El Mezcal Mexican Bistro, new on South San Francisco’s emerging dining scene, offers Mexican specialties far beyond the namesake agave spirit (even though cocktails are not yet served at the eatery and plans are in progess to add them). A spotlight dish is chiles en nogada, a Pueblan region signature made of poblano peppers smothered in a walnut cream sauce and served only in fall when pomegranates are in season. Even at this time of year, it’s hard to find on many menus. Chicken with mole poblano and Veracruz-style fish also are notable entrees. Burritos, tacos and tortas are on the menu, including a California burrito, which if filled with french fries. Salads, soups and starters, such as jalapenos el mezcal with shrimp and cheese-stuffed jalapenos, round out the selections. Breakfast is served, too. Try a spicy salmon and cream cheese omelette or the epic Mezcal pancakes with banana, coconut and Mexican caramel.
319 Baden Ave., South S.F.; (650) 636-4496. Elmezcalmexicanbistro.com
Rasa brings contemporary Southern Indian fare to downtown Burlingame. The menu includes vibrant seafood and vegetable-centric dishes, which are lighter than Northern Indian cuisine. Meals center around dosas (similar to crepes) served with two chutneys and a seasonal vegetable sambar. The notable Bollywood Dosa is stuffed with spiced potato masala and very spicy ghost chili chutney. Small plates range from seared scallops with a kale crisp and tomato-basil kooto, to the famous savory lentil beignets. Entrees include slow-braised lamb curry and shallot-ginger-crusted black cod cooked in a banana leaf. Conclude dinner with a cappuccino — that’s a mung bean cappuccino, with banana foam. A modern design _ the 80-seat, two-level dining room has saffron and sea blue-colored walls, black wooden tables and a prominent grand chandelier _ complements the food.
209 Park Road, Burlingame; (650) 340-RASA (7272). Rasaindian.com
New in Redwood City – not downtown, but near Woodside where there aren’t many eateries – is Oh Baby Sushi Bar & Grill. Nigiri and sashimi and expected sushi rolls are offered, but the real fun lies in the creative sushi rolls. A riff on Vietnamese spring rolls called the Japanese Version has ahi tuna, mango, avocado and crab meat wrapped in rice paper. For basketball season, the Warriors roll is filled with shrimp tempura and crab, then wrapped with seared salmon. Udon, ramen and soba also are served, as are Japanese curry and bento boxes at lunch. Sides and starters include spicy tuna spread on rice crackers, and, unexpectedly, mozzarella sticks. A Shirley Temple is even on the drink menu, as are a few sake cocktails.
2139 Roosevelt Ave., Redwood City; (650) 366-1688. Ohbabysushi.com