[MetroActive Dining]

[ Dining Index | San Jose | MetroActive Central | Archives ]

Photograph by George Sakkestad

Dining in Tile: A two-story atrium dining room with stone tile floors creates a dramatic backdrop for vibrant dining at Adobe Creek.

American Adobe

Another stylish New American dining room adds polish to the Los Altos dining scene

By Christina Waters

Near the graceful polished wood of Adobe Creek's sophisticated bar I spotted my dining companion. I could instantly pick her out in a crowd by her blonder-than-blondeness. Lanni was sipping Pellegrino and checking out the two-story atrium dining room with its stone tile floors and balconied private banquet rooms. Definitely a vibrant dining scene, I agreed, as we took a corner table next to a 12-foot ficus and allowed our skin to be flattered by the soft terracotta and butter wall tones. Rapidly filling up with a high-spirited crowd--even at mid-week--the central dining room was reflected, Parisian-style, in a mirrored wall far in the back.

We toasted the good-looking restaurant with glasses of Quivira 1997 Zinfandel ($7) and daintily tore into the basket of three breads. I went mad for the seeded French torpedo roll and used it as an excuse to indulge my passion for butter.

An earnest young waitress told us about the night's specials as we perused the streamlined Adobe Creek menu. Appetizers involve sure bets like house-cured salmon, grilled portobello mushrooms and fried calamari. In addition to the elaborate salads and a bevy of pastas and seafood, there is a longer listing of red meats, including venison chops. The menu surfs the foods of the moment, filled with flavor and comfort.

Always a quick study, Lanni zeroed in on an entree of seared sea scallops ($21.95) while I decided to sample the special filet mignon on a bed of risotto ($22.95). We were both right on the money, as it turned out, but we'll get to that in a minute.

First we shared a gorgeous appetizer described as honey sambal prawns ($10.95). Aromatic with ginger and cilantro, the creation involved four enormous prawns, burnished to practically a sepia tone by a ginger and honey glaze. They sat on cushions of napa cabbage and red bell peppers strewn with black sesame seeds. With each bite we paired some grilled prawn with ginger and napa cabbage. Hints of sherry and the kick of chiles (could have used even more of this) perfumed everything. Split between the two of us, it made a splendid opening for our dinner.

We waited longer than we wanted to for our entrees, never knowing whether it was our absent waitress or an overwhelmed kitchen that caused the delay.

Lanni's ring of enormous, perfectly moist sea scallops was accented by slender carrots and a pyramid of rice pilaf. Each rotund scallop was topped with an impeccable tomato-basil beurre blanc, and it all looked pale and creamy against a delicious background of fresh spinach.

My filet mignon was astonishing. Not only was it the most flavorful, absolutely right-on slab of lean beef I've had in years (some high-quality aged cut, no doubt), but it had been cooked to exactly that longed-for micro-moment between bloody rare and medium-rare. Crowning a snowy field of risotto--into which spears of carrot and fresh asparagus had been arranged as spokes of a wheel--the killer beef was napped, needlessly, with an overly rich port reduction sauce. Filet this fine needs almost nothing in the way of adornment. My suggestion is to lose the risotto and lighten the sauce.

Given our size (tiny) versus the size of the entrees (big), we took roughly half of each entree home. Steak sandwiches tomorrow!

And then we turned to the difficult work of desserts. To go with my espresso, I had a wedge of New York-style cheesecake--all desserts are made in-house--while Lanni chose a Meyer lemon tart (both $6). Both desserts were lusciously satisfying. The tart, in which the characteristic orangesque Meyer flavor seemed absent, involved a fresh lemon curd filling on a flawless pastry crust. It was covered with a colorful garnish of ripe strawberries, plump blueberries and unsweetened whipped cream. My cheesecake, queenly on a pool of tart raspberry sauce, was excellent. Light and rich, it was given character by a crust embedded with toasted almonds--a terrific idea. Adobe Creek, brought to you by the folks from San Jose's flourishing 840 North First Street restaurant, flows sweetly through Los Altos.

Adobe Creek
Address: 127 First St., Los Altos
Phone: 650.917.2000
Hours: TK
Entrees: $17.95-$24.95
Cuisine: New American
Extras: Full bar, banquet rooms

[ San Jose | MetroActive Central | Archives ]

From the February 10-16, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. MetroActive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.