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Casa De Cobre

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casadecobresignFinally a Mexican restaurant in the Saratoga Village. The town is slowly getting revitalized. The owner of “The Basin” recently opened Casa de Cobre in the old Gervais location. The interior has gotten a Latin makeover with copper/turquoise painted walls and handmade tables and chairs (Cute — but I give these things 6 months before they need to be replaced). You won’t find the usual burritos and fajitas here but much lighter unique and flavorful dishes similar to Consuelo’s at Santana Row. Mike and I decided to try a bunch of appetizers. We started off with the guacamole and chips. Everything was made to order and tasted ultra fresh. Next up taquitos. They have 7 varieties. We went with braised bacon!, Chivo (goat), Al pastor (pork with pineapple) and Camarones (shrimp). All were delicious but my favorite was hands down the shrimp (I know….better than bacon). Mike enjoyed the goat best. Then came the black bean flautas and Quesa de hongos (mushroom quesadilla). I’m giving you all the Spanish terminology because that is the way the menu reads. Be prepared to need translation unless you know Spanish. By this point we were pushing maximum capacity but of course had to try dessert. Jiricaya, a cinnamon flan/creme brulee creation arrived and was quickly devoured.

Mike and I decided this is now our favorite Mexican restaurant in the area. The prices are reasonable and you can leave without breaking the bank as long as you stay away from the tasty $9 margaritas.  Next visit we are actually gonna try a main course. Welcome Casa de Cobre!

taquitos

Taquitos

Tasty Tip: you may want to avoid coming on the weekends until all the kinks are worked out and the novelty of a new establishment has worn off –our server said the Saturday before was super busy and the kitchen was slammed.

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Website: http://www.casadecobre.com/

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Sent Sovi

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For my birthday this year I decided to return to the place Mike asked me to marry him…Sent Soví, a small, romantic French-California restaurant located in downtown Saratoga. We hadn’t been in for a meal since the summer of 2006 and I was surprised to find many changes had occurred over the last 2 years to the menu. The regular à la cart items no longer exist. You now only have the option to get the Chef’s tasting menu ($85) or a 3 or 4 course Prix-fixe menu ($65/$72). The wine menu was also overhauled. They now have wine flights as well as glasses by the 1,3 or 5 ounce pour for reasonable prices. This was a welcomed modification. I assume in response to the down economy last month they introduced a nightly special. Each day of the week they feature one signature dish complete with choice of soup or salad and dessert for $45. Mike and I chose to try it out since it was pork night and we are fans of the piggie.

Our dinner began with a complementary Amuse bouche of cold lemongrass soup which had a yogurt consistency but custard taste. It was a interesting start. I chose the Spinach salad with toasted almonds and a harissa vinaigrette for my starter. The spinach was crisp and fresh but the dressing was a bit too spicy. Mike ordered the Squash curry soup which he thoroughly enjoyed. It was Tuesday so our main course was Pecan Crusted Pork Loin With Celery Root Puree, Brussels Sprouts in Brown Butter and Shallot Jus. The pork was cooked perfectly and the puree was light and smooth. I’d never had brussel sprouts before mostly because I only hear negative commentary about them. I think they get a bad rap because these were incredible. I ate ever last one but I’m sure this is not how most prepare the veg at home. There was a bit of a wait in-between our main course and dessert but to hold us over we were offered (large) glasses of a delicious port. I have to say that we have always had stellar service at Sent Soví. The staff is knowledgeable about food & wine and extremely polite. For dessert I picked the trio of sorbets (coconut, dark chocolate and strawberry) and homemade cookies. My dessert was presented on a plate with “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate. I was instantly transported to July 2, 2005 when my dessert had “Will you marry me?” scrolled in chocolate across the plate. I like how they go the extra mile to make events special. Mike had the Rosemary creme brulee which was more savory than sweet. It had a unique taste but I think Mike prefers the classic version. Overall, the nightly dinner was tasty and economical but it didn’t really wow us like meals of the past. I guess we are gonna have to shell out the big bucks in order to experience the flavors we grew to love, and you know what, I really don’t mind because Sent Soví is worth every penny.

amuse soup pork cremebrulee

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Website: http://www.sentsovi.com/ Continue reading

Plumed Horse Restaurant

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For Mike’s birthday we went to the Plumed Horse in Saratoga. It recently re-opened after a lengthy remodel. The lodge like decor has disapeared and has become ultra modern. The dining area is fairly small. There are ~17 tables packed into a single room. It looks like there will be more areas to dine but they are not ready yet. Pretty unbelievable, but Mike and I were probably the youngest couple in the place. Those that were younger where having dinner with family members. The restaurants clientele is probably older because of the hefty price tags on the menu. Come to think of it, I think I even saw a couple coats and ties on some of the men. Who wears a suit to dinner in California anymore?

