If you expect a Michelin rated experience, this is a major major disappointment. If you expect inventive fresh California cuisine, you will be even more frustrated. An underwhelming, disappointing experience. That said, this is (according to locals) a very nice place to have a quiet intimate dinner - that is, if you enjoy a no window, wide open room, lack of aesthetic, and large table format. Hardly romantic, but good for business oriented dinners. From what we understand about restaurants in San Mateo, this is one of the few places where the ability to hold a conversation and where you can hear one another is possible. While we knew about the menu format - it is a prix fixe tasting menu (choose 3 or more courses from a good size number of choices), we found everything we ordered to be consistently tasteless, oversalted, and not fresh food quality. Also, even though we elected three courses so we had two per course to share, twice we waited more than 20 minutes in between courses for the next course to appear - was it a case of a slow kitchen or staff not paying attention? For a nearly empty restaurant, that was just plain bizarre.
There is an extensive (phone book sized) list of wines by the bottle - for California, the land of great wineries, the restaurant list was predictable, common, and overpriced - most wines were all 4x price marked or more. They really needed to have a tried and true featured wines and some way to better balance this (spending $100 for a $20 regular priced bottle of mass produced common label wine is annoying - especially when it is nothing special). You do have the option of adding a "wine pairing" to your meal for $20 pp (their choices of wine poured, unknown to you), which may be a good thing considering limited choices of reasonably priced bottles. Do ask the "wine steward" (who later was our waiter) for other wine bottle options that may not be evident - he pointed us to a very decent $65 bottle from a boutique unknown California vintner who buys his grapes from other wineries and does limited production.
Overall, the food left a lot to be desired especially for the quality it is supposed to be, this was some of the most disappointing fare we have ever had. California is a state known for inventive and fresh cuisine - and we got neither. For example, the lobster caesar (sounds amazing on the menu) consisted of nice pieces of lobster on stalks of very inedible bitter romaine covered by a thin layer of a milky tasteless covering (not even close to being any kind of fresh made caesar) and after the fact had a few crumbles of waxy parmesan added for effect not flavor or substance. It should be noted that none of the ingredients were blended - the lobster claw pieces were devoid of dressing or any seasoning - as if they were placed on top of the icky romaine naked. I ate the lobster and left the mess of the awful bitter rest. So far, not good. We tried all the soups offered (given the great menu descriptions) a nice touch for a chilly and rainy night - but in actuality they were all pureed to a point where any unique flavor was obliterated and it did not matter what the original ingredients were, the flavors were drowned out by overly excessive creme and salt - that was all you tasted. Two spoonfuls and gave back the majority of each. Next! Crab canneloni appetizer was good, but the delicate flavors were overwhelmed by excessive salt. The "main" courses were problematic - think of them not as main dish sized but as more appetizer sized given their scale. Scallops consisted of two (!!) small quarter sized microscopic scallops placed in middle of a pickled beets melage. The combination of sweet and salty flavors was interesting, even if the scallop (protein) portion was non-existent. Still hungry. The salmon portion was a nothing to rave about and came out medium well. It looked and tasted like pre-frozen fare - the dead give away was the regulated size and shape that everyone got - what was the big deal? We've had better and much much fresher fish quality and tastier fare presented by local Silicon Valley food trucks! There are very yummy homemade chocolate truffles offered at the end of the meal - this was especially welcomed since we were still very hungry from having not eaten the majority of the portions of each of the courses.
Throughout the evening, several people waited on us and different people came to the table to clear it or to do something - were were never sure who are main server was, who was the wine steward, or who to talk to about anything, but everyone was very nice, even if inattentive for long intervals. It should be noted that no one ever asked at any time whether we enjoyed the course, needed anything else, or the like. Lastly, it took forever to valet - the street competes with a busy drug store next door that needs the same lane to turn in where the valet is set up. Made for more time to park and then to leave. Add 20 plus extra wasted minutes for this as well.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.