Pho a highlight at San Mateo's Ben Tre 

South San Francisco and Millbrae’s popular Vietnamese restaurant Ben Tre has opened an outpost in San Mateo, and pho is plentiful. Try the classic beef Pho Ben Tre Dac Biet, the signature Pho Ga Quay Chao (lemongrass-marinated chicken with a side of pho noodle soup) or Hu Tieu Ben Tre, with clear noodles and seafood and/or chicken broth. Rice platters, fish claypot dishes and vermicelli noodle bowls (with shrimp and meat) also are featured. Starters include spring rolls, egg rolls and various small bites. Larger than its sister locations, the lovely San Mateo Ben Tre has beautiful flowers, wood paneling, tile work, seating at tables and a marble counter, plus TVs for sports fans.

213 Second Ave., San Mateo; (650) 558-8088. Bentrerestaurant.com

San Mateo

Chef Zhao Bistro, which moved from Mountain View, is now serving fiery Szechuan cuisine in San Mateo. Cumin and chili peppers grace spare ribs and fish and tofu stew. Regional classics — tan tan noodles, ma po tofu and Chongquing chicken (dry fried chicken coated in a layer of chili peppers) _ are served, as well as offal: chile oil-drenched tripe with blood pudding, and pork feet soup. The dining room — with hardwood floors, black stone tables and gorgeously ornate serving plates — is more sleek than that in the former location.

2450 El Camino Real, San Mateo; (650) 345-6288.

Palo Alto</p>

Can you guess the specialty at Palo Alto’s Sushirrito? Tortilla wraps are replaced by seaweed, and fish is the main filling. Think of sushirritos as giant sushi rolls, burrito-sized. The eatery serves eight sushi burritos, from $9 for the vegetarian “Buddha Belly” to $13 for “The Satori” with kampachi yellowtail. The most popular choice is “Geisha’s Kiss” (stuffed with yellowfin tuna, tamago omelette, piquillo peppers and lotus chips). Non-fish sushi burritos are filled with beef short ribs or fried chicken. Spicy tuna nachos and salads also are on the menu. The original Sushirrito in San Francisco opened in 2011; this fourth location, the first outside The City, replaces Sabrosa Taqueria, which served classic Mexican burritos.

448 University Ave., Palo Alto; (650) 600-9696. Sushirrito.com

Foie gras

After last month’s U.S. District Court decision overturning a three-year ban on the fatty duck liver dish, Peninsula restaurants are welcoming foie gras back. Viognier in San Mateo serves an appetizer of “Sonoma” foie gras torchon with duck fat crostini, a cornflake crumble and bing cherry gastrique, while Half Moon Bay’s Cetrella offers pan-seared Hudson Valley foie gras with “pain perdu,” berries and Vermont maple syrup.

222 E. Fourth Ave., San Mateo; (650) 685-3727. Viognierrestaurant.com

845 Main St., Half Moon Bay; (650) 726-4090. Cetrella.com

fresheats@sfexaminer.com

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