Michelin-Star-Rated Chef Duo to Lead Innovative Kitchen at San Francisco's Fish & Farm

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Fish & Farm kicks off the winter season with a new pair of chefs to lead the kitchen into 2008.

Fish & Farm (http://www.fishandfarmsf.com), a unique restaurant passionate about food, farms, and the environment, kicks off the winter season with a new pair of chefs to lead the kitchen into 2008.

Charlie Kleinman and Jacob Des Voignes are both veterans of fellow San Francisco restaurant Fifth Floor, where their menus and food execution maintained a coveted Michelin star. Kleinman worked previously at Restaurant Daniel in New York City, while Des Voignes honed his skills at Craft in New York City and Miro in Santa Barbara. The pair, who took before the New Year, bring strong, classic technique, straightforward sensibility, and a passion for using local, seasonal ingredients to Fish & Farm's kitchen.

These are ideals partners Frank Klein, John Duggan and Elena Duggan take seriously - the trio based the restaurant on principles of the sustainable and eat-local movement. The greater majority of the food, for example, is from within a 100-mile radius of the restaurant. A rooftop garden, complete with organic herbs like rosemary, mint, and tarragon, inspires a specialty list of cocktails served in an eclectic collection of antique martini glasses.

Reclaimed-bamboo floors and recycled marble countertops make up part of the décor, and the kitchen's cooking oil is donated to a bio-diesel plant. The restaurant is also equipped with a specialized bottle crusher that improves the efficiency of recycling, and plans to be carbon neutral. Their unique composting and recycling procedures keeps their "land fill" refuse small enough to fit in one small trashcan.

Cuisine

Kleinman and Des Voignes have implemented their own collective touch on the "New American" cuisine while continuing to honor local, sustainable products. Their winter menu includes some local twists on classics, such as the grilled heart of escarole "wedge" with Point Reyes blue cheese ($9), and several seasonal delights like grilled Monterey Bay sardines with Hamada Farms winter citrus ($9), a poached farm egg with wild mushrooms ($8), and crispy duck confit with Fuyu persimmons ($21).

Des Voignes says their new menu is even more focused on small details than before. "It's going to change everyday and will be all about intricate, hidden details," he says. "That's the best thing about working in San Francisco - you've got amazing products right at your fingertips." Kleinman hopes to bring a bit of a down-to-earth French approach to that local cuisine. "Our food is simple and clean, highlighting the freshness of the products without too much busy-ness," he says.

Kleinman and Des Voignes replace opening chef Michael Morrison, who achieved his goal of establishing a successful, innovative kitchen. He is currently considering a career in charcuterie while spending more time with his newborn baby girl.

Partners

Partner Frank Klein, who has worked as a restaurant consultant for more than 20 years in addition to owning his own establishments, including the pioneering First Crush Wine Bar and the nationally recognized blues club Biscuits & Blues, has the highest confidence in Kleinman and Des Voignes fare. "We are very excited to have this team of chefs at Fish & Farm," says Klein. "Jake and Charlie are passionate about our focus - I'm confident they can deliver the best local products with the most creativity."

Klein's partners in Fish & Farm include third generation restaurateurs John Duggan and Elena Duggan, the brother-and-sister pair who are third generation owners of Original Joe's, located just two blocks away from Fish & Farm. Klein will initially serve as Operations manager and wine and beverage director, while the Duggans will take care of hospitality.

Wine List

Klein - whose expertise lies in creating concise and affordable wine lists, has composed a list of wines from small, independent producers - many of them organic and/or biodynamic. Glass wines range in price between $6 and $10.

The worldwide list is small but ever changing, with the vast majority of bottles under $50, as Klein believes in lower-than-industry mark-ups, and will focus on those selections not available to the general public or other restaurants.

Design

Sheri Sheridan of San Francisco's Swallowtail Design, restaurant Salt House, and bar lounges Double Dutch and Otis, has created an American "vintage chic" feel for the 42-seat dining room, designed to convey a sense of neighborhood. Walls are an intense blue-brown, accented by clear, bell-shaped lanterns with Edison bulb fixtures. There is comfortable, plush booth seating as well as a tufted banquette, and chairs are recycled, weathered grey in the antique cruise deck style.

"We want diners to feel comfortable, at home, and already thinking about coming back before they leave," says Klein. Part of that effort included reducing their noise footprint via an insulated ceiling crawl space, sound-baffling padding in the booths, a special cork under-flooring, and noise-reducing fans.

Fish & Farm is adjacent to the Mark Twain Hotel. The dining room seats 42, while two private rooms - The Aquarium Club Room and The Fish Bowl - seat 30 and 12, respectively.

Fish & Farm, 339 Taylor Street at Ellis. Open 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday & Sunday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Please call 415-474-FISH (3474) for reservations, or book online, http://www.fishandfarmsf.com.

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Susie Biehler

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