It was an exciting day in August when news broke that Bar Tartine chef/owners Nick Balla and Cortney Burns were working on an entirely new restaurant concept called Motze. While the duo has been looking for a space, they’ve been holding Monday night pop-ups for the globally-influenced menu that has strong ties to Japan. Now, a space has been found, and it’s going to be in the now-shuttered 49-seat Herbivore, just four blocks down Valencia from Bar Tartine.
It’s a short-term lease — just 1 1⁄2 years — so the team won’t be doing a full build-out. When it does debut later this month, it will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The concept for Motze came out of Balla and Burns’ extensive experience with Japanese cuisine — Balla ran the stoves at Nombe for two years (and O Izakaya before that) and cooked in the country, and Burns recently took a trip there for fermented rice research. The menu will be $58 per person for a family-style meal with dishes like narezushi, or fermented sushi; black koji bread with salmon roe; homemade mung bean noodles and tofu; and cucumbers with lentil miso and yogurt. All the produce will come from Full Table Farms in Yountville. Drinks will focus around wine and beer, with housemade sodas, rice spirit cocktails, and more, too.
Burns and Balla are also trying to approach the service and wage model differently. There will be no tipping; rather, a service charge will be added to the check, after which all proceeds from the restaurant will be divided evenly among all workers.
Stay tuned for more details closer to opening.
This story was updated on October 12 at 10:03 a.m. to add new details.