With so many openings/closings in the area the past few months, I figure an update’s in order.
Starting at top of Kanan and heading south:
ZEN GARDEN – Sort of hit and miss; stick to separate “Bejing Specialties” menu. Had pretty excellent glass noodle and pork dish the other day, simple with light brown gravy, ginger and scallion. Ordering “normal” (Americanized) Chinese is a mistake and will get you a lot of zucchini, Hoisin sauce and rubbery chicken. Still trying to find maybe five dishes they do really, really well.
BRUEGGER’S BAGELS – Closed around Christmas; nearest bagel store now in Westlake Village (Westlake Blvd.).
VINCITORE – new Italian (replaced long-time hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant). Had takeout just last night (“homemade” gnocchi bolognaise and chicken piccata), and found it to be completely mediocre. Meat sauce tasted as if it had sat around for long time (dark/dull in color), and very rosemary-heavy. Gnocchi tough/chewy and not homemade (can’t they just go to Ralph’s and get the shrink-wrapped stuff?). Chicken fine, served with over-done veggies and a side of nondescript pasta. Prices very high for quality, but they’re sending out coupons to ease the pain. Completely ‘meh’.
MARAL CUISINE – Replaced Char Fasl about a year ago but essentially identical; mediocre Persian food and too much of it.
ANGEL CAFE – Closed around Christmas. Reportedly awful for years.
SZECHUAN PLACE – Still great (see prior reviews). Opened a new branch in Newbury Park just before Christmas.
BIKES & COFFEE – Had to mention this one just since it’s such an improbable concept, and they pull a good espresso (SLO roast beans). Watch bikes getting repaired as you sip. Never crowded. Can you see where this is going?
TIFA – Closed, then reopened many months later at Whizzin’s Center. May have expanded their gelato/coffee/chocolate offerings, and is just an excellent place to have in the area.
BOAR DOUGH – Thus far, just an empty space (and similarly-empty website: http://www.boardoughtastingroom.com/). Wine bar. Could be interesting. Replaces Johnnie Rockets/Agoura Hills Diner, both ghastly.
BLUE TABLE – Still excellent; added a wine & cheese bar in adjoining space with expanded offerings. Haven’t tried but looks promising.
TAVERN 101 – Replaced the awful Willy’s BBQ and Grill. Haven’t tried.
NIROJ/EXOTIC THAI/WOOD RANCH/ GREEN ONION/GRISSINI/ITALIA DELI/LADYFACE/LEILA’S – All fine to very good (search older posts)
Still need to try Café 14!