learn about the Presidio’s unique history and its role in San Francisco. To open in September, 2014.
Read about new wine country restaurants online at www.nobhillgazette.com.
James Stolich’s CookWithJames.com provides regional Italian and Spanish dishes for all occasions. He has been featured in UrbanDaddy.com, AgencySpy.com, and Jenn Garbee’s intriguing book, Secret Suppers, about rogue chefs and their little known culinary lives.