Berkeley: random news and notes

The takeout location. The new building is rising quickly across the street on the U.C. property. Soon we’ll have retired professors wandering around. I wonder if they’ll like Yo Sushi. (Where Zaki used to be.) I tried it once, but haven’t been back.

The all-you-can-eat Japanese buffet restaurant on University near Al Lasher’s has stopped serving dine-in. Since February they’ve been take-out and special events only. I found this out when I fed the parking meter for an hour of time before I saw the small sign on the door. While not the best Japanese place in town, the buffet usually had a good turnover at lunchtime so the food was fresh.

The sad noodle place at San Pablo and Page is now a Vietnamese place renamed Super Super. Today’s banh mi for lunch was overstuffed with BBQ chicken and pork, pretty good if a little heavy on the mayonnaise (I don’t recall whether I’ve seen mayo on banh mi before). It was served on flaky-crusted French bread, not the usual banh mi roll. The rice plates looked good as well. Unusually, they also have burgers and fries. Nothing on the menu is over $10.


Did this ever open? Now they are opening a shop in SF.

Not open yet, but a couple weeks ago I noticed construction was again active in the space.

The Berkeley branch of Simply Greek, with a “closed for repairs” sign since late last year, won’t be reopening after all.

Uji, the Japanese dessert place, is now open on Telegraph. Mochi ice creams, taiyakis, parfaits.

Over in Albany, the French bistro Nizza La Bella is now closed. It was my favorite for Sunday brunch.

Fonda on Solano is serving brunch again. It’s pretty much the same menu as the had when they previously offered brunch, Mexican and American egg dishes, panckakes and such. Prices are quite a bit higher than before, but that’s true everywhere.

Fonda became dead to me when they took the chocolate lava cake off the menu. I was mostly stopping by and having a cocktail and a lava cake. I understand that mode of customer wouldn’t drive massive business for them… but… did the lava cake ever come back?

It doesn’t seem to be there by name, but they do have “Warm chocolate cake”, which might be the same thing.

Last time I stopped in, they had changed the cake and it was still chocolate but no molten part.

Could be an issue with table turnover - the flowing thing took an extra 20 minutes and was delivered piping hot and perfect. Maybe they just warm it now.

There’s a worldwide movement for restaurants to donate part of their earnings on dishes of spaghettti/bucatini all’amatriciana to earthquake relief in the dish’s namesake village and surroundings. I searched and found it available at Luca’s Cuccina on San Pablo. Are there others?

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Riva Cuccina on Heinz at 7th in Berkeley is also donating proceeds from the dish.

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Saha Restaurant which had been located at 1075 Sutter St in San Francisco is moving to the former location of Herbivore located at 2451 Shattuck Avenue Avenue in Berkeley, according to The new location is expected to open October 2016.

Some years ago in the SF Examiner, Patricia Unterman called Saha’s “Arabic Fusion” cuisine a “great find” run by chef-owner Mohamed Aboghanem who is from Yemen.

And now Chez Panisse cafe is joining the earthquake relief, serving this dish with rigatoni.

‘Aboghanem’s menu blends the cuisine of its owner’s heritage with modern Middle Eastern cuisine, North African dishes and Cal-Arabic combinations.’ More limited menu vs the SF location it was said.

Ethiopian restaurant Lemat has opened on Adeline, near Ashby Bart.

Their menu page is broken. Do you know if they have lunch specials?

Answering my own question: I stopped by today, and they only have the full menu, all day. Prices were in the $12-17 range, and the room is airy and warm.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold