Who’s Cooking: Chef Princess Franada, who took over from founder and James Beard Award–winning chef Christine Keff in 2013.
Where to Sit: Slide into a banquette and people-watch through floor-to-ceiling windows, or enjoy the sunshine at a sidewalk table.
Dashi: a fish stock or broth used in Japanese cuisine that’s typically made with dried kelp and bonito flakes.
Mignonette: a sauce usually made of shallots, cracked pepper, and vinegar that’s often served over raw oysters.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Browse unique sculptures and vintage machinery at Galen Lowe Art & Antiques (411 Westlake Avenue).
After: Sip on a craft beer at Brave Horse Tavern (310 Terry Avenue).
Craig Fruchter and Stephanie Schreiber team up with an impassioned troupe of instructors to lead students toward mental and physical health through a lineup of Bikram and power-yoga classes. Their dual locations swirl with balmy temperatures to loosen tight ligaments and help students ease deeper into the tension-relieving stretches. The warm air pricks beads of sweat on shoulders and brows while flushing out toxins and the spleen's discarded Funyun bags. With an eye on preserving the environment, both studios are scrubbed with nontoxic cleaning products each day and feature textured rubber floors and fresh-air ventilation systems. Marin Magazine in 2010 named Red Dragon one of the best yoga studios in Marin, and Pacific Sun named the business the best Marin yoga studio in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Like a shape-shifter with ADD, executive chef and Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute graduate Matt Colony's menu changes constantly, taking inspiration from legendary steakhouses while drawing from a rich array of local ingredients. Maxwell's most recent board of fare opened with delicacies such as smoked eggplant and white bean puree ($7), a selection of house-pickled vegetables ($5), and seared yellow fin ahi tuna ($14) with warm red-lentil puree. The curtain the raised on signature steaks of 16-ounce rib eye ($29), 7-ounce filet mignon ($30), and 10-ounce flat iron ($23)—all cooked to order and side-kicked with horseradish-infused whipped potatoes, sautéed vegetables, sherry mushroom sauce, and fried onion rings. If ordering the cider-brined pork chop ($19) has you worried that the pig's relatives will hunt you down and seek vengeance, Maxwell's features a slew of seafaring sea fare such as pan-seared weathervane scallops ($26), sautéed Alaskan halibut ($25), and Maxwell's chioppino ($25)—which hosts a pool party of steamed clams, mussels, shrimp, roasted sockeye salmon, and half grilled lobster tail in spicy fennel-tomato broth amid grilled sourdough bread. All dishes can find a leggy tango partner on Maxwell's wine list, but bring a back-up stomach for a decadent dessert of custard-soaked cinnamon-roll bread pudding ($7) or the crème brûlée of the day ($5).
The giant circular grill can be seen from almost anywhere inside the restaurant. Yummy Mongolian Grill's chefs stand around it waiting to stir-fry the custom creations their diners assemble from a long buffet brimming with colorful veggies, noodles, and meats. Guests pile their selected ingredients into a nearly endless number of combinations before ladling on freshly made sauces and waving goodbye as their plates are carted off for cooking. Additionally, a full appetizer bar warms midsections like an electric fanny pack with bubbling soups, chicken fried rice, and honey chicken wings.
The culinary artists at Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar grant palates the royal treatment with their smorgasbord of fresh, regionally sourced seafood and oysters, hearty steak-house cuisine, and all-star wine list, which earned the restaurant the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. With a storied resum? that includes manning the kitchen at the prestigious Palisade Restaurant, as well as appearances on Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Presents: American Gladiators, executive chef and owner John Howie focuses his culinary aesthetic on the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest while he experiments with exotic flavors from around the globe. His menu of refined dishes and homey meals furnishes stomachs with alluring flavors from both land and sea, as tasted in the sockeye-salmon poke, dungeness-crab risotto, and fire-grilled filet mignon.
Each Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar location surrounds guests in a cozy cocoon of blond woods and warm light?an ideal setting for polishing off plates of shellfish stews, steak and potatoes, and fresh ice cream and chocolate truffles. While admiring each restaurant?s sleek interior, diners can also enjoy the many notes found in Seastar?s 14-page wine list.
Although Hunan Palace embraces the recipes of its namesake region, the chefs also draw inspiration from other culinary traditions throughout China to create their menu. This liberal adoption of inspiration can lead to dishes such as shrimp saut?ed in spicy Szechuan-style sauce appearing on diners' tables alongside mongolian beef with hot peppers and a bed of crispy noodles. As further proof of their dedication to traditional Chinese flavors, the chefs also glaze crispy whole fish with spicy, Hunan-style sauce and roast entire peking ducks, which can be shared by the table.
A handful of tables line the floor of Hunan Palace's carpeted dining room, providing each guest views out the restaurant's plate-glass windows. Small lamps cast a gentle glow throughout the space. Spirits become livelier on Friday and Saturday nights when guests can stop in for karaoke and enjoy a drink from the bar while waiting for a chance to belt their favorite power ballad or deliver their favorite William Jennings Bryan speech.