Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Table Willow Glen- Brunch

If you are familiar with the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose you are probably familiar with their old stalwarts. La Villa Italian, Taiwan Chinese, Willow Street Pizza, John's Excellent foods for Greek, Bill's for Brunch. Probably some of the casual spots like Pizza My Heart or Opa! If you haven't been down to Lincoln Ave in awhile you may be in for quite the surprise! Over the last 2 years or so there has been an huge overhaul particularly on the corner of Lincoln and Willow. There is lots to see and taste and one of the most popular new spots is The Table.

A few months ago I wrote about Hay Market another new restaurant in Willow Glen with an on trend menu of California cuisine. Earthy and interesting. They now have some competition! The Table is described on it's website as "An urban, neighborhood eatery focused on seasonal ingredients, hand-crafted cocktails, & progressive wines". With an ambitious but not overly long menu of interesting flavor profiles The Table appears to have a lot to offer. As time permitted this weekend I decided to try out their brunch first. Having had that I'm excited to go back for another meal or perhaps happy hour!
Coffee is served with steamed milk and your choice of Raw Sugar or Splenda
My friend Amanda joined me at the restaurant for a catch up & commiseration sesh while we ate. As I arrived first I was able to take some time taking in the surroundings over a bloody mary.

The north wall faces Willow Street along which US Bank & Bill's cafe reside. Floor to cieling windows let in lots of warm mid morning light and along with the high ceilings give the space a much larger feel than it's square footage might convey. The bar fills the next short wall with about 6 seats and nice TV and a lovely bottle display. I'm looking forward to checking out this angle at a Happy Hour soon. Following is the open kitchen. A blend of both urban and country esthetics abound (once again very "on trend"). The tables of 2 or 4 are lined up in 3 rows. The row along the window seems to be one big "family table" type set up with a few long benches along with chairs on the opposite side. In the front corner there are a couple of round booths for 5 or 6.
With brunch they offer bottomless mimosas in really elegant stemless flutes, a nice spicy and well balanced Bloody Mary, or a refreshing sounding gin cocktail. Their menu leans more primarily to the savory, we wanted to try to contrasting dishes so I had the Chilaquiles (a Mexican dish made with a base of crisped tortillas cut into pieces and tossed in a red sauce) topped with a poached egg, cotija cheese, and avocado and Amanda ordered their Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Wild Oregon Huckleberries.
The only other times I have had Chilaquiles were when the chef's at some of the restaurants I worked at made it as an occasional treat before a lunch service. It's been a long time so it is hard to compare the two but over all I enjoyed this dish. The very lightly poached egg added lots of extra moisture to the crunchy tortilla pieces. I could have gone for a little more of the red salsa/sauce and maybe a little more spice (they did provide hot sauce on the side should you want to add it, I'm not a big hot sauce add-er but I think I should have on this one). The Avocado was nice and fresh and the dish was generous in size and attractively plated. I frequently see Huevos Rancheros on brunch menus but Chilaquiles are little more rare. It was a nice brunch change of pace. I maybe could have gone for a second egg (not that it was necessary I was just craving more breakfastiness) to enjoy even more of the dish.
 Amanda's Lemon Ricotta pancakes were beautiful and thick. The berries were nice and added some extra tangy flavor although since they are so small it would have been nice if there were more to go around. I was really curious to see what the ricotta would do to the texture of the pancakes. They were somewhere between dense and light, more cakey in a way. A nice option if you prefer sweet breakfast.

I noticed that they were really pushing their house made Sticky buns hard at each table as a sort of starter. I had actually at first considered ordering one when I looked the menu over upon first arriving and waiting for Amanda but my waitress was bugging me so I changed my mind. After seeing one pass by (it didn't look very impressive) I wasn't disappointed I didn't have one.

Over all for a neighborhood restaurant in San Jose I was impressed. It felt sophisticated and I really enjoyed the atmosphere (minus my clingy waitress who doesn't know how to not interrupt table conversation). As I have already mentioned a few times I'm planning to check out their happy hour soon and will most definitely add it as an addendum to this post!

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