Mid-Week Menu: Pop-up Ramen, $4.20 Pho, and a Late-Night Deal at Chez Panisse



Welcome to the Mid-Week Menu, our weekly roundup of East Bay food news.

1) Perhaps it’s too early to declare 2013 the Year of Ramen, but it’s beginning to look that way: It seems like people started waiting in line to get into Rockridge’s Ramen Shop (5812 College Ave., Oakland) months ago, when news first broke about the Chez Panisse pedigreed noodle specialist — it’s now in its second week of business.

Here’s another newcomer: Ippo Ramen has been popping up at Linden Street Brewery for several months now. This Sunday, January 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., chef and proprietor Steven Yee will be doing his first pop-up at CommonWealth Cafe & Pub (2882 Telegraph Ave.). Yee said he fell in love with the noodles during a thorough exploration of the Osaka ramen scene.

Now open (via Facebook)
  • Now open (via Facebook)
2) After much anticipation and ado, Duende (468 19th St.), Paul Canales’ multi-purpose tapas joint and bodega will open today, Eater reports. Dinner service at the restaurant starts at 5:30 p.m., but the retail (i.e. wine, coffee, and olive oil) side of the business will open bright and early at 7 a.m. The Eater write-up also notes that the on-site olive oil shop will be a collaboration with Amphora Nueva, the Berkeley shop I praised in my food-centric holiday gift guide.

3) Meanwhile, over in Berkeley these days it’s all about the pizza. If your curiosity was piqued when we noted, a few weeks back, that a new pizzeria with an anti-slavery (!) slant was opening, Berkeleyside has the scoop on Sliver (2132 Center St.), which is now open — headed by three Cheeseboard alums. And Pizza Moda (1401 University), which replaced the short-lived Divino, is also open for business.

Chef Nick Yapor-Cox presiding over a previous free community dinner.
  • Courtney Griffin/Nick's Pizza
  • Chef Nick Yapor-Cox presiding over a previous free community dinner.
4) In other pizza news, Nick’s Pizza (6211 Shattuck Ave.) is hosting its third (free!) community dinner on Monday, January 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. Chef Nick Yapor-Cox will dish out as much free by-the-slice pizza as he can during those two hours. There will also be live music and free salad and beverages — Caamaño Bros. Soda Pop Co. will be on hand to give out free root beer. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own plates and cups.

5) Inside Scoop brings news of a new late-night deal at Chez Panisse Cafe (1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley): $25 for a grassfed steak, onion rings, watercress salad, and a glass of zinfandel. Sounds good, no? The prix-fixe is available from 9:30 p.m. until closing, Monday through Thursday.

6) Berkeley's Caffe Venezia (1799 University Ave.) is closing after 33 years of operation, according to Berkeleyside. A new restaurant is reportedly in the works at that location, but no additional details are available as of yet.

7) As we reported reported yesterday at What the Fork, Berkeley’s Cafe V (2056 San Pablo Ave.) kicks off a new happy hour deal next week: “Pho Twenty” — $4.20 for a bowl of pho from 4:20 p.m.-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

8) And ICYMI, here’s everything you need to know about Oakland and Berkeley Restaurant Week promotions.

Got tips or suggestions? Email me at Luke (dot) Tsai (at) EastBayExpress (dot) com. Otherwise, keep in touch by following me on Twitter @theluketsai, or simply by posting a comment. I'll read ‘em all.