Diablo Dish: Neiman Marcus Gets a New Chef
Almare Gelato Italiano comes to Pleasanton; East Bay Brother Beer Co. opens a taproom; and tikka masala burritos in Oakland.
Meet the New Chef at NM Cafe
Paul Shea, a former chef at Brix in Napa, is the new executive chef at NM Cafe at Neiman Marcus in Broadway Plaza. The Bay Area native has been on the job in Walnut Creek for a few weeks, so we caught up with him to get the scoop.
Q: Have there been any surprises since you started at Neiman Marcus?
A: We’re a little busier on the weekend than I thought we would be. It can get really busy really fast—then again, I love the crazy. I still get the rush.
Q: Because you’re open for lunch, you serve a lot of salads and sandwiches. Why is it important to have a top chef in the kitchen?
A: For salads, finding the balance between fat, acid, salt, and sugar is the key, as it is with any good dish. But here, the salads generally need to be a complete meal, so we have to make sure there’s enough protein.
Sandwiches start with quality bread, but the other ingredients have to measure up. Three hours before service starts, I’m here working on the turkey and making the aioli.
Q: So cooking is cooking no matter what’s on the menu?
A: There has to be love in every dish and attention to detail. All that love comes together in the order.
Shea serves a few specials along with the Neiman Marcus standards. Right now, he’s offering a three-course prix fixe menu that features such items as Lyonnaise salad, mushroom consommé, gulf prawns, and a blood orange crème brûlée.
More Sushi in Walnut Creek
Kurumi Sushi and Grill has moved into the former Izakaya Jun space in downtown Walnut Creek, according to Beyond the Creek. The new Japanese eatery offers rice and noodle dishes, yakitori, and of course, sushi and sashimi.
Pleasanton Gets Gelato
Berkeley-based Almare Gelato Italiano has opened a location on Main Street in Pleasanton. The shop makes all its gelato and sorbets on-site every morning. Look for yummy flavors such as pistachio, stracciatella, mixed berry, and Tuscan melon.
Another Brewery Taproom Opens!
We are pretty sure we could never have too many brewery taprooms, so we’re delighted that East Brother Beer Co. is opening today.
Co-founders Chris Coomber and Rob Lightner are offering five of their iconic beers on tap: Red Lager (amber, biscuity, crisp), Pale Wheat (hoppy, bright, dry), Oatmeal Stout (rich, roasty, smooth), Red IPA (hoppy, malty, easy to drink), and Bo Pils (golden, noble, lemony).
The Richmond-based brewery is quite close to the Bay Trail, so make it an adventure by going for a hike before or after checking out the new brewery.
Of course, you might want to go on the hike first, because if you sample all five beers, you might not finish that hike…
How About a Tikka Masala Burrito?
Curry Up Now, the Indian street food company, plans to open its first East Bay brick-and-mortar restaurant in Uptown Oakland in early 2017.
Curry Up Now has four other restaurants in the Bay Area, plus food trucks. Menu items range from $5 to $14—and yes, the eatery serves more than just the tikka masala burrito (though why would they need to?).
The restaurant will have an Old Calcutta atmosphere with wicker and wood finishes, tile work, ceiling fans, and colorful portraits from Rajasthan. Look for: bhelpuri (puffed rice, potato garbanzo mash, cucumber), vada pav (mashed-potato fritter sandwiched between a buttered Amul bun), and pav bhaji (a spicy curry featuring cauliflower, beans, carrots, potatoes, and peas). Beer and wine will also be served.
The weekend-only brunch menu showcases traditional Indian breakfast favorites, such as chana bhatura, poori aloo, and upma.
See you there soon …