OUT TO LUNCH by Richard Eber – The famous tag line for Las Vegas, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” isn’t exactly true for Concord’s new restaurant the Parkside Bar & Grill. Located on Grant Street overlooking Todos Santos Square, this eatery has strong roots emanating from “Sin City”
Chef Aryl Copeland has taken her craft to Concord from the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. A graduate from culinary school who has worked in Mexico City, Israel, Germany, she brings an eclectic approach to dining to the Parkside. Copeland refers to her creations as “American food with a twist.”
Typical is their Black Garlic Caesar Salad which uses fermented garlic to create a dressing that blends well with romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, and anchovies to create an intriguing approach to this traditional dish. The same dressing is also used as a dipping sauce with their fried calamari appetizer and Chicken Wings.
Copeland goes a different route with her braised pork ribs. Cooked for four hours at a relatively high temperature of 400 degrees, they are most tender. It is served with a choice of Buffalo, Thai Chili, Mango Habanera, or traditional BBQ sauce. A good companion for the ribs is their creamy macaroni and cheese which can be ordered as an entrée or side dish
Another item from their appetizer list is the Heirloom Bruschetta. What makes this dish unique is their balsamic-pesto reduction which blends well with mild tastes of the fresh mozzarella and the tomatoes.
Also of note are their mini-sliders made from a special blend of short rib, chuck, and brisket cuts. The Korean inspired Gochujang sauce makes this dish into a special treat. I ordered mine medium rare to enhance the flavor.
On the entree side, Parkside offers several types of burgers with different toppings and sauces. For vegetarians’ they have a black bean patty that melds well with their home made fries. Also on the menu are a couple of chicken sandwiches including a grilled Jidori Free Range offering enhanced by cream corn, avocado-pico, and summer chili toppings. It takes 30 minutes to prepare but is well worth the wait.
Parkside also has several pasta dishes featuring marinara, pesto, Pulanesca, or Alfredo sauces. These are all unique and go well with add-ons including bacon, grilled shrimp, chicken, or steak.
For now, with the Covid-19 pandemic not allowing for indoor dining, Parkside is offering a limited menu until conditions come back to normal. They are fortunate that their restaurant has abundant outdoor seating that allows for approximately 15 tables to serve their patrons.
Co-owner Torrance Mak is well aware of the handicaps his new business faces in opening its doors in such a difficult time. “We are here for the long run and hope to become an important part of restaurant community.”
Professionally, Mak has plenty of experience in the restaurant trade. As a child his parents successfully operated a small chain of Chinese fast food eateries in Mountain View.
Mak has been preparing the opening of Parkside for almost a year. He has spent the time planning both the menu and the environment at this former Tower Grill location. So far, his strategy has paid off. “After our soft opening, we are extremely pleased with the response received from our guests. Their repeat business and word of mouth has kept us busier than anticipated,” Mak says.
Helping matters along has been a full bar menu and several beers on tap. To encourage new business Parkside has started special Happy Hour menu Sunday thru Thursday between 1 and 5pm. Featured beverages include bottles of Stella Artois and Modelo for $4.00 and all draft beers at $5.00. House wines are the similarly priced while featured Mojito, Margarita, and a Raspberry Lemon Drop run $6.00
On the food side fried calamari, chicken wings, braised ribs, loaded fries, and taco’s run at only $4.00 per order. For new comers to Parkside, happy hour is a good way to sample their menu and receive a preview of coming attractions. They are already serving a kids menu. Also in the works are plans for adding Brunch selections and a weekly family meal package in the near future.
As this restaurant evolves, Mak and his partners hope to make their import from Las Vegas an important part of the growing culinary scene in Concord. I hope Parkside “Stays in Concord.”
Currently Parkside Bar & Grill is open 7 days a week from 11AM till 9PM. Their address is 1950 Grant Street in Concord. Phone 925-822-5528. To go orders can be made on their web site WWW.Parksideconcord.com.