My family will be in town a week before my 30th birthday and they want to take me out to dinner to celebrate. The problem: where to go? My wife and I have lived in San Jose for about six months and are not terribly familiar with the dining scene. From what I have gleaned so far from Chowhound, reviews, actual eating, and other research, there don't seem to be a lot of restaurants in the South Bay that aren't either super expensive (Manresa), hole-in-the-wall taco or pho joint (potentially delicious, but not what I had in mind for my birthday soiree), or mediocre.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to go to Manresa, but there will be 6 of us and I don't want my father to have to cash in his 401k to pay for dinner. He is on the picky side, kind of a high-end meat-and-potatoes guy. I think he'd like Arcadia (which I've been to), but it is still a little higher-priced than I'm looking for. Personally, I'd really like some kind of local, seasonal, simple, Zuni Cafe-ish place. But I don't want to make them trek up to the city -- would probably like to stay Palo Alto or south.
We used to live in Boston, and since I was a native and my wife was a chef, we really knew our way around the dining scene. We had certain places we liked to go that featured seasonal, thoughtful, well-executed food for under $30 a plate. Am I dreaming, or can this be found in the South Bay?