New Kwok Wah reinvented with Sichuan, Hunan cuisine 

The reincarnation of San Mateo’s New Kwok Wah is now open inside a remodeled space with new owners and a new cuisine focus. Previously a Cantonese-centric restaurant, its substantial menu now skews toward Sichuan and Hunan cuisine. Spicy hot peppers adorn almost half the menu, signaling the notable spice levels of the Sichuan specialties such as ma po tofu and the restaurant’s most popular dish, the “original” dry-fried chicken wings. An entire section is devoted to egg foo young, and another small list of lamb dishes yields some unheralded gems including Hunan lamb and lamb on a sizzling plate. Don’t worry, there are 27 chicken dishes to choose from for picky eaters. With the cuisine change, New Kwok Wah also underwent a remodel with a new coat of paint. The restaurant bathes in sunlight during the day from its expansive windows and cheery yellow-painted walls on the other side.

32 42nd Ave., San Mateo; (650) 349-0298,

Peninsula fans of Saba Café’s contemporary take on Vietnamese cuisine are saddened to hear about the restaurant’s recent closing. Redwood City’s Saba Café was known for unique and healthy dishes such as simmered white bass caramelized with brown sugar, and six versions of pho noodle soup, including a rare-to-find vegetarian pho. No word has been given as to why the restaurant closed.

The newest roving food truck market for the Bay Area is in full swing with the Menlo Park branch of Off the Grid each Wednesday evening at the city’s Caltrain station parking lot. This week’s edition includes The Chairman’s steamed baos, El Sur’s empanadas and Hiyaaa’s interesting dishes inspired by South Korea, Vietnam and China. Visit to find out each week’s lineup.

One of the Bay Area’s youngest craft breweries is the next participant in the ongoing La Fête de la Bière series at Left Bank Brasserie in Menlo Park. The beer-pairing event March 8-9 features the beers of Walnut Creek’s Calicraft Brewery, whose brews are just now making their way to the Peninsula. A $30 seasonal four-course prix fixe menu is offered, ready to be accompanied by a flight of four different 5-ounce pours for an additional $10. Pints are also available for those who prefer to enjoy one beer on its own. The menu will be served both during lunch and dinner.

635 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park; (650) 473-6543,

Speaking of pairings, this Thursday night Viognier in San Mateo features an “Around the World” wine-pairing dinner with the renowned Hess Collection Wines of the Napa Valley. The four-course dinner ($105 for dinner and pairings) showcases wines from four continents (Europe surprisingly is not one of them) and of course Hess’ very own cabernet blend. Dishes include a salad of compressed apples and field greens, and braised goat with a bean ragout and poached hen egg. 222 E. Fourth Ave., San Mateo; (650) 685-3727,

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