Comal Opening in Berkeley (with Chef Matt Gandin)

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I’ve been trying to get official information on this project since July, and some details have finally been released (Scoop has their story here). Opening in 2012 is ~COMAL~, a project from owner and first-time restaurateur John Paluska, the former manager for Phish. The focus will be on rustic, handmade Mexican cuisine, with an emphasis on Oaxaca. The chef is Matt Gandin, previously chef de cuisine at Delfina. Menu highlights from the press release: carefully sourced ingredients, “exceptional masa,” and much of the food will be cooked on either the large wood-fired hearth or the custom comal.

The Bon Vivants are developing the bar program, and Andrew Hoffman (previously at Chow and Eccolo) will oversee front of house, as well as the wine and beer lists. Abueg Morris architects (Nopalito, Roam) are behind the project; the building (dating back to circa 1927) will feature original Douglas fir beams and flooring, plus a new façade fabricated by Richmond’s Ferrous Studios, complete with custom steel doors and windows. There will be room for 140 total, with a 2,500-square-foot hidden patio with its own bar. Dinner nightly, and weekend brunch will launch later. The opening is slated for spring 2012. 2020 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley.