Diablo Dish: Limon Rotisserie Opens Friday in Walnut Creek
Lafayette’s La Finestra burns down; a taste of Thailand comes to Berkeley; Duchess gets a new chef; Eureka! adds brunch; and Telefèric Barcelona hosts an exclusive wine dinner.
Limon Rotisserie to Make Its Walnut Creek Debut on Friday
Things are never as simple as they seem. Limon Rotisserie had hoped to open the Walnut Creek offshoot of its successful San Francisco restaurants early this year, but the delays that are often involved in opening new establishments kept locals waiting for Peruvian food on Locust Street—until this week.
On July 21 at 5 p.m., Limon Rotisserie will officially open its doors, and diners can expect an array of ceviches and other classic Peruvian dishes—such as pollo a la brasa, lomo saltado, and arroz con mariscos—along with flame-roasted rotisserie chicken. There will also be small plates and cocktails (including various pisco sours, of course).
Limon Rotisserie joins Parada in Walnut Creek and Lima in Concord as full-service Peruvian restaurants in Central Contra Costa County, and another one—Barranco—will land in Lafayette later this summer (well, assuming there are no delays).
Lafayette’s La Finestra Destroyed by Fire
Since 2003, La Finestra has made locals happy with good Italian food and energetic service, but last Wednesday, a fire broke out in the Lafayette Circle building (just down the street from La Fiesta Square and Chow) and did more than $1 million worth of damage to the building.
The three-alarm fire started around midnight on July 12 and also gutted the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce offices, a nail salon, and a public accountant’s office. No one was hurt, but the cause is still unknown. There is also no word yet on what the La Finestra owners plan to do next.
Bounty Hunter En Route to Walnut Creek
Visitors to downtown Napa have likely encountered Bounty Hunter Wine Bar and Smokin’ BBQ on First Street, but soon, it may no longer be necessary to make the trek up Highway 29 to find the premier wines that have given the restaurant its elite reputation.
The Bounty Hunter owners are expanding their operations to Walnut Creek, where they’ll open a new shop and restaurant called Bounty Hunter Food.Wine.Spirits. at 1521 Mt. Diablo Boulevard. The spot is slated to open in March 2018, and while the precise details have yet to be nailed down, we do know there will be unpretentious, delicious food to go along with the array of top-shelf wines and liquors.
Chick’n Rice Brings Thai Street Food to Berkeley
In Thailand, street-food vendors across the country serve khao mun gai, a savory combination of chicken, rice, and spices—and now, a group of UC Berkeley alums plan to bring this traditional dish to Berkeley’s Center Street.
Chick’n Rice is expected to open in August, with a fast-casual concept and various iterations of khao mun gai. Diners can choose from different protein options (chicken, fried chicken, braised pork, soy-marinated egg), but all are served with rice, cucumbers, cilantro, sweet and sour sauce, and a side of chicken broth soup. The focused menu will also offer traditional Thai desserts (think coconut milk ice cream with sticky rice) and drinks (Thai ice tea and lychee juice, for example).
Chick’n Rice is the brainchild of Umai Hospitality Group, which was founded by UC Berkeley alums Jason Wang, Shawn Tsao, Vince Cao, and John Keh—all of whom have multiple years of startup, food-tech, and restaurant experience. They aim to expand Chick’n Rice beyond the Bay Area and hope their new Berkeley restaurant is just the first step on the road to becoming the top fast-casual Thai food brand in the country.
More Changes in Berkeley
In other Berkeley news, the Westside Café on 9th Street has opened its doors again after a temporary closure. According to Berkeleyside, the 31-year-old institution was sold to new owners earlier this month and shuttered for one week while it was remodeled. The restaurant reopened on July 10 with a new look and menu that features Mediterranean dishes, including shawarma, gyros, salads, and falafel. The new iteration of Westside also offers breakfast and traditional café fare, such as soups and sandwiches.
Joshu-Ya, another venerable institution located just off Telegraph on Dwight Way, has also changed hands. The new owners renamed the former sushi house and transformed it into Kyushu Ramen. Not surprisingly, the reimagined restaurant will focus on the Kyushu version of ramen and its pork bone–based broth.
Oakland’s Duchess Gets a New Chef, Plus a Patio
Andrew Greene, formerly of Social Kitchen and pop-up fave Naked Kitchen, has taken over the kitchen at Duchess on College Avenue in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood—and his summer twist on the menu fits perfectly with the restaurant’s renovated patio space.
Naturally, the outdoor ambiance inspired some new cocktails from the bar, including Garden Warfare (mezcal, gin, lemon, strawberry, tomato syrup, and sea salt), which pairs deliciously with seasonal menu items like hamachi with coconut cream and short ribs with oyster mushrooms, spring onions, and fiddlehead fern.
Eureka! Finds a Way to Brunch
East Bay brunchgoers have a new spot to try, as Eureka! in Concord is now serving brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The menu will offer everything from chilaquiles to avocado toast to fried chicken, along with more traditional items like breakfast burritos and a classic breakfast plate with eggs, potatoes, and bacon or ham.
Eureka! is also offering new cocktails, including Do You Even Juice Bro? (tequila, tomatillo, tomato, cucumber, and horseradish) and Weekend Thyme (gin, aquavit, carrot, ginger, thyme, and lemon). Bonus: Classic brunch drinks like Bloody Marys and mimosas only cost $5, so it’ll be easy to quench your thirst.
Sip Spain at Telefèric Barcelona
Taking place on the restaurant’s scenic second-story patio overlooking downtown Walnut Creek, the $65 wine-tasting dinner will allow guests to indulge in an exclusive Catalonian wine-tasting experience and pairing with six courses crafted by chefs Oscar Cabezas and Rodrigo Vasquez. Make sure to reserve your spot early—you won’t want to miss it.
Taste Our Terroir Ticket Giveaway Winner
A big congratulations to Livermore's Michael McKean, who won two free VIP tickets to the Taste Our Terroir food and wine pairing competition in Livermore!