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Mixx, Scott's Seafood replacement, opens in Mountain View

Uploaded: Sep 15, 2014
Mixx, the casual fusion restaurant replacing Scott's Seafood at 420 Castro St. in Mountain View, officially opened this Saturday, Sept. 13.

After 11 years as a seafood-centric spot, the restaurant has been completely transformed into a place where you can munch on lacquered duck leg and wings, charred padron peppers or chicken and waffles; sip on craft cocktails like the pisco paloma (Barsol pisco, fresh grapefruit juice, lime, strawberry and ginger beer) or beer/wine during a daily happy hour.

The restaurant's evolution is the product of a partnership between Billy Berkowitz, owner of Max's World (which runs Max's Opera Cafe at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto and in San Francisco, among other outposts) and Scott's Seafood Mountain View owner Steve Mayer. The two met by chance in a business group some months ago.

Ryan Shelton, formerly of the recently shuttered Palo Alto Grill, is heading the kitchen. His resume includes Chez TJ in Mountain View and Palo Alto's Michelin-starred Baume.

The menu quickly takes you around the world, from spaghetti alla carbonara to a "Bronx" pastrami board, whole fried branzino and paneer tulsi tikka (for dinner). For lunch, there are numerous salad options (sesame tuna chopped salad, chinese chicken salad, pear salad, coucous salad with lamb meatballs and sesame yogurt, kale salad), appetizers (matzo ball soup, anyone?), sandwiches and some mains.

Here are the full dinner and lunch menus.

There's a pretty extensive wine menu, plus a few standard beers on tap and some more interesting by the bottle. Cocktails range from $9 to $12 and offer slight twists on many standards. Monday through Friday plus weekends, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., snag happy hour deals ($4 draft beer, $3 bottled beer, $5 well drinks, $7 cocktails and small bites like a kosher style hot dog; a pastrami board with cheese, bread and pickles; green chili mac and cheese; peanut chicken poppers; three different kinds of sliders.)

Mixx is open for lunch, Monday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and dinner, Monday through Sunday from 4 p.m.

Anyone who's eaten there: How was it? Let us know!

420 Castro. St, Mountain View
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Sep 15, 2014 at 12:07 pm

I'd call it very promising so far, a new menu concept for the neighborhood, "comfort-food" offerings from many and diverse cuisines. (I'm expecting to eat there again today.)

But keep in mind, Mixx just barely opened. Yes, the new paint is dry, the POS computer is up, most of the recent hires are trained (the restaurant kept much of its former server, kitchen, and bar staff, and acquired at least one new "star" bartender from elsewhere in the neighborhood, named JJ).

But diners who want a typical experience of what the new place is likely to deliver to most of its customers for the rest of its lifetime should wait at least 2-3 months, for everything to settle down and any bugs get worked out. Just as the Voice/Weekly waits three months (by policy) before sending journalists to new restaurants to write reviews.

Otherwise, some people will predictably encounter new-restaurant hiccups, then report those to friends (not to mention, online), as if they were typical experiences useful for other prospective customers in the future. They're not, it's misleading to make long-term judgments from a newly opened restaurant. Misleading to potential customers (not just unfair to the restaurant).

Posted by AlexDeLarge, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 16, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I had an appetizer there. The lamb/beef meatballs. Slurping delicious!

Posted by Paul, a resident of another community,
on Sep 17, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Hmm. I've just read their menu and it is indeed a big mix. Too much so. I might check them out at Happy Hour, but otherwise, I'm not rushing in there. Disappointing.

Posted by JeffM, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Sep 17, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Paul - what in the heck is "disappointing" when you have not eaten there? The menu seems too various?? You're turning up your nose based on that? Foul! Readers, please note the sage advice from Max H also posted here.

Posted by Lina, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Sep 18, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Spaghetti alla Carbonara with ham is not the right original Italian recipe , i will try them of course and post my Italian point of view on one Italian classic dish !

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Sep 18, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Spaghetti alla carbonara appeared in Rome after the Second World War. Massimo Alberini's scholarly history of Italian pasta (1974; I have it in translation) cited this dish's absence in standard cooking texts -- Artusi, even the 'Cucchiaio d'Argento' as late as 1950. Alberini described its appearance in Rome restaurants circa 1947 as probably "an emergency invention made by the American army of occupation in Italy. It was common for GIs on leave to go to little restaurants with their daily rations [often including bacon and eggs] and ask the cook to make a spaghetti dish out of them." That is, anyway, the milieu from which carbonara emerged; but like other good Italian recipes, it admits many variations. I hope Lina will judge Mixx's version on taste experience, rather than any pretense at authenticity (especially if no truly original or defining recipe exists anyway).

