By Elena Kadvany
October openings roundupUploaded: Sep 30, 2014
Fall is in the air, and so is the smell of chicken diablo, custom pizzas, falafel and French pastries. Four very different eateries ? one Mexican, one Mediterranean, plus a pizza spot and a patisserie -- are opening their doors this month in Mountain View and Palo Alto. Which forthcoming place are you most excited to try?
This farm-to-table Mexican spot is slated for a soft opening the first week of October at The Village at San Antonio Center. The product of a partnership between South Bay restaurateur Randy Everman and southern California Latin-fusion chef Isabel Cruz, Cocina Central serves up traditional staples like ceviche, grilled corn, six kinds of tacos (served on housemade tortillas made from organic, non-GMO corn, of course), tortas and chili relleno as well as more Mexi-Cali dishes like kale salad with pepitas, pineapple salsa, pico de gallo and tortilla strips, all dressed in a cumin vinaigrette. Everman said they use locally sourced and organic ingredients as much as possible. The kitchen is headed up by Adrian Cruz, a "ninja chef" from Texas," in Everman's words. Cocina Central also serves breakfast, from pancakes to breakfast burritos, and with a full liquor license, has a tantalizing sounding cocktail menu and happy hour Monday through Friday. (Also head over for good deals on Taco Tuesdays.) Everman said this will be the first of at least three Cocina Centrals for the Bay Area.
2590 El Camino Real, Suite 13, Mountain View; cocinacentral.co
Rumors floated around for a bit that Sajj was no longer opening at The Village at San Antonio Center, but the fast-casual Mediterranean eatery is on track for a soft opening on Thursday, Oct. 9, according to owner Zajd Ayoub. At Sajj, take your pick of falafel, schwarma or schwafel, and then choose how you want to eat it (in a wrap, stuffed in pita bread, on a plate or in a bowl) and what you want to eat it with (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, parsley, arugula, tahini, garlic cream and more). There are also plenty of sides ? hummus, babaganoush, tabbouleh and tzatziki. Mountain View will be Sajj's fifth brick-and-mortar location (joining the original in Menlo Park, plus outposts in San Jose, Valley Fair and Willow Glen), which were all born from a food truck. Ayoub, who is originally from Jordan, comes with a background in high tech and an assurance that Sajj food is "very consistent, very fresh and reliable." The restaurant will be "full blast" on lunch and dinner on Oct. 15, Ayoub said.
2580 El Camino Real, Mountain View; sajjstreeteats.com
California Avenue in Palo Alto will get a new pizza option on Tuesday, Oct. 21, with the opening of Pizza Studio, a fast-casual create-your-own pizza chain. This means a Chipotle or Subway-like concept where customers can custom design pizzas from scratch, and then they're made very quickly behind the counter. Pizza Studio slings 11-inch custom pizzas, all $7.99 each plus unlimited toppings. You start your masterpiece by choosing one of five crusts, then one of four sauces and four cheeses. Proceed to toppings, which range from typical veggie and meat items to broccolini, genoa salami, turkey fennel sausage and more. There's also a "starving artists" menu with five pre-built pizzas, all at $5.99 a pop. Pizza Studio ovens bake from both the top and the bottom very quickly at 600 degrees, meaning the personal pizzas are ready within two minutes. Since the idea is that making your own pizza is like creating art (and it totally is), each Pizza Studio also has an artists' wall to display and sell local artwork.
Pizza Studio recently opened up shop at Mountain View's increasingly food-centric Village at San Antonio Center (and is pretty well received on Yelp). The company managed to snag the California Avenue space after Tandoori Oven suddenly shuttered this summer.
They'll be promoting the Palo Alto opening by releasing a "secret phrase" on Twitter and Facebook. Customers who whisper it to a cashier at the new restaurant or existing Mountain View location on Oct. 28 during certain hours (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m., though they're open continuously 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.) will receive a free pizza. (Also required: a Facebook "like" and Twitter follow.)
365 California Ave., Palo Alto; pizzastudio.com
The Alexander's Steakhouse group's much anticipated foray into the baking world, Alexander's Patisserie, is set to open Thursday, Oct. 16, in downtown Mountain View. Described in a press release as "a bit of a passion project for one of the team members," this new concept means bread, sandwiches, cakes, tarts, cookies, macarons, chocolates and the like, all made in-house. The patisserie has also been described as merging traditional and modern and European and American influences. Josh Rousseu, vice president of "front-of-house" operations at Alexander's, said in January that it's going to "mimic a fine French bakery or some of the boutique bakeries that they have in Los Angeles."Alexander's has also partnered with San Rafael roaster Equator Coffees & Teas to create its own line of coffee and espresso drinks. Executive Pastry Chef Dries Delanghe is leading the project with a baking education that took place at in Belgium and pastry experience at hotels in Brussels and Paris and later, Michelin-starred French restaurant Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas.
Alexander's Steakhouse operates two restaurants of that name in San Francisco and Cupertino as well as The Sea by Alexander's Steakhouse in Palo Alto.
209 Castro St., Mountain View; alexanderspatisserie.com