Six months is usually considered the earliest a new restaurant, bar or coffee shop can receive a fair review. By then the kinks should be ironed out, the bad apples fired and the dishes refined. But who’s got time for that? This feature takes a look at five new restaurants around the valley each month.

Shake Shack
180 El Camino Real Suite 950, Palo Alto

For those who haven’t heard, Shake Shack finally opened up a location here in NorCal, and it landed at Stanford Shopping Center. This East Coast purveyor of burgers is a giant in other states and is looking to rival Cali favorite In-N-Out for top dog. Their burgers feature a nice, crisp exterior and a juicy center and are served on pillowy, soft potato rolls. The crinkle-cut fries will take diners back to childhood, and their ice cream concretes are a must. There’s a tremendous amount of hype surrounding this opening, so be prepared to wait.

Bagel Bar
519 E Campbell Ave, Campbell

Imagine the Psycho Donuts theme but on warm, freshly made bagels, and that’s pretty much what you have with Bagel Bar. They encourage patrons to go nuts building their own bagels by choosing the bagel flavor, spread, toppings and sauces. Their ever-changing rainbow bagels are a visual delight, and they have vegan-friendly offerings as well.

Five Star Pizza
125 Bernal Rd, Ste 50, San Jose

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my 8-year-old, it’s that there is no such thing as too much pizza. As such, there’s alway room for another pizza parlor. This new South Side joint has an impressive lineup of creative pies, including a buffalo chicken, pesto lover and Gilroy Tuscan pizza—which features spicy sausage, salami, green onions and heaping helping of garlic. They also have a small but stout selection of Indian masala pizzas. Their pies are all made fresh to order and definitely worth the wait.

Dumpling House
4996 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose

Much to my delight, there are a growing number of authentic Chinese restaurants serving xiaolongbao (a.k.a. XLB) dumplings—a personal favorite. This newcomer is just a few miles from the popular XLB hotspot, Din Tai Fung, and has been called an “acceptable substitute” if one can’t stand the lines at DTF. Their thin-skinned XLBs are perfectly proportioned and filled with sumptuous broth and meaty innards. They also have a nice selection of Chinese soups and plenty of veggie dumplings as well.

3rd & Bourbon
93 E Santa Clara St, San Jose

With an impressive menu of craft cocktails and more than 90 different bourbons on hand, 3rd & Bourbon would do fine as just a bar. But they didn’t want to stop and spirits: They also feature a nice lineup of grub to help soak up all their tasty libations. Sliders, tacos, fried chicken and steak are all up for grabs. Be sure to check out their daily happy hour specials, like their $2 Taco Tuesdays and $8 Bulleit Bourbons.