At Flights, the ahi tuna is served seared and poke-style.
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The Palms' pan-seared Chilean sea bass in a miso-ginger broth with udon noodles.
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The dessert menu at The Courthouse 2021 includes lemon mousse with macerated raspberries, candied citrus and ginger syrup.
Photo: Liz Daly
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Taverna's Mount Lassen trout is accompanied by Hope Ranch mussel pilafi, green garlic and saffron.
Photo: Isabel Baer
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At Ozumo, chilled somen noodles are topped with Santa Barbara uni, salmon roe, tamago and nori.
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Braise serves its confit chicken in a citrus curry alongside a watercress salad.
Photo: Craig Lee
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With a recent Burlingame opening (joining Campbell and Saratoga), Alexander Hult now runs a trio of Flights, where the dishes and drinks are served in threes. Begin with margaritas—in mango-jalapeno, passionfruit-lime and classic—enjoyed alongside succulent shrimp garlic grilled on a skewer, with cocktail sauce and phyllo-wrapped. Skillets of pizza piled high with barbecue chicken, smoked brisket and meatballs land on the table with a thud. (The meatballs are also available on their own, with various toppings.) Brunch delivers a triple threat of Swedish pancakes stuffed with fruit, as well as popular chicken and waffles.
1100 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame
2. THE PALMS
With its island decor and expertly prepared Pacific Rim-inspired cuisine, The Palms—the latest occupant of Coggeshall Mansion, a charming 1891 Victorian—offers more of everything locals want: fabulous outdoor seating, an excellent happy hour (weekdays, 4 to 5:30pm), consistently good food and friendly bar service. While chef Andres Chevez especially shines on seafood dishes such as pan-seared Chilean sea bass in miso-ginger broth and spicy sauteed tiger prawns, he also has carnivores covered with honking steaks and the popular Palm burger—a half-pound patty with bacon, fried egg and spiced cheddar on a brioche bun, served with truffle fries.
115 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos
3. THE COURTHOUSE 2021
At this months-old establishment, it pays to be a regular: Loyal customers receive an exclusive black stainless steel VIP card. The coveted card—which can be issued only by one of The Courthouse 2021’s owners—affords patrons perks such as preferential reservations for regular dining, as well as for special wine or cigar dinners. There’s also complimentary tastes of high-end wines, along with membership in a wine club. It’s one way the restaurant aims to distinguish itself. That’s in addition to the prime steaks, seafood and an array of nearly two dozen appetizers that comprise the menu, plus the 66-seat dining room, 34-seat bar and 75-seat covered back patio. 2021 Broadway St., Redwood City
Beyond the bright blue door, in a light-filled venue that includes a handful of counter seating, diners are treated to Thanasis Pashalidis, Hakan Bala and chef William Roberts’ ode to Hellenic cuisine. Taverna’s casual and warm ambiance, coupled with impeccable food and service—these are veterans of Evvia, The Village Pub and Dio Deka, after all—has yielded a winning combination. While there are several entrees, including a steak burger with kasseri cheese, choose from the bites and small plates menu to sample more of Roberts’ dishes. Among these offerings are sweet pea fritters, grilled octopus, saganaki (the cheese dramatically arrives at the table engulfed in flames) and arnaki (grilled lamb chop). Save room for the bougatsa dessert.
800 Emerson St., Palo Alto
The popular San Francisco izakaya recently opened in the South Bay. Ozumo was founded by Jeremy Umland, a New York native who became enamored of Japanese culture and cuisine after playing professional baseball in the Japanese Pacific League. The renovated space in Santana Row includes an outdoor beer garden—all the better to enjoy a selection of Japanese beers, sakes and cocktails, such as the Kill Bill-inspired Go Go Yubari, a cherry-inflected riff on a Manhattan. The small plates of sushi, sashimi, yakitori and tempura specialties are designed for sharing. And don’t miss the made-to-order hand rolls at the bar, folded around freshly made, still-warm rice; or the sugar-dusted Okinawan-style fried cake doughnuts for dessert.
355 Santana Row, Ste. 1010, San Jose
Anthony “A.J.” Jimenez and Josh Hanoka met in high school, where they bonded over a passion for cooking. So much so that the two then-teenagers regularly got together to make quenelles, meringues, chicken Viennoise and other French-Swiss classics. Last year, the pair realized a dream by opening up their own restaurant—small-plates eatery Braise. Jimenez, former longtime chef at San Jose’s The Table, handles the kitchen, while Hanoka, of Bray Butcher Block in downtown San Jose, oversees business operations. The playful dishes include Jimenez’s housemade kimchi, savory griddled zucchini bread and chicken liver mousse—all favorites at The Table—as well as cheddar beignets, herb-roasted porchetta, and peanut butter and jelly bone marrow.
1185 Lincoln Ave., San Jose
Originally published in the July issue of Silicon Valley