Pdho and I headed down to South Bay for the first time in what seems like forever since Pdho moved up to the city. When Pdho was still living in Cupertino, we spent a fair number of weekends down in the South Bay but that changed once he moved to the city. Unless there is some specific occasion, which usually tends to be kid-related these days, we only go down to visit friends and family every once in awhile. Not that we have anything against the South Bay. In fact, Pdho and I were commenting on what we missed about the South Bay, mainly the warm, sunny weather and the easy access to reasonably-priced delicious Asian food.
This time, we headed down to visit K Squared and their new son, Baby E. They suggested heading over to Los Gatos to eat at a California Cafe where Mr. K Squared’s brother, Chef T, happened to be the sous chef. It was located on a street just parallel to the main strip in Downtown Los Gatos, and the inside of the restaurant was quite large and spacious. The restaurant had a lower lit, more formal feel which made me think it was a more popular destination for dinner, but it still seemed quite busy for brunch/lunch.
After we were seated, Chef T came out to say hi and proceeded to highlight the best things to order on the menu. I casually mentioned how I had read up on some of the reviews on Yelp, and with a look of disdain, he commented on how all restaurants dislike Yelp. I suppose it makes sense from his perspective, but as he was saying, most people on Yelp don’t know what they are talking about and sometimes their reviews can unfairly critique restaurants. It was an interesting point of view to hear from someone on the other side of Yelp reviews.
The complimentary bread basket that came out included these Jalapeño Biscuits which were soft muffin-shaped goodness of subtle jalapeño flavor. It wasn’t quite so dense, but instead, the texture was a cross between corn bread and biscuits. We all liked them so much, that we kept asking the wait to bring out more for us. Thanks to our hook up in the kitchen, we even ended up getting some that came out hot from the oven.
We decided to share the Spicy Tuna Poke appetizer amongst the four of us. The pieces of tuna were mixed with chopped avocado and micro-greens, flavored with sriracha and served with wonton chips. The tuna wasn’t too spicy, but it had a tasty, creamy kick to it, and the pickled cucumbers added a bit of tang. I liked it.
Pdho and Mr. K Squared ordered the Smoked Beef Hash and Poached Eggs. With a Chipotle hollandaise sauce topping the eggs, the dish had a distinct Southwestern flavor which was much more interesting than the traditional way that this dish usually comes. The beef was a little bit on the dry side and didn’t have as much flavor aside from the smokiness, so it was really important to include all components in each bite in order to get the full flavor punch.
The Eggs Los Gatos came highly recommended by Chef T, so Mrs. K Squared and I both ended up ordering it. The eggs were supposed to be poached, but I asked for a scrambled omelet which was served on 2 nice-sized Dungeness crab cakes, tomatoes and spinach. It was all topped with a creamy béarnaise sauce and served with a side of fried potatoes and bell peppers. This was really the best dish of the meal. Even with the crab cake, I felt this dish was lighter than the Smoked Beef Hash. The béarnaise sauce added some richness without being too heavy, and everything just really tasted good together. It is a definite must order for brunch.
Thankfully, Baby E slept soundly for most of the meal, so Mr. and Mrs. K Squared were able to enjoy their food without much interruption. As I think about it, when I go out with my friends who have babies, it’s always a tag team effort between Mom and Dad to eat, talk and take care of the baby. Anyways, all in all, the food was quite good especially the Eggs Los Gatos. Generally, the ingredients tasted fresh and the flavor profiles of the dishes were clean. It was a nice brunch with great company, and I’d be curious to go back and check out dinner service.
50 University Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95030
PAFO Ratings for California Cafe:
Price 3 stars
Ambiance 3 stars
Food 3 ½ stars
Overall rating 3 ½ stars