Canteen chef-owner Dennis Leary — who also owns House of Shields in addition to The Sentinel and Golden West — will be opening two new ventures by the end of the year, as the Chron is reporting. The first is a tiny new café with both day and night menus near the cable car terminus at California and Drumm, to be named Café Terminus (10 California Street). Next will be a new bar in the Tenderloin, a couple of blocks from Canteen, at Geary and Leavenworth, and Leary says it’s going to be “intimate and beautiful,” and “something that doesn’t look like anything in San Francisco.” It’s currently RJ’s Sports Bar (701 Geary), and Leary is partnering with House of Shields bar manager Eric Pasetti. They’ve hired New York designer Jack Dakin (who did La Esquina) to design both projects.
Leary’s last couple of projects have all been big successes, but they all have little to do with each other. As he says to the Chron, “The brand is that there is no brand.” He took over House of Shields in 2010 and gave it a much praised restoration, leaving it as an after-work bar which occasionally hosts private events catered by his next-door sandwich shop The Sentinel. That same year he also opened The Golden West, a bakery and lunch spot on Trinity Place.
In semi-related news, and following on the demise of brunch at Canteen, Leary has discontinued a longtime menu favorite at his flagship restaurant: the vanilla soufflé. Our condolences to its many fans, and we’ll let you know if it ever returns.
Meanwhile, he’s doing something ambitious and cool at Canteen that he dubs “The 100 Menus Project,” which is expected to go on for a couple of years. Each week’s menu is based on the 1971 cookbook The Hundred Glories of French Cooking by Robert Courtine. As Leary notes on the restaurant website, “It is a broad, though not exhaustive, compendium of regional French dishes — many of which are rustic in character.” He says that the kitchen will be working through various parts of the book, repeating dishes that are the most successful, and the nightly menu is “somewhere between à la carte and prix fixe,” with a limited number of choices, and a four-course option for “around fifty bucks.” See this week’s menu here.