The Village Pub Marks A Decade

Asparagus flan with lobster and caviar at the posh Village Pub in Woodside.

If you want to know where the power people dine in Silicon Valley, look no farther than the Village Pub in Woodside.

I don’t think I’ve seen this many men in suits in a South Bay/Peninsula restaurant — ever. It was kind of a nice change of pace, too, from the usual “casual Friday”-look that sadly tends to permeate every day of the week here.

On a recent Friday night, when I was invited to dine as a guest of the restaurant, the elegant dining room with its dark,polished wood and plush burgundy velvet banquettes was hopping, with every seat taken. Quite a few tables were occupied by an all-male party, with at least one displaying an open laptop on the table.

Chef Mark Sullivan of Spruce in San Francisco opened the restaurant 10 years ago. The day-to-day cooking now is overseen by Executive Chef Dmitry Elperin, who has worked at such San Francisco stalwarts as One Market, Campton Place and Aqua.

An open hearth in the dining room affords a peek into the kitchen.

We had a prime table right in front of the roaring, open hearth that affords a peek into the kitchen. Dark, crusty loaves of bread (from sister establishment Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto) are kept at the foot of the fire to ensure slices arrive at your table warm each and every time.

The meal began with an amuse of mushroom consomme that was so full of loamy flavors, you would have sworn that a pound of mushrooms was hidden at the bottom of the tiny cup.

Asparagus flan ($18) arrived warm, with a vivid green hue and the silky texture of flan. Nuggets of butter-poached lobster and a dollop of sturgeon caviar made it even more luxurious.

Don't pass up the incredible, house-made charcuterie.

The restaurant makes all its charcuterie and accompaniments in-house. The sampler ($20) is a must-order with its creamy duck liver mousse, mortadella with horseradish creme fraiche, country pate with port-soaked cherries, and ciccioli (compressed lard and pork) with sweet-tangy cumberland sauce heady with ginger and currants.

Artichoke agnolotti with summer white truffles.

The chef surprised us with a dish of artichoke agnolotti, which were tender and creamy. Paper-thin slices of summer white truffles, which weren’t nearly as intense as fall ones, were showered over the top.

My husband, aka Meat Boy, couldn’t pass up the steak frites with bone marrow ($25), which is on the bar menu that you also can order from in the dining room. The meat arrived juicy with a nice crust on the edges. The fries were hot and crisp. And my husband dug inside that dinosaur-like bone for every last bit of the precious, unctuous marrow.

A classic steak....

...with thin, crisp frites.

Meaty albacore crusted with lovely marrow.

I enjoyed my own marrow, which crusted albacore tuna ($31), keeping this dense fish moist and flavorful. The hearty red wine sauce was the perfect match to stand up to this very meaty fish, which came with a bed of rich, pillowy ricotta cavatelli. In concept, it was almost like giving a short rib-treatment to fish. And it worked beautifully.

An inventive take on strawberry shortcake.

Dessert brought a surprise — strawberry shortcake with creme fraiche, but it wasn’t the traditional one big shortcake split in half. Rather, there were four thimble-size ones arrayed on the plate, alongside macerated strawberries. You could choose to eat everything separately or a mix of all at once.

Palm-size chocolate cookies.

And chewy, salted caramels.

Because Pastry Chef Rodney Cerdan always wants to make sure you really indulge your sweet tooth, he also brought out a plate of chocolate-chip and triple-chocolate cookies, as well as individually-wrapped salted caramels.

After a decade, it’s nice to see this restaurant still powering strong.

More: My Q&A with Pastry Chef Rodney Cerdan of the Village Pub

And: A Peek at Mayfield Bakery & Cafe

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Date: Friday, 10. June 2011 5:25
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Chefs, Chocolate, General, Restaurants

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13 comments

  1. 1

    The Village Pub has been on my “list” for a while now. The other day the teenager ate there, so I think it’s time for me to go! Sounds like a wonderful place.

  2. 2

    I admire your cholesterol for eating all that rich food! ;-)

  3. 3

    What a fun menu! Bone Marrow, White Truffles – I love it!!!

  4. 4

    I drooled over the agnolotti with summer truffles. The marrow on both dishes sounds like a total winner. :)

  5. 5

    The ricotta cavatelli looks fantastic. Interesting technique for the tuna too. And, any restaurant that ended a meal with salted caramels would have me coming back.

  6. 6

    I wouldn’t blame your hubby for not going past that steak frites and bone marrow! I would have ordered exactly that – it looks spectacular!

  7. 7

    Sounds like a fun delicious meal! I love the way the strawberry shortcake was presented. It may be non-traditional but it sure looks delicious!

  8. 8

    I agree with Joanne non traditional, but the strawberry shortcake look great. The marrow looks divine!

    sweetlife

  9. 9

    Everything looks so good here along with you landing to be what looks like a great seating(nice peak view of the kitchen..Love it!). I would definitely have to go for the Steak frites and bone marrow and my wife would pick the tuna.

  10. 10

    Oooh, this isn’t far from where I’m staying when I go to the States, so it’s definitely on my list! Those chips actually LOOK crunchy, and I love the idea of having the bread by the fire!

  11. 11

    Oh my kingdom for some of that bone marrow please! The best thing is that Mr NQN doesn’t like bone marrow at all. Which may be why I married him ;)

  12. 12

    Wow, talk about a meal with a view…I love that prime seating! Looks like a fantastic meal…the charcuterie sampler looks incredible!

  13. 13

    No wonder there were so many men there. Perfect menu for meat-eaters! Oh that bone marrow!
    Great review, Carolyn!

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