Chez TJ gets a Michelin star
Was pleased to see that Chez TJ in Mountain View received it's 1st Michelin star today. We had a wonderful dinner there a couple of weeks ago, and I was especially impressed with the foie gras served 2 ways (imho better than the foie gras I had at the French Laundry recently) and also the black cod with oyster foam. It's a beautiful restaurant with outstanding food and superb service.
Can't wait to go back!
I went with a group for a 40th birthday dinner a few years ago. I was worried that it was too much of a romantic/couples restaurant for that type of group, but it worked out very well.
I've been to Chez TJ a couple of times in the last few months, under the new chef, Christopher Kostow - it's been great every time. He's very personable and comes out to chat with every table and the menu's lovely. The restaurant was almost full on a Tues night last time - there was a business dinner meeting (complete with screen and projector) going on in one of their little rooms, so they seem to be doing well.
Disaster for the Guide Michelin! I recently had the tasting menu and I was about to throw up. For $220 per person the food has to be far better than this.
The young chef (ex-Campton Place, sous for the chef between Manrique and this one) came out and I did my best to humor him. But he's just lost at the stove: making experiments that don't particularly work, trying trendy things that get the artifice without the delight, and simply not knowing how to compose a plate artfully.
The wine absolutely sucks and there can be little discussion of that. Juvenile choices, mostly from California or lesser regions of France, and the pairings with the list were done by someone who has no sommelier sensitivity whatsoever.
What can you expect from "downtown" Mtn View? I'd leave it at that, but a MICHELIN STAR? "Worth a detour?" And there are restaurants in the south bay that actually hold their own very well. I consider Manresa and Le Papillon (!) to both have nearly three-star caliber chefs, but because of their provincial location, the details are missing that only the city slicker appreciates (not just the wine program, but cheese, teas, &c.).
I just hope Marche didn't also get a Michelin star...that's virtually a steakhouse.
I went to Chez TJ's 2 weeks ago for dinner. We did the $80 Menu Gastronomique (4 courses) and on a whim, decided to do the $45 wine pairing (3 wines).
The food was excellent, with my favorites being the foie gras and poached black cod, just like the original poster mentioned. My GF's turbot was nice and delicate. However, my pork belly was a tiny cube the size of a stamp and it was NOT melt-in-my-mouth goodness. A Chinese restaurant can do pork belly better and far cheaper.
The wine pairings, as Peeder said, were very poorly matched. Reisling w/ foie gras was good, but the rose that went w/ the black cod was extremely hot (high alcohol) that tasted like vodka at the finish. The pinot w/ the pork was OK, but I expected much more than an OK wine for 45 bones. In retrospect, I could have done much better for myself by ordering glasses of wine and doing the pairing myself.
re: Hapa Dude
What is it with pork belly? This is the second or third time in recents weeks I've heard of an upscale restro doing pork belly. Is it the new goat?
BTW, I was TJ a year or so back and thought it was very good. I think in its heyday it was a revelation but today it's a bit harder to stay ahead, as it were. Still a very good place however.
We lived near Chez TJ's when my husband went to graduate school, but back then we couldn't afford it...so we just went this past Saturday when he visited me during my artistic residency at Djerassi. We got the tasting menu. Fabulous. Charming house, stellar service. Chef came out to talk to us, we congratulated him on the Michelin stars. We'd love to go back and have the gastronomique to try other dishes not on tasting, just have to find more excuses to visit.