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Restaurants & Bars 1

John Bentley's - Redwood City - A Review (long)

Richie Richmond | Aug 10, 200405:50 PM

7 of my family members went to John Bentley’s last night in Redwood City, and I thought I would give a brief (??) report.

I will start with what I know best, what I ordered.
“Golden Beet and Roasted Eggplant Ravioli” which is what I started with was, which was unexpected by me, square slices of golden beet with roasted eggplant in the middle. There were 3 and all were dressed with a carrot dressing. I really liked this. It was cold, and quite refreshing. The beets sweetness balanced nicely with the eggplants earthy (?) flavor.

Pork Loin – Bone in, super thick, coated with panko and pan fried. 3 words…OH – MY – G-D…and yes, it was good enough to bring out the Valley Girl in me. It was perfectly cooked, still pink in the middle and was think, juicy and a perfect balance of richness from the fat, and delicious flavor from the meat. This is, by far, the absolute BEST piece of meat I think I have EVER had in a restaurant. I swear, I am not exaggerating, and I have eaten in many very nice/good/etc. restaurants. This was served with mushrooms and an apple relish, which lent a wonderful sweetness (seemed like a fall sort of dish to me) to the pork. At one point I had cut quite a hunk of fat of my pork and put it on my bread plate. I looked up and it was gone…BF sheepishly asked that I not “judge him”—he had eaten it…it was fabulous, really, really good!

The sides were all lack luster, and ranged from yams, to garlic mash, to cous cous accompanied by green beans etc. They were all fine, but the meats were the stars of the evening.

BF had:
- Gorgonzola stuffed figs (special) – These were tasty and dressed with a tiny bit of balsamic reduction, but both of us agreed that they needed more gorgonzola to balance the sweetness of the reduction and the fig. Almost wonderful. The figs themselves were lovely, as was the gorgonzola, but the sweetness really won out.

- Lamb over cous cous – Again, the side was just ok…the lamb itself was a nice combination of gamey lamb flavor and au jus (don’t remember what kind). The pork was better….WAY better…did I mention how good it was?

Others had:
- Butter lettuce salad – same old, same old, looked overdressed, didn’t try

- Watermelon, avocado and Dungeness Napoleon – beautiful, and plate was cleaned, I didn’t get a bite so I assume it was good.

- Tuna tartar – nice and spicy sauce over the lovely yellowtail (I think) but it did finish w/ a little fishy taste…not offensively so, but I noticed.

- Salmon – Done well, not too dry like people like to make it, tasty

- Veal medallions (special) – Padre says one of the best meals he had ever had. Again, mashed potato side was just blah, and didn’t even get eaten.

- Hangar Steak – Done under medium-rare that was requested and came out closer to rare…I didn’t get to try (are we noticing that my family doesn’t like to share? ;-) ) but it looked wonderful.

- Chocolate “Bundt” – ok, rich and chocolatey, SMALL, just ok though

- Rhubarb “Pie” – Grandpa couldn’t STOP talking about how good the crust was (it was good!) Yummy sweet/tart filling.

Wonderfully sweet and intelligent server, the wine we ordered was out, so she recommended something else which was more than acceptable to my wine connoisseur uncle. She was sweet and understanding and turned down the air when it got too chilly for us ladies.

There was one special that we wanted to try that was a (if I remember) sundried tomato soup garnished with goat cheese and chives served with rosemary crostini, but with the figs and the "ravioli" we didn't.

All in all it was a wonderful experience. I had not ever been to John Bentley’s before, but if it is always this good then I understand the hype. I do hope that this isn’t one of those places that goes down hill because people will go there because of the name. It truly was what I think of as California cuisine. Lively, fresh ingredients that are prepared well so that they maintian their own integrity while adding and balancing the dish. Lovely room, lovely experience, (lovely family??) and lovely food. I can recommend JB’s w/ 2 thumbs way way up…and try the pork!


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