Tag Archives: Corso

Bites: Perdition closes, changes at Oliveto

Barbecue spread at Perdition Smokehouse. Photo: Perdition Smokehouse
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Openings, closings

PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE CLOSES SUDDENLY We were surprised to hear that Berkeley’s Perdition Smokehouse shuttered suddenly this week. While the barbecue itself wasn’t particularly memorable, Perdition did have one of the best tap lists around and an excellent outdoor patio on which to drink them. The East Bay Express had the scoop, but didn’t have many details on the reason for the closure. EBX speculated that the closure was likely tied to former chef Mike O’Brien’s decision to leave the company, which also includes The Trappist, The Trappist Provisions, and Mikkeler Bar in San Francisco, earlier this month. (O’Brien was the chef at both Perdition and Mikkeler.) A source close to the company also speculates that this split was the source of financial strain for the company, enough that it caused the restaurant to close. We have reached out to owner Chuck Stilphen, as well as O’Brien, but have yet to receive any comments on the closure. For now, though, we’ll just have to mourn the loss of that tap list. Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Corso expands salumi, pasta programs

Briganti pasta from Corso. Photo: Alix Wall
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With the opening seven years ago of Corso, co-owner and executive chef Wendy Brucker and co-owner Roscoe Skipper set out to recreate a trattoria with the simplicity of a Tuscan restaurant. The restaurant quickly found its regulars, partially due to the reputation of its sister restaurant Rivoli. However, chef de cuisine Scott Eastman says the restaurant is just now finding its groove.

“It’s taken us some time and practice to really get there, but now is the time where the restaurant is really starting to reach the mind’s eye of what the owners wanted it to be,” he said.

Eastman would know. He’s been there since the restaurant opened in 2008. “I had the opportunity to see a restaurant from its beginning and I just continued to grow with this place,” he said. … Continue reading »

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Ms Barstool: Cocktail invention at food mecca Corso

Justin Sutton making cocktails at Corso. Photo Corso
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At the height of service, it’s not always easy to get into a conversation with a bartender, even when you are a person who calls herself Ms Barstool. So we set up a pre-cocktail meeting with bar manager Justin Sutton and bartender Matt Bruns prior to hopping on a barstool at Trattoria Corso in Berkeley.

We wanted to hear about some changes the trattoria has undergone, including a new bar program, and what happened when they took the TVs away.

Sutton, a former Marine, had jobs in several local dining establishments, including Absinthe in San Francisco and Revival in Berkeley, before finding his way to Corso. Bruns went to culinary school, worked in several restaurants in Atlanta, then moved here and started a new business in town.

Both Sutton and Bruns were delighted to have the chance to talk about what they do, and to share some of their behind-the-bar techniques. A dedicated bartender will tell you that what one orders off the cocktail menu is often the result of several tries at getting the drink just right. Bruns said he likes to put a “modern-day twist” on the cocktails he creates. (Bruns also creates at Shrub & Co based at Berkeley Kitchens, producing a variety of shrubs: a blend of fruit, sugar, and vinegar—originally intended as a way to preserve fruit in Colonial times, now enjoying a second career as tasty additions to cocktails.) … Continue reading »

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Bites: Tia’s, Longbranch, Descanso, Plank and more

Dana Zumot, the new owner of Tia's, a cafe that has replaced Levant, which was only open a few weeks. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Openings, closings…

TIA’S A new café called Tia’s is set to open imminently at the spot once occupied by the short-lived Levant Organic Café on the corner of Kittredge and Oxford streets in downtown Berkeley. The owner, Dana Zumot, has previously worked as a restaurant manager and her love of cooking led her to open her own place at 2177 Kittredge St. Tia’s will be a casual café serving salads and panini sandwiches, as well as coffee and tea. With its location close to the Cal campus, and its light-filled atmosphere, Zumot is hoping Tia’s becomes a popular hang-out space. Telephone the café at 510-647-9863 to confirm it is open before venturing out. … Continue reading »

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Bites: Cask, Café Underwood, Fieldwork Brewing Co.

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Openings, closings…

CASK ON COLLEGE IS OPEN Berkeley has a new upmarket liquor store with the opening of Cask at 3185 College Ave. (pictured above). We told you in March about plans by Future Bars, the group behind San Francisco cocktail bars Bourbon & Branch and Local Edition — as well as the forthcoming Tupper & Reed cocktail bar in the old Beckett’s space in Berkeley — to take over College Avenue Wine Spirits & Deli. The deed is done and, as Tablehooper reports, Cask on College is now up and running. Cask says it specializes “in curating a selection of hard-to-find, unusual, esoteric, and generally tasty wines, spirits, beers, and mixers, along with some interesting books and bar tools. We try our best to select only the best products that we can find, and we offer you our assurance that our buyers have tasted or used every product before they hit the shelves.” Connect with the business on its website and on Facebook.Continue reading »

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