On March 24, acclaimed chef Traci Des Jardins’ upscale Cal-Mex restaurant, El Alto, created its extended-awaited debut in Los Altos as the anchor of the new Condition Street Current market food items hall. It was her to start with culinary venture south of San Francisco, her first in Silicon Valley.
On Saturday, just six months later on, El Alto’s Facebook web page declared the restaurant’s abrupt closure:
“As of September 23, 2022, el Alto has ceased functions,” the observe reported. “Thank you to all that have supported the cafe by means of this time, particularly our splendidly supportive attendees and our workers.”
On Instagram, Des Jardins wrote: “Sadly, yesterday was our final company at @elaltolosaltos. It has been extraordinary to operate in Los Altos where by the fascination, exhilaration, and reception to the restaurant blew me absent. It was a fantastic experience to once again function alongside Chef Robert Hurtado, as perfectly as the astounding kitchen area and entrance-of-house personnel that labored to deliver this idea to life. I beloved listening to the responses from friends as we interacted in the eating home. At the close of the day, I’m extremely very pleased and grateful to have been a element of this undertaking.”
No explanation was presented for the shutdown. The restaurant’s internet site, with menu, was inactive by Saturday afternoon.
El Alto’s opening came a few decades after the James Beard Award-profitable Des Jardins closed her significantly-lauded Jardiniere cafe in San Francisco subsequent a 21-year operate. Her other S.F. culinary ventures have involved Arguello, Commissary, Mijita Cocina Mexicana and General public House. She has appeared on “Top Chef Masters.”
During the planning and construction phases of the Peninsula cafe, Des Jardins explained El Alto as a celebration of “the wealthy history of the early California-Mexican ranchos and the agrarian roots of the Bay Spot.” A Fresno space indigenous whose mom is of Mexican descent, she teamed up Hurtado, a Central Coastline native with Mexican roots.
El Alto, which served dinner four evenings a week, has an over-all ranking of four stars on Yelp, though the most current testimonials had been one particular-star and two-star reviews this month that faulted the restaurant for lack of workers and gradual services.
The March 24 opening was a joyous evening, with diners who ranged from enthusiasts of Des Jardins considering that her times 25 several years ago at San Francisco’s Rubicon to teams of youthful ladies who had in no way read of her but identified out there was a new restaurant opening at the hall. Des Jardins was in the kitchen area most of this occupied night time but designed appearances to supply plates of food stuff, greet old clients and pose for a couple of selfies. At night’s finish she thanked staff members right before heading out.
A signature entree, the Confit Liberty Duck Leg, paid out tribute to the orchards of Los Altos’ past with a complex, spiced apricot mole. The platos fuertes, or key dishes, on the inaugural menu ranged from Cochinita Pibil Tacos, a few on household-designed blue corn tortillas with habanero salsa, to platters of Pollo al Oregano with nixtamal corn “polenta” and nopales and Pescado a la Mibrasa, with Mexican rice and almond salsa. The mibrasa, a Spanish charcoal oven, was also employed for Grilled Vegetables with salsa macha.