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Diablo Dish: November

Oakland’s newest, Plank, brings food, drink, and games to Jack London Square. Plus, wine bar alerts: An ambitious new spot, Adega, sets its sights on downtown Walnut Creek while Cine Cuvée prepares to serve flights in Orinda Theatre Square.


Plank / Photo by Nique F. Yelp.com

Big news out in Oakland’s Jack London Square: Plank—a beer garden, bowling, and bocce concept—has officially flung open its doors in the former Barnes and Noble location. Stretching out over an entire city block, Plank boasts more than 50,000 square feet of gaming areas—12 full-size bowling lanes and six mini lanes, 40 high-def TVs, 42 beers on tap, and three bocce courts, as well as a game arcade.

Executive chef Jason Moniz, formerly of Orinda’s Table 24 and Oakland’s Flora, churns out equally entertaining food: veggie pizza with a blistered crust; crispy chicken wings served with a fiery Diablo sauce; sweet char siu pork tacos; and juicy watermelon salad with Feta, arugula, and tamarind.

Other recent openings include healthy juice, snack, and cleanse purveyor Nékter Juice Bar in Blackhawk Plaza and Taste of the World Market—an every Friday food truck gathering—in Pleasant Hill. A new Noah’s Bagels was also slated to open in Walnut Creek in October. At press time, Veggie Grill, a farm-to-table eatery with locations in Los Angeles and Orange County, was targeting a mid-November opening on Locust Street in downtown Walnut Creek, and 310 Eatery had moved into its new space in Redux Lounge nearby.

Also in Walnut Creek, Danville resident Alberto De Almeida plans to open a new wine bar called Adega (complete with an outdoor bocce court) in late 2014, in the former Papyrus space. While we’re on wine, plans are in motion for Cine Cuvée Wine Bar to open in the space formerly known as Kasper’s Hot Dogs, next to the Orinda Theatre. In the Tri-Valley, Blue Gingko owner Philip Yang (chef-owner of sushi bars of the same name in Lafayette and Blackhawk, as well as Sasa, in Walnut Creek) has started construction on his newest restaurant in Dublin.

New chef announcements: Robert Sapirman, formerly of Walnut Creek’s now-closed Vesu, is the new chef at Oakland’s Picán; and at Berkeley’s Corso, Scott Eastman has been promoted to chef de cuisine. And Stephanie Yu, who logged time at Oliveto and at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, is taking over pastry chef duties at Bridges in Danville.

Speaking of shuffles, shortly after closing Plum and reopening it as Ume, Daniel Patterson decided to shutter Ume and combine both the restaurant space and adjoining Plum Bar into Plum Bar and Restaurant. The vibe is decidedly more casual, with an array of snacks and bites for less than $10, and playful bigger entrées—like the pork chop or the fried chicken sandwich—rarely topping $20. And beer lovers in Uptown Oakland can choose from two new places: Diving Dog Brewhouse, which was in the process of setting up its brew-your-own-beer system at press time, and functioning 93-gallon brewery Woods Bar and Brewery, whose construction uncovered the location’s original facade. Both officially opened in October.

Finally, Rockridge’s A16 started café-style service for breakfast and lunch with lighter offerings from chef Rocky Maselli, and Walnut Creek’s neo-Indian gastropub Kanishka’s began a lunch service that includes “gastro-wraps,” chef signature lunch boxes, fusion salads, street tapas, and masala chai lemonade.

Got Dish? E-mail us at dish@maildiablo.com. Follow us online at diablomag.com/dish, or on Twitter @diablodish.


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