Let’s pop down to Los Gatos for a moment, because we always have to keep up with David Kinch! Open as of January 12th is his new casual project with partner Andrew Burnham, THE BYWATER. As Kinch says, “The Bywater is the kind of place where I want to go after work or hang out on my day off. It’s casual, eclectic, and brings a bit of the food, drink, and atmosphere of New Orleans to this part of Northern California—music and all.” Kinch grew up in New Orleans and it’s where he started cooking, so you know this will be quite the love letter to the city and its evocative cuisine; he will, of course, also be highlighting many quality local ingredients.
There’s a raw bar with oysters like Pemaquid, Grassy Bar, Rappahannock, and Malpeque rotating on the list, fried green tomatoes, po’boys (dressed with fried oysters, homemade hot links, or shrimp), chicken liver mousse and tomatillo jam, gumbo z’herbes, fried chicken and butter beans, and red snapper court bouillon with andouille and shrimp. Look for nightly specials like Creole shrimp and grits on Tuesdays and cochon de lait on Thursdays. It will be hard to save room for dessert, but you really should try, because there will be an affogato with beignets and butterscotch pot de crème. Check out the lunch and dinner menus.
Working with Kinch is chef de cuisine David Morgan, formerly of August in New Orleans and Cyrus in Healdsburg. As for the cocktails, Chad Arnholt and Claire Sprouse of Tin Roof Drinking Community have put together a program of Crescent City Classics (featuring takes on classic New Orleans cocktails like the Sazerac and gin fizz), Exotic Delights (including tropical cocktails that reference the Caribbean influence on the city), and Creole Goods (showcasing culinary-inspired cocktails). American whiskey, bourbon, and rye will also be heavily featured, with some French brandies too.
There’s a 30-seat dining room, 10-seat bar, and a covered patio in the back with room for 20. The design is meant to be simple and casual, with the bright colors of the Bywater and some New Orleans details like grates and shutters and vintage signs—and Kinch helped curate the New Orleans artwork and photography. Get ready for some funky brass!
Open daily: Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. Brunch is coming in early February. 532 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, 408-560-9639.
File this one under coming soon: a tablehopper reader sent in a pic of plans in a window for a second location of MANRESA BREAD at 271 State Street in Los Altos. We reached out to the PR team for details but they didn’t have anything to share at the moment, but according to a pic on Instagram, it’s happening! Follow @manresabread for updates on timing.
Another project to note in Saratoga: Sent Sovi (which long ago was Kinch’s first restaurant, with Aimee Hébert) closed last September, but chef-owner Josiah Slone is reopening it as RELISH GASTROLOUNGE, with chef Timothy Uttaro leading the new direction (and he actually once worked at Sent Sovi). The space is getting a remodel as well, including a poured concrete bar.
The menu is designed to share, with dishes like peppered ostrich carpaccio (with preserved lemon, candied onion aioli, caper berries, wild arugula, cracked Szechuan pepper), porchetta sliders, and oysters on the half shell, plus a couple of salads, and larger plates like a classic steak frites with aged beef rib eye, housemade fries, and béarnaise, crispy Sonoma Duck confit, and a vegetarian terrine.
The new sommelier is Lynne Bryant, and look for a craft beer program featuring selections like Allagash Curieux, Mother Earth Wet Hop Dreams, and Knee Deep Simtra. It should be opening later this month—Thursday January 21st is the current target. 14583 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, 408-867-3110.
Oyster po’boy at The Bywater; Yelp photo by Kim N.