Friday, August 2, 2013

Madera restaurant in Menlo Park

There are a handful of one Michelin Star restaurants on San Francisco peninsula.  Madera is one of them.  The location of the restaurant could not be more perfect.  It is right on Sand Hill Road where all the tech venture capitalists are at.  I went there to grab lunch and saw two types of lunch crowds: ladies who do lunch and VCs.  Being that it is one of the few restaurant on peninsula that has a Michelin star, I had high expectations.  Sure, it's not going to be as good as Baume restaurant in Palo Alto (two Michelin stars), but surely it should match up to Acquerello or Quince in the city right?

Well, it really depends on what you are looking for.  Quality of the ingredients was very high.  I had Fresh Rock Shrimp Tempura with Spicy Chili and Sesame Aioli.  It was very good.  The shrimp was definitely NOT overcooked.  It was very juicy and tender.  I guess I'm so used to eating turbo fried tempura shrimps at my local Japanese restaurants that I forgot what a well fried shrimp tempura should taste like.  Next I had a Crab and Shrimp cake.  They were delicious.  The crab and shrimp cake was 75% crab and shrimp and 25% filling.  Too often one orders crab cakes and you ended up with a lot of "cake" but not too much crab.  This one is the opposite.  The curry emulsion goes perfectly with the cake and mint leaves made a pan fried dish light.  Who knew mint leaves does that? 

All in all, I enjoyed the food here.  I just wish the presentation of the food is more on par with Acquerello or Quince.  With that said, perhaps their lunch presentation is more casual than the dinner one?  I guess I will have to go back and check it out again.  BTW, I was there for a birthday lunch and their freebie raspberry cake definitely leaves much to be desired.  It felt more like something that Rosewood Sand Hill hotel (where the Madera is at) would leave at their customers' rooms as a welcome gift than the same kitchen that just served me expertly fried shrimp tempura. 

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