Popular Sichuanese restaurant Chef Zhao Bistro (400 Moffett Blvd.), opened by a chef who’d taught cooking in Chengdu (where “Land of Plenty” author Fuchsia Dunlop also learned the cuisine), closed in June for remodeling but remains shut. Reportedly, sewer pipe repair took so long that Zhao dropped plans to reopen, and the landlord (connected with several other area restaurants) may start a different restaurant venture there.
The front restaurant of Mervyn’s at 236 Castro (formerly Teaspoon) became Umai by Mervyn’s, with Japanese menus including sushi and curry rice. Teaspoon had announced a move to 134 Castro, where the long-proclaimed “3 Kingdoms Classic Hot Pot” nears completion and has posted a hiring notice.
Tied House, the landmark 954-Villa brewpub-restaurant since the 1980s that had recently phased out on-site brewing, remodeled, and publicized plans to close temporarily for more upgrades, instead closed permanently in December. Press reports quoted an owner saying contamination from the site’s history as a dry cleaner was recently found to be more extensive, frustrating the plans.
Changes on Villa Street, I: 841 Villa (long Korean restaurant Totoro, briefly its successor Song Pa, most recently Sweethoney Desserts) reopened in December as Noodle King, with a locally unusual, regional-Chinese menu. Such as fried leek dumplings, “fish-shaped pastries,” dishes with cold buckwheat noodles or tomato & eggs, and huge biangbiang noodles (a comfort-food specialty from Shaanxi Province, bordering Sichuan). I’ve now sampled it twice, notes in the comment below.
Changes on Villa Street, II: Venerable Japanese Ramen House Ryowa (859 Villa) posted a licensing change notice early January announcing a new owner (KJ Fish, Inc.) and new restaurant coming, Maruyama Mountain View. Maruyama is also the name of a respected upscale sushi restaurant up the peninsula. Ryowa is due to close at the end of February, topic of another Nextdoor thread: https://nextdoor.com/news_feed/?post=135541202
At 743 W. Dana, Niji Sushi closed late 2019. Kakaroto Japanese Restaurant soft-opened there mid-January.
Nick the Greek “souvlaki and gyro house,” a rapidly growing local chain, is “coming soon” to 298 Castro, which most recently housed Rocket Fizz.