Words by Johanna Harlow
New kids on the Peninsula culinary block.
With a spirited and inventive menu, the New American restaurant Sekoya will keep you on your toes with delightfully daring fusion. Kick off your culinary adventure with one-of-a-kind dishes like the savory yet tangy chicken liver mousse doughnuts and the popcorn beef chicharron with chili butter, truffle salt and maple. The restaurant serves an excellent lamb tartare with accents of citrus and vadouvan curry. And don’t leave without tasting the crudo: thick, supple chunks of Kona Kampachi yellowtail topped with crispy chili garlic tempura, crunchy pickled celtuce, coconut and turnips. Living up to its name’s playful twist on California’s towering forests, Sekoya features tree slab dining tables, plates patterned with rippling tree rings and cocktails named after iconic mountain passes. Expect Bib Gourmand recognition in their near future. 417 California Avenue. Open Monday to Saturday.
If you’re looking for a rustic chic gathering space with the kind of reclaimed wood that could have lived its past life as a country barn, Ghostwood Kitchen could be your new haunt. Raise a glass of award-winning IPA, lager or porter to this Ghostwood Beer Company spinoff—and accompany it with elevated pub food like chicken sandwiches with blueberry barbeque sauce and pizzandas (think calzone-empanada hybrid). Already a favorite among visitors is the Thai peanut chicken salad: a refreshing mix of greens and cabbage topped with mandarin, carrots, radishes, crispy rice noodles, wonton strips and fried chicken breast, all tossed in a spicy peanut dressing. Vegetarians will want to try the Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinaigrette, honey and herbed goat cheese or the fried pickles, a Southern classic with a side of ranch. 911 Main Street. Open Wednesday to Sunday.
Bienvenue, mon chouchou! After delivering 20 years of French bistro-inspired gastronomy to San Francisco, ChouChou now welcomes diners to its new Peninsula location. ChouChou (pronounced shoo-shoo)—a French term of endearment—curates all the classics (with locally-sourced ingredients) to serve up ooh-la-la entrees like duck leg confit Wellington, filet de boeuf charolais, rack of lamb and a rich, belly-warming cassoulet. Along with your Kir Royale aperitif, consider starters like escargots à l’ail gratinés or carpaccio de thon. (Oui, that’s a note of truffle!) And for dessert, may we recommend the profiterole or the chocolate macaron tart.
401 Primrose Road. Open daily.