Union square

The new restaurant at Scala’s Bistro Space in Union Square will be French, run by Roland Passot’s Left Bank team

The longtime home of Scala’s Bistro at the hotel formerly known as Sir Francis Drake will soon be reborn as the Left Bank Brasserie team’s French brasserie, perhaps called Left Bank.

It’s been nearly 30 years since chef Roland Passot began expanding his French restaurant empire beyond San Francisco’s famed La Folie (RIP) restaurant. The expansion began with the Left Bank Brasserie in Larkspur, a tribute to the cuisine of Lyon, Passot’s home town, and offering standard bistro/brasserie dishes like Beef Bourgignon, Coq au Vin and Trout with Almonds . A second Left Bank followed at Menlo Park in 1998, then a third at San Jose’s Santana Row, then Passot expanded further with a steakhouse concept called LB Steak, with locations now in San Jose and San Ramon, and a Mediterranean concept in Santana. Row called Meso.

When Passot announced the closure of La Folie after 32 years of activity – just in time, before the pandemic, in January 2020 – he declared that he intended to reinvolve himself in the daily life of his mini-empire of brewery. And now we learn that he will soon open a sixth restaurant, back in San Francisco, coinciding with the opening of the Beacon Grand, the renovated hotel that replaces the Sir Francis Drake at 450 Powell Street.

The Chronicle has news of Left Bank’s involvement in Scala’s former space, and it seems like a perfect fit – Scala’s large, bustling street-facing space with its Paris-inspired zinc bar will suit a lively tourist. – friendly brasserie. (We have not yet confirmed the name of the new restaurant.) A seventh restaurant, called Petite Rive Gauche, is also planned in Tiburon.

Left Bank menus are nearly identical at all three Bay Area locations, with cheese fondue, oysters, mussels, steak tartare, steak frites, and all the brewery basics. And it seems almost guaranteed that Passot will spoil the formula here – although in an upscale hotel setting there may be some fancier steak and seafood options thrown in.

Next to the new brewery will be a renovated lobby bar in the Beacon Grand, as well as a smaller “Library Bar” in what was once a ladies’ powder room. Hotel representatives tell the Chronicle that the public will be invited to come in, order a drink and remove a book from the shelf if they wish.

We’ll keep you posted as we learn more about the new Left Bank location. The Beacon Grand is set to open later this month, and the restaurant is to follow closely.

In related news, the former Starlight Room would revert to its original spelling on the hotel’s 21st floor, soon reopening as the Starlite Room.

Related: The Sir Francis Drake Hotel will reopen under a new name: The Beacon Grand

Photo: Scala/Facebook