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Spago to Mix Pizza With Silicon Valley Chips

After attempt was shelved two years ago, Puck agrees to open a restaurant in computer capital.

June 19, 1997|ANGELA PETTERA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Puck in Chiptown: The way Wolfgang Puck has been spinning off restaurants, it's mind-boggling that Silicon Valley doesn't have a Spago. What's going on? Is it a flaw in the very fabric of the universe?

Not to worry. The computer capital will be getting its own Spago in the fall.

Actually, a group of investors gave the Puck idea a try two years ago, but it was no-go, so they opened a restaurant with Bay Area super-chef Jeremiah Tower instead. However, Stars Palo Alto turned out to be a falling star, so the investors once again invited Puck to come Spago-ize the 265 Lytton Ave. location. This time, Puck agreed.

The place is being renovated by heavy-hitting architect Adam Tihany, who designed Le Cirque 2000 in New York and the Spagos in Las Vegas, Chicago and Mexico City. Look for an opening sometime in mid-September.

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Third Rock: When you call, the hostess answers, "You've hit Rock Bottom." Heh, heh. The name of the place is Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, see. It just opened last week in downtown Long Beach.

Actually, this is the third Rock Bottom to hit California, the first two being in San Jose and Fresno, respectively. Why the name? The chain started on the ground floor of the Prudential building in Denver. The Long Beach RB itself is on the ground floor of the Landmark Square office building.

It's a casual brew pub on a huge scale--it seats 600. The menu consists of the usual burgers, chicken, ribs, buffalo wings and pizza, with a few nice touches like alder-smoked salmon and brown-ale chicken (this is one of the perks of being a brew pub, we guess). The buffalo fajitas are made with . . . buffalo meat. Brews include Great White Wheat, Signal Hill Gold, Pelican Red Ale, Long Board Brown and Black Seal Stout. There are pool tables and a sanctuary area for cigar aficionados. Entrees are in the $6.50 to $17.95 range.

* Rock Bottom, 1 Pine Ave., Long Beach. (562) 308-2255. Open 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.

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Light Switch: Serge Falesitch has been, um, eclipsed at West Hollywood's Eclipse. The new executive chef is John Pardee Amateau, formerly at Fournou's Ovens at the Stanford Court Hotel in San Francisco. Eclipse owner Bernard Erpicum plans dining room renovations as well.

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Surf-Adjacent Safari: Laguna Beach is a party kind of town, so Dexter's Unique Cuisine restaurant is throwing an exotica theme dinner party this Friday and Saturday. "A Taste of Exotica" is a six-course safari beginning with rattlesnake tortellini, and moving on through wild mushroom caldron, a "Nairobi seafood bounty" served in a banana-leaf canoe to wild boar chops. Dessert is a chocolate volcano "erupting with wild berries and fire." Don't worry though, you won't be eating any endangered species, and vegetarians can replace their wild game with tame vegetables. The $59 price tag per person does not include drinks, tax or gratuity, but it does include a photo of you in your best jungle attire amid spears, torches, plants, tigers and faux aborigines. Seatings are at 6 and 8:30 p.m. each night.

* Dexter's Unique Cuisine, 2892 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. (714) 494-1158.

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On a Role: The Southland has played a major role in American dining over the last century. The Fullerton Museum Center's exhibition "American Dining: California's Role," which opens to the public Sunday, seems to be the first on the subject. Actually, part is devoted to East Coast and Old West restaurants, but the Southland comes into its own with fast food and the classic Los Angeles eateries. There are menus and memorabilia of every place from Clifton's Cafeterias and Bob's Big Boy to the places that made California cuisine famous.

* Fullerton Museum Center, 301 N. Pomona Ave. Fullerton. (714) 738-6545. Gallery hours noon-4 p.m. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, noon-8 p.m. Thursday; closed Monday and Tuesday. Exhibit opens Sunday.

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