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Need casual dinner in Scotts Valley

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We're heading south on Hwy 17 to meet my sis-in-law, her friend, and two 11-yr olds, who are coming north on Hwy 1 then Hwy 17. We want to meet for dinner in Scotts Valley

Here are the parameters:

Casual (though that's a given in this town)
Sushi is ok if there are also non sushi items on the menu
Close to the Scotts Valley Drive exit or Mt Herman Road exit

I was thinking Rumblefish since we liked it when we went, but I wanted to see if there are any other ideas since I'm new to the area. Or does anyone have any experince at:

Cafe Max at the Hilton Hotel
Gashouse Pizza on Scotts Valley Drive
Malone's (is this a divey place? It looks divey from the outside, and divey is ok but their menu says otherwise, $18-26 for entrees)

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  1. Stay away from Cafe Max. The one time I went to Gashouse Pizza (shortly after it opened) I was seriously unimpressed.

    Malone's actually has some really good (for what it is) selections. The bar is kind of divey, but the inside dining room is fine. Good salads and sandwiches (and really good skirt steak--available by itself or in a sandwich or salad, if you happen to be into that).

    Another place that's nice but casual (but not too well known since it's in a virtually hidden location) is the Scotts Valley Grill behind the little center where Auntie Mame's and Maya is located. The fish dishes in particular have been really good.

    1. Sorry, can't give you any suggestions, but can you say more about Rumblefish?

      PS. You are doing an excellent job combing the chow landscape for us!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Carb Lover

        Here's my 2 cents on Rumblefish from a couple of weeks ago...
        13 days ago RWCFoodie replied

        Well, a spur-of-the-moment trip down to our place in Boulder Creek Saturday resulted in a trip to Rumble Fish! The photo menu of all their rolls is really fun - if you're not a sushi purist and want crazy stuff, this is it. I'm definitely not an authority on sushi but I can tell if stuff tastes fresh, and this definitely tasted fresh!

        Not being able to make up our minds on what to order - we chose the path of least resistance - the $45 omakase platter (that's not each, it's for 2 and includes 20 pcs of nigiri sushi, 8 pcs of sashimi, 6 pcs of California roll & 4 pcs of Godziila roll).

        I've finally tackled the process of posting pictures (now that I've opened my big mouth, I hope it comes thru ok), here's a shot of the platter:

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/73893588...

      2. What about the new place that just opened that is the sister restaurant to La Bruschetta? I think it is called "In Vino Veritas". It's over by Nob Hill I believe. I haven't been there yet but I hear that La Bruschetta is very good, and I think it is a family-type place.

        1. Thanks for the suggestions. I gave my SIL and her friend a short list of suggestions (Rumblefish, Malone's, Scotts Valley Grill and Tucson Taqueria), and they chose Scotts Valley Grill. Only, I thought it was a casual diner/cafe that would be ok for 2 constantly snickering 11yo boys (who I found out are picky eaters to boot), and when I stepped through the door, I saw it was more like a quiet restaurant in a french cottage: candles on the table, wine glasses & starched napkins, and tasteful decor of creamy yellow walls with white wainscoting and soft sheer drapes. Also bottles of wine decorating the front counter which I guess are on their wine list.

          Thankfully, I saw another table with 2 kids (one teen and one youngster) and except for them there were no other diners in the section we were seated (though towards the end of our meal, a dad came with his very dressed up little girl for something like a celebration dinner). Also thankfully, our 11 yr olds weren’t as bad as they could’ve been; their worst was using their food as art media, but atleast their messes were confined to their plates and they didn’t break the wine glasses they insisted on using for drinking their water.

          The server was very nice overall, friendly but professional, and never condescending to the kids or us. They do have a short kids menu (like 3 items) not written on the menu but if you ask they’ll recite it. I also have a vague memory of him reciting nightly specials but I’m not sure. The menu is filled with common Italian/Californian dishes. I remember Seared Ahi Salad, butternut squash ravioli, pasta primavera, and grilled steaks & fish.

          I had the blackened swordfish salad (~$13). All of their salads are dinner-plate sized and served in a wide shallow bowl. The swordfish was as expected blackened and still moist inside. It was on a bed of spinach and chopped red peppers, with a lemon butter glaze. No dressing (which was why I chose this salad over the others; the dressings sound sweet: raspberry vinaigrette, sesame vinaigrette). The warm butter sauce was just enough to barely wilt most of the spinach underneath, perfect.

          Two of us ordered the grilled salmon (~$18) which comes nicely charred with grill marks, on a tall bed of rice pilaf with fresh looking crisp-tender veggies (I forgot to ask how it tasted but they both seemed to like it). I can’t remember what the 4th adult had. One of the boys had chicken nuggets (in the shape of dinosaurs & fish) with fries, and the other had the calamari appetizer (he wanted the calamari & chips entrée but his mom insisted he wouldn’t finish the entrée size and ordered him the appetizer size; when it came out the server generously had added fries under his calamari). In the end he barely touched his calamari because it wasn’t in little rings (I think the bodies were cut in half along the length so they were in triangles). So hubby & I got to finish his calamari, which I thought were prepared very well. Still a little crisp toward the end of the meal, batter was light but enough to coat everything, and very tender thin-bodied squid. I didn’t get to try any fries but they looked good (skinny and fried to a golden brown).

          The bread in the napkin lined basket was unfortunately just like Safeway/Albertsons Italian baguette, but the dipping oil our server poured was a wonderful concoction of balsamic vinegar, EVOO, a few herbs, and lots of chunks of sun-dried tomatoes. If they sold this bottled, I’d buy it.

          I’m glad to have this kind of restaurant in Scotts Valley where you can take guests or in laws and have a nice dinner with almost-upscale but familiar dishes prepared with care. It seems more like a Los Gatos restaurant than a Scotts Valley one. Now we’ll have to try In Vino Veritas in the Nob Hill Food strip mall; I never noticed it before and I’ve been to that strip mall 3 times now. We won't be with kids next time!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Alice Patis

            I've been to In Vino Veritas a couple of times. The meals were good (got meal salad for lunch), but as a non-wine-drinker, I suspect I didn't get the full exposure.

          2. Don't forget Bruno's BBQ or Yamamori's!- good if you need to bring along the kids