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Farewell: Restaurants closed in 2006

Last year witnessed the closure of some wonderful restaurants. From this group, Brigitte’s will be sorely missed. 🙁

Brigitte’s: French Mediterranean, Gourmet and Healthy Cuisine. Santa Clara, CA. This became our favorite French restaurant in the Bay Area. Fresh ingredients, often locally produced or organic. Innovative menu which changed daily to fit the seasons and market. Some favorites: leek soup that used the entire plant, amazing seafood in delightful sauces, chestnut paste in French fromage blanc, deadly moelleux au chocolat, tarte Tatin… I learned to not fear wines here, with their easy going, flexible system that offered many drinks by the glass or half-glass. All of this at a reasonable cost: moderate, but far below other high quality, but extremely expensive French eateries like Chez TJ. Apparently they were forced to close due to issues with the landlord. I hope they decide to open another restaurant in the area!

Citronelle Modern Vietnamese Cuisine. San José, CA. This was one of the first Vietnamese fusion restaurants in the South Bay to catch my attention —and retain it. 🙂 Delicious bánh xèo (savory Saigon crêpe), chicken with gingko(!) nuts, cha ca thanh long (sizzling catfish with dill and turmeric)…Drool. Citronelle had a very mellow, quiet atmosphere, too. Like Brigitte’s, they were forced to close due to landlord issues. (What is it with excellent Santa Clara Valley restaurants being treated poorly by land owners?)

Paradise. Mountain View, CA. They used to specialize in Persian cuisine, but in recent years had expanded their menu to include some Afghani dishes. Favorites I’ll miss: kashk bademjon (my “gateway” eggplant dish; before then I had never liked that vegetable) and fesenjon (tender chicken in a ground walnut-pomegranate sauce). They had mint and sour cherry sharbats, very refreshing sodas; and unforgettable mint-cardamom tea. Update (22-March-2007): Thanks to a helpful tip at, I found out that they moved to Sunnyvale under a new name, Persian Afghan Kabob.

Sahari. Sunnyvale, CA. Located in a very common looking strip mall in a city which has a surplus of strip malls. The chicken shwarma was tender and well marinated. Nicely topped off with baklava and Turkish coffee. They advertised having vegetarian food, but if memory serves, the choices were rather limited.

Saigon, Saigon. Mission district, San Francisco, CA. This used to be one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I hadn’t been for several years, but from other reports, it had been going sadly downhill. This was the first Vietnamese fusion eatery I experienced, well before Slanted Door. Many delightful appetizers (softshell crab, swordfish kebab with ginger sauce, shrimp with sweet potato, coconut soup) and of course many delightful main dishes (coconut chicken, excellent catfish and trout dishes). I usually don’t go nuts over restaurant décor, but the combination of white linens, simple art displays (old style radios) on the walls, and gorgeous floral display, impressed me.

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