Tag Archives: modern Indian restaurant

The Splashy Ettan Opens In Palo Alto (Which You Can Hopefully Visit When Life Gets Back to Normal)

Crisp, fried sesame leaves with all the fixings -- at the new Ettan in Palo Alto.
Crisp, fried sesame leaves with all the fixings — at the new Ettan in Palo Alto.

Normally in this space, I try to tempt you with mouthwatering food photos and interesting insights into new restaurants that are worth a visit. However, these are anything but normal times.

So let me merely provide a diversion in this unprecedented time when we are all mostly stuck at home, and going a little stir crazy. It’s a reminder that when life does get back on track, we ought to help support our local restaurants and other businesses that will have a hard time getting back on their feet.

Last month, before widespread lock-down ensued, I was invited in as a guest of the just-opened Ettan, a splashy new modern Indian restaurant in downtown Palo Alto. It’s a collaboration between Ayesha Thapar, a real estate and fashion entrepreneur, and Srijith Gopinathan, executive chef of the Michelin two-starred Campton Place in San Francisco.

The soaring, three-story former Three Seasons restaurant space has been redone in striking shades of cerulean, indigo and bright white. The leaded glass domed ceiling remains a focal point, even more so with clusters of sparkly and sculptural chandeliers dangling from it. There’s more bling with the water pitchers and champagne buckets that are made of copper.

The expansive restaurant.
The expansive restaurant.
The artsy entryway.
The artsy entryway.

On a warm night, the outside patio is an especially inviting spot with its lounge-y loveseats and chairs, done up with plentiful pillows.

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A Delicious Dose of Dosa

A show-stopping salad at Dosa.

A show-stopping salad at Dosa.

 

At San Francisco’s Dosa, there’s a new chef in town.

One with an impressive pedigree, who isn’t afraid to shake things up, either.

New Executive Chef Arun Gupta, who hails from New York’s legendary Gramercy Tavern, acknowledges that he had never cooked Indian food in a restaurant before this.

But that’s not to say this Manhattan native wasn’t familiar with the cuisine. With a father who is Indian and a mother who is Polish-American, he grew up frying pooris, forming perogis and helping his mom tend her community garden.

As a teen, he spent a summer abroad in France with a host family, where his love of cooking really took hold. So much so that he started cooking for friends in his parents’ apartment.

Chef Arun Gupta, new executive chef of Dosa, at the recent Taste & Tribute event in San Francisco.

Chef Arun Gupta, new executive chef of Dosa, at the recent Taste & Tribute event in San Francisco.

After graduating from Tufts University, he happened to meet Chef Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, who was so impressed with Gupta’s enthusiasm that he hired him. Gupta started at the bottom, and worked his way through every station in that famed kitchen over five years. In 2012, he became the opening chef de cuisine of Maysville, a restaurant started by Gramercy Tavern alums.

His talent caught the attention of Anjan Mitra, co-owner of the Michelin Bib Gourmand-recognized Dosa, who convinced Gupta to move with his wife and young daughter to San Francisco to oversee Dosa’s Mission district and Fillmore district locales.

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A Return Visit to All Spice in San Mateo

The signature "Snowglobe'' dessert at All Spice.

The signature “Snowglobe” dessert at All Spice.

 

What happens to a restaurant after it receives a coveted Michelin star for the first time?

It gets busy, busy, busy.

Such is the case with the charming All Spice in San Mateo, which opened in 2010, and was awarded a Michelin star in 2012.

The award is proudly displayed in the foyer of the 1906 Victorian that houses the restaurant.

The first time I visited the restaurant a few months after it opened, there were a few empty seats here and there in the cozy dining rooms. Now, the place is packed, as evidenced by a recent visit last month, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

Chef Sachin Chopra, who cut his chops at Amber India in San Jose and Daniel in New York, conceived of All Spice as a tribute to modern Indian cuisine. In the past few years, he’s fine-tuned his vision even more. All Spice has never been about blow-out-your palate spiciness. It’s always been far more subtle. It’s more so now. The fine-dining approach is evident in the artistry of the presentations. The techniques evoke French classicism. The flavors are Californian with measured accents of Indian.

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