Thursday, June 18, 2009

2009 Restaurant Review #7: Viognier, San Mateo, CA

Viognier was an interesting place. It is in San Mateo which is half way up the freeway between San Francisco and Redwood City, were we are staying. And I was happy to know that it was awarded the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2008. Luckily, the vendor rep and I both like good wine so she always makes sure we go somewhere with a good wine list!

We were off to the side in the back at 1 large tables and 2 additional four top booths which made things a little less "group" feeling. I noticed that it was a little louder than I liked.

So this place also has many little stores of books and craftsy type things, baby things, cards, etc., outside of but attached to the restaurant. I had picked up some cards but then I had to go downstairs to buy them and I couldn't find the down escalator (but I found the up escalator) and it was becoming a lot of trouble so I didn't bother getting them. Anyway...

They have a really good wine selection. But I started out with a glass of Cragganmore neat with a side of water.

We were given a set menu where you pick 3 or 4 courses. And if you wanted 2 appetizers, that was okay too, as long as it was within the 3 or 4 courses.

So, I started out with the Sweet Corn and Crab Soup. It was a light creamy soup with a few bits of crab meat in the center. It was also a pretty light greenish color that was quite lovely. And the flavor was delicious. The portion size was surprisingly substantial.

The soup was followed by yet another appetizer, the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, which I thought was a bit of a disappointment. Instead of the crisp asian flavors that usually come with tuna tartare, I had a profound taste of mayonnaise instead. I found myself wanting to add some salt for a little flavor. But the tuna was quite fresh.

The main course was a Pan Seared Diver Scallops on a bed of charred early corn relish, and finished off with a champagne lemon butter. This was very nicely done. Three medium sized scallops on an equally restrained bed of the fresh corn relish which was delicious. I found myself wishing that the portion of corn relish was a bit larger. I found it interesting that the main course was so small. But that was ok since I had no desire to overeat.

I skipped the cheese course and the dessert course.

The food here was excellent and I would definitely go back. The ambiance and decor were also very nice and the service staff were all attentive without being cloying.

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