It’s been slightly less than a year since the Precita Park Cafe opened on the eastern end of Precita Park. Yet in that short time the cafe has dramatically altered the geo-social dynamics of North Bernal —so much so that Newt Gingrich might even call it “transformational.”
The Precita Park Cafe has become Precitaville’s front porch; a place to grab coffee or a tasty bite to eat, and bump in to a few neighbors along the way. In the evening, it morphs into a low-key place to have dinner. Now the foodies at Tablehopper bring news that there’s a new chef behind the counter:
Rachel Herbert at Precita Park Cafe has hired chef Tu David Phu to launch a new dinner menu. Phu has spent the past two years at Saul’s Deli in Berkeley, and he’ll be bringing a similar “make it by hand” ethos to Precita Park Cafe, turning out housemade burrata, mozzarella, pasta, and more. Look for dishes like thin-crust pizzas, fresh ricotta gnocchi, and entrées like sausage-stuffed chicken with braised fennel and romesco sauce ($14), and short ribs with polenta fries, braised greens, and crème fraîche ($15), with sweet potato pie ($3.50) for dessert.
Chef Tu Davi Phu comes to glamorous Bernalwood via the frontierlands of Berkeley, where he was recently seen slinging matzo balls at Saul’s Delicatessen — a pairing that in 2010 prompted the Berkeleyside blog to ask, “What’s a nice, young, tattooed Vietnamese boy from West Oakland doing as the top chef in a Jewish deli in North Berkeley?”
So now that same nice, young, tattooed Vietnamese chef from West Oakland is serving fresh ricotta gnocchi at a transformational neighborhood cafe in North Bernal.
PHOTO: Top, Telstar Logistics. Below, Tu David Phu at Saul’s in Berkeley. Stephen Loewinsohn photo via Berkeleyside