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Downtown , new in RWC - uncertain

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Replacing Redwood Creek Grill in RWC is the unfortunately named "Downtown". It's on the corner by the parking structure, and I had a yen for Vesta so that's where we were headed.

I don't know why anyone would call a restaurant Downtown in this age of google and search. Search for downtown - no not the area - the restaurant - who is on first. Sigh.

The place was really not full. High ceilings, menus printed on stiff paper stock with legal size.

The place itself has nice big windows, a reasonable number of tables, and a few tables outside. As we're often turned away at Vesta, it would seem that by location and space, this place might do well.

The inside of the space is ... basic. I hope they are trying to focus the eyes on the windows, or aim for minimal simplicity, but the furnishings themselves are just basic tables and chairs, casual. No problem there.

The menu is pretty long. Three legal size pages. A long set of sandwiches. A wood fired pizza oven. A bunch of steaks. French onion soup. Something like bistro fare. The wine list has a few nice elements, such as the Educated Guess we tried. Glassware was a huge red wine goblet, and the bottle had clearly just been opened (tasted great after 5 minutes).

Brioche special. Was basically crab salad on a light roll. Tasty enough but... really nothing special.

Wood fired pizza - since we were headed to vesta - the dough wasn't quite right. The underside was almost hard, the dough didn't have that chew of the better places (Vesta, Donato, Howies), the toppings were nice.

This could be a solid everyday performer, but there's no "center" to it. It's the kind of place where you'd have a burger at lunch and stare at your phone, and notice the burger might be better than most other burgers you've had, and forget the name of the restaurant.

The benefit of the menu is "something for everyone". If I was going with my parents, or with someone who has kids, I'd consider this place.

No service problems. I am convinced that Ylp is skewed for service problems and there are a lot of shills.

I wish the owners well. According to Ylp, they own two other downtown places. They should understand the value of a solid, basic good meal in downtown. The prices aren't great but aren't unreasonable.

Recommended? Not for a special occasion, but as a neighborhood eat, worth a try and see if it fits in your rotation. It'll be hard to pass up Vesta and eat there.

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  1. The owner is John Kim who, as you mention, owns Talk of Broadway, a solid breakfast place and Yokohama, a forgettable Japanese place. Both are right down the block on Broadway, closer to Jefferson. John is a good guy and I also wish him well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ChewChew

      I actually think Yokohama is SLIGHTLY better than forgettable. There's a certain spirit, joie de vivre, there. The staff's all japanese, the rolls are a bit above the other 5 roll joints in town. Sure, in San Mateo it would close in a week.

      Re: downtown, they're still having trouble filling the room. People on the outside edges, aren't filling in the center. The chef (red chef coat) is making the rounds every night, which I've rarely seen anywhere.

    2. Tks bblukow: Googling wasn't much help until I tried "Ylp Downtown Restaurant Redwood City". Web address was there, but it doesn't do much except revealing the real name of the place and address: "Downtown California Cuisine", 2050 Broadway, Redwood City.

      Here's a link to their Facebook page with some very nice looking plates of food:
      https://www.facebook.com/downtowncali...