Heritage Eats, the global-inspired fine-casual restaurant, has just opened its first location in the East Bay, inside Walnut Creek’s Broadway Plaza. Part of the young chain’s success — the first two outposts are in highly-competitive zip codes, Napa and Palo Alto — is that you can get tikka masala, jerk chicken or carnitas all in one place.
Furthermore, you can get them the traditional way — carnitas stuffed into a corn tortilla, tikka masala on a bed of yellow rice — or as a wrap, salad, bowl, taco or even house-made bao. There are 30-some combinations, plus sides and global drinks, from horchata to Thai iced tea. We stopped in during their first week to make sense of it all. Here’s what we found.
The vibe: Bright and whimsical. Eight light-wood booths surround a long community table dotted with faux succulents in tiny white vases. On one wall, a world map with giant push pins indicating where the various cuisines come from, like Vietnam, Mexico and India. On the other wall, green and white sketches of Bay Area landmarks, including Mt. Diablo. It’s the Chipotle of global eats, so service is order-build-pay at the counter.
The food: We stuck to the traditional Chef Creations and went with the Thai Pork Bao ($11.55) and Crispy Falafel Pita ($9.70). The grilled lemongrass pork was just the right balance of sweet and spicy, and topped with a crunchy cabbage slaw, sweet pickled vegetables, daikon radish and spicy verde sauce.
The warm, homemade pita was stuffed with four or five crispy chickpea falafel with garlic hummus, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo and lemon tahini. Everything we tried — ask for a sample of grilled cowboy steak while you wait — was fresh and brimming with flavor, but keep tabs on how much they pile on. Staff was generous with the slaw and salsa in our orders, and it made for super soggy vessels, unfortunately.
Perfect for…Healthy, fresh ethnic food fix, mid-shopping lunch, pre-movie dinner.
Details: Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily at 12 Broadway Lane, Suite 1006, Walnut Creek. Also in Napa and at Stanford University in Palo Alto; www.heritageeats.com
First Look: Inside Walnut Creek’s new Heritage Eats