Left Bank (Menlo Park)

Left Bank is a small “chain” (3 locations) of French inspired brasseries with typical french classics. We recently visited the Menlo Park location and even though it might be not the most creative/innovative cooking but all dishes were surprisingly good executed and very enjoyable. Only minor issue was that they also had a larger party upstairs which at times clearly overwhelmed the kitchen and dishes came out sometimes quite slow which was actually great for us as we really liked slow paced dinners but it was obvious that other tables weren’t as happy about it. Their classical cocktails were also quite good, in particular the Last Word was very good and well balanced.

Tarte Flambee - classic interpretation- very well made (only it could have been a but warmer)

Steak Tartare - again classic interpretation with a right balance between mustard, capers and shallots

Salade Lyonnaise - not overdressed like it is often in restaurants, good lardons and perfectly poached egg

Steak Frites - very tender skirt steak cooked indeed to medium-rare, good fries

House made grilled sausage with pickled vegetables and truffle fries - good snap and seasoning on the sausage

Beef Bourguignon - stews can be sometimes disappointing in restaurants as the meat can get tough cooking/simmering throughout the service but this version was one of the highlights of the evening with tender meat and a impressive complex sauce.

Fondant au chocolat - classical lava cake

Tarte au Citron - well executed

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They’ve always been good places for traditional French and particularly Lyonnaise dishes. The only bad dish I ever had was a salade Nicoise with half-raw rather than confited tuna.

You might want to check out the several French restaurants on California Avenue in Palo Alto. My favorites are La Boheme, and Pastis.

We have a long, long list of restaurants all over the Bay Area we are planning to visit over time - and both restaurants are part of it. Any other French restaurants you like ?

Chapeau in SF. Also Le Garage in Sausalito has oustanding moules.

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