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Bamboo Island

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Well, I was hoping to be the first with the scoop & the review, but I may have to settle for the scoop. Has anyone been to Bamboo Island In Pleasanton? It just opened last month in an old Lyon's, and according to the SF Chronicle features Mai Tai's and "carvings of island gods". Bay Area Tikiphiles, start your engines. First one with the review gets a prize from Hanford! :) I have a strong suspicion that it will look like an Elephant Bar or Kahunaville, but might be closer to a Roy's in slickness. Here's an article about it:

When Mark Wooldridge gathered his team of restaurant design and construction experts, he gave them his vision for Bamboo Island, a Pan-Pacific Asian cuisine restaurant that would mirror several of the excellent upscale restaurants in Maui where he and his family enjoy dining while on vacation.

Wooldridge saw that completely renovating and redesigning the former Lyon's property, under the direction of Charles Kahn Design of Berkeley, would create the ambiance of a casual, yet elegant Hawaiian bungalow. Wooldridge acquired the lease on the building and began plans to realize his vision last year.

He chose the Hacienda location for many reasons. The space had tremendous potential and the basic architecture had great opportunity to be opened up.

"For instance, in the main dining room, there had been a drop ceiling. Stripped away, underneath there is a wonderful opportunity to raise the ceilings up high and get drama out of the space. We are going up to 30 feet at one point and opening a big skylight in the center of the facility. Bamboo struts will cross the ceiling

"Our dining chairs will be handmade with old-growth recycled mahogany that we are importing. The color scheme is earth colors and natural browns. The entry and bar floors will be paved with blue and brown slate. There is a rich fruitwood hardwood floor in main dining room. Bursts of color with sea foam and celadon will be used in the color scheme.

"We will have the Bamboo Bar, a full bar, inside with a fun space. We are creating a beautiful bamboo wall that will be backlit and will cast an orange glow into the room."

"We are constructing an outdoor lanai at Bamboo Island, facing Hopyard. It will have water features such as fountains, tropical plantings lots of tropical plantings like bird of paradise, lily of the Nile, star jasmine. The lanai will have a lattice cover but will be shaded in the summer and heated in winter for dining.

Kitchen equipment is being replaced and a semi-private dining area for up to 15 people will be part of the new plan.

He wants his restaurant to be elegant, yet comfortable and serve reasonably-priced food so families can enjoy the fare together. Serving lunch and dinner, Bamboo Island will have a children's menu with Pan-Pacific food. There will also be a large, pleasant waiting area for families constructed in the front of the restaurant.

Wooldridge and his family have lived in the area for 12 years and always felt the need to open a restaurant here. He has been in the restaurant business for 25 years including Restaurants Unlimited that has five locations, Palomino in San Francisco, Skates on the Bay, Berkeley; Horatio's, San Leandro and Kincaid's in Oakland and Burlingame. His partner in Bamboo Island is Darrell Scherbarth, one of the founders of Extreme Networks.

Bamboo Island, opening in mid-May, will be at 4889 Hopyard Road. The phone number is (925) 469-6266

Sounds bitchen!


I was in Pleasanton today so I thought I'd have lunch at Bamboo Island and sample what they had to offer. Alas, they are not open for lunch on Sundays so I had to resort to the Chili's restaurant across the way. :(

I did get a glimpse inside though. As I pressed my nose against the glass entryway I did indeed see the back-side of one Tiki guarding the doorway. There were a few guys in Hawaiian print shirts carrying glasses and things about and I was tempted to be a nuisance and ask them to let me in and take a look around (I wanted to see the ceiling and bamboo wall that were described in the above article) but I held back.

The general look of the place was not lush or mysterious (two of my favorite Tiki-joint qualities) but seemed minimal, airy and dotted with a few rattan fans and such. The fountains I pictured in my mind from the above article placed my hopes a little too high I think. The fountains I saw were slightly larger versions of the trinkley stacks of rock you see at new-age sort of places. I did see a bar by the front but I couldn't see if it was well stocked or not.

At the end of the day I have to say that yes, while a restaurant that has a Tiki by the front door is better than a restaurant without, I simply don't see myself making the drive out there for the express reason of sampling their food. If I happen to be in the area again I might give it another shot but from what I saw from the outside, I'm not inspired to make any more effort than that.


[ Edited by: Fonduie on 2002-06-30 18:43 ]

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