Six months is usually considered the earliest a new restaurant, bar or coffeeshop can receive a fair review. By then the kinks should be ironed out, the bad apples fired and the dishes and drinks refined. But who’s got time for that? Each month, Metro spotlights five of the newest places we think are worth a look-see.

387 S First St Ste 121, San Jose 408.827.5812.
This newest entrant to the SoFA Market is bringing the build-your-own bowl to Vietnamese fare. Vietnoms features a multitude of bases ($7-11) to build diners’ personalized creations, including French baguettes—made locally by Phát Trí bakery—to make a custom bánh mì sandwich, or choose a more traditional rice, noodle or salad bowl. Select pork, beef, chicken or tofu, plus veggies and sauce it up. Their red hot beef ($1 extra) is delightfully spicy, sweet and seared to perfection.

Haidilao Hot Pot
19409 Steven Creek Blvd Ste 100, Cupertino. 669.230.3117.
Main Street Cupertino already had one of the strongest food lineups in the South Bay—with the likes of Alexander’s, Philz and Oren’s Hummus Shop in their arsenal, but now they’ve kicked it up a notch, as Haidilao Hot Pot has entered the mix. This modern and trendy Chinese chain is known for their Sichuan-style (i.e. spicy) hot pots and quality meats. Superb service is a key part of their game, as they provide hair-ties, aprons and plastic baggies for patrons’ phones to help shield people from the meat and soup-fueled frenzy that’s about to ensue. Diners can’t go wrong with any combo of their spicy pork broth ($4-8), USDA prime rib-eye ($26/7oz.) or abalone on ice ($21).

1875 S Bascom Ave Ste 165, Campbell. 408.559.8226.
The Pruneyard location of this local gourmet Mexican food chain boasts locally sourced and organic (when possible) produce and all-natural meats. Their specialty is homestyle food prepared according to recipes from the Michoacán area of Mexico. LuLu’s chicken mole rojo ($15) is simmered in a sauce that includes three different chilies, chocolate, peanuts and a host of spices to make one incredible, mouthwatering meal. Combine that with LuLu’s caramel flan ($6) and you’ve got a little slice of Mexi-heaven.

Tasty Indian Pizza
2850 Quimby Rd Ste 140, San Jose. 408.622.8880.
This is the third location for this local chain, and it has landed in a not-so surprising location of San Jose’s Evergreen area. As the name suggests, they put traditional Indian favorites onto America’s favorite food: pizza. They have maybe one of the most comprehensive Indian toppings for an Indian pizza that I’ve ever encountered—with everything from saag (spinach) and paneer (Indian cheese) to everyone’s favorite, butter chicken. They’ll even make half-and-half pizza creations to help satisfy everyone’s craving, and any of their pizzas can also be turned into calzones. They do also have traditional American toppings (e.g., pepperoni, mushrooms, linguiça, etc.), but that would be like going to Morton’s and not getting a steak. C’mon, live a little.

Mesquite and Oak
856 N 13th St, San Jose. 408.418.3180
San Jose’s Luna Park neighborhood has been filling up with smoke lately—and no, it’s not due to the local cannabis rule changes. It’s the new barbecue joint Mesquite and Oak, and they’re looking to take Q to a place it hasn’t been before—but should! Brunch is what’s on the menu here, because what barbecue junkie hasn’t woken up dreaming of having beef ribs and waffles, or brisket and pancakes? While neither of those is officially on the menu, owner Matthew Aranda says, “Come in and the staff will make it happen.” However, a pulled pork “Frito Bandito” ($12) and brisket hash ($13) are on the menu. While they also serve up the standard barbecue joint lunch and dinner fare, their brunch menu will be what puts them on the map.