Six Berkeley dining spots have been named Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants this year, including newcomer Comal.
Two names are missing this year from last year’s list of seven: Berkeley Thai House, on Channing Way, and eVe on University Avenue. Thai House is still going strong but eVe closed in late 2011 and came back under the same ownership last year as Peruvian rotisserie chicken joint Brasa.
The six restaurants are: Comal, Corso, Five, Gather, Ippuku, and Rivoli.
Michelin judges give the ‘Bib’ to restaurants that serve two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included). ”Most importantly, they are the restaurants that the company’s inspectors frequent themselves,” Michelin said on its release. Michelin selected 70 such places for its 2013 San Francisco area guide which covers the entire Bay Area and wine country, down from 77 last year.
Comal, a smart, architect-designed space on Shattuck Avenue serving Oaxaca-inspired Mexican food, opened in April 2012. First-time restaurateur John Paluska and Chef Matt Gandin, formerly of Delfina in San Francisco, probably knew they had a success on their hands when Chronicle critic Michael Bauer wrote in his review of the place that it was precisely the restaurant he would have opened himself if he had taken the ownership route. That, and the fact that the spacious dining room and garden patio are packed pretty much every evening.
Ipukku, which serves traditional yakitori and a wide selection of the Japanese spirit shochu on Center Street, snagged a Bib Gourmand last year for the first time. Gather, on Oxford, opened in 2009 and focuses on sustainably sourced, organic fare. Corso, on Shattuck, and Rivoli on Solano, are both owned by Wendy Brucker and Roscoe Skipper.
Winners of the coveted Michelin stars will be announced soon. Chez Panisse was the only Berkeley restaurant in recent history to have a (single) Michelin star, but it lost it in 2010.
Michael Bauer on Comal: The restaurant I would have opened [07.16.12]
Review: Comal — fresh flavors, a dizzying choice of tequilas [05.11.12]
Comal: New restaurant takes a bet on downtown Berkeley [04.30.12]
Seven Berkeley restaurants get value nod from Michelin [10.19.12]
Five’s Banks White: Berkeley “keeps me on my toes” [06.17.11]
The culinary couple behind Berkeley’s Corso and Rivoli [05.27.11]
Berkeley Bites: Christopher and Veronica Laramie, eVe restaurant [07.16.10]
Berkeley Bites: Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster, Gather restaurant [03.26.10]
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