Nice dinner at Spago – Palo Alto

Having lived in the Bay Area for over five years, I can’t believe I never got around to going here until now. We had a 5PM reservation on Saturday. The server was really helpful and spent a significant time going over the entire menu with us.

We started with a pumpkin soup with shrimp cake. The soup was nicely done, spiced with curry powder and topped with cilantro. Definitely a fusion dish, but not the type that makes me cringe. We also started with a beet and goat cheese salad. The beets were delicious and sweet and the cheese was delicious. The plate was drizzled with basil oil and balsamic vinegar.

For our main courses we had the lamb shank with pasta which was slow cooked and tender. The fresh pasta was prepared with a simple butter sauce that was quite nice. The pheasant with porcini mushrooms and polenta was really tender and succulent. The chef utilized a nice fried sage leaf garnish which enhanced the dish. Flavors were great but the pheasant needed to be seasoned with a little more salt. We concluded with by sharing a warm chocolate cake with ice cream – very tasty with perfect sweetness.

Overall the meal was very nice: flavors were bold yet clean. Presentation of the food is a bit dated – with the obligatory chocolate sauce doodles on the plate, etc. Portions are pretty large so you probably only need to do two courses. The waiter was very courteous and helpful although their timing is not the best. They served a course when I was still in the bathroom. The room looks pretty nice but they need to replace the carpet and update the bathrooms. In terms of food, it’s definitely in the top restaurants at this price point, mid-high end.