How to open a restaurant: Orson

DATELINE: San Francisco, Monday, February 25

The masterminds behind Citizen Cake and Citizen Cupcake have struck gold again. A marble bar with a Japanese light fixture hanging aloft dominates the main room in Orson, drawing in the crowds for the necessary swill that tastes oh-so nice at anything E. Falkner-related, in this case a Celery Gimlet Martini and an Elder Flower Martini- nothing wimpy about these cocktails. Kudos to John on the champagne. Champagne on a Monday makes everything better… even a chest cold. Favorite nibbles passed by attentive servers included a spoon of brown butter ice cream, house-cured salumi, and pork bun with pulled pork inside. The crowd packed into the space, testing the limits of capacity. With music bumping and even an homage by E. Falkner’s bro. Jason to Def Leppard’s “Photograph” attendees nodded their heads in agreement: this is going to be the “it” place of SOMA. So watch out Coco 500, there’s a new sheriff on 4th.

One funny story involved an Audrey Hepburnesque (in her Givenchy days) socialite with whom I became rather chummy, through whom I met my new Cartier jeweler. How did we become fast friends you may ask? After she asked S. how her cocktail tasted, she proceeded to pull it to her lips and have a try. I even snagged a chocolate truffle filled with foie gras for her and she actually opened her mouth, ready for the train to enter the station. Upon trying to give her my card so we could keep in touch or at least lunch, she saw the gimlet cocktail in my hand and tilted up another delicate bottoms-up. She has the San Francisco je ne sais quoi in spades.

When opening a restaurant you need:
Fabulous interiors

A killer bar

Two fine locals

Swordfighting on the bar!


  1. Aww, I am eager to go to Orson!! Been reading about the opening for months and glad it finally arrived… I guess it’s your friend you know that got you in to such a hot opening? I read about it on Eater SF and other sites, then saw you were there!! Those cocktails sound fab! Did you actually get entree menu items? I am wondering if for the price it will be better recommended as a drink & appetizers stop, rather than a “best of” full meal spot?

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