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650 Eats: Quail, Sexy Soup and More

LV Mar's Coca de Atun: rare ahi tuna, coconut tuile, pickled vegetables, aji chile sauce. Photo courtesy of LV Mar.

A taste of quail and sexy soup are part of new restaurants popping up in the 650. That's happening at a va-va-voom revamped spot that is getting a little help from a big culinary star in San Carlos. Next door in Redwood City, seafood and ceviche fans can get a dining fix served with creative cocktails at a new restaurant on Broadway.  

Celeb chef George Morrone has helped set up a romantic dinner spot in San Carlos at Gusto, which is an effort with Locanda Positano owner Enzo Rosano. Morrone is known for his work as a founding chef at Aqua locally, and has trained up some of the bigger names in the biz, including Michael Mina. Morrone has of late helmed the stoves at the Cliff House, Fifth Floor, Redwood Park and Corinthian Yacht Club, where he reportedly is still a consulting chef. At Gusto, the space has been revamped via a black-and-white color scheme. Until recently the spot was held by Limone, an eatery that was also owned by Rosano.

Quail fans should definitely take note, this spot has your fix: order up a tender and flavorful crisp quail to start. Saucy soup-philes, Morrone is after all the authoritative author of his own book on soups (we have a signed copy from a long ago job interview), so no surprise to see a velvety sounding shrimp bisque on offer recently. Morrone is also pretty famous for his take on tuna tartare, a sure way to swoon through a meal. Gusto’s also features another specialty: delectable lobster corn dogs—we do wish these were available in the frozen food section at Costco to really make our gatherings sing. The wine list covers Italy and California well, and wine flights will be available soon. Gusto is billed as a spot for “sophisticated small plates” and seems worthy for both those date nights as well as business meetings.  619 Laurel St., San Carlos; (650) 486-1479. 

Redwood City has a new seafood-Latin American restaurant called LV Mar that is already earning “hidden gem” status in some dining circles for creative fare that mines Latin classics prepared via French technique. LV Mar’s chef-owner Manuel Martinez also has a hand in the nearby La Viga, and earned his cooking stripes at Bucca Giovanni, One Market, and Left Bank.

Try the duck mole: sweet and nutty sauce with a hint of prunes. Seafood takes a starring role here, with ceviche, sea bass and scallop dishes; meatier fare can be found in pistachio crusted lamb, short ribs and juicy rib eye steak. The drink menu is wine and beer, with some flair: a creative La Piñata drink is akin to a Piña Colada on the rocks and the brainchild of the house mixologist, Enrique—his Pepino Caliente is another favorite. Save room for a sweet ending with a sauce first made by Puebla nuns: the tamal de chocolate has a rompope sauce, which ably combines Mexican eggnog with rum. 2042 Broadway, Redwood City; (650) 241-3111.  

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