Indeed, free interpretation of cooking across the Atlantic goes both ways, as you can see from this account of a late-1950s experience by an American:

"The first housekeeper we had in Rome, bent on surprising us and some friends who were stopping for a pre-dinner aperitif, fetched up a large tray of hors d'oeuvres. On tasting these handsome concoctions, we discovered that under the prosciutto, salami, anchovies, and pickled mushrooms there was a carpet of peanut butter procured from the local rosticceria, where she had been assured that this was a chic American delicacy."

-- Doris Muscatine, "A Cook's Tour of Rome" (1964)

Posted by Lina, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Sep 18, 2014 at 9:21 pm

My post whas abouth the Ham , the Spaghetti carbonara has Bacon or guanciale wich is similar to the jowl bacon of the United States, no ham , and the cheese that goes in the spaghetti carbonara is pecorino cheese or pecorino Romano, the recipe of Mixx says parmesan!
I'm Italian and I spent 48 of my 51 years of age in Italy, you can see it from my imperfect English for wich i need to apologize, so i know very well the difference in taste that you can have if you use ham instead of guanciale o bacon or the difference from parmigiano and pecorino completely different!
As far as the origin I suppose that if i go to a restaurant in the states with a bun and ground meat and ask them to make a dish for me i will most probably get an hamburger , and this is what appened with the American troops in Italy they got what the Italian cooks know how to make with bacon and eggs wich is spaghetti carbonara . I will judge the mixx version on taste experience but with the point of view from someone that knows how that taste is suppose to be !

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 7:55 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Lina, I enjoy your comments, and if I may say so, your English is fine.

I also love autentico spaghetti "carbonara," and have made it at home -- and also other fine Italian pasta dishes with guanciale and pecorino.

My points above were two: (1) many famous dishes remain enjoyable even in non-authentic variations. No, they are not "classic," but they can still be very good.

(2) Among famous Italian pasta dishes, "carbonara" is unusual, because relatively young -- not found in standard Italian sources before the 1950s, unlike many more "classic" dishes. Ippolito Cavalcanti's _1839_ pasta cookbook cites something with beaten eggs and cheese, "maccaruni col caso e le uova sbatutte," but gives no recipe, just mentions the dish.

Carbonara became popularized in the late 1940s. The versions of it that I have seen from Italian writers in the past 40 years mostly use guanciale, but as to a specific origin, Alberini (whom I quoted above) offers the best research I've seen, and a plausible theory. Meat was limited after the War, and one of the few abundant sources was the US army with its bacon.

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 9:38 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Also, many restaurants around here (not just Mixx) include, on their menus, loose interpretations of Italian classic dishes. It is understood that they do not pretend at all to be authentically "Italian."

(There is even the further subject of Italian-American cuisine: dishes developed by immigrants from Italy, and considered by Italians to be American cooking.)

But for some real Italian specialties in MV, I go to:

Cucina Venti (Shoreline at Pear) -- opened as a franchise of a restaurant group in Siena (Tuscany), using Italian ingredients. Diverse menu, also some Italian-American repertoire (such as big, sliced pizzas).

Napoletana Pizzeria (1910 W. El Camino Real) -- strictly-Napoletana style of pizzas. Enjoy them in the proper Italian manner, order them UN-sliced. Also has some good pasta dishes, but the specialties are the pizzas, cooked in wood-fired oven, all ingredients either from Italy or made in-house.
Popular with Italian expatriates.

Doppio Zero (160 Castro Street). Newer, Napoletana-style pizzeria with wider menu. Senior staff are all from Naples (Napoli).

Napoletana Pizzeria is an Affiliato, and Doppio Zero has applied for Affiliato status, of L'Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the trade group promoting authentic Naples pizzas.

(Another Affiliato near Mountain View is Terún Pizzeria, California Ave., Palo Alto. I have not tried it yet. I have had about 80 total meals at the other restaurants I named. And four, so far, at Mixx.)

Posted by Laura Macias, a resident of St. Francis Acres,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 11:00 am

I count on Max Hauser for insightful restaurant reviews in Mountain View. He's dedicated to the cause of dining out in the unique (mostly non chain) restaurant epicenter in Mountain View. I always liked the snacks Happy Hour time at the previous Cantank so I will venture back for sure!

Posted by Lina, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Thanks Max I really appreciate your comments as well , and your deep knowledge of food, I've tried some of the restaurants that you suggested , I had the lasagna at Cucina Venti and the taste of it was good but the presentation not so much so , the lasagna was spread all around the plate and swimming in a lake of tomato sauce and all the balance of taste of the various ingredients was overwhelmd by it, as you surely know lasagna is a very delicate dish and it has to look like a piece of cake on the plate firm and clean to be cut with the knife .
At Doppio Zero i had the polpetti and it was absolutely delicious , all the sea taste was there with the saltiness that only a perfect cooking can bring out of them , i was in paradise since I came from an island and i'm missing the fresh from the boat fish from the mediterranean sea , I'm looking forward to try the pizza there and at Napoletana pizzeria .
I'm looking for the place that gives me the closest taste of Italy I understand the infusion and the cultural mix and I enjoy it but some times I just want to find the Italian taste without having to cook it myself which I do very often, or just i need to wait for vacation time in Italy !

