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I mentioned Californios in joe's thread but it's finally opening:




After years building up steam as a pop-up, Californios, the new fine-dining restaurant from chef Val M. Cantu, has popped the cork in the Mission. At a very petite 25 seats, it's looking to bring tasting-menu flair without tasting-menu prices to a quiet spot just off Mission Street. Cantu, a Texas native who's cooked at Sons & Daughters, Austin's Uchi, and Mexico City's Pujol, among other acclaimed spots, is offering fine-dining cuisine influenced by his Mexican heritage, utilizing everything from nixtamalized corn to smoked beef tongue to create his dishes.


An exciting opening. That space is fairly small so reservations will be tough, but looks like dining at the bar as well.




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Oh good. Now the CA crowd can complain about tasting-menu-only places that don't tell you what you're eating until after you've finished. (The PDF "sample menu" on the restaurant's website is singularly unhelpful.)


Have you had this guy's food before, and is it worth the hype? Other than the chef's pedigree (which as we all know may or may not be as valid as it appears), nothing sounds out of the ordinary.

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We've had them. I'm not sure I'd complain about a $57 tasting menu if it was good. I haven't been to any of his pop ups with this style of his food but I'm fairly sure I ate at Sons and Daughters when he was there. In any case, it's an exciting opening as there aren't too many -- any? -- "fine dining", modern mexican places opening up.


Oh, and they have tablecloths, and the stools look comfortable:


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  • 6 years later...

I really liked the old Californios but the only good thing I can say about the new one is that it has a very impressive outdoor setup. A series of unremarkable single bites that do not survive the walk from the kitchen, clueless service... maybe they'll figure it out with time.

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