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RESTAURANT THIR13EN previews its menu and location

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Tuli Bistro owners Adam Pechal and Ulrike “Ulli” Lesk Petersen previewed the space and menu of their second restaurant, RESTAURANT THIR13EN, on Friday. The restaurant is located on the bottom floor of the Sterling Hotel at 1300 H St., where the restaurant Chanterelle was until it closed last January.

Guests gathering in the patio area.
All evening invited guests were provided teasers of THIR13EN’s menu, which included oyster shooters, sous vide quail wings, seared scallops, Kurabuta pork belly and seared sirloin with potato puree. Each guest was also provided a drink ticket to sample offerings from their full bar, such as wine from Berryessa Gap Vineyards, international beer taps and a number of signature cocktails.

Petersen and Pechal — who is also the head chef — expanded their business with the Smoked-Out Trailer, a mobile culinary rig, and Tuli Catering, but when they were approached by the building owners through Bay Miry at D & S Development, about taking over the space, they couldn’t resist, they both said.

They said they were especially interested in the ballroom, which would allow them even more business via catering events. Pechal said the ballroom had not initially been part of the deal, but the real estate company made it happen, convincing the hotel to include the ballroom to sweeten the pot and finalize the agreement.

Marketing director and Pechal’s longtime friend, Johnny Shin said the company is now the exclusive caterer for the Sterling Hotel Ballroom.

“The large kitchen at the Sterling allows us to ramp up our catering services with the same quality that Tuli Bistro serves daily,” Shin said. “House-made pastas and meats combined with seasonal and local sources are at the heart of Chef Adam’s goals. We are now able to support Tuli Bistro, Tuli Catering and our Smoked-Out Trailer to full capacity.”

While Pechal said he wants to maintain the tradition of local sustainable food and keep the general vibe of the two restaurants the same, THIR13EN will be at a higher, more refined level.

“Tuli Bistro is a bit more rustic than THIR13EN,” Pechal said. “Here at THIR13EN there will be more attention to detail.” He specifically mentioned the use of different cooking techniques, such as the sous vide used on the quail wings that night .

Shin said the THIR13EN idea stemmed from wanting to do more with space. Shin talked about how he and Pechal would take “research trips” to San Francisco, a place that was really able to demonstrate how to make the most of small spaces.

One thing they came across in their research was the idea of a “community table.” Shin explained that a community table was a larger table set aside in a restaurant with open seating. It seated at a first-come, first-served basis and allowed people to enjoy the food while mingling with other diners.

The community table at THIR13EN will seat 13. It was not ready for the preview event, but Shin said it will be custom-built from a Boos Block cutting board. Besides the community table, the restaurant can seat 40 inside and 40 more on the patio outside.

Interior of THIR13EN.
While the exact arrangement of the restaurant is still being determined, Pechal said they were going for a “humbly elegant” look and feel, and the community table will help in that respect. He said that the community table will be placed between seated tables and the bar, a position he noted would functionally break and yet blend the room.

Shin said the restaurant will begin taking reservations Monday for their first dinner bookings for May 27 and 28 and each weekend after. They will open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting in June.

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