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Restaurants & Bars

Scratch in downtown Mountain View

eatzalot | Jan 2, 201112:05 PM     52

This place recently opened. Personnel I asked said it has same ownership as Palo Alto Creamery, Reposado, and Gravity wine bar (also recent).

What I've tried so far at Scratch has been encouraging though obviousy they're just getting started. The Web site says something like comfort food meets fine dining. There's a lot of counter seating right at the open kitchen (someone asked here about such options recently) with a cold shellfish display at the end. Pizzas and raw bar seem to be sub-menus supplementing things like steamed mussels with French fries (we liked those), goat-cheese soufflé, bacon-wrapped chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates (a little heavy for my taste) -- those so far among current appetizers -- cider-brined pork chop, Hudson Valley duck, and several meat and fish specialties. I hope to report further after more experience.

Context: This large new restaurant at the corner of Castro and California streets may fill the role originally envisioned by Vivaca Grill (1999-2003) on the diagonally opposite corner: a fine-dining place with classy and creative kitchen. Vivaca was planned in particular to accommodate lawyers and clients expected from Fenwick and West's pending office building across California. But the dot-com bust delayed that building by years, and Vivaca failed, maybe for other reasons anyway. When the Fenwick building eventually opened, two new restaurants (Cascal, Cantankerous Fish) occupied its ground-floor spaces and Cascal proceeded to corner the local market for upscale bar-and-dining trade. Though, despite its popularity and several tastings through its menu, I have _never_ found Cascal distinguished for food; its papusas have been downright leaden; every gastronomic friend I've asked has similar impressions. (Contrast Joya in Palo Alto for more subtle and exciting international "tapas" of the sort Cascal purports to purvey.) Cantankerous Fish has demonstrated a much better kitchen in several sit-down meals (and an interesting and fully edible separate bar menu). But what I've tried at this new Scratch suggests a kitchen aiming higher than either of those.

Scratch by the way is the 100th restaurant currently in greater downtown MV (list I posted under a separate Mountain View - Palo Alto topic), grown from 70 in 2005.

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Cascal
400 Castro St., Mountain View, CA 94041

Palo Alto Creamery
180 Stanford Shopping Ctr, Palo Alto, CA

Reposado
236 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

The Cantankerous Fish
420 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

Scratch
401 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA 94041

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