Restaurant review: New chef, menu bring seasonal flair to El Paseo

“There’s an undeniable allure that beckons escape when walking along the charming alleyway between Sunnyside and Throckmorton avenues in Mill Valley, a brick link that connects El Paseo restaurant’s collection of seating areas and dining spaces. Each offers a sense that you’re somewhere else. It’s a step away from the ordinary, replete with the glow of candlelight, warmth of hearth, heavy wood beams, plentiful paned windows and cool accents like red abstract wallpaper.

El Paseo is a downtown fixture; a constant regardless of the recent chef shifts since rocker Sammy Hagar purchased the restaurant in 2009 and undertook a significant renovation in partnership with celebrity chef Tyler Florence. The latest rendition has chef Todd Shoberg in the kitchen bringing his astute, creative, seasonal skill on display most recently at his acclaimed but now-shuttered Molina restaurant.

“El Paseo is a different restaurant for sure,” he shares. “Molina was an inspired little project. This is more seats and years of expectation and experience people have had in the past.”

Over the past 10 years, food has flowed from the unforgettable buttery pesto pull-apart rolls and the bacon-wrapped dates on a pool of syrupy balsamic under Florence’s reign to the Spanish-influenced menu from chef Henry Cortez that had its highlights, but you couldn’t help but miss those rolls and dates.

In four short months, Shoberg has done an overhaul of the culinary program.”

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