Long-Awaited Restaurants Now Open in the East Bay

Ka-Prow-Kai served at Torsap Thai Kitchen in Walnut Creek. Photo: Torsap Thai Kitchen

Some long-anticipated eateries are now taking reservations. Check them out, then let us know what you think.

Torsap Thai Kitchen

WALNUT CREEK – Ambiance meets artful presentation, making for a visual and culinary appealing dining journey at Walnut Creek’s Torsap Thai Kitchen.

My table started with an order of vegetable crispy rolls filled with glass noodles and shiitake mushrooms. Sweet and sour sauce offset the savory mushrooms and an orchid on the plate provided a lovely finishing touch.

The wok menu sounded intriguing, so we chose two of their specialties: volcanic beef and garlic pepper chicken. Garnished with onion rings, the volcanic beef, comprised of flank steak, basil and bell pepper, was tender and delicious. The lava sauce enhanced the flavor of the meat, making this a must-have dish. On the other side of the flavor spectrum, the garlic pepper chicken had a light, bright flavor we both enjoyed.

Dishes start at $12. Open daily from 11:30am. Full bar. 1388 Locust Street, Walnut Creek. TorsapThaiKitchen.com

Wood oven roasted scallops with shiitakes, Niitaka pear and Satay butter. Photo: Slanted Door/Instagram

Slanted Door

SAN RAMON – Tenants have been slow to move into the new San Ramon City Center, but when The Slanted Door opened mid-January, it was well worth the wait.

With help from our server, who explained that they are meant to be eaten like a lettuce wrap, my table savored the crispy Imperial rolls. Ours were stuffed with a flavorful shrimp and pork filling, then fried.

Although messy, the BBQ pork spare ribs bathed in honey-hoisin sauce were delectable. Thankfully, they come with warm towels so you can clean up. 

The Slanted Door spring rolls are composed of rice paper wraps encasing a mixture of wild gulf shrimp and pork with mint adding the perfect compliment.

Street food starts at $10. Entrées start at $18. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 5:30-10pm. Full bar. 6000 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 1300, San Ramon. SlantedDoor-SanRamon.com

Seafood Crudo plate. Photo: Pleasanton Hotel

Lily’s Spirited Dining

PLEASANTON – The second of three eateries planned for the Pleasanton Hotel, Lily’s Spirited Dining pays homage to the town’s fascination with the paranormal. Patrons will be thrilled that the musty smells that haunted the building for decades are gone. The dining room, which is to the left when you enter the hotel, now possesses an elegant ambiance that lends itself well to a relaxing evening out.

With crab still in season, Dungeness crab risotto is a good choice. Lighter than I expected, it’s prepared with shiitake and crimini mushrooms, capers and lemon basil oil.

If you’re a fan, Lily’s braised lamb shank is a home run. Fork tender and full of flavor, it’s accompanied by braised carrots and thinly sliced, crispy rosemary polenta cake.

Entrées start at $22. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 5-9pm (10pm Friday and Saturday). Full bar. 855 Main Street, Pleasanton. PleasantonHotel.net/Lilys

Niman Ranch brined pork chop served with 3-cheese mac & cheese topped with pear chutney. Photo: Rusty’s Chop House/Facebook

Rusty’s Chop House

LIVERMORE – Since the opening of Rusty’s Chop House, Livermore residents no longer have to make a trek out of town to enjoy a high-end steakhouse experience.

While many of the restaurant’s entrées looked appealing, it didn’t seem right to pass over the steak selections. The barrel-cut prime filet served with garlic mashed potatoes and broccolini was prepared medium rare to steakhouse standards. It was every bit as tender and flavorful as I hoped it would be.

As much as I loved the steak, I was bowled over by the pork chop. The generously sized chop was surrounded by three-cheese macaroni that was right up there with the best I’ve had.

Entrées start at $24. Open Wednesday-Sunday, 4-9pm. Full bar. 2327 1st Street, Livermore. 925.294.9006. 

Janet Fazio writes ‘Tastes of Your Town’, a monthly feature on East Bay dining in the print editions of Your Town Monthly. A version of this article was originally published in the March 2019 East Bay editions.

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