03/02/2010Provided by Citysearch -
231 Ellsworth has officially replaced Parcel 104 on my top 5 special occasion dining list (Peninsula & South Bay edition).
I was requested by higher power to show some very important friends of my family a good time in the bay area. I was ready to splurge and I want nothing but the best. Alexander's steakhouse had been dined to death. Plumed Horse, Parcel 104 and Le Papillon are all a bit far for my guests coming from the city. After some careful research I have decided to bring them to 231 Ellsworth.
I made my reservation one week in advance. I budgeted 1.5 hours to drive from San Jose to San Mateo just to make sure I could get there before my guests. I was 15 minutes early and no one else had checked in yet. Everything seemed to be going according to plan. I waited patiently by the bar area.
20 minutes later my guests finally arrived. It was then I realized I messed up the reservation. There were 5 people in my party and I only made reservation for 4! I did not know how I let that that slip. Must be the sleep deprivation.
I turned to the maitre'd and she noticed my mistake without me even saying a word. She immediately tried to arrange a larger table and made it seemed like they were just getting things ready. We were seated in 10 minutes and I was relieved.
Me and my guests decided to go with the 3 course chef tasting menu. The chef took food allergies and dietary restrictions into consideration which is a really nice touch because one of my guest is on a diabetic diet. The food was phenomenal. We had cod filet, rack of lamb and numerous small bites between the main courses including oyster, tuna tartar and sorbet. At the end of the dinner one of my guest pronounced the Rack of Lamb as the best he had. (I would say that was probably on the 3rd-4th position for me.)
I could not believe an excellent meal like this came with such a modest price tag. I thought I could never hear myself calling an upscale restaurant good value. The 3 course tasting menu is just 60 dollar per person! (Trust me you really won't be hungry at the end of your dinner. I can't even imagine finishing a 5 course meal.) I have forked out more than double that amount at some fancy restaurants where both the food and service shy by comparison.
The ambiance of 231 Ellsworth is elegant, classy but relaxed. The dining room is romantic but not too formal. Tables are placed quite far apart so you can enjoy some privacy for your dinner conversation. Take your s/o, date, business associate, clients, customers to this restaurant and you won't be disappointed.
Unfortunately I forgot to compliment Chef Isaac Miller when he was making his rounds to greet our table. One of these days I will go back to 231 Ellsworth again.