Posted by tried it this week, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Went to Happy Hour at Mixx recently. The Mac and Cheese dish was served cold. The fries tasted like fish, possibly because they were deep fried with the fish and chips I ordered. The sliders were probably the best part of the meal.

The beers were good. The happy hour white wine isn't something I'd recommend.

The staff was really nice, great service. A really fun vibe. I'd go back.

Posted by Mixxed Space, a resident of Mountain View,
on Sep 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Max does a great job detailing his food experiences.

In this first business week of Mixx being open, I have enjoyed three lunches, three happy hours - I also participated in their initial trial run before officially opening.

I've enjoyed everything I've had there so far:
- Pork Belly Baos
- Bronx Pastrami Board*
- Fried Brussel Sprouts
- Big Bar Dog
- Pastrami Reuben*
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Croque Madame*
- Smoked Chicken Hash
- Cous Cous Salad with Lamb Meatballs
- Louboutin's Revenge (cocktail)

*My so-far favorites.

One aspect of Mixx's business model that has not yet received much attention is the design of its space culture.

The square fire pit table was replaced with outdoor sofas and side tables. New chairs accompany the existing outdoor tables.

The main dining area is smaller than before - to make way for the new booth walls and textured/frosted glass partitions that emphasize the intimate atmosphere created by the business' warmth in paint, wood, upholstery, decor, and lighting.

Additional privacy is provided by a wall between the dining room and kitchen line counter as well as a glass partition between the dining room and the bar/cocktail area. The dining room now looks and feels less like a cafeteria.

Bar patrons will notice:
- A wider viewing angle on the dual screens thanks to their wider placement and cantilever wall mounts.
- Padded leather seats added to the original seats offering added comfort.
- A padded leather facade added under the bar - no more knee knocks against a hard wall during boisterous laughter.
- A group of 5-liter oak barrels - which will soon be filled with new bar visionary Madison's vanilla rum, cinnamon whiskey, jalepeno tequila, among others house infusions prepared this week that will further age in the barrels for 1-2 months.

The small lounge next beyond the bar and to the left used to house four deeply-seated leather lounge chairs and two small tables with a single screen mounted at its end. It was an intimate space for up to six people if you pulled in additional chairs. It is now home to the 'surfboard' - a group cocktail table that will foster much fun for groups up to eight which is great space for groups of friends and family or small teams from local businesses to bond. The surfboard still enjoys its own screen.

Scott's old banquet room is now Mixx's gaming lounge with a classic business desk which houses several classic games:
- checkers
- rummy
- cards
- shuffle board
- jenga
- dominoes
- backgammon

The lounge is also equipped with three huge screens, two leather couches, leather benches on much of the perimeter, and a mix of rectangular, square, and oval shaped tables. This is a great place to transition into when the bar gets crowded. My friends and I unexpectedly received three different flavors of popcorn while gaming and enjoying a beverage. I personally think the gaming options foster much laughter and deeper bonds among friends - extending a customer's experience at Mixx into one that extends beyond restaurant and bar alone.

Thanks to Mixx, downtown Mountain View now features something it once lacked - a casually sophisticated social lounge, restaurant, and bar.

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Sep 21, 2014 at 8:28 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

I defer to greater experience reported by "Mixxed Space" (I've only visited at three lunches and two happy hours, so far).

After trying an almost completely different set of dishes, I noticed that Mixx's bar menu ("happy-hour," 3:30-6:30 every day including weekends) contrasts further from the former Cantankerous/Scott's version (which leaned more heavily on deep-fried foods). A standout of this new menu was the "butter-lettuce crudités" plate for $4. "Crudité" meaning literally crudity or rawness, but in France the plural is a figure of speech for raw vegetables as appetizer. At Mixx this was vegetable slices served vertically in a cup, with the lettuce-leaf bundles wrapped like Vietnamese fresh rolls. With them came a tray with 8 or 10 dipping condiments and dry garnishes (ground nuts, grated Parmesan) like a painter's palette. Never seen anything like it -- a cool presentation.

And yes, the former small banquet area beyond the bar is now a well-thought-out, genuine lounge with its own amenities and of course full service available from bar or kitchen. (All that's missing is a fireplace, to resemble a cozy hotel lounge or private club.) Ought to become popular for gathering, I can especially see it as a draw when weather is cold or wet outside.

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