On Tuesday, July 14, Bon Marché’s Bastille Day Oyster Party took place in celebration of the French National Day and a taste of what’s to come. Those in attendance gathered in the Market Square, just behind where the restaurant is set to open, and enjoyed a night full of Gérard Bertrand wine and champagne, from the south of France, as well as brasserie-style beer, cocktails and small French bites. They previewed the restaurant’s ham and cheese baguettes, French onion soup and fresh oysters, which reminiscent of authentic French cuisine. Although almost a month prior to the official opening of the restaurant, visitors were shown a preview of the delightful French atmosphere that Bon Marché will bring to the city.
Chef and owner of Mercer Restaurant Group, Mark Liberman, and restaurateur Matt Semmelhack, seek to capture the atmosphere of the Marais neighborhood of Paris through the aesthetics and design of the space. The restaurant offers a full dining experience, brought to you by executive chef Matthew Sieger who will prepare classic French cuisine. The menu ranges from steak tartare, to moules frites, to French onion soup, to mention just a few. To top off the night, pastry chef Rikki Garcia brings irresistible chocolate soufflé and classic fruit tarts for dessert, all delicious treats that are not to be missed. As a French meal is not complete without wine, the restaurant has hired Court of Masters advanced-level sommelier Allegra Angelo to oversee the wine list, which offers over 100 wines all organized by region, price and food pairings.
For visitors hoping for a cocktail or a beer, Bon Marché has you covered. The menu extends to guests of the restaurant, as does their cocktail and beer bar in a separate section of the restaurant space. Focusing on seasonal produce, Eric Quilty runs the cocktail bar, delivering delicious and flavorful drinks year round. Similar to their wine list, the spirits are all carefully chosen by Quilty in conjunction with the cuisine. For beer lovers, Bon Marché has brought in Master Cicerone Rich Higgins to run the brewery, specially built for the restaurant to produce brasserie-style beer. In addition to their own in-house brewed beer, the bar will also offer a wide variety of guest taps. The bar offers 16 bar seats and 6 small tables, overlooking the brewery and creating an intimate environment for all those hoping to experience this unique spot.
Beyond the restaurant, cocktail bar, and bar brasserie, as visitors maneuver their way through the restaurant space they will find a raw bar with offerings to be paired with sparkling wine, a charcuterie, a lounge, a coffee shop, and a flower shop. The space is designed with hints of Market Square’s architecture and a taste of a traditional French brasserie. The leather seating, penny tile floor, and brass finishing will transport customers to a 1920s Parisian restaurant.
Set to open August 15th this restaurant brasserie has been noted as one of the top restaurant openings in San Francisco in 2015 and is definitely not one to be missed. Enjoy a nice day in SoMa ending with an unforgettable French dish!
By Margot McKelvie
Originally from Washington, D.C, Margot McKelvie moved out to California to study studio art and media studies. She spent last summer interning at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the fall in Paris, where she discovered her passion for art, travel and food.