As we round the horn of a full year under pandemic protocols, local restaurants continue to experiment with new menus and even a few bold debuts.
Aurum has been drawing rapturous interest since the Town Crier first wrote about its debut at 132 State St. in Los Altos. Following is a rundown of other new places to try, as well as new takeaway meal options to explore at longtime standbys.
Opened while society has been (semi) closed
• Teacub Boba and Snack opened a petite storefront in the shopping complex at El Camino Real and Grant Road, next to Nijiya Market. Consider the Tea Cub special, with signature milk tea and egg pudding; the Panda, with black milk tea, crystal boba and black boba; or the Black Sugar Latte, with milk and black boba. If you’re caffeine-free, the Black Magic Smoothie has drawn fans for its combination of black sesame and coconut.
• On the other side of town, IN d Go has opened at the intersection of Rengstorff Avenue and Old Middlefield Way. It invokes the takeaway tradition of roadside dhabas, the 24-hour eateries known for inexpensive, casual and often extremely delicious cuisine along the Indian highway system. In addition to rice bowls ($6-7), IN d Go boasts a roster of classic chicken, salmon, goat and vegetarian dishes ($10-$17). Note the phirni ($4) on offer for dessert, a creamy rice pudding made here with cashews, almonds, raisins and pistachios.
• Mr. Cake Plus opened at 570 N. Shoreline Blvd. Suite B in the hard-to-find Mountain View spot that used to house California Mochi. In addition to the cakes promised by its name – which are eggless and vegan if special-ordered – it serves as an all-around neighborhood bakery with an Indian orientation. In addition to snackable cheese, curry and veggie savory pastry puffs ($3.50), note the relatively hard-to-find sweet pastry dil pasand ($3.25). Cakes – in what may be the most affordable independent bakery option in Mountain View – come by the slice and as elaborately decorated made-to-order celebration pieces.
Familiar restaurants, new options
Town Crier wine columnist Christine Moore wrote about the family meal bundle options at Cascal (400 Castro St. in Mountain View) earlier this month. Three other independent places in Los Altos have been expanding take-home options that embrace the idea of a multi-person meal rather than individual orders.
• House on First at 145 First St. has added a rotisserie menu built around one-half of a roasted chicken that includes multiple-sized options for sweet and spicy slaw, duck fat potatoes, truffle macaroni and cheese, and garlic green beans. It offers bagged cocktails to go, but if you order a day or two in advance, can also create 750ml “batched cocktails” ($49) in beautifully styled bottles, with classics like sangria or strawberry vanilla punch, and this winter a gimlet that made a food editor’s heart jump with its gin, lime, almond, eucalyptus and pine tincture.
• Aldo Los Altos at 388 Main St. offers a grilled pear and gorgonzola salad for four ($42), in addition to family-style reheatable trays of pasta ($46-$68) ranging from rigatoni to lasagna, carbonara and polpetta (meatball).
• Cetrella at 400 Main St. includes “prepare at home” editions of its fresh pastas ($9), including a beautifully pink roasted beet Creste di Gallo, a fennel radiatore and a lumache (“snail”) shape, with beef Bolognese ($16) and vegetarian marinara ($12) sauce options.
This is the first in a series – what other new eateries and pandemic-special menus have you found withing striking distance of Los Altos? Email [email protected] with tips.