The 49-seat restaurant takes the place of the shuttered Great Hunan, with a late spring opening in sight.
The idea: A nightly $35 three-course prix fixe menu, with choices in each category.Trestle is the brainchild of the partnership regime of fine dining expats in Ryan Cole, Jason Kirmse, Cyrick Hia, Tai Ricci, and executive chef Jason Halverson.
With Trestle, the tight space itself — which has been a Chinese restaurant for 60-plus years — and the surrounding neighborhood led to the concept.
“One of our biggest things at all of spots — [Stones Throw], Fat Angel, Trestle — is that it’s value-driven,” says Cole. “With this space, we said we have very limited resources in the space to make it work and still do what we like to do — have integrity in the food, quality of plating, and our normal style. That’s how this prix fixe came about.”
He continues: “Everybody’s doing a prix fixe. Why not do a prix fixe that everyone can actually afford to do?”
One of the big inspirations for Trestle was the Chez Panisse of, say, 25 years ago, says Cole: “It’s more the overall concept of preparing a really good home cooked meal, something that’s not going to challenge you mentally in that you don’t know half the words on the menu, but you’re going to eat it and think you really want this roast chicken today, or this beautiful salad. Just fundamentally sound food.”
It’s a straightforward, service-oriented mindset reflected in the nascent restaurant group’s new name: Hi Neighbor.
In their first two projects, they have chosen areas with strong neighborhood vibes and regulars aplenty, and are hoping that extends to the ever-growing Jackson Square/lower North Beach area, at the intersection of North Beach proper, Chinatown and the Financial District. Kirmse will put together the beer and wine lists, as he does at the group’s other restaurants.
“Trestle is a foundation. It’s the foundation that lays the tracks,” Cole says. “For us it’s also the earliest form of a dining room table, the foundation of an old school dining table. The idea behind this is you need a solid foundation, but you’re not trying to change the world. What was great back then is still great now — as long as you can meet people’s needs and show them that sometimes it’s OK to be comforted.”“We want people to embrace the value and say take the $35 chance on us. That’s the price of an entree in 75 percent of the other restaurants in San Francisco.”