Note: First Looks give previews of new drinks and menus we're curious about. Since they are arranged photo shoots and interviews, we do not make critical evaluations or recommendations.
After his first week at Rich Table in Hayes Valley, Jason "Buffalo" LoGrasso already looks at home behind the window-flanked bar. LoGrasso, fresh off the bar program at Cotogna (where he mixed us some of his favorites a few months back), is looking forward to making his mark on the restaurant.
"I was interested in what they were doing from the start," he tells us in the waning afternoon light on Sunday afternoon. (Check out our first look at the food at Rich Table here.) "I thought it would be fun to come on board with a young and hungry team, too. I take a lot of inspiration from them."
The creativity in the kitchen that chefs Evan and Sarah Rich have been much lauded for is making its way behind the bar, too. LoGrasso says he was essentially given an "open canvas," and free reign to make what he will of the drinks program.
"Evan's food can be a little unconventional—he puts flavors together that you might not expect," LoGrasso explained. "I'm looking to have that same sort of effect. Like, butternut squash in a drink? Will it work?" He's referring to the Turkey Trot, one of seven new 'market cocktails' on the restaurant's menu.
In addition to these seven, LoGrasso has just unveiled four winter-ready dessert cocktails, featuring everything from a classic egg nog to a tiki-fied hot chocolate.
"A lot of people are like, 'Oh, I don't know if I want dessert...' but you put it in a glass and it's like, 'Oh, I can do that!'" he says."
Ultimately, LoGrasso is excited to be a part of the Rich Table package.
"I'm behind the bar most nights," he says. "With these drinks, I just want to have some fun."
199 Gough Street, San Francisco CA 94102 (map)
415-355-9085; Lauren Sloss is a bicoastal food-lover who is based in San Francisco. Some of her favorite things include The Black Keys, goat gouda, and guacamole. You can follow her on Twitter @laurensloss.