Menlo Park client lunch
Kaygetsu in Menlo Park has some of the best Japanese food you can get in the Bay Area and is quite expensive. Simple, quiet, elegant atmosphere even though it's in a shopping center. I have only been there for dinner when they have a kaiseki menu. I'm not sure what's on the lunch menu.
If you are looking for non Asian, Cal-cuisine type of place for your business dinner, I think Flea Street Cafe meets the bill perfectly. The name doesn't sound like much, but the decor is upscale (dark wood paneling, small dining rooms), service is professional, and the food is upscale (at upscale prices), using top-notch seasonal/organically farmed/sustainably caught ingredients. Kind of like CP Cafe but Gary Danko's decor.
I never see any detailed reports on Chowhound (only brief mentions), I think it's one of the most underrated places.
Here's my report from 2005:
Other price-is-no-object places I've seen often suggested but I've never been to are:)
(not sure if these places are open for lunch
Here's a thread with replies for a similar question from Jan 2006:
Agree on Kaygetsu for high-end Japanese and Flea Street for California-ish cuisine. Marche would be great but I don't believe it is open for lunch. I believe Wild Hare is closed and has been replaced by Oak City Grill which has gotten mixed reviews. I have not eaten there for years, but for a pasta-type biz lunch, Carpaccio might be ok Any recent Hound experience here?
There is a wide range of cuisine in Menlo Park. I generally avoid the high end, so my personal recommendations for "nice lunches" are limited.
Koma has a nice bar, good fish; tables a bit close together; often crowded. On El Camino Real with reasonable parking.
(Note: there is a jumbo thread discussing several other sushi bars in the area that you might want to look up if sushi if your first choice.)
Juban offers very tasty boneless spareribs along with numerous meat (e.g., wagyu beef), seafood (e.g., shrimp, scallops), and vegetable (e.g., shittake mushroom, asparagus) choices for "grill it yourself" dining. The pretty sorbet-in-a-peach desserts are good for the sorbet, but the peaches are tasteless (presumably picked for appearance and durability rather than ripeness). On Santa Cruz Ave. with parking in a lot behind.
A venerable institution which I've never tried is Iberia Restaurant (http://www.iberiarestaurant.com/ ), which serves Spanish food including, for lunch, tapas. This could be fun, but you might check out whether the atmosphere is the right fit for your clients.
And if you look slightly beyond Menlo Park, you can find good options in Palo Alto. But that probably should be its own thread. ;-)
Iberia seems ideal for this kind of lunch.
I have been wholly underwhelmed at Vida, which serves similar dishes to those at the neighboring, larger restaurant (part of a minor chain), but with inferior ingredients. A recent mixed grill had only one merit: the quail was partly deboned.
Juban is fun and can be delicious -- a lot of it is up to you and your clients and your cooking skills.
I think Akasaka, at 925 El Camino, is open for lunch. I've had more consistent luck there, especially with the specials, than at any of Menlo Park's other sushi restaurants.
Also consider the modest Cafe Silan, a Kurdish restaurant of even, if not impeccable, quality.
The best restaurant in Menlo Park right now is probably Back A Yard, although it's in a very different part of town and might not be your clients' cup of jerk sauce.
All these places have Chowhound writeups that you can search for.