Executive chef Srijith Gopinathan, who earned two Michelin stars for his California-Indian cuisine at San Francisco’s Campton Place, is leaving the restaurant after 15 years. “It’s extremely bittersweet for me,” Gopinathan says. “Because of being in the same place for almost 15 years – at that time no one stays very long – that in itself makes me feel like I’m part of Campton Place, it’s very hard for me to tell But that’s life: all great things come to an end, to begin another great thing.
Gopinathan’s last day with Campton Place is June 30, and he says the restaurant will change after he leaves, calling the food a “very unique, very personal” style he developed during his time there. “It’s a new opportunity for newcomers,” says Gopinathan. “There is definitely an opportunity for a new kitchen, a new story.”
The reason for Gopinathan’s decision to leave is twofold. The chef is focusing on his new restaurants Ettan in Palo Alto, which opened in February 2020, and Little Blue Door, a fast-casual establishment at State Street Market. He is also working on research and development for his yet to open restaurant at 1700 Fillmore Street, which he is developing with his business partner Ayesha Thapar. “I couldn’t stretch it finer,” Gopinathan said. “I did my best and decided the best decision would be to leave Campton and then focus on those two things…it’s been an extremely happy time in my life for sure, and we have accomplished a lot for the place, as well as for myself.”
Gopinathan’s new project, first announced by San Francisco Business Times in April, takes over the former 6,600 square foot Dosa space and is expected to open in early fall. The food will be different from both Campton and Ettan, says Gopinathan, and will be more personal – “no frills cooking close to what I ate as a child,” Gopinathan says. He grew up in Kerala India and the new restaurant focuses on South India and the coast, especially Kerala and surrounding areas. “The reason why I do [this new restaurant] I think Bay Area palates are ready to taste something more than basic, clichéd Indian food or what you always see here,” he says.
Expect seafood, Gopinathan says, and lots of veggies as main dishes; Gopinathan expects to use lots of local ingredients in her cooking, but also seeks to introduce diners to tropical fruits and vegetables. What he looks forward to most in his post-Camton Place era is to cook in San Francisco again, especially since Campton Place is currently still closed. “I’m really looking forward to cooking something that’s very, very personal to me and very close to my heart in terms of cooking – what I’m going to do will definitely be a pleasant surprise for most people,” Gopinathan says. . “It’s something I’ve never done before, something I’ve been thinking about doing for a very, very long time, and I’m finally doing it.”