--Vanessa's Bistro 2, at 1329 N. Main Street, is open, in the former Tokyo Lobby spot. It bills itself as "Vietnamese tapas with a French twist." Some selections from the menu: Spicy Atlantic salmon tartare, vodka molasses marinated pork loin, and Dijon mustard and black peppercorn marinated rack of lamb with sweet potato croquette (with a port wine, bing cherry reduction).
--The other new "modern" Vietnamese restaurant in downtown, Eleve Restaurant, does not yet look open, though it looks awfully close. It is in the stylishy renovated two-story 6,000-square-foot building at the corner of North Main Street and Civic Drive.
--The other new Asian restaurant coming to town--and on Main Street and with a small plates focus--is Sasa. It will serve what is known as Izakaya Japanese cuisine, which is drinks and food in a "casual" but sophisticated atmosphere. Sasa is to go into the historic 1910 brick front building that long ago housed the Walnut Creek Meat Market. The building is being renovated to house dining indoors and out.
--And more new Asian on Main: The sign on the former San Franciscan says that the Modern China Cafe will be opening in that spot "soon."
--I've also heard from a friend that the popular Alamo delicatessen, the Brass Bear, has also opened on North Main. The Brass Bear has been a "mainstay" in Alamo for around 30 years.
--Over on Locust Street, the spot that once housed the Ephesus kebob lounge, and then a place called Class, now has a new sign atop it. It is now calling itself "Lift." Huh? Well, if nothing else, the business needs to fix that splintered woodwork that hangs over its door. And maybe work on its, uh, curbside appeal.
--The Persian-food fan husband of a friend is absolutely excited about the opening of Alborz on Mt. Diablo Boulevard, in the former location for Tin's Tea House.
--Finally reporting this hiccup for popular restaurateur Tony Dudum of 1515 Restaurant and Lounge. I remember noticing from a City Council agenda report that agents with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control had paid a visit to 1515 on July 23. The police noted that the ABC found that 1515 was serving liquor past its closing time of 12:30 a.m. Ironically, Tony Dudum and his dad Jack Dudum were, at that exact time, filing an appeal with the city to have their hours for serving alcohol extended past 12:30 a.m. They wanted to stay open until 1:45 a.m. The City Council in September gave them an extra half hour. Well, according to state ABC records, 1515 Restaurant had its liquor license "suspended" for 15 days; but in lieu of a suspension of serving alcohol, 1515 agreed to pay a fine of $3,000.
In an e-mail to me, Tony Dudum explains that "there was an honest misunderstanding between the city, the ABC, and myself. I am in excellent standing with all agencies."