Peninsula Dining Update: South Bay Is for Pasta Lovers
One of the Bay Area's most acclaimed chefs can now be found on the Peninsula. George Morrone, formerly the founding chef of San Francisco's Aqua and whose protégés include Michael Mina, has joined forces with Locanda Positano's owner Enzo Rosano to open Gusto. It's certainly now the headliner on San Carlos' continually growing Laurel Street restaurant scene. Gusto takes over Rosano's former restaurant Limone, transforming the narrow casual Italian space into a more formal small plates venue with chandeliers, white upholstered banquettes, and black velvet-backed wooden chairs. Morrone's opening menu is a compact one with twelve dishes spread over five categories. "Hearty" includes shrimp bisque and cream of chanterelle mushroom soup (soup being a subject Morrone devoted an entire cookbook to), while more substantial entrees in the high $20's features a sea scallop "spiedini" and beef tenderloin with Barolo butter. Don't worry, Morrone's famous "timeless tuna tartare" has made the move to San Carlos as one of the starters. 619 Laurel St., San Carlos; (650) 486-1479.
Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner Get soup at Gusto -- the chef literally wrote the book on it.
Downtown Redwood City's growing dining scene has an exciting new opening to report as well, with Aly's On Main. From owner Michael Mazaferri, a native of Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany, the sustainable, seasonal, and locally sourced menu includes meats butchered in-house and ground daily. Pastas are made on the spot each morning and afternoon. The lunch and dinner menus vary greatly. In the daytime, nothing on the menu is more than $11, from a Chinese chicken salad with tamari-red miso dressing to three types of tacos: cajun fish, braised short rib, and beef cheeks. At dinner, eclectic small plates are the theme with the aforementioned housemade spaghetti prepared as a carbonara. Grilled baby carrots are livened up with caraway and saffron yogurt and the restaurant's signature dish is spicy lamb meatballs with a pomegranate glaze. The largest plates almost never rise above $20. Aly's has both a main dining room in the rear with exposed brick walls and an open kitchen, and a lively bar area up front to enjoy a local craft beer and watch the 49ers. Plus, there's housemade sangria. 911 Main St., Redwood City; (650) 995-7500.
Just in time for the holiday shopping season and those countless holiday desserts, Pressed Juicery has opened its fifth Bay Area location inside the Stanford Shopping Center. The Southern California-based juice chain features a lengthy menu that goes well beyond cleansing green juices blending kale and spinach. Citrus juices include a zippy apple, lemon, ginger, and cayenne option, or maybe you're in the mood for a "roots" based juice with beets or carrots. A seasonal juice right now blends yam apple, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 660 Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto; (650) 329-1450.