Meet the chef behind Danville’s hot new seafood restaurant

Earlier this month, downtown Danville welcomed its newest seafood restaurant: Tides, a new high-end, ocean-inspired eatery.

The elegant new restaurant is, in large part, the brainchild of executive chef and general manager Marikah Woodson, whose culinary journey began years ago in Pleasanton. The oldest of five kids, she learned to cook at home. When she went off to college — she played basketball at San Jose State — she frequently cooked up big batches of pasta to feed friends and classmates.

“Everyone loved my cooking — it was a lot of fun,” she recalls.

After college, she remembers seeing an ad for Le Cordon Bleu and being instantly inspired. “I had this epiphany,” she says. “I called my mom and said, ‘I really think I want to be a chef.’”

An externship at Livermore’s Wente Vineyards led to a stint as sous chef, before she teamed up with chef Matt Greco to open Salt Craft in Pleasanton. Since then, she’s worked at various restaurants at Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace, including Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse. But, she says, “I always wanted to come back to the Bay Area.”

Late last year, she teamed up with the Garald family, which owns Danville’s Forbes Mill Steakhouse, to lead Tides restaurant from renovation to menu design.

The interior of Tides, a new coastal-inspired restuarant in Danville, is decorated with plants and elegant table settings. (Courtesy Brad Pollard.)
The interior of Tides, a new coastal-inspired restuarant in Danville, is decorated with plants and elegant table settings. (Courtesy Brad Pollard.) 

The menu

The Tides’ seasonal menu is inspired by her mother’s cooking as much as the sea. A side dish of creamed corn ($12) is “110% inspired by my mom,” Woodson says. “She used to make creamed corn all the time (I was) growing up.”

Entrees on the menu include truffle risotto with scallops ($46), fresh seafood pasta, hand-rolled and cut in-house, and a whole fried American red snapper, which is marinated in chimichurri for 24 hours, fried with gluten-free rice flour and served with fresh chimichurri and charred lime ($78, serves two).

“Every time someone gets it, they’re blown away,” she says.

The restaurant’s ocean-inspired signature cocktails and punch bowls include Woodson’s favorite, the Davy Jones Locker ($18), made with a spiced rum blend, banana liqueur, coconut cream, lime juice, dry curaçao, angostura bitters and pineapple. Going with a group? Try one of the thematically-appropriate punch bowls, “The Meg” or “The Kraken” ($60 for a bowl that serves 4 people; $115 for 8).

The dessert lineup includes the Chocolate Delight, a “very chocolate forward” dessert of chocolate mousse with chocolate sauce, a brownie and chocolate tuile topped with Maldon salt and served with coffee ice cream. For a lighter dessert, try the almond crescent cake served with salted caramel mousseline, peach crème fraîche, basil, peaches and pink peppercorn meringue.

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