The tiled floor sign near the kitchen.
Tyler serving up some steak.
The salon style of the back room.
The book-page wallpaper and “book” shelves in the ladies’ room.
Over the weekend I was kindly invited to Tyler Florence’s 40th birthday party, which was one of many pre-opening parties sure to be held at his brand-new and soon-to-open ~EL PASEO~ in Mill Valley. (And yes, his business partner in the venture, Sammy Hagar, was present—and even brought out Tyler’s birthday cake.)
It will be an old American steakhouse, and the chef de cuisine is Preston Clark from New York, previously at Jean-Georges and JoJo. Some dishes featured at the party included decadent bone marrow topped with caramelized onions and a gratin-like topping, along with dishes like “angry lobster” that is pan-fried and dressed with a Calabrian chile- and garlic-infused olive oil, crab cakes, and the main event: thick-cut steak from grass-fed Holstein cows (instead of the usual Angus—Tyler likes the way the meat is marbled differently with fat). You’ll be able to get 38-day, dry-aged steak in a variety of cuts, from a porterhouse for two, three, or four, to New York strip, or a bone-in tomahawk ribeye, and there will also be bacon-wrapped filet.
The restaurant has a warm, bohemian atmosphere, from the more-masculine front room with leather booths with tufted backs, to a back room featuring eclectic artwork hung salon-style (Tyler worked closely with interior designer Lori Yeomans of USA Interior Design, who designs all his restaurants). The bar and lounge are in an adjoining cottage, with a curving zinc bar, brick walls, and café tables. The bathrooms were simply fantastic, with walls covered with pages of books, and “book” shelves (the ladies’ room had Peyton Place). All the rooms feature a lot of wood, brick, and a rustic, 1940s-Mission feeling. The outdoor patio areas (offering alfresco dining) are sure to be the coveted seats on warm Mill Valley nights—it feels very romantic and atmospheric.
Here’s a nice little piece about the history of this unique site, which was opened to the public in 1948 (others say 1947) by Edna Foster and Gus Costigan. The complex—an artist compound of sorts, with a restaurant, shops, artist studios, and apartments—was remodeled in the 1940s with many unique materials, including “old adobe bricks from Mexico, wooden beams from Fort Cronkhite, railroad ties and spikes from the Mountain Railroad, and hand-made tiles and wrought-iron fixtures from the Guatemalan exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair on Treasure Island.”
The 140-seat restaurant will be open for dinner nightly, and the targeted opening date is Tuesday March 15th (TBD, of course). 17 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415-388-0741.