Friday, July 19, 2024

Bungalow Kitchen opens second (and even more luxurious) location in NorCal


The opening of the Bungalow Kitchen brought with it a new step forward in the overarching tale of Long Beach’s culinary scene: Its first Michelin-starred chef, Michael Mina, along with a space that was and remains distinctly unique spatially, with multiple rooms curated to create a different sense of place and mood. 

What co-owner Brent Bolthouse initially described as a “beautiful disaster”—it was originally intended that Mina only serve as a partner while Bolthouse expands his existing Bungalow Lounge bar spaces; given the pandemic and the need for food in order to keep bars open, Mina moved in as a full-fledged co-owner and the Bungalow Kitchen was birthed—has become one of Long Beach’s most popular new restaurants.

“My dream is that The Bungalow Kitchen becomes an extension of our neighbor’s living rooms and a place where they come to celebrate life… I feel like this is our love letter to Tiburon.” -Brent Bolthouse, co-owner of The Bungalow Kitchen

So it makes sense that the brand would eventually become expanded—and expand it has: With Mina having his sights on a creating a new food space in Tiburon, the northernly on-the-peninsula-tip town near San Francisco, Bolthouse knew where the second Bungalow Kitchen would be.

“From the first moment that I sat out front on the dock with Michael Mina, I began to imagine The Bungalow Kitchen: A community clubhouse that would bring together the worlds of culinary and social under one roof,” Bolthouse said. “My dream is that The Bungalow Kitchen becomes an extension of our neighbor’s living rooms and a place where they come to celebrate life. Now that [the architect’s] vision has come alive, I feel like this is our love letter to Tiburon.”

Bringing on famed design firm Martin Brudnizki Design Studio to head the overall look—a wonderfully hodge-podge-but-it-works vibe that simultaneously exudes comfort with aesthetic, much like the kitchen’s Long Beach location—Mina and Bolthouse were clearly not going to cut corners with a location that is created to precisely vibe with, well, people who love yachts and caviar as much as they love comfort and warmth.

Brudnizki is no joke in the design world: From the entirety of the social spaces at Park MGM in Vegas—from Primrose and the Juniper Cocktail Lounge to its salon and spa—to endless restaurant spaces—including Chef Andrew Carmellini’s Carne Mare in New York City and Mina’s own brasserie in Duba—Brudnizki is known for hyper-decadent design that the (beautiful-not-tacky) opposite of minimalist.

And this marks his first foray into the world of San Francisco ambiance.

“It’s really an honor to have my first work here in Tiburon, which has such an interesting story in its evolution over the years,” said Brudnizki. “We sought to pay homage to the town’s storied roots while integrating its charming spirit, natural beauty, and California’s quintessential indoor-outdoor living style for an elevated yet unconventional vibe.” 

What, exactly, does this translate into?

Unobstructed views of the Bay, city skyline, and Angel Island—which are also included if you decide to take the ferry from San Francisco. Warm colors, warm lights; think old, elegant living room with a tinge of contemporary nods. A wrap-around bar complete with brass accents and a custom, woven raffia pattern. (Raffia is made from the veins of palm trees, where it can be dyed and used as a textile.) A private, second-story dining room for up to 12 people.

And keeping with Brenthouse’s audiophilia, a custom Wilson Audio speaker system. 

As for the food, you will find a handful of items similar to the menu in Long Beach—including my personal favorites, those stellar fried duck wings and shrimp toast, along with Mina’s staple lobster pot pie—but you will also see things that are unique to the Tiburon location. 

But then there’s other jealousy-inducing items: A striped bass that sits in a cioppino broth and clams and served with a calamari-topped slice of bread. A roasted Liberty Farms duck breast with a huckleberry jus. An array of steaks that I would kill for.

Or at least wish I could afford: for the sake of the fun in it all, I have to note there is a $250 dry-aged porterhouse steaks that comes in at a whopping 44 ounces. Sure, it feeds four folks but it is outright jealousy inducing to image sitting on the bay of San Francisco, looking at the skyline, eating a dry-aged porterhouse. 

A boy can dream, dammit.

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Bungalow Kitchen Tiburon is located in the Northern California town of Tiburon at 5 Main St.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.


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