The Abbot's Cellar to Open Wednesday, July 25
Stepping inside the new Abbot's Cellar on a sunny afternoon has the bewildering effect of transporting you to a monastery courtyard. Numerous skylights on the high ceiling flood the 3,000-square-foot, stone-and-reclaimed-barn-wood interior with natural light. The use of natural materials extends to the tables and floors, cooking hearth, and two-story beer cellar, creating an environment that's rustic and elegant at the same time.
The restaurant, which is set to open Wednesday, July 25, is the second for cellarmaster Christian Albertson and chef and Adam Dulye, who also own the Monk's Kettle a few blocks away. Just like Monk's Kettle, the focus is beer and food, but this concept skews less tavern and more fine-dining.
The cuisine is both inspired by and designed to work with beer, some with specific drafts. Dulye, Albertson, and beer director and cicerone Mike Reis work together to plan a three- or five-course prix fixe menu that highlights the beer pairings. If past experience at one of the special dinners at Monk's Kettle forecast anything, the combinations should be impressive. Instead of treating beer as simply a way to quench thirst, the trio use it to complement and focus certain flavors, much in the same way wine is used.
At the media preview last night, items like smoked and grilled bison on a fresh corn fritter was paired with an oak-aged Yeti from Great Divide Brewing, and a fantastically light pickled albacore was flattered by a Sorachi Ace from Brooklyn Brewery.
The striking bar shimmers with a tower of 40 types of glassware, many used for one specific beer. Abbot's Cellar offers 20 beers are on draft (including two old-style hand-pumped casks), along with 100 bottled varieties, and a rotating selection of 10 specialty beers, only made in large-format bottles and available by the glass. There's also a custom brew by Dying Vines in Oakland. This is the only Northern California location where you can score a glass some of Great Divide's fantastic products.
The Abbot's Cellar will offer dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 11:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight.
The Abbot's Cellar, 742 Valencia (at 18th St.), S.F.