Christophe Hille has left his position as chef of A16, one of the hottest Italian restaurants in San Francisco. I featured him in my recent Wine Spectator survey on Italian cuisine in the United States. A lively trattoria in the Marina District, A16 centers on southern Italian food and wines. Its rendition of Neapolitan style pizza is dead-on, and the pastas are soul-satisfying.
There wasn't a hint that anything was amiss when Hille and I videotaped segments for this Web site in February. But Hille sold his share as a partner in the restaurant and headed home to Connecticut abruptly last week. He has not yet returned my phone calls or emails.
"Christophe was moving back east to be closer to his family," says Shelley Lindgren, the co-owner who handles the wine list, which focuses on southern Italian wines. She is also featured in the video.
Nate Appleman was promoted from chef de cuisine and Hille's sous chef to the top job, promising a smooth transition. "Nate has been involved from the conception and also a partner for the past year," Lindgren wrote in an e-mail. "A lot of the heart of the menu has been Nate's from the get-go."
Appleman was in line to head up a new, unspecified restaurant project involving the same partners. That, Lindgren says, has been put on hold for now.
Harvey Steiman — San Francisco, CA — April 24, 2006 5:58pm ET
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