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Photograph by Erika Pino

Beautifully Lit: There's a lot to toast at Los Gatos' Tapestry.

Well-Woven Cuisine

An experimental menu serves up uneven results, but dessert saves the evening

By Christina Waters

TAPESTRY GETS high marks for beautiful lighting: Tiny Italian lamps sparkle suspended from the restaurant's sunny yellow ceiling. But my date, Jack, and I were not wild about Tapestry's other decorating effect--namely, the crowd of ceramic grotesqueries perched along the restaurant's walls. Having strange creatures with tiny heads and huge misshapen feet watch you work your way through some tasty selections is a little like having the Mad Hatter show up on a romantic date.

Tucked inside an otherwise charming Craftsman bungalow in Los Gatos, Tapestry thankfully limits most of its unexpectedness to its menu. Take the "lettuce taco" ($8), for example. Since the menu didn't describe what that could possibly be (a taco filled with lettuce?), we asked our very helpful server. Turns out it was more like an Indonesian version of a Thai classic in which a lettuce leaf is "stuffed" with minced chicken, spices, peanut sauce and then drizzled with crème fraîche. Talk about postmodern cuisine!

It sounded good to Jack, though, and I ordered a warm duck salad with caramelized pears ($10) to keep him company. On a plate decorated with the loudest patterns I've ever seen in a restaurant came a mound of endive, radicchio and watercress flecked with diced and spiced pear (totally wonderful) and topped with a few strips of chewy but tasty duck. Duck and Chianti Classico (Rodano, $7.50)--a definite "yes!" The tacos also disappeared quickly; Jack was all smiles over the flavor combo and didn't miss the fried factor that usually goes with the word "taco."

But the fried factor showed up big-time in what we thought was going to be Wiener schnitzel ($21). The menu simply called it "Wiener Schnitzel"--no ironic, witty description or anything. So when the dish arrived, we were confused. Rather than a thin veal scallop lightly breaded and sautéed, what Jack received was almost an invisible carpaccio of veal sandwiched between breading practically dripping with oil. Katsu-style schnitzel--that's what the menu should have said. With it came excellent roasted potatoes and a mound of fresh spinach.

My entree of grilled chicken breast was a miracle of moistness ($19). It came on a bed of terrific ginger-laced red cabbage and a pillow of stupendously tasty mashed potatoes. The chicken was luscious, like a little white steak. Jack and I split it happily, and ignored the "schnitzel."

Tapestry does designer desserts and, whatever you do, save plenty of room to sample these glamorous creations. Almost everything on the ambitious dessert list sounded to kill for. Hot chocolate cake, warm apple turnover, blackberry cabernet sorbet--choosing was not an easy proposition. At our neighboring table, an apple turnover was being consumed with lots of oohs and aahs (it lasted about as long as a Bud Lite at an A's game). But we had very firm ideas about what should go with cups of really strong, really fine espresso.

Jack grinned like an idiot when his mango Linzer torte arrived--it looked like a miniature mango pie with tart raspberry purée and a topknot of crème fraîche ice cream ($7). Outrageous would be one way of putting it. Warm mango, cool tangy ice cream and that artistic latticework of raspberry--a very California cuisine star.

On the other hand, if chocolate is your thing, you can't miss Tapestry's hot chocolate cake ($7.25) topped with an orb of caramel-laced mascarpone cream--not ice cream, but a thinking person's whipped cream, only made from that decadent Italian mascarpone cream cheese instead. Okay, back to the cake itself. Warm and rich with the texture of an oozing brownie inside, the cake practically devoured us--it was truly chocolate heaven and very pretty on a big white plate with caramel and chocolate zigzags.

It would be nice to have a little more clarity in terms of menu descriptions, but Tapestry is a great place to take a date. Even if you simply jumped directly to those fabulous desserts!

Address: 11 College Ave., Los Gatos
Phone: 408.395.2808
Hours: Lunch 11:30am-2pm Tue-Sat ; dinner 5:30pm-closing Mon-Sat
Cuisine: California fusion
Entrees: Moderate

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From the March 21-27, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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