Comfort food and seasonal options are the focus at Noodle Theory, where chef/owner Louis Kao offers his creative take on Asian fusion with a menu of noodle dishes from various Asian cultures infused with the innovations of California cuisine. So, for example, there is a dish of ground Niman Ranch pork in a spicy bean sauce over noodles ($8.50) and a bowl of grilled salmon and ramen in a miso broth ($10). Call for details on daily specials. The restaurant is located on Claremont Avenue at College in premises previously occupied by Double Rainbow ice cream. The décor is pristine gray tile with clean lines and no clutter. Portion sizes are substantial and the serving bowls ample. Noodle Theory, 6099 Claremont Ave.; closed Tuesday; lunch 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (noon–2:30 p.m. Sunday); dinner 5 p.m.–9:30 p.m.; (510) 595-6988 or www.noodletheory.com.
Meanwhile, Berkeley just got another vegan option. Herbivore the Earthly Grill, on Shattuck Avenue, is owner Adham Nasser’s third restaurant under that name and with the same menu. He opened his first two in San Francisco (at 983 Valencia St. in 1997 and at 531 Divisidero St. in 2002). He made his East Bay debut in May 2007. Nasser says his intention from the start has been “to make a living—and to provide food I believe in.” The new eatery is his first with a hard liquor license. Breakfast options include a variety of tofu scrambles, crepes, pancakes, smoothies and vegetable juices. Among the more popular dishes on the menu (the same for both lunch and dinner) are the soy-chicken shawarma with hummus, pickles, avocado and onions, served in a wrap, with a side salad ($8.25), and the lentil loaf with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy and seasonal greens ($9.95). The extensive menu also has a large selection of salads, sandwiches, soups and pastas. Herbivore the Earthly Grill, 2451 Shattuck Ave., open 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Thu.; 9 a.m.–12 p.m. Thu.–Sat.; (510) 665-1675; www.herbivorerestaurant.com.
—By Wanda Hennig