Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mid-Week Menu: Desco Opens in Old Oakland, Old Weang Ping Passes the Torch, and Tamashii Ramen Is Coming to Richmond

By Luke Tsai
Wed, Aug 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.

1) It’s seems like the folks who run Emeryville Public Market have been talking forever about upping the food court’s coolness quotient. The latest effort? Eater reports that the shopping center’s new owners, City Center Realty Partners, are planning a pretty drastic revamp, likely kicking out several of the less popular food court tenants while attempting to attract casual, quick-service projects by “Michelin-starred” chefs from the Bay Area and beyond. We’ll see how it all pans out, but it sounds like the new stalls won’t launch for at least another year.

2) A little over a month after Borgo Italia shut its doors in Old Oakland, Desco (499 9th St.), the new regional Italian restaurant taking its place, is now open. Headed by chef-owner Donato Scotti, Desco will feature fresh and dried pastas, wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas and schiacciate (a kind of flatbread, I’m led to believe), house-made charcuterie, and more. Check out the current menu.

3) Longtime Berkeley favorite O Chame (1830 4th St.) suddenly announced it was closing just two weeks ago. Now, the other shoe drops: Inside Scoop reports that Sho Kamio is leaving his post at Yoshi’s (both the Oakland and San Francisco locations) to become the popular Japanese restaurant’s new owner and chef. Details about the restaurant’s new name and concept will be forthcoming.

4) During a recent 99 Ranch Market run, I spotted Tamashii Ramen House, which appears set to become the newest restaurant to open inside Richmond’s Pacific East Mall (3288 Pierce St.). A subsequent Google search revealed a Chowhound post in which posters concluded that the ramen shop will be the newest outpost of a mini-chain based in Sherman Oaks, California. No further details for now, but it looked to me like Tamashii wasn’t too far from being ready to open.

5) Bay Area Bites pays tribute to East Oakland's Old Weang Ping Village (6217 MacArthur Blvd.) — “not a business, a sanctuary” — the hidden-away Thai restaurant where you have to bang on the door to be admitted, and which has long been a cult favorite. The big news: Owners Pat and Jook Sawanwatana have retired, and they’ve sold the business to longtime customer Chris Peterson, a former elementary school teacher.

6) Tablehopper has the scoop on Trabocco, a new Italian restaurant coming this fall to a vacant space in Alameda’s South Shore Center. Giuseppe Naccarelli is from Italy’s Abruzzo region, and it sounds like that background will help shape the restaurant’s menu.

Sanctuary Bistro will feature dishes like this
  • Sanctuary Bistro will feature dishes like this "no-quesodilla and vibrant slaw" (via Facebook).
7) Zagat notes that the chefs at a San Pablo catering company have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for Sanctuary Bistro, an upscale vegan restaurant slated to open this fall at a yet-to-be-determined location in the East Bay. They’re nearly halfway to reaching their $25,000 fundraising goal.

8) Inside Scoop reports that the San Francisco-based power player OpenTable has purchased RezBook, which had likely been its biggest competitor in the online restaurant reservation biz. Two years ago I wrote a long feature on local restaurateurs’ love-hate relationship with OpenTable. At the time, RezBook was just breaking onto the scene. How this latest development will affect the dining industry remains an open question.

9) ICYMI, this week What the Fork covered the Alchemy Collective’s worker-owned cafe, which is moving to a larger location in Berkeley, and a brand new Oakland pop-up featuring the pastrami-corned-beef hybrid known as Montreal smoke meat.

Got tips or suggestions? Email me at Luke (dot) Tsai (at) EastBayExpress (dot) com. Otherwise, keep in touch by following me on Twitter @theluketsai, or simply by posting a comment. I'll read ‘em all.

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