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Feb 9, 2009 03:48 PM

Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, Palo Alto

I was fortunate enough to have lunch at Mayfield Bakery & Cafe last week during a friends and family event (even though I am neither friend nor family!). This is the new restaurant in the Bacchus Group repertoire, which also includes Spruce in SF and Village Pub in Woodside. All in all the food, service and atmosphere is excellent! The decor is rustic elegance - white tablecloth with butcher paper on top, carafe of water for each table, a long bar with seating as well as individual tables and a long banquette with tables. Service was attentive but not overly so (they were also training when I was there but it was still great on their first day).

I ordered the crisp brussel sprouts and a spit roasted chicken salad with warm chicory lettuces, bacon mustard vinaigrette and crisp potatoes. The brussel sprouts were perfectly roasted, not too greasy, with a hint of lemon. It is a very big order - enough for 2 or 3 people as a side. The salad was also quite large - 2 leg/thigh pieces of very moist chicken with a thin, crispy skin. The waitress said it is brined over night and roasted over almond wood (?). Excellent! The chicories were a very nice accompaniment, and there was a nice surprise of 2 pieces of bacon slab/lardons. The potatoes were nicely cooked and plentiful (about 5-6). I was only able to eat 1 piece of chicken - definitely enough to split with 2 appetizers or sides. They serve in a rustic way (in a piece of brown papere) absolutely delicious bread that is baked on site (the bakery is attached). There was a nice wine list, of which I didn't partake, and a delicious looking dessert list, which I also didn't partake in.

The bill was $26 for the salad, sprouts and a diet coke. Nicer than your average lunch. Great for business. Loved it over all and highly recommend! (already added in Links but it isn't showing up yet).

Mayfield Bakery & Cafe
Town and Country Village
855 Embarcadero
Palo Alto, CA

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  1. I had lunch there yesterday, and they were mobbed, so the service was a bit scattered. While waiting a full 10 minutes for my waitress to make an appearance, runners kept trying to put food on my table: an iced tea, a salad, a latte - and I was almost hungry enough to lie and take them all! When my waitress finally appeared, she was quiet and scared, like a deer in headlights, but I liked her anyway.

    So - my meatballs were raw in the middle and my brussels sprouts were burnt, but my iced tea was fine. A manager told me they were still working out the kinks and comped my meal, which was nice because nothing was edible, and I gave my waitress a huge tip anyway because I felt sorry for her. The staff was extremely friendly, just like at Calafia, but how come I always get the strange waitresses? Great-looking space, with lots of light; I'll give it another try in a month or two.

    I bought stuff at the bakery ("market reseach" for my sweet tooth) and can endorse the S'mores wholeheartedly: a great, solid, caramelized marshmallow atop a square of lovely ganache lined with graham crumbs. Their Danish was actually croissant dough - crisp and buttery, but the custard in the middle was way too dry. Their morning bun was also too dry - nothing compared to the ones at Gayle's Bakery. Otherwise, a nice, friendly staff and lovely pastries and desserts.

    1. Lunch was busy when we went also..

      Some pictures of the menu, Bavette steak sandwich and Artic char..

      1. We've now eaten here twice. Brunch pizza and coffee were good. Ricotta pancakes weren't bad, but tasted like they'd just added ricotta to pancake mix. Dinner wasn't as successful -- lamb cheeks were dry and tough and underseasoned. Atmosphere is plus.

        1. I had a nice dinner at the bar last night. Started with the mussels done in the wood fired oven. The mussels were fresh and meaty. The sauce was a nice fire roasted tomato but they managed to keep the tomato light and not overwhelm the mussels. I usually ignore the toasted bread that comes with a dish like this, but I tried it and was glad I did. It had been brushed with olive oil and then toasted in the wood oven. The bread picked up a lovely smokey/meatiness that was awesome when dipped in the sauce. And kudos to the chef for not burning it!

          I followed the mussels with the lamb cheek paparadelle. This was really good. The house made pasta was slightly toothsome, the cheeks were long braised, quite lamby(in a good way for a lamb lover), and gellatinously rich. The bar tender said the sauce was chicken stock based, but it was so rich that I question that. The sauce clung to the pasta and made each bite a treat. The dish was finished off with a bit of gremolata. I would order this again in a heart beat.

          The bartender was very nice young man who was clearly still green (to be expected in a new place), but he was able to describe the food well and provided friendy and timely service.

          The wine by the glass offerings were varied, nice and ranged in price from ~$8-12. The full wine list looked pretty varied for being reasonably compact at two pages. The desserts were touted, but I was too full to partake. However, he really pumped the carrot cake and being a lover of it I went next door to the bakery and got a slice to take home. It was a good dessert, but not my favored style of carrot cake. It had no nuts and was layered so that frosting was present in every bite. This made it too sweet for my taste. In general though I am not a huge dessert fan.

