Friday, September 19, 2008

Fine Dining After 26 Years

Last night was the 26th anniversary of Mrs Notthat and my first date. To celebrate, we had dinner at the John Bentley's restaurant in a beautiful part of Redwood City along the charming El Camino Real. (I'm lying about the beautiful and charming bits - very little of El Camino Real - Spanish for "pickup cars are for real, dude" - would be confused with the word "charming," unless you are fond of fast food and places that change your oil in under 18 minutes.)

John Bentley's is fine dining. You can tell because their menu doesn't bother with cents - all prices are just nice round numbers like "23" (for a glass of water). Try to find that at your fast food place. Also, they don't serve normal food - everything has at least one ingredient that you have never heard of. For example, here are what we had for starters.

One of these is "Pulled Pork & Green Apple Crèpe, Green Peppercorn Sauce" and the other is "Watermelon, Avocado, Deviled Dungeness Crab Salad." OK, bad examples - these, while odd sounding, seem to use normal ingredients. (The pork burrito-like thing was very good, the watermelon crab thing was good but seemed a bit too healthy.)

Main courses included "Pan Seared Day Boat Scallops, Peruvian Mash, Asparagus, Tomato Tarragon Ver Jus" - pay dirt! "Peruvian Mash?" "Day Boat Scallops?" "Ver Jus?"

Mrs Notthat ordered the special, which sadly I don't have a detailed description of, but it involved a sea bass (no indication of whether it was cought with a day, night, or just before dusk boat) and a grain that began with an "f" that I heard the waitpersons have to explain at every table they served (it was green and looked disturbingly like capers, which is something I cannot eat due to an incident 27 years ago - don't ask).

Dessert was very good. Mrs had this "Warm Flourless Chocolate Souffle Cake, Coconut Gelato" thing.

I had this "Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake, Caramel Gelato, Chocolate Sauce" thing.

Yes, it was absurdly expensive. We did not leave with any doggie bags, but we also did not call in a pizza order on the way home, which I guess means that the portions were OK if not lavish. Obviously they go for presentation in a big way - at first it was not that easy to wreck some cook's masterful creation by jabbing a fork into it, but by the end we were pros at it.

This is not my kind of restaurant, but since Mrs Nothat is my kind of woman, and has been for 26 years, I will put up with it once or twice a year (which is about how often this happens).

Note: The Boy was in class last night so he missed out on the fine dining, which I don't think he would have liked any way. Good Boy! So tonight - burritos from Los Gallos Taqueria, our local Mexican food joint. For one sixth the money will we get enough to feed us for two days.

Granted, we will have no idea of what sort of boat was used to catch the chickens.

That's it - move along...


DAK said...

Great good photos! But...what happened with the capers 27 years ago? Did you o'd on capers? I want to know how somebody does that.

notthatlucas said...

Well, dak, back when I was young and single and on an expense account in Redwood City for business, I got violently ill after eating some dish that was infested with capers. Now, it is true that I had also had a great many adult beverages that night as well, and they might have played some small role in the getting violently ill thing, but I've always blamed the capers and I start getting nauseous just seeing them now.

mary ann said...

You sure ordered the right dessert. I have never heard of this restaurant, but it sounds quite wonderful.