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Around the world, one plate at a time

Original post made on Apr 4, 2014

If you Google the word "Cijjo" you get the restaurant in Mountain View, and only the restaurant in Mountain View. That is by design. The three-month-old Cijjo Cosmopolitan Tapas Lounge is one of a kind.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 4, 2014, 12:00 AM

Comments (5)

Posted by Max Hauser
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

Thanks for doing this review.

I wanted to point out an error that some of us caught and corrected in earlier writing on the Voice website about this new restaurant (links below), but that unfortunately reappeared in this review.

This restaurant's novel name is correctly phoneticized "sy-jo," not "shai-jo." That was a point of confusion created by the web site, as I'll explain.

This information comes directly and emphatically from co-owners Jon Tran and Trisha Pham, who asked me in the past to make it clear. Jon said he put the phoneticization "shai-jo" originally on the restaurant's web site; he told me he'd intended the H to be "silent," as in sy-jo, and that he planned to correct the web site to make this clearer (which evidently hasn't happened yet, no doubt amid the myriad issues that new restaurateurs must deal with). All of the restaurant's personnel, including the owners, say it "sy-jo."

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by A
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 5, 2014 at 6:42 am

We went a few month ago. The food wasn't good and over priced. The bill came out to be $50 a person for 4 dishes and dessert, no drinks. We weren't that full since all the dishes are on the small side. For that much money, I rather go next door to Kappo Nami Nami.

I will gladly pay for good food but bottom line, the food sucked. Don't waste your money.

Posted by Clinton
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 5, 2014 at 8:37 am

I went here last week and here are my impressions. The decor is quite nice. The waiter was pleasant although encouraging us to buy bottled flat water seems unnecessary in Mountain View. The menu was interesting, but on our vegetarian evening had only few options which was surprising since there are so many things chefs can do with small plates and veggies/grains. The one vegetarian small plate (outside of salad) was delicious and artfully presented. We ordered two salads and one was nice, the other not so interesting with young lettuce and little flavor. They were out of the dessert we ordered. So it was a pricey ($45) for a very light meal (we went somewhere else later for dessert). I can't see us returning unless they adjust their menu.

Posted by Max Hauser
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

More information from practical customer experience. I've had a dozen meals or snacks so far, and Cijjo hosted a neighborhood party.

I'd advise anyone interested not just to check out Cijjo for themselves, but spend some time getting to know the menu and its range (tips below). Some one-visit comments appearing online recall the proverbial group of people trying to judge an elephant by touch: each encounters a different part, not realizing it isn't the whole picture at all.

Key quirk that has thrown off a few folks' early impressions: portion sizes of the many "small plates" vary widely. Some, at $10-15, can almost fill you up; others are delicate little compositions. Some people complain about prices after, unknowingly, ordering mainly the smaller-portioned items, but that doesn't reflect the whole menu; other price-conscious diners I've heard from have come away very well satisfied. (This resembles the situation at Gochi, a Japanese-accented tapas counterpart that now has an outpost on Castro past ECR.)

Unfortunately, Cijjo's menu offers little guidance on portioning size and some of them surprised me. I've taken to asking about it first.

Cijjo's 4-6pm Tu-Fri happy hour menu ("tasting" portions of some items, $4-6 in the bar area) is a way to get an inexpensive peek at Cijjo's style, though from only a fraction of the full dinner menu's range. During "happy hour," a few people can sample Cijjo's fare, with a glass of beer or wine, for $15 or even $10 per person, I've done this several times.

What I find positive, praiseworthy, and unusual at Cijjo are, first, the wine-bar plus small-plates format, a versatile dining concept useful for anything from quick snacks to special-occasion dinners. Second, Cijjo's classically-trained chef has shown clear signs of gastronomic insight, even genius. I mentioned some standout dishes in a January report: Web Link

I don't choose Cijjo as an everyday or bargain restaurant, but the unusual format and offerings certainly enhance our downtown. Maybe not everyone will see that, but many locals have already told me they have.

Posted by Max Hauser
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 5, 2014 at 10:33 am

Max Hauser is a registered user.

PS: Sunday brunch service started a couple weeks ago and is reportedly hugely popular.

SATURDAY brunch service starts today.

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