Whenever someone says the word Mao, you probably immediately think of the brutal Chinese dictator. But whenever someone says the word MAU, you probably immediately think of the same thing... until they spell it out and you realize it's actually the brand-new, California-leaning Southeast Asian eatery, just now soft-opened on Valencia
This large, open-kitchened space packs seating for 77 both at tables made of old high school football bleachers, and a cooking-adjacent, reclaimed-wood counter, with ample lighting provided by giant hanging lamps with orange cross-hatches, or where Jack goes to pout about Kate and Sawyer. The food's from an ex-Slow Club chef who really enjoys playing around with chiles (see: homemade Sriracha, Marinated Beef Salad w/ toasted rice and bird's eye chiles, grilled pork shoulder rice bowl) and really, really enjoys putting together an abbreviated counter service menu for lunch and a full one for dinner, with all items kept at or under $15
The bar program'll consist of a surprisingly-not-Romney-approved white-forward wine list served in country-style tumblers, plus four tap beers (Almanac Saison, Trumer Pils) and a half-dozen bottled options, including Asian-y options like Sapporo and Chang -- too many of which'll make spelling anything a little difficult.