Some places get written about so much before their debut that they feel overexposed by the time they actually open. Not so for these young restaurants and pop-ups that deserve your eating attention:

Uncle Brother’s Chicken

Wes Rowe is known for great burgers around these parts, and now he’s turning his skills to the bird. He just launched a weekly pop-up with his brother Walker Rowe on Tuesdays from 6-10 p.m. at The Residence, in which they’ll explore different styles of fried chicken, side dishes, and snacks. Ask about the chickcharrones, fried chicken skin chips served with homemade hot sauce. (718 14th St., see photo above)

Made in China Restaurant

If you don’t speak Chinese, you may be baffled at the English translations at this Hunan restaurant, which serves such esoteric delights as “eggplant flesh burning droplets,” “marinated fountain,” and “griddle smelly fish” on a seemingly endless menu. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and definitely understand that you might get something other than what you thought you ordered — but prepare to have a great adventure in non-Americanized Chinese food. (1033 Taraval St.)


The Italian restaurant formerly known as Specchio has rebranded as a more casual, small plate eatery with lower prices that average around $9 a dish. Risottos, pizettes, and meat make up the bulk of the menu, but there are some delightful vegetarian items lurking here, including a delicate beet carpaccio with feta and arugula and a particularly memorable cauliflower dish with besciamella (bechamel) sformato, a creamy, almost souffle like consistency. (2331 Mission St.)


Chef Alexander Hong, who has cooked at the high-end restaurant Quince, and his business partner Brennan Spreitzer are behind this weekly Italian-influenced pop-up on Thursdays from 6-10 p.m. at Hotel Rex, the prelude to what Hong and Spreitzer hope will be a permanent venture some day. For now, it’s a great deal at $42 for a four-course tasting menu (with a $26 wine pairing option) that changes weekly. Recent dishes include Clark Summit Farm egg raviolo with Australian black truffle and Pecorino Romano, Don Watson’s rack of lamb with smoked tomato, black kale, and crunchy new potatoes, Maine lobster risotto with Bearss lime and espelette, and Marin Sun Farms beef tenderloin with wild morels, Tokyo turnips, and spring onion soubise. You can also sit in the hotel library bar and order à la carte options. (562 Sutter St.)


San Francisco is still woefully short on Persian restaurants, so this new SOMA spot is making a lot of expats happy right now with kababs, stews, and rice dishes. Anar means pomegranate, and the tart fruit pops up in a number of dishes, including a rendition of fried chicken. (937-A Harrison St.)

Anar photo by Hoss Zare Made in China, Piattini and Sorrel photos by Tamara Palmer Uncle Brother’s Chicken photo by Wes Rowe