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Mixx Adds to the Mix of Downtown Mountain View

Friday, 19. December 2014 5:27

Pork belly buns arrive in their own little steamer at Mixx in Mountain View.

Pork belly buns arrive in their own little steamer at Mixx in Mountain View.

 

It was a shame when the short-lived Palo Alto Grill shuttered its doors earlier this year in downtown Palo Alto.

But the good news is that its Executive Chef Ryan Shelton has landed just a little farther south at the new Mixx in downtown Mountain View. The casual restaurant, which opened in September, is a much larger venue. So much so that Shelton is still amazed that he’s often doing 300 covers in one night now.

His signature seasonal New American cooking is much on display. His wife, Pastry Chef Yoomi Shelton, who worked alongside him at the Palo Alto Grill, is not in the kitchen here. But her presence is still felt, such as in the addictive homemade pretzels baked in the shape of a wheat stalk here that’s her recipe.

On a sunny afternoon, you can enjoy lunch outside.

On a sunny afternoon, you can enjoy lunch outside.

Over lunch and dinner with two different friends, I had a chance to try quite a few dishes. Each time, we paid our tab at the end of the meal. You can make a meal from the small plates alone. But there are plenty of larger plates worth investigating, too.

Maybe it’s my Chinese heritage, but I can never resist a pork belly bao. Here, they’re billed as sliders ($12) and come three to an order. The pillowy clamshell buns are filled with big pieces of pork belly that are nicely crispy on the edges. The meat isn’t as fatty as other pork belly I’ve had, which may be a boon to some who feel guilty enough indulging in such a decadent porcine cut.

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Palo Alto Grill Sizzles

Friday, 2. August 2013 5:25

Clever and wonderful avocado corn dogs at Palo Alto Grill.

Clever and wonderful avocado corn dogs at Palo Alto Grill.

 

Downtown Palo Alto has a bevy of talented chefs. But now, it also has the acclaimed Ryan Shelton, who’s the executive chef and partner of the Palo Alto Grill, which opened its doors in April.

A San Jose native, Shelton has amassed quite a reputation, having worked in Europe and Asia before becoming pastry chef at Chez TJ in Mountain View, then chef de cuisine at Baume in Palo Alto, where he helped that restaurant garner two Michelin stars. Most recently, he helmed the kitchen at vintner Randall Grahm’s Le Cigare Volant in Santa Cruz.

Shelton is continuing those high standards at the Palo Alto Grill, as evidenced by my visit recently, when my friend Donna treated me to dinner for a belated birthday celebration.

The 80-seat dining room is warm and clubby with dark wood tables, exposed wood beams, brick accents and a black granite bar. On an early evening, it gets plenty of light, too, from floor-to-ceiling windows.

Steak is front and center on the menu. But there’s so much more, too.

You know you’re in the hands of a restaurant that cares about the details when the bread basket comes out. It’s filled with warm house-made focaccia and chewy pretzel sticks. Alongside is a ramekin of creamy mustard cheese sauce. You could fill up on this alone. But save room.

Forget the low-carb diet here. Don't pass up the pretzels and focaccia.

Forget the low-carb diet here. Don’t pass up the pretzels and focaccia.

The dining room.

The dining room.

That’s because you have to order the avocado corn dogs ($7) under the small plates portion of the menu. There are no hot dogs in this version. But you don’t miss them. What you get instead are nuggets of creamy avocado on sticks that are breaded in the familiar cornmeal batter, then fried until golden. The sweetness of the batter plays nicely with the richness of the avocado. A chipotle mustard sauce adds smokiness and a dash of spiciness. It’s the kind of nosh all too easy to reach for in the company of a cold beer. Three come to an order. So, if there’s two of you, you may end up fighting over the last one. Just sayin’.

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