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The Best of the Valley: Food & Drink

Kate Evans, Carolyn Jung, Anh-Minh Le, and Lydia Lee | January 5, 2017 | Story Best of the Bay

Read more from the Best of the Valley 2017 here.

Mouthwatering Expansion: Colette Patisserie
Palo Alto
A little more than a year after opening Colette Patisserie in Menlo Park, Debora Ferrand is busy not only lining up a bigger production facility—her delectably light and flaky croissants still regularly sell out—but is also preparing to introduce an outlet in Palo Alto. In addition to those coveted croissants, the 500-square-foot spot will offer pastries such as kouign-amanns, eclairs and tarts. Given the limited seating, the sandwiches made with Colette’s own French baguettes are ideally suited for the downtown lunch crowd to grab and go. (Bread is on the list of items Ferrand hopes to offer in the near future.) If all goes well, the new location should be up and running in the early part of 2017. 499 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto

Wine Bar and Market: Cru
Redwood City
As the name implies, wine takes center stage at Cru. More than 200 vintages are available by the glass and carafe at this Redwood City wine bar, store and cafe. (Opt to buy a bottle off the shelf at retail and pay a nominal glass fee to sip it there.) Owner Donato Scotti of Donato Enoteca was inspired to open his newest establishment after watching diners clamor to buy the wines at his wine dinners. Cru serves croissants and Verona’s Giamaica Caffè coffee in the mornings. At lunch, there are sandwiches and Roman-style pizza by the slice. At dinner, the handcranked Berkel slicer kicks into action for charcuterie such as housemade cotto, as well as small plates like lamb sausage cassoulet. 900 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, 650.362.3535

Menu Makeover: Bowlero San Jose
San Jose
After a multimillion-dollar makeover, the former Bowlmor has been resurrected as Bowlero San Jose. The 50,000-square-foot venue now offers 59 lanes (including blacklight lanes) and a state-of-the-art arcade. The provisions have also been elevated, with fare such as avocado hummus, a variety of salads and burgers, a 2-foot hot dog, and s’mores. “We took the cool and hip design and paired it with fun, practical bowling-friendly [menu] options,” says Steve Bartek, the company’s vice president of food and beverage. When you need a break from the lanes, head over to the bar—outfitted with retro-inspired tufted stools—and order a handcrafted specialty cocktail, among them, half a dozen Moscow Mule options. Westfield Oakridge, 5420 Thornwood Drive, San Jose, 408.578.8500

Most-Anticipated Opening: Protégé

Palo Alto
There are many reasons that Protégé is arguably the most highly anticipated new restaurant set to open on the Peninsula. There are its pedigreed owners, Master Sommelier Dennis Kelly and Executive Chef Anthony Secviar, who worked together for years at The French Laundry. There is the location, on the highly visible street level of a new building on Palo Alto’s California Avenue. There is the cuisine—New American driven by French techniques, seasonal local ingredients and Spanish influences from Secviar’s time cooking at Spain’s fabled El Bulli. And, of course, there are the tableside carts: a cheese one curated by Soyoung Scanlan of Petaluma’s Andante Dairy, a longtime favorite of The French Laundry; and a pie one (yes, pie!) with favorites like French apple tart accented with quince puree and smoked cinnamon, and rhubarb-strawberry pie laced with lemon verbena and dolloped with whipped crème fraîche.

"The name is an homage to our mentors and our opportunity to mentor the next generation of restaurant professionals,” says Kelly, who calls Los Altos home. “We want to make it an incubator for master sommeliers and outstanding chefs. We intend to operate at a world-class level, but without the formality.” The 80-seat restaurant, expected to open in late spring, will feature a lounge with a dramatic backlighted bar, plus a more formal dining room whose focal point will be a large print of misty redwood trees hung on an exposed concrete wall. The lounge will serve an à la carte menu for lunch and dinner; the dinner-only dining room will be prix fixe. The format allows Secviar to play, offering in the lounge shiitake-stuffed roasted chicken with spaetzle and Camembert sauce, and almond milk soft serve with brown butter caramel; and in the dining room, milk-poached poularde with a foie gras-wine sauce, and English pea agnolotti with king crab in a coconut-curry emulsion. The wine list will feature 250 selections. “My food is clean and refined without being precious or pretentious,” says Mountain View resident Secviar. “We’re not here to challenge the diner; it’s about serving delicious food that’s approachable yet clever and inspired.” 260 California Ave., Palo Alto

Originally published in the January issue of
Silicon Valley

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