          I'm sure this place is still suffering from some newly opened issues, but I didn't experience them, had a lovely meal, and would encourage anyone to check it out.

          1. Brunch at Mayfield Bakery & Café

            I headed over to Town and Country Village to check out the two long-awaited and newly opened eateries, Mayfield and Calafia. Calafia’s brunch menu didn’t appeal to me so I went nexr door to Mayfield Bakery intending to pick up a breakfast pastry or two.

            However, the inside of the bakery smelled like bacon and baked ham, making me long for something meatier and more substantial for brunch! From the bakery one can see in the light-filled café and it seemed much more welcoming to me than Calafia. The café was a madhouse with a backlog of families waiting for tables. No one was sitting at the counter yet, and I took a seat near the corner, right in front of the coffee station. This was the fourth day of operation, and the first Saturday brunch.

            Coffee is brewed to order. The beans are from the restaurant group’s Oakland-based roasting company. The water is heated to 204°. The white porcelain pots hold about two and a half cups, and are preheated to maintain serving temperature longer. The staff were still getting in their groove trying to keep up with coffee orders for the brunch rush, and it was informative to be perched right over the six-pot station and observe them working out the kinks. I tried the Mayfield blend which was quite mild, perhaps too much so even for me, and interestingly, I found it more enjoyable after it cooled down. A friend stopped in for coffee, and I had a chance to try his Kenya AA. It was richer and more complex, but rather sharp in acidity and I needed some cream for it to suite my palate.

            Trying a restaurant for the first time, I tend to gravitate to whatever is most unusual on the menu, figuring that there must be some pride of workmanship to offer something out of the ordinary. Here it was scrapple made with Niman Ranch pork, $13.25, and my server confirmed that it was a good choice and added that it was made with more pork than usual. It was nicely seasoned and the yellow cornmeal beautifully browned in the pan as promised, but the three or so wisps of pork flesh couldn’t satisfy my porcine cravings. The eggs were cooked to my liking with barely set yolks though no preference was expressed, so if that’s not for you, do speak up. The sweetness of the maple syrup drizzled on the plate was too cloying for my taste. While executed well, this wasn’t the right breakfast for me to try. The kitchen’s potential is clear to see, and I do plan to return when the staff have more time in grade.

            Service was a bit scattered, but very warm, well-intentioned and enthusiastic. There almost seemed like there were too many people working the floor and getting in one another’s way. That said, I think it’s well worth checking out, as good eats aren’t easy to find in this town.

            I didn’t leave without a purchase from the bakery side. The chocolate croissants were on a two-for-one special, instead of $2.75 each. Comparing them with the picture perfect plain croissants or even the ham and cheese ones, these little pockets looked more like piroshkis than pain au chocolat with their non-flaky and too blonde exteriors. But I figured that they were made with good ingredients and would taste good. Heating up one to try later, these did seem like trainee croissants, rather misshapen, handled too roughly and underbaked. But there’s good butter and chocolate in use, so these hold some promise too with more experience. The other stuff in the bakery looked good, if a bit pricey.

            Mayfield Bakery & Cafe
            855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94301

            2 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Our first dinner at Mayfield was a big hit. A really good but not-too-fancy California cuisine restaurant has been strangely lacking in this area for a while now, perhaps even since Jocco's in Los Altos closed.

              We had the two spit-roasted entrees (the chicken and pork) and both were excellent, with great tastes of meat, fire, and seasoning. The accompaniments were fabulous too - tasty fresh brussel sprouts with the pork, yummy polenta with olive and melted tomato sauce for the chicken. The wine by the glass list is well chosen and half glasses are also available for half the price. The Rhone and Paso Robles Barbera reds that we chose were delicious and true to type. The fresh baked bread is excellent too!

              The one food disappointment was dessert. The warm apple crostata had very little apple filling, which was a particular problem because the crust was nearly tasteless. I'm pretty easy to please with pastry but this was definitely not worth the calories. Our waiter noticed our disappointment and immediately comped it when we didn't want something else instead. I see desserts have had mixed reviews from others, too, so next time we will stick with savories. They have an excellent tea and coffee selection, and my Mayan chocolate tisane was delicious - I'd never had anything like that before.

              We'll be back, and we have to try Calafia soon as well!


              1. re: mdg

                Thanks for the dinner report, Michael! The breads looked good to me, glad to know that this follows through in the taste. The servers do seem to be interested in doing a good job, I've had enough of indifferent waiters elsewhere.