Sunday, February 22, 2015
Tosca Pares Down Its Cocktail Program, Continuing a Sad Streak in San Francisco Cocktails
We thought we were sad when The Coachman closed this month. Not to mention that Trou Normand closed its early morning and espresso service. Well, we got a heavy dose of salt in the wounds when we learned that one of our other favorite bar programs, Tosca Cafe's, is being cut down. Star bar director Isaac Shumway is out, and the general manager and chef will now run the bar instead––with what we can only imagine to be a drastically simplified cocktail menu. Call us the Sorrow of Drinking.
Under Isaac, Tosca had one of our most favorite cocktail programs in the city. As a former cook, Isaac brought his experience from places like the French Laundry and Gary Danko to one of the most ambitious cocktail menus in San Francisco. He has one of the most perceptive palates and an unrelenting eye for technique and execution. Classics and originals alike were obsessively honed, perfecting cocktails down to the specific blends of sugars and level of citrus oil. The cocktails—no matter who made them—were executed to perfection. This is a big deal, especially in a city like San Francisco. It's hard to make a great menu. It's even harder to bring together a whole staff to execute consistently and quickly, even when the crowds press in.
We won't be surprised if there is an exodus of bar talent at Tosca following this news.
Cocktails in San Francisco have had a rough start to 2015. Let's hope it's only up from here.
UPDATE - 3/2
Thanks to an anonymous commenter who pointed out an article in SF Weekly. Paolo Lucchesi reports that Tosca has replaced Isaac with Joe Cleveland who will "take over lead bartender duties." Congrats to Joe! We are anxious to see what he does with the cherished program and spot.