What You Should Expect at San Francisco's Newest Restaurant: Mourad
One of the bigger openings this year has arrived: Mourad, logging in at an eye-popping 258 seats in the historic 140 New Montgomery/Pacific Bell building designed by Timothy Pflueger (which also houses Trou Normand). This is chef-owner Mourad Lahlou’s second restaurant under his sole ownership, his first being Aziza, which he opened in 2001 in the Outer Richmond.
Any Aziza regulars can attest to how the self-taught chef’s cuisine has evolved over the years, and this new project will continue his exploration of where Northern California ingredients and traditional Moroccan dishes intersect. A sample menu has items that read simply (“Mackerel: herb jam, rye panisse, puntarelle, sorrel”), but one look at images of his modern Moroccan dishes reveals a complexity of preparation, presentation and flavors. There is also a tasting menu for $150.
Lahlou has brought on chef de cuisine Chris Kajioka, who worked for Ron Siegel when he helmed the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, and later for Per Se in New York, Aziza, Willows Inn on Lummi Island in Washington State and Vintage Cave in Hawaii. He has a contemporary French style with a Japanese sensibility. Look for more on the native Hawaiian’s upcoming project, Restaurant CK, later this year.
Joining the team is Master Sommelier Alan Murray, formerly at Masa’s; cocktails are by Christ Aivaliotis and Troy Bayless of Wizard Oil, and Melissa Chou (Aziza) will also run the pastry show at this location.
Lundberg Design designed the contemporary two-level space. You’ll see Moroccan influences and motifs (a great deal was inspired by a trip Lundberg and Lahlou took to Marrakesh) paired with modern touches like a suspended steel and glass wine bridge that houses a backlit wine cellar. There’s also a spacious lounge and bar area.
Open nightly for dinner 5:30-10 p.m.
140 New Montgomery St. at Mission, 415-660-2500.
Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column about the SF dining scene, subscribe for free at www.tablehopper.com. Out now is her first book, The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco: Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion, a groundbreaking new style of guidebook. And check out her new app, Tablehopper’s Top Late-Night Eats, which highlights 95 SF spots serving food past 11pm!