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Josh Sens | October 21, 2011 | Story Restaurants

Palo Alto
Here in the home of the high-tech startup, some brick-and-mortar business models still have legs. Take, for instance, this amiable restaurant, with a seasoned chef, a seasonal menu, and a setting that outclasses its shopping mall surrounds. Scott Soule runs the kitchen for the Bacchus Management Group, the merry band behind Spruce and Village Pub, and though he plays it safe, he also plays it well. Rotisseries yield beautiful bronzed chickens and perfectly roasted pork loins, plated in a shallow pool of their own jus, while the stove tops simmer with déjà vu dishes, from a creamy carrot soup, perfumed with vadouvan, to braised short ribs that mellow on a bed of wilted greens. The food is meant to comfort more than challenge, and the country-chic room is the right arena for it. Picture a summer cottage, stylishly staged. Service is friendly but frequently forgetful, especially at lunch, when the restaurant teems with unhurried wealth. The coffee and desserts give you good reason to linger, even if you’re not securing VC funding over your plate of warm beignets.

855 El Camino Real (at Embarcadero Rd.)
$$ W ★★

Our review policy: To ensure that we get a typical consumer’s experience in a restaurant, our writers dine anonymously; all expenses are paid by the magazine. Reviews are pulled from our listings two years after the review date or any time personnel changes at a restaurant render a review invalid. Our admittedly imperfect star ratings are based on food quality, variety, service, ambience, and value.
Staff reviewers and contributors to our restaurant guide include John Birdsall, Susan Bryan, Stett Holbrook, Rachel Levin, Jan Newberry, Josh Sens, and Lisa Trottier.

Average price of an entrée:
$ = $10 or less
$$ = $11–17
$$$ = $18–24
$$$$ = $25 or more

D = Dinner only
R = Reservation required/recommended
C = Cash only
V = Valet parking
W = Wheelchair accessible

★★★★ = superlative
★★★ = excellent
★★ = very good
★ = good
✩ = below average


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