Martins West (Redwood City)
- Robert Lauriston Jan 6, 2013 11:00 AM
Had a late lunch at Martins West yesterday, first time I'd been there in over a year. The lamb tongue pastrami butty was one of the best things I've had in a while. The Scotch quail eggs were also fantastic. Grilled octopus salad was really good. Haggis, fish & chips, shepherd's pie, brussels sprouts, all good.
I have to to say that I did not understand folks saying that Martin's West had gone downhill. I find the food here great and the Grilled squid salad is my go to order everytime. I only go for lunch tho as the old brick building can get quite loud at dinner. Cocktails are generous and tasty, and the Whiskey list is fine! I probably eat here once a month.
That would be me.
In their first year, I thought they were _outstanding_. They were doing taste combinations and a freshness of ingredients that I wasn't finding anywhere else. The quail scotch eggs were made with an outside prosciutto crust that had an extra salty tang that really complimented the yolk. The Bacon Manhattan had a depth to the bacon taste, as well as some kind of salt-sugar mixture to the maple rim. Every time I went, half the menu had changed and there were new items and concepts. I was haunted by that "kedgeree" they did for a while.
Then 2008 hit. Everything slowed down. Economizing on ingredients was the order of the day. Simpler menu. More that can be prep-d ahead, like charcouterie.
Recently, the ham on the outside seems to not be as tasty and brilliant. The bacon can't be tasted as clearly in the bourbon. The brussel sprouts are more variable, nearly crisped one day (I liked that), more average the next. The menu's the same every time I go in. The octopus is still great. I love the Pot O Pickles. Those little folded dough things that change every time are great. They had something called Whiskey Brick that's perfect for me (and they'll make anything that you remember from a previous menu, assuming no infused ingredients). They had all the different distributions of Ardbeg and the bar guy (forget his name) brought them all over to the table and we rapped and tasted them.
Martin's West has moved from "the restaurant I always want to go to, the shortest of the short list, where I take all my friends" to "one of the very good restaurants in the south peninsula that we end up at once a month or so" - which is a step down. These days I prefer to go to Vesta around the corner, even though the thin crust pizza is nearly a blight upon the south bay (two new in PA).
re: Robert Lauriston
I will admit part of my problem is the static menu, which an occasional visitor won't mind as much. In the early days, we also never, ever ate off the entree menu - the apps were the star of the show, lots of complexity, no reason to eat from the mains.
I'm glad you had a good meal.
For the same kind of fun vibe, we've started eating at Nola a bit more, but only on the later side when one can get a seat at the bar and the kitchen's less busy. There, I only expect a stiff drink and a solid burger in a pleasant atmosphere, which Martin's West is also good for.
I take my fish and chips jones to Peninsula Creamery.
Care to the elaborate on the two new thin crust pizza places in Palo Alto, perhaps in a separate thread? I don't think we have anywhere near enough really good thin crust pizza places in the South Bay to consider two more a blight. (Mediocre pizza, on the other hand...)
Ballast Point Victory at Sea coffee and vanilla porter on tap was refreshing on a hot afternoon.
Fried Chesapeake Bay soft-shell crab special and bone marrow were standouts. Haggis on a stick and scotch eggs great as always. Burger and fish & chips both first-rate.
MW still putting out good food. I love they have good specials - had an amazing grilled carrot dish, and hamachi kama. I love how they keep their food and menu up to date, and keep working with new ideas.
On a saturday, could just walk in. Surprising. Prices are still reasonable - $50/pp with beer, wine, cocktail, desert (although only one entree).