By Elena Kadvany
Owners of Palo Alto's Tamarine plot casual Vietnamese spin-offUploaded: Jul 19, 2019
Tamarine has weathered more than 15 years of change in downtown Palo Alto, rarely if ever straying from its founding concept: modern interpretations of Vietnamese food served in a white-tablecloth setting.
Now, the co-owners of the University Avenue restaurant, sisters Tanya Hartley and Tammy Huynh, planning to open a new concept: Tam Tam, a more casual, less expensive and "strictly Vietnamese" restaurant, Hartley said.
"It's not fusion. It's not modern Vietnamese. It's authentic Vietnamese food," Hartley said.
Tam Tam will open in September at 140 University Ave., a large space at the corner of University and High Street that was last occupied by Opa Authentic Greek Cuisine.
The owners of longtime Vietnamese restaurant Tamarine are opening a new concept this fall. Palo Alto Weekly file photo.
At Tamarine, Hartley oversees the front of house and business operations while Huynh is in charge of the kitchen. Hartley said they have been thinking about opening a casual Vietnamese restaurant for awhile.
They hope to prove that "you don't have to go to downtown San Jose or East side San Jose to have real Vietnamese food," Hartley said.
The menu will reflect different regions of Vietnam. There will be pho; bún ch?, a grilled pork dish served with room-temperature noodles and nuoc cham (famously enjoyed by former President Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi during an episode of "Parts Unknown"); banh khot, crispy, savory "cupcakes" topped with shrimp; and Vietnamese salads, among other dishes.
The menu will be limited to less than 20 items and largely stay the same rather than change seasonally, as Tamarine's menu does. The price point will be about $17 to $25 per person for lunch and dinner.
Tam Tam will be a full-service restaurant "but without the tablecloths," Hartley said. There will be beer, wine and a TV at the bar.