Continuing my observations regarding the shortage of real restaurants in the East Bay – my definition being places where you can enjoy a relaxing, even entertaining, sit-down meal, that will take more than 30 minutes or so.
Last month, I focused on established Restaurants of Danville where I mentioned five that certainly met my definition. This month, we’ll look at some relative newcomers.
Newer Restaurants of Danville
Just like most cities in the East Bay, restaurants come and go with alarming regularity. I wonder which of these will stand the test of time.
Probably Danville’s newest restaurant, Albatross, on Railroad Avenue, is not only new to Danville but in a brand new purpose built space. With a stylish, modern vibe, and plenty of outdoor seating, it looks destined for success. The menu, although varied, is unfortunately dominated by small plates, a trend that I am not a fan of. The mains are certainly more interesting than most, though, with grilled peaches accompanying hanger steak and succotash featuring as a side on a couple of dishes. Certainly worth a visit.
In a space occupied for many years by Basil Leaf Café, Cocina Hermanas bills itself as “Mexican Cuisne with a Northern California Influence”. Although the extensive patio dining area survives, the inside has been completely re-imagined with wood floors and tables, bench seating and metal chairs. The menu is much smaller than typical Mexican restaurants, and although there is a stated Californian influence, many dishes are similar to those found elsewhere. A couple of exceptions are a wagyu bavette steak, served with roasted vegetables and a beer can chicken. Nice to see enchiladas on the menu as well though.
Yes, another Mexican restaurant but more upscale than Cocina Hermanas, Cielito is a beautiful restaurant that has transformed the former Chow premises. There are Mission style chandeliers and leather-strapped banquettes that line the dining room perimeter. A bar with stained glass and as with Chow, lots of outdoor seating. Again, not an enormous menu, and there are a number of favorites— Chile Rejjeno, Ceviche and Quesadillas for appetizers, Carnitas and Chicken Enchiladas as entrees. More interesting to me were the Oaxacan mole braised chicken and the chile braised short ribs.
Are these the newest “real” restaurants in Danville? Are they truly “real”? I have mixed feelings. Personally, I would be more likely to fraternize the more established Danville Restaurants than either of these new Mexican ones.