Sunday, June 28, 2015

Lobster Cobb salad at Birk's--Santa Clara, CA

For lunch Friday I enjoyed a lobster Cobb salad at Birk's. I normally think of Birk's as serving good food (their pork chops are a can't-miss), but slightly expensive. Twenty-five dollars is a lot to pay for a salad, but this dish is one of the best values on the menu.

I also had a homemade watermelon and ginger lemonade. It was good, too, but the lobster salad won the day.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Jang Su Jang--Santa Clara, CA

Pork belly

Earlier this week I enjoyed Korean barbecue at Jang Su Jang, where we ordered pork belly and prime rib. The Korean barbecue experiences I had previously were all-you-can-eat, grill-it-yourself affairs. Even on the weekends, you could get out of there for less than $30/head.

So, I was a little surprised to see a plate of pork belly for $27 and our prime rib plate was $45. And, there was nothing all-you-can-eat about it. The big difference is the service. You don't have to lift a finger (and I didn't) and the meat goes from the kitchen to the grill to your plate--cooked to perfection (or at least pretty close) and cut.

Pork belly

Remember that because of this level of attention, there's a two-person minimum for barbecue. (One person is fine if two dishes are ordered.) And, the level of attention is highly personal indeed. Throughout the two-hour meal, servers passed by constantly to make sure our needs were tended to.

Prime rib

I wrapped up the dinner with a seafood soon tofu. The "seafood" was clams and shrimp (shell-on) and the tofu was soft, soft, soft--almost impossible to pick up with chopsticks. When you get the soon tofu, make sure you have rice to go along with it. This dish is spicy, about the highest level of spiciness as you'd find in a typical Korean tofu house.

Prime rib on the grill

I had a great time at Jang Su Jang and if invited as a guest I'd love to go again. However, while I appreciate the high level of service at Jang Su Jang, when it comes to Korean barbecue, I'm an all-you-can-eat guy. Also, I don't mind grilling meat on my own. So, coming back on my own, I'm afraid, is unlikely.

Seafood soon tofu
Jang Su Jang

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Table--San Jose, CA

Roasted Bone Marrow -- $13

Jenny and I took the kids to The Table in San Jose. I wanted to go largely because I was curious about the bone marrow. I have to give credit to the honesty of our server, who, since it was 9:00 in the morning, recommended against the marrow. He said it was more of an afternoon dish. As it had a greasy consistency, I can understand his point.

Ricotta Beignets -- $6

If I were the server, though, the real recommendation would be to order a meal in addition to the marrow. It simply wasn't filling enough for brunch or even breakfast. (To get that sated feeling I went to Manley's Donuts down the street afterwards). To scoop the marrow out of the plate you're given a marrow spoon. You then dump some marrow onto a piece of toast and enjoy. (By the way, the kids loved the toast plain.)

"Kids Eggs"--The bacon makes this a worthwhile purchase at $7.
Sugar coated and as light as air, beignets kicked off our breakfast. The delightful pastries bore a very similar to the Hong Kong style egg puffs you'd find at Cooking Papa. The beignets arrived with a lemon dipping sauce and had the texture of pudding.

Anson Mills Grits -- $15

As commonplace as eggs and bacon are at breakfast, Tyler and I marveled at the thick slab of bacon and how lean it was. Ever since, we've had our eye out for similar strips whenever we shop, but we have yet to find them.

Jenny had the Anson Mills Grits. For her, the experience was a textural affair that she enjoyed but wouldn't specifically seek out.

If you're looking for food a little out of the ordinary in a very pleasant, bright environment, come to The Table. You won't get filled cheaply, though.

The Table