“Hueco” translates roughly to “little cave,” a tribute to the Peruvian hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve ceviche and charcoal-roasted meats at any hour of the day. El Hueco attempts to capture the feeling of a hangout in the little mountainous country with traditional dishes crafted by lauded chef Jaime Laos. “Laos,” the San Jose Mercury News noted in an article, “has come a long way since his grandmother taught him to cook in a one-faucet house they shared with eight others in Lima.” He now creates a full menu of traditional small plates and entrees, which rely heavily upon the seafood, South American chilies, and sweet potatoes that make up the bulk of Peruvian cuisine.
From the steaming vats of beef stew cooked in a corn-beer sauce to the pan-fried chicken cooked in a blend of porto butter and chocolate, Laos introduces clients to the ancient flavors of Peru. Guests experience how Peruvian chefs prepare mixed vegetables and quinoa. The soft grain was cultivated by Incans hundreds of years ago, but is now becoming popular in North American health-food stores and slapstick movies about people falling into vats of different things. After bowls of ceviche, traditional desserts at the eatery pair root vegetables with a splash of sweet molasses.
With quick, sure gestures, sushi chefs at Koto Teppanyaki & Sushi drizzle colorful sauces in intricate, linear designs, emblazoning plates of handmade sushi rolls with silhouettes of butterflies, dragons, and spiders. And this is only on the left side of the restaurant. Diners who choose the hibachi section on the right watch chefs theatrically flip morsels of steak, swordfish, and lobster teppanyaki on tabletop griddles.
New York native Kevin Lin and his two restaurant co-owners work to bring East Coast–style sauces and cooking techniques to Koto's traditional Japanese menu, according to Redwood City Patch. Amid walls the color of melted butter, servers pile tables with kitchen-prepared entrees, such as teriyaki chicken and sea bass or delicately breaded veggie tempura. And, in a private room, parties of up to 25 people can utilize a personal hibachi grill to prepare their own meals or send smoke signals to the waiter for more sushi.
At Little India Restaurant, authenticity permeates the food, art, and music. Owned by the Baidwan and Malhotra families and staffed with northern India–trained chefs, the restaurant is a multiyear winner of numerous prizes, including CityVoter's award for Best Indian cuisine. Chefs grill meats over mesquite charcoal in the tandoori oven, and season curries with onion, garlic, and ginger. Handcrafted mint-cilantro and tamarind chutneys create opportunities for 11 types of bread to sneak toward unsuspecting droplets of spice-filled sauce, whereas potatoes soften the heat quotient of fiery vindaloos. Within the dining room, calming sitar music fills the air and larger-than-life paintings of food-based revelry decorate the walls and come to life at tables.
The dough wizards at Papa John's create circular masterpieces with original and thin crusts made from high-protein flour to support warm bouquets of toppings. Hand-cut produce crowns all of Papa John's pizzas, mingling with the sun-soaked sweetness of sauce made from fresh, California-grown tomatoes. By adhering to its brand promise of "better ingredients, better pizza," Papa John's grew from a back-tavern pizzeria into more than 3,500 restaurants within three decades' time, or the amount of time it takes to grow a single pizzeria from a small seed.
Summit Coffee starts brewing pots from flavorful beans in the wee hours of the morning, encouraging guests to jump-start their days with a steaming cup and hearty breakfast from 5:30 a.m. onward. Alongside signature coffee drinks and energizing shots of espresso, baristas serve up eye-opening breakfast items such as waffles topped with fruit and whipped cream, classic omelets, and alarm clocks in hollandaise sauce. Once diners are ready to take on the day, they can get to work using the shop’s free WiFi and continue to fuel with fresh mugs from the coffee counter.
The chefs at Buri Tara Thai Cuisine draw culinary inspiration from regions across Thailand when crafting dishes such as panang curry and bangkok duck. They intersperse local and sustainable veggies and meats into their courses whenever possible, melding pan-fried Thai rice noodles with bean sprouts and ground peanuts in the familiar pad thai, and salmon green curry with bamboo shoots and basil. The menu also includes vegetarian options for non-meaters or werewolves trying to change their ways.