Tag Archives: Chaat and Curries

Ethnic eats in Berkeley from A to Z: Part 1

Corso's signature chicken dish. Photo: Courtesy Corso Restaurant
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Berkeley is an ethnically diverse town. Anyone whose child attends public school here doesn’t need census tract data to know this for a fact. That cultural diversity is also reflected in the range of restaurant choices here. Global grub — from gourmet to grab ‘n’ go — can readily be found in many of our neighborhoods.

But who doesn’t reflexively head to their local curry shop or Thai takeout without giving a moment’s thought to the international offerings all over town?

What follows is the first in an A to Z guide to the many ethnic restaurants in Berkeley, with favorite dish recommendations and tidbits gleaned from local food critics, Berkeleyside interviews, and the restaurant guide by new Berkeleyside partners Lucille and Art Poskanzer.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list. Feel free to add your own global picks in the comments section that follows. Or weigh in with what world cuisine is missing in the mix. Bon Appetit. … Continue reading »

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Five’s Banks White: Berkeley ‘keeps me on my toes’

Banks White, executive chef at Five. Photos by Christina Diaz
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Banks White is the executive chef of Five, which calls itself a modern American bistro. Think comfort food with au courant accents: Macaroni and cheese made with orzo, wild mushrooms, tomato jam, and smoked gouda. Slow braised short rib pot roast with mascarpone polenta. Buttermilk biscuits with white cheddar pimento cheese.

The restaurant (named for the five senses and its 5 o’clock happy hour) is housed in the historic, refurbished Hotel Shattuck Plaza, which looks like it’s been given the Dorothy Draper treatment. (This writer spent some time last fall at the interior designer’s signature space, The Greenbrier in West Virginia.) Swirling black-and-white wallpaper. Ornate red chandelier. Black-and-white marble floors and red wall sconces. Get the picture?

White hails from Texas, land of barbecue and Buds, but is trained in classic French culinary techniques. The 30-year-old has worked for several upscale boutique hotel restaurants including The Driskill in Austin and Auberge du Soleil in the Napa Valley. … Continue reading »

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