Flavor Notes by Robert Rich: Food, Wine, Restaurants & Recipes


Mini Restaurant Reviews
short takes and editorials

Dana Street Roasting

by Robert Rich, December 2006

I should mention that I'm old friends with the owner, Nick Chaput, so my opinion is a bit biased.... but Dana Street Roasting is the closest thing Mountain View has to an extended family, a public living room, a corner pub. This isn't the place to order your Venti Decaf Rice Dream Vanilla Latte. You're likely to receive a world-weary dirty look from your pierced and inked barista. Sure, the decor is a bit funky, and too many people smoke at the outside tables. But the coffee here is tops.

Aaron roasts grade A beans every few days, sourced from some of the best plantations in the world. If he's in a good mood you can stand by the roaster while he monitors the beans, and ask him about the process. He takes a great deal of pride in the fact that Dana Street avoids the over-roasted bitter beans made so popular by the Dominant Paradigm.

You'll note the coffee here has a brighter profile than the more darkly roasted Peets or Star$$, with more of the varietal differences showing through. You can taste the grassy citrus overtones of the Ethiopian Harrar compared to the chocolatey mineral underpinnings of the Columbian. I used to drink coffee with lots of milk and sugar, but Dana Street's coffee actually tastes better black. The staff has mastered the meringue-like foam on cappucino. They steam the milk to the point that it has its own sweetness, partially caramalized.

Critiques? Sure. I wish they would make a fresh drip coffee upon ordering, rather than rely on the thermos pumps in the corner. I wish their food prep system could become streamlined with a real kitchen so the sandwiches and salads don't take so long to prepare. The food here is totally secondary, anyway, and Nick has made it clear that he doesn't want to run a restaurant.

I'm not an impartial reviewer, but Dana Street Roasting fills a void in our neighborhood that few other coffee joints could ever replace.

Dana Street Roasting
744 W Dana Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
(650) 390-9638

• Mon-Thu 6:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
• Fri 6:30 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
• Sat 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
• Sun 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Often closed on holidays.

(Nick Chaput vowing revenge in the Dana Street kitchen.)