Let’s move on to the food…the evening started off with a complimentary Amuse-bouche from the head chef. We received a tiny mug that contained an artichoke and prawn soup. A single roll and butter was then served to each of us by one of the many assistant servers. (I’ll go into more detail about that later). Mike ordered our wine from the extensive wine list. You will see the new 1,800 bottle wine cellar as it is a prominent design element. plumed horse wine cellarThen we sat and waited for our first course to arrive. I don’t know if they were really busy or if they don’t like to rush things but there was a slight time lapse between courses. It also could of been that we were REALLY hungry. We had a 8pm reservation, which we never do, but because of things planned during the day this time fit our schedule. For the first course I chose the crab and asparagus bisque and Mike had the butter lettuce with radish and pine nut vinaigrette. My crab and asparagus bisques came in separate pouring vessels and were presented table-side. When poured into my bowl it looked like a yin/yang sign…very artistic display. The soup was good, nothing spectacular.

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Ristorante Da Mario – the best Bolognese around

My favorite cuisine is Italian. All my life I have been searching for the perfect bowl of ragu. I have found it (well at least the best so far). If you stroll the streets of downtown Saratoga you will find a handful of quirky stores and upscale/expensive restaurants. To our surprise last year a quaint little Italian restaurant opened up. We’ve dropped in three times and have never been disappointed. Last week we took a friend to dinner. We started things off with an Antipasto platter that included mozzarella, San Daniele prosciutto and two types of bruschetta (tomato and mushroom). Everything was fresh and flavorful. We also had a new addition to the menu a thinly sliced stuffed eggplant with a marinara sauce. It resembled a cannelloni and was wonderful. For the main course I had my usual — the Spaghetti Bolognese. I just can’t say enough about this little bowl of heaven.

The sauce is light with lots of tiny bits of meat and mushrooms. I could eat it every day. By the way the Spaghetti with meatballs is just as good. Mike had the veal piccata and our guest had the homemade gnocchi with pesto and Gorgonzola cheese sauce. I’ve never been a fan of gnocchi but Mike and our friend both said they were fantastic. To finish things off we ordered the tiramisu and chocolate macaroons. Be sure to leave room for dessert because the tiramisu is some of the best I’ve ever had. During our meal Mike attempted to get the ragu recipe out of the hostess but she wasn’t leaking any family secrets. I guess we’ll just have to continue to visit Da Mario for all my future ragu cravings…

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Website: http://www.ristorantedamario.com/

Ristorante Da Mario Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

La Fondue

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La Fondue in Saratoga recently re-opened down the street from the old location. The restaurant is much bigger and the dark medieval theme is gone 🙂 . When you walk in you will not recognize the place. I think the only thing they kept from the old spot were the fondue pots. The new decor is modern with a touch of crazy. The owner knows Mike so we got a tour after our meal. There are at least four different rooms all with their own style. Mitch (the owner) had the materials (wallcoverings,lighting..) flown in from all over the world. It was clear that a lot of time and energy had been put forth in coming up with the design choices. The food was as good as usual and filling. You won’t leave this place hungry. We ordered the Fondue Feast. We started off with the Stinking Rose cheese fondue, which is scrumptious. Then moved on to the main course which included the following: chicken, calamari steak, buffalo, scallops, shrimp and filet mignon. We chose to cook our feast on the grill. They no longer give you the garlic butter to saute but opt for a healthier oil. I must say I prefer the old fattening garlic butter! It was tastier. If you’re coming to La Fondue you’re not watching your weight! Keep in mind if you are more adventurous you can choose alligator, crocodile or ostrich for your meat. For dessert (my favorite part of the meal), we chose the milk chocolate fondue with a shot of irish cream. They give you all kinds of goodies to dip including the healthy: strawberries, bananas, apples and the sinful: cinnamon covered cream cheese balls, rice krispie treats and snicker bars. Coming to La Fondue is always a fun and entertaining way to spend an evening. Although your body can really only handle visiting once a year. If you haven’t been in a while, it’s worth going just to see the renovations.

Tip: Remember you can just go for the chocolate Sunday-Thurs at 10pm.
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La Fondue website: http://www.lafondue.com/

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