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Diablo Dish — December 2010

The Michelin Guide graces Contra Costa County with a smattering of stars, while Walnut Creek enters the battle again hamburgers and Hercules gets some A+ eats. All that and more, in the Dish!


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Another new restaurant dances into East Dublin, with Coco Cabana, a Latin-themed eatery, set to replace the shuttered Stacey’s in the Waterford center. Owner Omar Etemadi envisions a modern restaurant/lounge similar to his Oasis Grill in Pleasanton, with a menu of Latin tapas and artisan cocktails. Etemadi aims to open by early January, shortly after the scheduled debut of Cellar 9, a restaurant serving American comfort food planned for nearby Grafton Station. As for the name? “I just like the way it sounded,” Etemadi says.

The much-anticipated Michelin Guide dropped last month, and among the big winners were Contra Costa restaurants: The 2011 edition mentioned 16 restaurants in the 925 area code, more than double last year’s total, and included the guide’s first foray into Danville. Says Peter Chastain, whose Prima was included in the guide for the second straight year, “I wouldn’t live or die by a star; that’s not necessarily my vision for Prima. But for Michelin to include Contra Costa County certainly puts us on the map in another way for consumers, and I’m proud of that.”

Two East Bay favorites are undergoing some changes. Petar’s Restaurant in Lafayette is now Grapeleaf Restaurant Petar’s Pub. Owner Nosrat Kermaninejad says the new menu includes fresher, healthier Mediterranean-style fare, but old-school customers need not worry: Favorite dishes from Petar’s old menu are still available, and entertainer Diamond Dave Hosley continues to perform Wednesday through Saturday nights. Over in Danville, Patrick David’s has changed hands. The new owners (including well-known East Bay philanthropist Dana Dornsife) kept the name and kept on former boss Patrick David Schoolcraft as executive chef. But they have upgraded the quality of the food to include more local/sustainable/organic ingredients while giving the interior an overdue face-lift, says co-owner Al Sisto.

Walnut Creek residents’ tempers are flame broiled over two planned burger joints, a McDonald’s near the Woodlands neighborhood and an In-N-Out just over the border in Pleasant Hill. In both cases, nearby neighbors’ concerns over traffic, noise, and smell have delayed the projects.

A couple of new raw fish options in the East Bay: Oyama Sushi will replace Quiznos in Lafayette, while Ocean Bliss is taking over the old Kolln Hardware building on Pleasanton’s Main Street. Also in Pleasanton, Abhiruchi Indian Cuisine replaces the Chef India spot, with all-you-can-eat buffet-style fare, while Ashoka will offer Northern Indian cuisine when it opens this month on Stanley Boulevard.

Rockridge will get a new wine bar, with the arrival of Toast Wine Lounge. The restaurant/lounge will focus on rare, small-batch wines from all around the world along with a menu emphasizing fresh/local/sustainable fare, says co-owner Heather Sittig. Toast joins Italian wine bar Enoteca Molinari, Bica and Zoe coffee shops, Miam Miam frozen yogurt, and Powell’s Sweet Shoppe as new additions in Rockridge.

Finally, little Hercules is flexing its culinary muscles. Lafayette’s Main Street Properties signed on three eateries to a project on Sycamore Avenue set to open next fall: deep-dish specialist Paxtis Pizza (also opening a Lafayette spot); the second location for S.F. favorite Bean Bag Cafe; and Filipino restaurant Boracay Garden and Grill.

Got Dish? E-mail us at dish@maildiablo.com

 

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