What do successful restaurants do once they've satisfied the public's palate? Like TV shows, they often create spin-offs, bringing just enough of the old to anchor the new. Eight, the new restaurant from the owners of Sushi Tozai and Peking Chef, has all the culinary mastery of its predecessors, but with a fresh take on Asian fusion.
Though the name refers to the eight regional cuisines of China, from the well-known Hunan to the lesser-known Anhui, the menu also offers Southeast Asian street food. Standards like kung pao chicken ($13) and Mongolian beef ($14) are delicious, but even more exciting are the surprising hits, like the walnut prawns with pineapple ($14) and Malaysian gado-gado salad ($10). Diners can choose between three distinct eating areas—the dining room, bar area or outdoor patio—where old world décor meets modern flare, with sleek fireplaces and a digital playlist.
Meanwhile, the folks behind Healdsburg's Spoonbar just opened a new eatery, Pizzando, located a block down the road in the former Cafe Newsstand. Pizzando has all the clean lines and minimalist style that makes Spoonbar so appealing, but with a smaller, cozier seating area and a menu devoted to homemade pastas ($14), hearty meat dishes ($16) and, of course, pizza ($11–$13).