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Forbes Mill Steakhouse
206 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos; 408.395.6434

By Jim Harrington

Hours: Sun-Thu 5-10pm, Fri-Sat 5-11pm
Amenities: Full bar, fireplace, full dinner menu, bar menu, specialty martinis, notable wine list

DON'T LET all those joggers in Vasona Park and the long lines at Whole Foods fool you--Los Gatos is a steak-and-martini town. Offering both of those guilty pleasures, Forbes Mill Steakhouse (named after the town's first building) is the hottest destination on this culinary strip of the South Bay. It's hard to believe that Dean and Darin Devincenzi--the men responsible for the nearby Double D's Sports Grille--knew what type of a splash they would make when they transformed the space that once housed Stovie's Pasta & Pizza (and, before that, the Good Earth Restaurant) into the town's swankiest eatery back in mid-2003.

The immediate success of the restaurant--one employee might have slightly overstated it when he called Forbes "the most popular dining establishment in the Bay Area"--has spilled over into the bar area. Forbes' bar, which was originally intended to simply host diners before or after their meals, has edged other watering holes as the place to be seen. The upscale bar, decorated in plenty of richly stained wood and located not far from a warming fireplace, is doing big business with the after-work crowd, especially later in the week. Young, well-dressed, thirtysomethings drink pricey cocktails and chat each other up while watching the rest of the world zoom by on Santa Cruz Avenue.

Forbes' bar has a good beer selection and a lengthy wine list, loaded with, as one would expect, meat-friendly cabs and merlots. It's a better list than found at most brawny steakhouses--there's more variety, less reliance on the usual suspects, and the markup is quite reasonable. Still, the real deal here is the martinis. The friendly mixologists behind the bar shake up a delightful array of specialty drinks such as chocolate and banana martinis.

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From the April 14-20, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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