TABLEHOPPING Red Dog trots into SoMa, Chino wants to party in the Mission, Dine About Town hits the streets, and Uno Dos Tacos comes patio-ready.
Positive reports are already rolling in for chef-owner Lauren Kiino's newest project, Red Dog (303 2nd St., SF. www.reddogrestaurant) — woof! Not only did she open a restaurant in a funky part of town that needed more dining options, but her fresh, rustic food also offers easy, middle-of-the-week appeal: when you don't know what you want, she gives you options. Maybe it's her famed egg salad for lunch, or smoked duck hash browns with poached eggs for brunch, or a Massa brown rice and market vegetable bowl for dinner. You'll also find a house-ground classic beef burger and fries any time of day. It's a casual, neighborhood spot, with seating for 120, plus a bar area (and another 25 will fit on the patio soon). Swing by for a bite and cocktail before a Giants game — happy hour runs daily from 3pm–6pm, with both food and drink specials. And psssst, they make a mean Scotch egg. Opening hours are lunch Mon–Fri 11am–3pm, dinner daily 5pm–10pm, brunch Sat–Sun 10am–3pm. Breakfast will be added in a couple of weeks: Mon–Fri 8am–10:30am.
New life has come to the corner of 16th Street and Guerrero in the Mission, with the opening of Chino in the former Andalu, from the partners behind Tacolicious. The appetizing menu is going to ply you with housemade dumplings (made by a dumpling Jedi), flavor-packed wings, light dishes like yuba noodles with cilantro-ginger "salsa verde" and pickled shiitake mushrooms or cold sesame noodles with summer squash, lumpia from the chef de cuisine's family recipe, shrimp wonton noodle soup, and four kinds of stuffed bao. It all sounds tasty and fun, doesn't it? That's definitely the point—the design is also playful and colorful, and there's a bar with some cocktails, like the Boba Colada, that will have you feeling a little silly in no time. There are 66 seats, sure to be filling up with folks chowing down on this surprisingly affordable menu. It's kind of a breath of fresh air in these days of $32 entrées (and they're using quality ingredients too). Open daily 11:30am–1am.
Downtown workers have a new, and muy grande, taqueria to hit up, Uno Dos Tacos (595 Market St., SF. www.unodostaco.com). The original location was a short-term trial on Polk Street, in case the name seems familiar. The menu is divided up into tacos, burritos, salads, or a plate with your choice of meats: carne asada, chicken tinga, carnitas, lengua, fish (try the fried fish taco!), or vegetarian. Tacos are $3.25 each, $4.50 for fish, and burritos are $6.50 for vegetarian or $7.25 for meat. Considering the high-quality meats and produce, and the corn tortillas are made in-house (you can even check out the groovy machine), that pricing is pretty fab. Best of all: there's a huge outdoor patio. We're talking room for 80 people. And with the full bar, this place has you covered. Take over a picnic table with your after-work posse and you're set. Open for lunch and dinner, 10:30am–9pm.
BALLIN' ON A BUDGET
It's that time of the year again, when SF restaurants offer some lunch and dinner specials for Dine About Town (www.dineabouttown.com), running now through June 15th. You can check out a special lunch at Spruce or Campton Place (lunch deals are a prix-fixe lunch of two or three courses for $18.95), or a three-course dinner for $36.95 at places like Dosa on Fillmore, La Mar, and M.Y. China. There are more than 100 restaurants participating, check it out.