Howard Bulka, longtime chef-owner of Menlo Park’s fine-dining stalwart Marché and Palo Alto’s more casual Howie’s Artisan Pizza in 2009, has opened a second, much larger, Howie’s Artisan Pizza in the heart of downtown Redwood City (in the space formerly occupied by Tarboosh Mediterranean Cuisine).
Among the treats on the menu: the intriguing Baked Potato Pizza with bacon and gruyere, the Pesto Pie and the meat-heavy The Works, boasting pepperoni, fennel sausage and salami. Diners can also design their own pizzas, or choose a pie made for one (called a petit’za) at lunch. Salads are served to start, as well as peel-and-eat “Burn Your Fingers Shrimp” or eggplant pillows filled with ricotta and salsa verde. Burgers and sandwiches round out the savory menu offerings. Unlike in Palo Alto, this Howie’s makes its own desserts and has a full bar with 11 beers on tap, wines (the house label Howie’s Red is from Thomas Fogarty), and interesting cocktails, such as a Mai Tai with muddled almonds. With spacious booths and a vast heated patio, Howie’s surely will be a big draw this summer.
837 Jefferson Ave., Redwood City; (650) 995-7780. Howiesartisanpizza.com
Kemuri Japanese Barú is another new Redwood City eatery. A barú is similar to an izakaya, offering casual bar dining and elevated versions of Japanese snacks and tapas meant to be eaten with sake, shochu and Japanese whiskey. At Kemuri, Japanese standards get a contemporary nudge, such as edamame dusted with “umami garlic” or ox tail added to miso soup. Agedashi fried tofu gets re-interpreted with the addition of oysters and mochi. Smoked octopus carpaccio, lamb ribs with Point Reyes bleu cheese and fresh sashimi are other small plates to share. Italy even arrives as an influence, on a pizza salad, a tofu-based caprese salad and an avocado-miso-soy milk risotto. A bar (serving cocktails and local craft brews), an open kitchen and a communal table are the main components in the narrow, tall room, softened by wood and soft lighting on white walls.
2616 Broadway, Redwood City; (650) 257-7653. Kemuri-baru.com
After opening a Daly City location last year, the San Francisco- based Naan ‘N’ Curry now has a San Bruno outlet in Tanforan Mall. Indian and Pakistani specialties on the menu include tandoori dishes, samosas, biryani, naan and the ever popular chicken tikka masala. Naan ‘N’ Curry also offers seldom seen dishes, such as haleem, boneless shredded lamb cooked with lentils and barley, and seafood-focused offerings, such as Karahi stir-fried fish. Don’t forget a refreshing mango lassi to drink. This branch of the growing restaurant group offers counter-service only.
1150 El Camino Real, #183, San Bruno; (650) 636-4944. Nncsb.com