Bakeries, barbecue and biryani — thanks to several openings, the Midpeninsula now has new options for all three.
New establishments that have opened recently are bringing fresh dining choices to both Palo Alto and Mountain View's restaurant-heavy downtowns. Read on for the latest in each city, plus closures and other openings on the horizon.
TUTS BAKERY & CAFE ... Coffee from Santa Cruz's Verve, fresh-baked bread and tartines are among the menu items at the newly opened Tuts Bakery & Cafe at 535 Bryant St. in downtown Palo Alto. What used to be French restaurant Bon Vivant has been transformed into light-filled space with white subway-tiled walls, globe pendant lights, hanging plants and a bar stocked with baked goods, per Yelp photos. There is both indoor and outdoor seating. Beyond pastries, cakes and bread, an opening menu includes items such as a salmon tartine (smoked salmon with poached eggs and sautéed spinach on homemade sourdough toast), croque monsieur and Greek-style pancakes. There's also a tartine topped with menemen, a traditional Turkish mixture of eggs, tomato, green peppers and spices. There are also lunch dishes, such as housemade meatballs, salads, soups and paninis.
MADEMOISELLE COLETTE NO. 2 ... The owner of Menlo Park patisserie Mademoiselle Colette had a soft-opening of her second location in Palo Alto in early October. The 499 Lytton Ave. space has no kitchen, so this outpost will serve only pastries and to-go items, rather than the full menu of French salads, sandwiches, brunch dishes and other items available in Menlo Park, owner Debora Ferrand said. In Palo Alto, cold salads, quiches and sandwiches will soon be available to go. There will, however, be a larger selection of coffees and drinks in Palo Alto, Ferrand said. Ferrand, an Atherton resident who was born in Brazil but raised in France, opened the French bakery in downtown Menlo Park in 2015. She soon brought on a young French pastry chef, Orphée Fouano.
NOBU EYES EXPANSION ... A place to see and be seen, Nobu's new Palo Alto outpost could soon expand. The restaurant, located in the ground floor of The Epiphany Hotel at 180 Hamilton Ave., has submitted plans to the City of Palo Alto to demolish a space around the corner at 620 Emerson St. and build a two-story, 4,240-square-foot restaurant. Nobu confirmed the expansion, but said "we do not have additional details at this time." The city planner for the project, Samuel Gutierrez, said that Nobu has proposed to "expand the restaurant by connecting the ground floor" of the existing space to the new expansion at 620 Emerson. The project is subject to review by the Architectural Review Board and will require a public hearing, which Gutierrez said will occur in the coming weeks after the city sends formal comments to the applicant. Nobu opened Palo Alto, its first Northern California location, in the Epiphany Hotel this summer.
BARBECUE TIME ... Ribs, brisket, pastrami and other barbecue fare is on the menu of Quality Bourbons & Barbecue in Mountain View, which opened at 216 Castro St. in September. QBB, as it's called, is the brainchild of Kasim Syed, who owns Palo Alto Brewing Company, The Rose & Crown and The Tap Room in Palo Alto, and Jon Andino, former general manager at Scratch in Mountain View. After several years of talking about opening a restaurant together, they settled on barbecue, hoping to fill a hole in the Mountain View dining scene. QBB's menu is split into appetizers, sandwiches, salads, meat plates, "just the meat," sides and dessert. It's certainly a place for carnivores, from the "bacon explosion" appetizer (sausage that's stuffed with cream cheese, then wrapped with bacon and cut into medallions) to pastrami, reuben and French dip sandwiches. The bourbon list is long and intriguing, with traditional, wheated, high rye and other types.
CHOP & PUB OPENS ... A new establishment focused on booze and small plates opened last week at 124 Castro St. Owner Chau Le took over the space after East Street Tapas recently closed. (East Street Tapas was the rebranded version of East Street Tacos, which was previously oyster bar Shell Shock.) Le also owns a Vietnamese restaurant, Kobe Pho & Grill, with locations in Dublin and Cupertino, as well as Élyse Restaurant, a modern French-Vietnamese eatery he recently opened in San Jose. He said he has long eyed Castro Street as an ideal location. Le said Chop & Pub's focus is on craft cocktails with "California-style" tapas dishes such as grilled vegetables.
DRUNKEN LOBSTER OUT, BAKERY IN ... After two years slinging East Coast seafood and later, pizza, at 212 Castro St., Drunken Lobster has closed. Owner Brian Langevin said the restaurant's last day was Oct. 13. The longtime Bay Area chef sold the restaurant. He said he plans to open a bar, but did not respond to further questions about his next venture. The new owners, husband-and-wife Laurent Pellet and Jelena Jovanov, plan to open a French bakery called Maison Alyzee.
GET YOUR BIRYANIZ ... An Indian restaurant specializing in biryani, a traditional rice dish served with meat, spices and other toppings, is now open in downtown Mountain View. Biryaniz replaced another Indian restaurant, the short-lived Shalimar Sizzle, at 246 Castro St. It's connected to a local string of restaurants by the same name in Milpitas, Dublin and Rancho Cordova. Mountain View owner Sreeganesh Iyer said the Biryaniz owner is a "friend" and Iyer is operating locally as a "kind of franchisee." The opening menu includes several biryani options, including with goat, lamb, chicken, paneer, shrimp and fish. There are variations from different regions, including Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Amaravathi. The biryani are served with raita, or yogurt, and salan (a Hyderabadi curry). There are also vegetarian curries; chicken tikka masala; a half chicken, marinated in yogurt and spices and then grilled in a clay oven; and appetizers such as samosas.
FAREWELL, KUMINO ... One of the Midpeninsula's more unique restaurants, Kumino — run by a former Manresa line cook making Asian-fusion food in a Mountain View strip mall — has shuttered. A sign recently appeared in the Rengstorff Avenue restaurant's windows announcing the closure and an intent to find a new location. Owner Haochen Liu confirmed the news this week but declined to provide further details. Liu opened Kumino in October 2015, serving ramen, nontraditional baos and other dishes that reflected his high-end training in a lower-brow setting.