Diablo Dish: MoMo’s Strikes Out in Walnut Creek
Ko-Cups brings Korean barbecue to The Veranda; Fat Maddie’s expands to Blackhawk; East Bay chef and restaurant semifinalists for James Beard Awards; new sushi spot opening in Walnut Creek; and more Dish.
MoMo’s Runs Out of Momentum in Walnut Creek
McCovey’s Restaurant, named for Giants’ Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey, occupied the corner of North California Boulevard and Bonanza Street for 11 years, tapping into baseball fans’ desire to be surrounded by sports memorabilia in a bar setting. Its successor, MoMo’s, had a connection to the San Francisco Giants too, as its San Francisco location across the street from Oracle Park is a popular pregame dining and drinking establishment.
But MoMo’s didn’t emphasize sports nearly as much as McCovey’s and lasted just a little more than two years in the East Bay before calling it quits last week. Reportedly, the eatery has been sold to another restaurant group. But—as some have suggested—maybe it’s time to go with an A’s theme instead.
Ko-Cups Opens First Storefront at The Veranda
Ko-Cups has been serving Korean rice dishes in a bowl at farmers markets and other pop-up locations for nearly two years, and will debut its brick-and-mortar incarnation at Concord’s The Veranda Saturday, March 16.
A new take on Korean takeout, Ko-Cups start with a base of rice, seasonal veggies, and japchae (glass noodles) and can be topped with various proteins and sauces of the eater’s choice.
Third Fat Maddie’s Opens in Blackhawk
The success of the Fat Maddie’s in San Ramon and its follow-up in Pleasant Hill has led to further expansion, this time into Blackhawk, as the high-quality burgers, fries, and other American standards continue to find an audience.
There’s even beer and wine at the fast-casual restaurants, and the menu extends to gyros, pork chops, and steak. Oh, and if you haven’t heard the story before, the restaurant is named after a well-fed goat that lives on the owners’ family farm.
East Bay Earns Seven Spots on the James Beard Semifinalist List
The coveted James Beard Awards—named for the chef and writer whose work helped put American gastronomy on the map—named Oakland’s Nyum Bai one of the best new restaurants in the country, and also spotlighted Berkeley’s Great China for its wine program.
Also on the list are Yoshihiro Sako of Den Sake Brewery in Oakland and Lance Winters of St. George Spirits in Alameda; both are semifinalists in the Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Producer category. Plus three Oakland chefs—Reem Assil (Reem’s California), Dominica Rice-Cisneros (Cosecha), and James Syhabout (Commis)—are on the short list for Best Chef: West.
The finalists will be announced in Houston on March 27, and the winners will be honored at the James Beard Awards Gala in Chicago on May 6. (It should be noted that the James Beard Foundation has made a concerted effort to make its awards more inclusive this year by expanding its committees and judges to involve all people of all backgrounds.)
And though we usually focus solely on the East Bay, Dish readers have been known to go across a bridge now and again, so be sure to check out the other Bay Area semifinalists to aid in planning future road trips.
Isshin Sushi Out; Yumeya Sushi In
Yumeya Sushi will replace Isshin Sushi, just down the street from Back Forty Texas BBQ in Pleasant Hill. Isshin Sushi lasted just over a year and was the predecessor to Kama Sushi. The opening date is uncertain, but we’ll keep you posted.
Innovative Abstract Table Unveils Third Theme, Atolls
Oakland’s Abstract Table does things a little differently. In its fifth month inhabiting The Gastropig on weekends, the Franklin Street restaurant has already rolled out two ambitious themed tasting menus—and will offer its third starting Friday, March 8.
This new Atolls exhibition, as it’s called, will focus on food and ingredients from the Pacific Islands, serving up unique ingredients such as wild boar, goat, and jackfruit. The plating is also part of the experience, with local artisans supplying wood and stone serving platters and utensils. Of course, there is a wine pairing, but note that the James Beard–nominated Den Sake Brewery’s sakes are available to sip as well.
Oakland’s alaMar Is Ready for Mardi Gras Gumbo on Saturday
If you can’t get to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, alaMar Kitchen and Bar in Uptown Oakland will try to make up for it with a special afternoon featuring chef Wanda Blake’s (of pop-up restaurant Wanda’s Cooking) Mardi Gras gumbo, which can be made with seafood, meat, or vegetables.
There are no reservations for the noon to 4 p.m. event Saturday, March 9, but there is a full bar to while away at during your wait, and the promise of a slice of Mardi Gras king cake for dessert.
Changes Coming to The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
Though spring is gorgeous at Wente Vineyards, enjoying it at the resident restaurant won’t be an option in 2019, as renovations are underway to upgrade the facility. Diners can expect a more casual feel to the space once the project is completed in June—though the views and surroundings will remain superb.
The Grill, which serves meals to links players and other casual diners, is still open, however; and, of course, wine tasting is always a good option.