Mixx in Mountain View shakes up the dining scene on Castro Street with a head chef experienced in modern cooking techniques and a menu of updated renditions on American gastropub fare.

On first impression, I really wasn’t sure what to make of Mixx. In a recent Q&A with Metro, head chef Ryan Shelton described using techniques such as sous vide—vacuum-sealed cooking in a water bath—which he adapted from his experience at Baume and Chez TJ. The process can enhance flavors in the dish and provide consistency in the kitchen.

While the white-and-red neon sign over the entrance suggests a club-like atmosphere, the restaurant’s interior feels more like a modern steakhouse, with dim lighting and red vinyl booths. A room separate from the main dining room takes on the feel of a pub’s game room, with flat-screen televisions and a cabinet stocked with dice and board games.

The menu has toned down a bit from when Mixx first opened. In addition to attractive burgers and eclectic main dishes, there are plenty of small plates, ranging from pork belly bao sliders ($12 for three) to Thai fish tacos ($6 for two). The sliders’ soy glaze had a musty flavor, and the leathery blue corn tortilla took away from the admittedly tasty fish tacos with Asian flavors of coconut, jalapeno, peanut and cilantro. The tender, sweet and savory sticky ginger pork ribs ($13) are a much better alternative.

A neat, modern American feature of Mixx is the plating and presentation. The Munich Pretzel ($7) arrived warm from the oven on a platter made from a sliced tree trunk. Additional whimsical plating included triple-cooked potato fries ($5), which are served in a miniature basket alongside small jars of tangy vinegar ketchup and mayonnaise. The tart and tangy ketchup was a perfect partner to the salty and extra crispy fried potatoes.

A favorite among the table were the fried Brussels sprouts with toasted pecans, all lightly tossed in a sweet apple maple glaze ($8). While the glaze and pecans make the dish addictingly tasty, the sprouts are served crispy and browned. My dining companions swore that the charred flavor didn’t do anything to ruin the dish for them.

On the drink menu I loved the refreshing Pisco Paloma ($10) with zesty ginger beer and tart grapefruit juice. Mixx’s update on a Whiskey Sour ($11), however, had more egg white foam and less Templeton Rye than I had anticipated.

420 Castro Street, Mountain View. 650.966.8124